Women targeted by revenge porn louts

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YOUNG women who attend a Wigan pub are being targeted by revenge porn perverts.

A website forum dedicated to leaking explicit and intimate photographs has left many vulnerable by naming and sharing them online.

The forum - which the Wigan Observer is not identifying - names young women and asks if anyone has “win” - a term they used to mean any sexual experiences or photographs - that users are then encouraged to share.

Several images of young Wigan women have already been posted, presumably by ex-partners.

The victims all have links to The Boulevard pub and independent music venue in Wallgate although the bar itself is in no way implicated.

One young victim, who did not wish to be identified, said: “I was shocked and disgusted when I saw a picture of myself on there and then I had to go and tell my family about it.”

Another said she was now fearful of going to the Boulevard after she was targeted.

The UK Safer Internet Centre said today that the singling out of women who attend a particular night venue is a first in its experience.

The group said victims of online stalking and revenge porn have their images “traded like a commodity and used alongside language describing women like a piece of meat”.

Laura Higgins, online safety operations manager at the Safer Internet Centre, said: “This is malicious communication and in some cases harassment. People with a grudge want to cause reputational damage to these young women. If you have been affected by this report it to the police.

“We urge that any of the girls affected contact us and we can advise what victims can do such as contacting google to have the images removed from online searches and copyright infringement.”

A local Facebook group has also launched a campaign aimed at getting the distressing images removed.

Taking Back Our “WIN”- Ban Anon Revenge Porn, is encouraging as many people as possible to report the site.

It was set up by one of the women whose photographs were leaked on the website, and she warned that this was not the first time that Wigan women had fallen victim to anonymous forums.

She said: “I myself have been subjected to this many times. I think this is my 10th time of being a victim of revenge porn and ‘win’ slut shaming. It’s got to a point where I’m done being passive about it.”

Women’s Aid warned young women that if the photographs were taken by an ex-partner this is a form of domestic abuse, with the aim to humiliate vulnerable women.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “A woman who takes and shares explicit images with her partner with the expectation of privacy is doing nothing wrong: a man who shares these images hoping to humiliate and control is.”

Women’s Aid urged that those sharing the images “consider the harm they may cause, and the serious consequences they might face from a police investigation of their activities”.

Earlier this month it was announced that those caught posting revenge porn could face a jail term of up to two years under new laws.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police warned Wigan women should be careful about who they chose to share photographs, especially explicit ones, with.

Anyone affected by revenge porn can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101.

They can also contact UK Safer Internet Centre’s helpline dedicated to revenge porn advice on 0845 60000459 or Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247.

The Boulevard could not be contacted for a comment.