The suspended prison sentence given to Cyrus Engerer who was found guilty, among other things, of distributing pornographic pictures of his former lover, raises several issues. Most discussions have centred on the political repercussions and responsibilities tied to this case.

I wish to point out another dimension of what happened.

Cyrus Engerer was found guilty of distributing pornographic images because that was the technical means available to the authorities to judge the despicable acts he did. However what Engerer was found guilty of is a clear case of porn revenge.

Revenge porn happens when someone places on the Internet the lewd or pornographic photos of another person without his or her consent. The word ‘revenge’ completes the phrase as generally such pictures are placed on the internet by an angry person – generally an abandoned lover.

This is clearly what Cyrus Engerer did. He kept on sending such pornographic pictures to the employees of his former lover in an attempt not only to embarrass him but probably to lead to his dismissal.  Besides Engerer abused the office computer of a friend of his who trusted him with its use to unlawfully send the same pictures. This action could have caused his friend, her job. Then in court he tried to bully his former lover threatening him that more pictures could be published if he does not drop the case.

I had written about the porn revenge last January when a report about a similar case was published on the media. The Times of Malta had printed a report titled: “Women’s misery as nude selfies are shared online.” The photos seemed to have been taken voluntarily but they were placed on the Internet without the consent of the person in question.

The media was agog about the subject for a few days, then, as usually happens.

The Times of Malta had contacted Minister Helena Dalli about the case. The Social Dialogue Minister said that government was considering amending the law to make it a crime to share explicit photos without the consent of the person depicted after several naked selfies of young women were circulated on the internet.

Whether the government had  registered any progress in the area is not publicly known. One hopes that in the aftermath of Cyrus Engerer’s case, the government’s declared resolve to change the law to adequately punish those guilty of revenge porn, would not be extinguished.

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