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Dear Friends and Neighbors,  

 

 

On Wednesday, I voted in the affirmative on H4744 – the conference committee report for An Act to prevent abuse and exploitation. The House unanimously passed this bill, which will provide new protections to survivors of “revenge porn,” or the sharing of sexually explicit images or videos without an individual’s consent.  

 

Currently, prosecutors cannot charge offenders unless there are three or more incidents of harassment. H4744 closes this loophole by having clear revenge porn prohibitions in our statutes.  

 

The bill updates and expand Massachusetts’ laws to ban revenge porn and to hold accountable those who engage in abusive and coercive behavior. This legislation will: 

 

  • Prohibit sharing depictions of an individual’s nude, partially nude, or engaged in sexual conduct without their permission, even if the subject agreed to the creation of an image or recording.  
  • Expand the ban of sexually explicit pictures to include artificially generated material purporting to depict a real person (AKA deepfakes) in a sexually explicit manner. 
  • Establish a Diversion and Education Program for adolescents found to exchange sexually explicit materials or texts.  
  • Expand the definition of “coercive control”, or behaviors aimed to limit a victim’s safety or autonomy (i.e. isolating someone from family, friends, or other support networks, controlling a person’s movements, threatening animal abuse, damaging property). 

 

 

This legislation will crack down on the non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit media and coercive control by abusers, elements we see in domestic violence all too often. I stand with victims across the Commonwealth and will continue to support legislation that will enhance protections for victims. As this has emerged from conference committee, it represents an agreement between the House and Senate. It now goes to the Senate for a vote then to the Governor for her signature.   

 

Yours in service,  

Denise 

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