Betrayal
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Justice For Pornhub Victims

by | Abuse Literacy

JUSTICE FOR PORNHUB VICTIMS

Dani Pinter is Senior Legal Counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation was founded in 1962, and it is the leading national nonpartisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation, such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking, and the public harms of pornography.

If you are a victim of sexual exploitation and would like to reach a representative from NCOSE, please email public@ncose.com or call (202) 393-7245.

Pornhub knows no bounds in regard to victimizing human beings. Tragically, Pornhub hides behind legislative ambiguity to avoid accountability.

Dani Pinter, Senior Legal Counsel for the NCOSE, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to explain how you can get involved today in holding Pornhub accountable and helping victims seek the justice that they deserve. Listen to the free BTR podcast and read the full transcript below for more.

Pornhub Victimizes Women & Children

“[Pornhub] is a platform that hosts real rape videos and real videos of children being sexually exploited and abused.”

Dani Pinter, Senior Legal Counsel for the NCOSE

Pornhub claims to have safeguards in place to protect women and children from exploitation, and yet the website is full of abusive, violent, and exploitative videos.

Too often, men betray and exploit their wives, members of the BTR community, by uploading sexual videos to Pornhub. Even when women request these videos be taken down, if the video has been downloaded by Pornhub users, the video will continue to resurface. This re-traumatizes victims over and over again.

Pornhub Must Be Held Accountable

“One of the biggest and most poignant things that one of the survivors had said is that their abuse just never ended because of Pornhub. Each survivor’s story was different, but they face some sort of exploitation, whether that was a violent rape or child sexual abuse, or trafficking, and even when that horrific trauma ended, it lived on into eternity because it was recorded and then uploaded to Pornhub. And for my client, that has meant that these videos and images have spread all over the internet, and she feels completely helpless to get rid of them.”

Dani Pinter, Senior Legal Counsel for the NCOSE

The trauma that Pornhub victims experience is horrific and never-ending. Organizations like NCOSE recognize that because sexual exploitation is financially profitable, the organization itself isn’t reliable to self-police.

That’s why NCOSE is calling on all credit card companies to stop processing payments for Pornhub.

How Can We Seek Justice for Pornhub Victims?

It’s not only large organizations and legislative decisions that can effect Pornhub’s accountability.

You can help, too.

  • Support the EARN IT act, which would hold “all platforms responsible” for child sex abuse material (CSAM)
  • Go to sexualexploitationlawsuits.com if you have been a victim of sexual exploitation and begin the process of seeking justice for yourself
  • Refuse to use pornography and share your knowledge of its exploitative nature with other

BTR Is Here For You

Sexual exploitation is traumatizing. If you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you deserve justice and a safe place to process your trauma.

Join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group today and find the community that you need to begin your healing journey today.

Full Transcript:

Anne:  Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.

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“You Are Home”

Here is a five-star review we received on Apple podcasts: You are home. Anne and the amazing BTR coaches, you are the pioneers in the field of domestic abuse and betrayal trauma. After trying Marriage and Family Counseling, 2 well-known CSATs, 12-step programs, and reading everything I could get my hands on, I was done. I couldn’t feel better. Why? Because I wasn’t the problem. I was being abused. BTR saved my life and my children. This is what you are doing, you are saving lives, thank you. To women considering this podcast. If you feel confused, numb, foggy, isolated, if you are lying to protect your husband or make him sound better than he is to family and friends, you are home. It is heart-wrenching to begin to accept that it’s been abused this whole time, but your BTR coach will stay with you through the whole process as your eyes open and you begin to understand that you were never the problem. You are home my friend. Don’t let anyone tell you that you deserve to feel this isolation and fog and pain. Soon it will all make sense, and you will be able to make boundaries to protect yourself and your kids. You’ll go to bed without that tight feeling around your heart and you’ll wake up excited to be alive, I promise. Thank you BTR for walking with me through this valley. The podcast has been with me through the darkest days. 

Dani Pinter on the BTR Podcast

I have Dani Pinter on today’s episode. She is Senior Legal Counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation was founded in 1962, and it is the leading national nonpartisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation, such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking, and the public harms of pornography. And they have some amazing campaigns and things that you can get involved with to stop pornography and stop the harm of pornography. 

Today we’re going to talk about a New York Times article that revealed that Pornhub profits from Child Sexual Abuse Material. We call the National Center on Sexual Exploitation NCOSE for short. So, NCOSE is calling on the Department of Justice to investigate Pornhub. NCOSE has been supportive of revoking the immunity that digital platforms used to avoid accountability and is urging Congress to pass the EARN IT Act, and they have a blog post about this that we will put in the show notes. We’ll also put it in the article related to this podcast. 

“NCOSE is Calling On The Department of Justice to Investigate Pornhub”

So today, NCOSE is calling on all credit card companies to cease processing payments for Pornhub, and Dani Pinter is the lawyer for one of the survivors mentioned in The Times piece. So, I invited her today to talk specifically about this specific issue, what NCOSE is doing, and what you can do to help. Okay, so to start out, Dani, can you summarize the New York Times story for our audience?

Dani: Sure. So, Nick Kristof, you know, he’s an excellent journalist and reporter, and what he did was really highlight the reality that Pornhub is not just a porn site. It is a platform that hosts real rape videos and real videos of children being sexually exploited and abused. He did this through some examples that he discovered, and also to the stories of some of those survivors.

Anne: So, as the lawyer for one of the survivors in The Time story, what challenges are these survivors facing?

“Even When That Horrific Trauma Ended, It Lived On Into Eternity Because It Was Recorded & Uploaded To Pornhub”

Dani: One of the biggest and most poignant things that one of the survivors had said is that their abuse just never ended because of Pornhub. Each survivor’s story was different, but they face some sort of exploitation, whether that was a violent rape or child sexual abuse, or trafficking, and even when that horrific trauma ended, it lived on into eternity because it was recorded and then uploaded to Pornhub. And for my client, that has meant that these videos and images have spread all over the internet, and she feels completely helpless to get rid of them.

She feels faced with them every day because she’s reached out to Pornhub others and asked them to bring these videos down because not only did she not consent to their distribution, she was being trafficked, but she was a minor. So, this is child sex abuse material actively online, on Pornhub, available for free. You can Google search, go on it, reach it in seconds, and Pornhub also allows this for download. So, even though Pornhub has been completely non-responsive to some victims, luckily, they took down videos Nicole asked them to take down, but only for them to resurface again, again, and again.

Is There Justice For Pornhub Victims?

Anne: Because someone downloaded them and then did they re-upload it? 

Dani: Yes, and so Pornhub claims that they use this cutting-edge photo DNA technology so that, you know, banned videos can ever re-enter the site, but Nicole is living proof that that’s just not true. Her videos and images have been re-uploaded time and time again.

Anne: What are potential solutions for helping survivors receive justice when it seems so difficult from what you’ve described?

Dani: Well, there’s a couple and you touched on some of them. The Department of Justice right now has the ability to prosecute Pornhub, I want to talk a little bit about the immunity that internet platforms face, but even with that immunity, they’re not immune from federal criminal law violations. So, if the Department of Justice had the will, they absolutely could investigate and prosecute Pornhub for the mass trafficking and child pornography on their site. So, we want them to do that. Then additionally, for victims, because there’s a very high threshold to be successful in a criminal case, it’s difficult, and there are limited resources. So, at NCOSE we really see the value in bringing civil litigation. That’s where a survivor brings a civil case for monetary damages against a company, and that holds them accountable, it makes them self-police, and it gets some measure of justice and recovery for the victims. Many of these victims are prohibited from doing that because of that federal immunity, which I can expand on if you want.

Anne: Yeah, can you a little bit? 

The Communications Decency Act

Dani: Sure. So, there’s a law called the Communications Decency Act, it was passed about 20 years ago, it was actually an attempt to prevent the spread of obscenity and child pornography on the Internet, but the court struck it down finding it to be unconstitutional and kept only one part of that statute. The part of that statue that it kept was section 230, and that was a good-faith shield protection for platforms. That statute meant to try to limit the spread of some, you know, harmful things on the internet, and if you in good faith do that then you’re immune from civil liability and state criminal liability.

Pornhub Must Be Held Accountable

But when the whole thing was struck down but that, we were left with just this immunity, and it has been interpreted extremely broadly because this was at the very beginning of the internet, and the courts expressed that they wanted to allow the Internet to flourish and not be prohibitive. So, what that plays out to in reality is, internet platforms have essentially blanket immunity. That’s why they’ve grown so large, but that’s also why they’re almost accountable for nothing on their site. Specifically, what it says is that websites or web platforms are not responsible for third-party content on their site. So Pornhub is completely dependent, its entire business model is dependent around this immunity, if not structured because of this immunity.

So, what Pornhub does is allow anyone to upload any video. All you need is an email address. You can be a child, we’ve had countless cases of minors uploading videos of themselves on Pornhub, and they say that’s third-party content, we are not responsible for that. And so that’s where CDA 230 immunity is having a lot of problems, not just with Pornhub, but also on some of our mainstream social media sites where there may be trafficking or abuse material, and the sites just not motivated to self-police because they know they could never be held accountable.

Trauma Mama Husband Drama

Anne: I am going to take a break here for just a second to talk about my book, Trauma Mama Husband Drama. You can find it on our books page btr.org/books. That Books page also has a curated list of all of the books that we recommend. My book, Trauma Mama Husband Drama, is a picture book for adults. So, it is the easiest way for you to explain what’s going on to someone who might not understand it, it’s also just a good reference for yourself because it shows what’s happening with very telling and emotional illustrations, as well as infographics at the back. When you go to our Books page and click on any of those books, it just takes you directly to Amazon and you can throw those books in your cart. After you have purchased the book, please remember to circle back around to Amazon and write a verified purchase review, along with a five-star rating. That helps isolated women find us, it bumps Trauma Mama Husband Drama up in the Amazon algorithm, and even if women don’t purchase the book, it helps them find this podcast, which is free to everyone.  

And now back to our conversation.

Partners of Porn Users Are Victims of Abuse

Anne: So, our listeners are all victims of betrayal. Wives of porn users who are abuse victims, their abuse victims because of sexual coercion. They’ve been sexually coerced into relationships with a man who says hey, I totally abide by your sexual boundaries, I don’t look at porn, I don’t visit prostitutes, but they actually do. So, they’re sexually causing their wives. Emotional and psychological abuse because they’re lying, they’re gaslighting, all kinds of things to hide their porn use. So, one of the things we talk about a Betrayal Trauma Recovery is that a woman in a relationship with a man who’s actively using pornography and hiding it and using gaslighting and manipulation, she’s in an abusive relationship. So, I’m always talking about how porn is an abuse issue, it’s always going to be an abuse issue, that is the issue at hand. Is it addictive? Sure. But we really need to look at it from an abuse issue to treat it as seriously as it is. So, talking about that, what are the solutions that would help solve the explosion of child sexual abuse and other illegal and harmful content on Pornhub to try and stop this abusive industry?

Dani: Well, there are some bare minimum things that we’d like to see, which would be you know, age and consent verification, because many women, I’m sure some of your listeners have experienced surreptitiously being recorded or being recorded at the time but not agreeing to its subsequent dissemination, which is a huge problem. You know, a lot of people understand children, they are willing and motivated to protect children, but it’s even more difficult to get the political will behind shutting down this type of image-based sexual abuse where women were being exploited without their consent, adults. 

While Pornography is Protected By The First Amendment, Obscenity Is Not

There’s also the fact that obscenity law is a valid federal law on the books right now, and what most people don’t understand is, although technically pornography is protected by the First Amendment, that’s just because what is pornography, right? It could be anything from Playboy magazine to art to what we see on Pornhub. So technically, the term pornography is protected by the First Amendment, but obscenity is not. In fact, it’s not even protected in the least. The court says obscenity is not speech, it has no protection, and it is a crime to disseminate obscenity, and what obscenity is has a long legal definition. But essentially, the courts have given guidelines and said that you know, explicit hardcore sex acts without any literary, political, scientific value are obscenity. Well, that’s all of the content of Pornhub, and the Department of Justice has the ability to prosecute that right now. And the truth is when they were actively prosecuting this, which it has been several presidents ago when they were prosecuting this though, what you see is the content itself becomes milder and milder and milder. So, the pornographer is actually self-police, because they know that they could actually be prosecuted. So, what you get is significantly less exploitive material, and significantly fewer people being exploited. And even though this hasn’t been a priority of the US federal government for a long time, there were still holdover cases, that as recently as I think it was 2012, the federal government got a prosecution in California, against a pornographer for obscenity. And so that shows that like, it’s still possible, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be doing that.

Anne: Absolutely. It’s the only way. Well, maybe there are several other ways, and I’d like to ask you about that, to hold them accountable legally, but clearly, legally they need more accountability. We need to hold them accountable. Can you talk about why they need more accountability?

“It’s Because Exploitation Is Profitable”

Dani: Yes, it’s because exploitation is profitable. I think many people don’t realize how exploited these sites are and how many people are exploited on even our mainstream social media sites. And the reality is, it is in the company’s financial interest to have the most content possible, to have the most users possible, to have the most economic transactions occurring possible, even if that means Child Sexual Abuse Material. And we have been, personally the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, shining a light on these issues for a long time. So, these platforms know what’s going on, and Pornhub certainly knows what’s going on, and they’ve proven they won’t do the right thing on their own. They will not, they won’t even protect kids, they’re certainly not going to spend money to protect kids, and they won’t even lose profits to protect kids. So, unfortunately, the sad reality is when exploitation is profitable, you can’t leave it up to the corporations.

Anne: I could not agree more. So, on that note, how can our audience get involved with helping to stop this?

Support the EARN IT Act

Dani: So, please support the EARN IT Act. As you mentioned, we would like to see the CDA 230 immunity go away altogether, but at the very least EARN IT is a step in the right direction. So, the EARN IT Act would hold all platforms responsible for the very narrow issue of child sexual abuse material. So, if you have child pornography on your site, you’re going to be accountable for that. We need this urgently because it is an absolute epidemic. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children gets 1 million reports of child pornography a month. It is beyond the capacity for law enforcement to even investigate every case, so we need these sites to do it themselves. And the only way that’s going to happen is with legislation like EARN IT, which is extremely fair and balanced, despite the fact that the tech companies are spending millions to convince you otherwise. So please go to our website, there are action items there of how you can support that bill. We are coming to a close of session now, but we made so much headway, and we got through the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously, we have a house sponsor now. We’re hoping it’s one of the first bills that gets passed the next session, so please support that. I think it’s one of the most urgent things we could do in the near future.

Help for Victims of Sexual Exploitation

Dani: One of the things I would like to say, especially to your pool of listeners is one, I am so sorry that you’ve experienced what you have at the hands of pornography and pornography users. And if you’ve experienced anything like what we’ve discussed today, if you’ve been exploited online, please reach out to us because we very much want to represent survivors like you, and we want to use your experience for the good and hold these corporations accountable. So, I would encourage you to reach out to me, and if you could please put my contact info in here. So, we have a website for more information on potential positive action, potential lawsuits you may have. It is called sexualexploitationlawsuits.com. So, if you check it out, there’s a lot of information on internet platforms and how they’re exploited, and a questionnaire that you can fill out about your experience, and we’ll follow up with you. We’d love to help you if we can.

Has Your Husband Filmed You & Uploaded The Video To Pornhub?

Anne: That’s awesome. So yeah, go there to fill that out if you have a story to tell, if your husband has filmed you without your knowledge and posted it online, and you’re aware of it. We do have a lot of women that have had that experience, where their husband has filmed them having sex or other compromising positions without their knowledge. They were filmed, and then he uploaded that to the internet. So many women have had experiences like this here, so please reach out to them. Would you say that website one more time?

Dani: Yes, it’s sexualexploitationlawsuits.com

Anne: Okay. Dani, thank you so much for taking the time to come on today’s episode.

Dani: Thank you so much. It was wonderful to speak to your audience. I appreciate you.

Anne: If this podcast is helpful to you, please support it. Go to our website, scroll down to the bottom, and click on support the podcast; and until next week, stay safe out there.

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