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Rob Kardashian’s Behavior (and Revenge Porn) Cannot be Normalized

Rob Kardashian’s Behavior (and Revenge Porn) Cannot be Normalized

July 7, 2017
By Rachel Goldsmith

I don’t keep up with the Kardashians, but it is hard to miss stories of the family when I am scrolling through my Facebook timeline or watching TV.

Like many others, the news of Rob Kardashian targeting his ex Blac Chyna with lewd comments and allegations of infidelity flooded my newsfeed. I saw headlines like “Rob Kardashian, Blac Chyna at War Over Beating, Cheating Allegations” or “Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna throw down (and dirty) on social media.” And then, almost immediately, Rob’s Instagram account was deleted. Why? Because he posted sexually explicit images and private videos of his ex Blac Chyna without her consent.

While some may consume this behavior as entertainment, and even blame Blac Chyna for Rob’s actions, this behavior is abusive and it’s wrong.

The act of sharing sexually explicit content without consent is referred to as revenge porn. Revenge porn is not only abusive behavior, but it is illegal in many states. Below are some common questions I’ve been seeing and wanted to take a moment to answer.

What exactly is “Revenge Porn”?

Revenge porn is a tactic of power and control; the foundation of abusive behavior. It is used to humiliate, demean, and intimidate someone. People who post revenge porn online or sharing it privately are doing it specifically to cause the victim distress.

Aren’t Rob Kardashian’s actions justified since Chyna allegedly cheated on him? He posted those photos and videos because was upset and hurt.

There is absolutely no justification for revenge porn. It doesn’t matter how angry or upset you are at the victim; these actions are never acceptable. Our Deputy CEO and Chief Program Officer Liz Roberts often talks about how infidelity influences retaliation in relationships; “when women call our hotline and talk about being beaten within an inch of their life, it’s often as a result of infidelity [real or perceived]. This is still in our culture today.” It’s not right.

Didn’t Blac Chyna consensually send these photos and videos to Rob? Maybe she shouldn’t have sent them to him and they would never have been leaked.

What is captured in these videos or photographs are intimate moments shared between consenting adults. What was never consented to, however, was the release of these images to other people. This betrayal of trust and privacy can cause the victim to experience symptoms of trauma, depression, or anxiety.

Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian have a child together. Can revenge porn affect children?

If children are exposed to this type of imagery it can be confusing, scary, or unsettling. In this day and age, once something is on the internet, it is hard to completely erase the digital footprint. As a result, there isn’t a way to guarantee that at some point in their life a child wouldn’t be able to discover these images.

What can I do if I am a victim of revenge porn?

Being a victim of revenge porn can be a very stressful experience. Know that there are professional counselors that can offer you support around this experience. It is not your fault that this happened.  Additionally, today, two-thirds of U.S. states have revenge porn laws on the books. Some consider the crime a misdemeanor, where others, like Illinois, categorize it as a felony.

In California, where the incident occurred, revenge porn is considered a crime. Don’t forget that you or victims of any type of abuse can call one of our anonymous hotlines for help.

  • Rachel Goldsmith

    Rachel Goldsmith, LCSW-R, is the Associate Vice President of Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Shelters. She is an experienced clinician with expertise in the treatment of trauma including gender-based violence, sexual violence, migration trauma, PTSD, and co-occurring issues of domestic violence and substance abuse. Rachel’s professional experience includes providing clinical services, professional training and advocacy. She was previously Manager of Non-Residential Services and Supervising Social Worker at Sanctuary for Families. Rachel is also an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work.