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Posting a sex tape could carry a five year jail sentence
By LAHAV HARKOV
07/01/2014
New bill means the dissemination of sexual photos or videos of someone without his or her knowledge is now considered sexual harassment.
 
The “Sex Tape Bill” became law Monday night, meaning that the dissemination of sexual photos or videos of someone without his or her knowledge is considered sexual harassment.

Anyone who posts sexual content without permission will be considered a sex offender and can be sentenced to a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid), who proposed the bill, said the law is meant to stop “the disgusting phenomenon of virtual rape.”

“This is a dangerous phenomenon that must be uprooted, and I’m glad the Knesset thinks so too,” Kariv added.

The Yesh Atid lawmaker said her initiative was inspired by a recent case of what has become known as “revenge porn,” in which a video of a couple having sex went viral on the messaging smartphone application Whatsapp, after the man sent the video following his breakup from the woman.

“Even during the last election I knew that, no matter what, I would pass a law on this topic. We need to understand that disseminating these videos and photos aren’t pranks. They can ruin young women’s lives. Some of them want to commit suicide after becoming accidental porn stars,” she stated.

Kariv explained that while the legislative process will always be slower than technological advancements, the new law is groundbreaking for victims.

Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women chairwoman Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) also pointed out that there have been significant changes in technology since the Law to Prevent Sexual Harassment passed 15 years ago.

“Rapid technological advancements bring new challenges and lawmakers’ reactions are not fast enough to stop the problems. We must take care of this phenomenon with different tools [such as] education for the general public and specifically for parents,” Lavie said.

Meanwhile, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Tuesday announced that it had dramatically reduced filing fees for filing civil lawsuits relating to sexual offenses and sexual harassment.

Until now, the fee for a lawsuit in the civil courts was 2.5 percent of the value of the claim, while the fee for a lawsuit in the labor courts was one percent of the claim – so that a NIS 200,000 lawsuit in the civil courts would require a court fee of NIS 5,000.

Initially, the committee was going to reduce the maximum filing fees for lawsuits relating to sexual offenses and sexual harassment to NIS 1,100 for the district courts, NIS 645 for the magistrate’s courts and NIS 141 for the labor courts, however, after fiery debates the committee reduced the filing fees even further, to NIS 900, 500 and 141, respectively.

A committee statement said that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni had requested the change, impliedly to remove obstacles from sexual offense and harassment victims to obtain compensation.

The additional reduction came at the request of United Torah Judaism MK Uri Maklev and Shas MK Avraham Michaeli who asked the Justice Ministry representative who was present to lower the fee further, in consideration of the high fee being a “substantial obstacle to victims of crimes with meager means” to obtaining relief.

In an unusual move, the committee hearing was halted for the representative, Liron Bennett Sasson to consult with and obtain permission from other ministry officials for a further fee reduction.
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