International anti-image abuse advocate, area native brings revenge porn story to YSU

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two years ago, a local woman’s intimate photos were stolen and shared without her permission. But rather than just hope no one saw them, Katelyn Bowden turned her experience into a multi-national platform advocating for the right to privacy on the internet.

On Thursday, Bowden spoke at Youngstown State University to share her story.

Her organization, Battling Against Demeaning and Abusive Selfie Sharing, is active in Europe and Africa along with the United States. It helps women around the world reclaim their images.

“I’m going to talk about how ‘BADASS’ got started, my own story,” Bowden said.

Bowden says someone stole her ex-boyfriend’s cell phone, stole her nude pictures and posted the images for all to see. She reported it to police.

“The only crime was the theft of a cell phone and I was so angry because a cell phone had more rights than I did as a human being,” Bowden said.

So, Bowden fought to get them taken down, which sparked an international movement that’s changing laws and major social networks.

She first worked to get the laws in Ohio changed and now, sharing nude images without consent is a crime in the state and 40 others.

She told YSU students how to protect their own images and what to do if it happened to them.

Student Chandler Waldemar said it happened to one of her classmates.

“These two people were dating. While they were dating, they sent pictures back and forth. When they broke up, the guy sent pictures to a lot of people,” Waldemar said.

Kira Walker, a student at Rayen Early College, says people need to stop blaming the women whose images are stolen.

“They didn’t instigate this crime against them. It’s not helpful. It’s very victim-blamey and slut-shamey and it’s just all the -isms you could come up with. It’s not helpful,” Walker said.

Bowden has spoken all over the world and says blaming the women is nearly universal.

“This is a consent issue. Telling a woman she’s a slut for taking these pictures is a big problem,” Bowden said.

The group has gotten several websites sharing the illegal images taken down.

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