Katelynn Spencer is a survivor-leader in the fight against image-based sexual abuse. Her personal fight for justice began upon finding out that a friend, who groomed her into making a sex video with him, uploaded it and another one she was unaware that he had recorded, onto Pornhub, a global pornography platform, without her consent. The videos had been downloaded, favorited, and commented on – all without her knowledge. One charge was eventually filed against her friend – “Distribution of Obscene Material” – but the case was dismissed, in part because Massachusetts has no law against uploading non-consensual, pornographic material. (Massachusetts is one of only two states that have yet to enact laws against image-based sexual abuse.) Ms. Spencer is a sought-after speaker on issues of sexual exploitation, having recently testified at a June 2022 Congressional briefing in Washington, DC, about solutions that are needed to curb online sexual abuse and exploitation. She aims to use her voice and personal experience to ensure others who have endured similar abuse can seek justice. Over 200 survivors of image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) have signed a letter urging passage of the newly-introduced PROTECT Act (S 4991) that would ensure federal law protects victims of image-based sexual abuse from websites monetizing and distributing their abuse. The letter has attracted notable signatories including actors Terry Crews, Whitney Cummings, Joseph Lee Anderson, and Marisol Nichols, and Mexican activist Olimpia Coral Melo Cruz. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is calling on Congress to listen to these survivors and pass this bill.The PROTECT Act fills a gaping hole in existing law that allows pornography to be created, uploaded, and distributed online without the consent of persons depicted in the material. (Watch several survivor-leaders explain its importance.) Katelynn Spencer, one of the co-survivor leaders of this effort, will be able to discuss her own experience and how this bill would impact her own quest for justice.
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