Friday, June 21, 2024

Time names revenge porn campaigner one of 100 most influential people

Activist Olimpia Coral Melo Cruz has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2021, thanks to her work to outlaw revenge porn in Mexico.

When the Puebla native was 18, her then-boyfriend filmed her having sex — without her consent, content that he later distributed on the web. As the video spread through social media in her community, Melo tried to commit suicide three times, but eventually found solace in the words of her mother.

“We all have sex. Your cousin, your sister, me. The difference is that they see you do it. That doesn’t make you a bad person or a delinquent. You just enjoyed your sexual life like any other person. Shame is when you have robbed or killed someone,” Melo’s mother told her.

Melo eventually decided to report what happened to the authorities, but her attempts only drew derision from an official who said that she since she was not drugged or raped, there was no crime. That was when she realized that things needed to change. She began compiling testimony from other victims of revenge porn and founded the National Front for Sorority to prevent abuse and support victims.

Her activism led to the approval of “Olimpia’s Law,” which prohibits the distribution of sexual content without the consent of those involved. The federal law, which was passed in April, punishes revenge porn distributors with up to six years in prison.

“I hope that she inspires people around the world to not only take up this cause but also speak up for themselves,” activist Amanda Nguyen wrote in Melo’s Time profile. “It can be difficult to be a survivor, speaking up about something so personal, but Melo Cruz’s impact will not only be meaningful right now, it will be remembered in history — and history is on her side.”

Others named to the Time list this year were the formerly royal couple Prince Harry and Meghan, actor Kate Winslet, gymnast Simone Biles, U.S. President Joe Biden and musician Bad Bunny.

With reports from Proceso and Time

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