A woman who twice had nude photos shared online without her consent says she hopes a new bill making its way through the Saskatchewan Legislature will help other victims.
Shannon Lea, founder of the No Touchy Campaign for sexual assault survivors, described her experiences in an interview with 650 CKOM Thursday afternoon.
The former Saskatchewan resident, now living in Edmonton, said nude photos of her were shared by a man who sexually assaulted her.
“I found out years later when one of my ‘friends’ shared with me what my rapist had sent,” she said.
Lea said she was victimized a second time by a jilted ex. She said he convinced her to pose for a boudoir shoot during their relationship.
She said she was reluctant to take part at first.
“He said all the right things, persuaded me, told me I was beautiful,” Lea said.
“He made all these promises to me that they were going to be for his eyes only, and I agreed.”
But when the relationship ended, Lea said she got a message from her ex saying he had posted the photos to a photography group on Facebook.
She said she joined the page and repeatedly asked for the photos to be removed, but was eventually blocked from the group.
Lea noted she’s rarely spoken of her victimization, but is encouraged by the new legislation — which could allow her to take her cases to small claims court for damages under $30,000. The new bill also allows people to take their cases to provincial court if they wish to pursue a higher amount of damages.
“I can’t change that my pictures are out there,” Lea said. “But if I can take my power back and do something about it now, then I will.”
The bill before the Legislature doesn’t specify whether a lawsuit can be filed for acts committed before the law passes.
The new bill would also shift the burden of proof when it comes to consent for posting images.
Currently, it’s up to someone like Lea to prove they didn’t consent to the distribution of their photos. Under the new bill, those who post images would be required to prove they had permission to do so.
“It makes a big difference,” Lea said.
She added that she knows of other survivors who are planning to wait and watch how the first few cases are handled by the courts, media and public before coming forward.
“It’s great in writing and everyone gets excited, but when you put it into practice it may not be what you thought it would be,” she said.