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Amber Heard says she was humiliated by revenge porn in powerful speech

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Kayleigh Dray
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CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 17: Model Amber Heard attends the screening of "Pain And Glory (Dolor Y Gloria/ Douleur Et Glorie)" during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2019 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic)

“My stolen and manipulated photos are still online to this day, posted again and again with sexually explicit and humiliating and degrading headlines about my body, about myself,” said Amber Heard.

Amber Heard is, like much of Hollywood, currently spending a lot of time at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. However, the actor took a break from the carpet to support a cause that’s very close to her heart.

In 2014, Heard had her nude photographs stolen during a breach of Apple’s iCloud service. Now, five years later, she is lobbying for non-consensual pornography to be punishable by up to five years in prison. And, speaking at the Capitol Hill Visitor Centre this week, she has argued that the SHIELD Act [Stopping Harmful Image Exploitation and Limiting Distribution] should be introduced into federal law in Washington.

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“Nonconsensual porn is one of the worst violations of privacy and it doesn’t discriminate, instead it disproportionately affects women around the world with devastating consequences,” said Heard, branding the offence “one of the worst” violations of privacy.

“Intimate content released into the internet is virtually impossible to remove, further subjecting victims to harassment and judgment from strangers and acquaintances alike.

“It can result and often does in devastating and economic, social psychological consequences.”

Heard continued: “My stolen and manipulated photos are still online to this day, posted again and again with sexually explicit and humiliating and degrading headlines about my body, about myself.

“Intimate content released into the internet is virtually impossible to remove, further subjecting victims to harassment and judgment from strangers and acquaintances alike. I continue to be harassed, stalked and humiliated by the theft of those images.”

The actor finished by saying: “My relationships, my family, my profession, my opportunities, and moreover, my expectations for bodily autonomy and liberty are forever compromised.”

“The non-consensual porn that affects me is still out there and remains to this day. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone… and it does.”

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It is not the first time that Heard has spoken up for what she believes in. Indeed, The Danish Girl actor previously called on domestic abuse survivors to “speak up” in an emotional video, saying: “We together as women standing shoulder to shoulder, cannot and will not any longer accept silence.”

Appearing in the clip to raise awareness of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, she went through the thoughts and emotions experienced by many victims of domestic abuse.

“How is this happening to me, you know? I’m strong, I’m smart; I’m not a victim,” she said, adding that she held these beliefs “to my detriment”.

“I guess there is a lot of shame attached to that label of ‘victim’,” said Heard. “It happens to so many women, you know. [But] when it happens in your home behind closed doors with someone you love, it’s not as straightforward as if a stranger did this. It was pointed out to me that if a stranger did this, [leaving] would be a no-brainer.”

There is currently no federal law which criminalises revenge porn, but the Stopping Harmful Image Exploitation and Limiting Distribution aims to target people who share explicit images of someone without their consent.

It also aims to deter violators of intimate privacy, from vengeful exes to online predators who profit from and entertain themselves with the distribution of private intimate images.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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