This week, a bill will become law in Texas criminalizing the sending of unsolicited sexual photos.
While most states have laws that explicitly criminalize the act of exposing one’s genitals in public, few incorporate language that extends criminalization to “unsolicited sexual photos.” Today’s technology, such as text messages, direct messages, AirDrop, email, social media, and dating apps can all be easily used to send unwanted sexual images — with little recourse.
How serious a problem is it? A 2017 YouGov survey found roughly 3 in 4 millennial women have received a message with an uninvited graphic image, or a “dick pic.” In other words, many individuals are actively choosing to use technology to commit acts of indecent exposure.
Spearheading the issue is Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO of popular dating app Bumble who wants to build a workplace where women can thrive. Herd has already taken action to address this issue – sending unsolicited lewd photos on Bumble gets you immediately banned from the app. This move was part of increased safety measures adopted by the app this past April, and we hope Herd’s leadership on this issue influences others to do the same.
At RALIANCE, we’re excited by this work. To end sexual violence in one generation, leaders in tech and commerce must use their influence and reach to establish safe environments and stronger communities. We’re poised to help.