16:51 GMT +316 December 2018
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    Denmark Safeguards Morals, Chews Over Stiffer Penalties for 'Revenge Porn'

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    Sharing pornographic images online without its participants' consent constitutes psychological violence and should be punished as hard as physical violence, Danish politicians argue.

    At present, the penalty for spreading sexually explicit content and images against the will of the people involved is only six months in prison. Members of the Danish Social Democrats Party proposed a six-fold increase, as it is not enough compensation for the psychological trauma invoked.

    "We would like to level the sharing of offensive pornographic images with committing milder forms of violence, which can result in up to three years in prison," Social Democrats spokesperson Bramsen told Danish Radio. "Physical wounds can heal, but images shared on the internet can haunt someone's life for years afterwards."

    According to Bramsen, modern technology allows offensive images to spread far and wide, an option, which is often abused by people sharing sexual images in acts of vengeance, known as "revenge porn." Bramsen's proposal was met with approval by her cousins in the so-called 'blue bloc.'

    "Today's penalty is incredibly low, which is a shame" said the Liberal Party's equality spokesperson Jakob Engel Schmidt. "Sharing nude photographs of other people can have far-reaching consequences. The punishment should therefore match the crime."

    Remarkably, Peter Kofod Poulsen of the far-right populist Danish People's Party called for an even tougher penalty than his bloc colleagues.

    "Sharing offensive images and video destroys people's lives, and the current maximum penalty of only six months in prison is an affront to the victims," said Poulsen. "I do not think that even three years is enough."

    The Danish People's Party also demanded the government's right to shut down websites hosting offensive material.

    The heated debate unfolded amid a recent case as a large German TV-channel aired the same images of Danish activist and revenge porn victim Emma Holten that had earlier been shared online against her will.

    For over a year ago, Emma Holten was interviewed by the German TV-channel RTL and shared her painful experience with revenge porn as a 17-year-old. Around the same time, she appeared undressed in the project Consent aimed at proving that women reclaim the power over their own bodies. She endorsed the channel to show pics from that session, but never gave anyone permission to show the revenge porn pictures.

    "I am deeply shocked that one can make a contribution about how terrible revenge porn is — and at the same time show revenge porn at its finest." Emma Holten told the Danish tabloid newspaper BT.

    "It is extremely important that we send a political signal that a violation is a violation, no matter how you slice it," Emma Holten commented on the political initiative, stressing that higher penalties would give the police the opportunity to spend more resources on revenge porn crime. Besides, a continued debate is crucial to combat the problem, she argued.

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    revenge porn, Danish People's Party, Scandinavia, Denmark
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