Earlier this week, a judge granted reality personality Blac Chyna with a restraining order against former partner Rob Kardashian. Chyna sought the restraining order after Kardashian posted a series of nude photos, twice, without her consent (reposting them again after they were removed from Instagram, shortly before his account was suspended). These images were accompanied by allegations of drug abuse (potentially made to raise questions about her ability to parent their child, Dream).
Restraining order forbids Kardashian from posting online about Blac Chyna
The order expressly forbids Kardashian from "coming near" Chyna, or posting anything about her online that is "of a personal nature." Lisa Bloom, Chyna's attorney, called the order a "total victory." She went on to discuss the prevalence of revenge porn, identifying it as "a form of domestic abuse" and a "civil wrong." Posting intimate images or videos of a person online without their consent is a widespread problem, done with the intent to cause "serious emotional distress." Nonconsensual pornography is commonly referred to as revenge porn; an act of control prohibited by law in 39 states, including California.
A key part of revenge porn is taking away the victim's ability to consent to the release of those images or intimate details. This attack on choice is an important one to keep in mind. Internet trolls, as they are want to do, have come out of the woodwork accusing her of seeking this type of order to get attention or to expand her fame. They allege that she should accept nonconsensual publication of intimate images given her past as an erotic dancer and her own posting of provocative photos. The important difference here is consent. At no point did Chyna give Kardashian consent to post any intimate images of her publicly. To engage in this type of cyberbullying of an ex is harassment, and prohibited by law. Choosing to post images of yourself is completely different, and can be an act of empowerment rather than an act of abuse, control, and harassment.
Blac Chyna was devastated after Kardashian posted images
Chyna told ABC News how she felt after Kardashian posted those images, saying she was "devastated...this is a person that I trusted. I felt betrayed." In response to a question about where the line was between her own provocative Instagram account and revenge porn, Chyna responded "I'm going to draw that line...it's my body." Bloom elaborated, saying that it's "her choice" to post explicit photos:
"I'm not asking victims to change their behaviour. I'm asking perpetrators not to commit crimes. It is a crime to post pictures like this. And if you do it, I hope the full impact of the law rains down upon you."
Kardashian family friend and attorney Robert Shapiro spoke to reporters after Monday's hearing (Kardashian himself choose not to attend). He seemed to issue an apology on behalf of his client, saying that he "offered regrets for what has taken place in the past couple of days." His remorse might actually come from a genuine place, but it does not undo the damage or emotional distress done.
Revenge porn is a very scary thing for victims to experience, and without the money for legal counsel, it can be financially and mentally devastating to seek out legal remedies. Chyna expressed hope that her experiences can encourage and inspire other women in similar positions. Hopefully, it will also discourage potential perpetrators from imitating Kardashian's immoral, and illegal, actions.