Supporting the Protect Act Ensures Justice for Victims of Image-Based Sexual Abuse

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How Uldouz Wallace is Fighting to Ensure Survivors of Revenge Porn Get Justice

How Uldouz Wallace is Fighting to Ensure Survivors of Revenge Porn Get Justice

Feb 8, 2023

In 2014, a then-unknown user – OriginalGuy – hacked over 250 iCloud accounts belonging to celebrities and other high-profile individuals. The hacker obtained the personal photographs from digital devices belonging to the victims and posted them on sites such as 4Chan and Reddit. Over 400 intimate photos, many displaying the victims nude, were instantly spread across the internet.

Supporting the Protect Act Ensures Justice for Victims of Image-Based Sexual Abuse

Some of the celebrities victimized by the hack included:

  • Ariana Grande
  • Aubrey Plaza
  • Bar Rafaeli
  • Kaley Cuoco
  • Kate Upton
  • Kirsten Dunst
  • Jennifer Lawrence

Shortly after the hack, actor Jennifer Lawrence expressed outrage and frustration in an interview with Vanity Fair.

“It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime,” Lawrence said. “It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.”

One of the survivors who was victimized in the 2014 iCloud hack and is working to change the laws is Uldouz Wallace. Dordulian Law Group spoke with Uldouz about the bill she’s created – The Protect Act – and how it can help change the laws to better protect everyone from image-based sexual abuse.

What is Image-Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA)?

What is Image-Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA)?
Image-based sexual abuse (also known as ‘revenge porn’) refers to the act of sharing sexually explicit images or videos of an individual without that person’s consent for purposes of exploitation. In the images, the survivor (or victim) is typically nude and/or engaged in a sexual act.

IBSA can include creating, threatening to share, sharing, or using recordings (still images or videos) of sexually explicit or sexualized materials without the consent of the person depicted. And it’s important to note that IBSA can take place with images and videos captured through any number of scenarios, including:

  • Hidden cameras
  • Deepfakes/editing
  • AI (artificial intelligence)
  • Hacking/leaking
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Rape
  • Sex trafficking
  • Catfishing
  • Sextortion
  • Prostitution

According to, the nonconsensual images or videos can be posted and spread across any number of platforms:

  • Specialized ‘revenge porn’ websites
  • Social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc.)
  • Via email, text, or messaging services
  • Shared with specific individuals (such as the victim’s family or employers)

Furthermore, as notes, these images may also be shared offline, and sharing/spreading images or videos that have been photoshopped or otherwise altered in any way (commonly known as deepfakes) is now one of the most prevalent forms of image-based sexual abuse.

How Uldouz Wallace is Working to End Image-Based Sexual Abuse

Survivors of image-based sexual abuse can be victimized by complete strangers, as was the case for many of the celebrities in the 2014 iCloud hack. But the leaking of nude photos or videos also commonly occurs after relationships end – a practice known as revenge porn.

For Uldouz, her ex-boyfriend took some pictures and a video of her without her consent. When she broke up with him, he threatened to leak the intimate images and video (although Uldouz called his bluff and the man wasn’t actually the one who actually released the content). Instead, a hacker who was stalking Uldouz and a number of other women auctioned off the pictures on the dark web and they were later leaked on various platforms.

“When I first found out about the leak, my heart dropped and I ended up isolating myself for years. I lost everything – friends, family, relationships, work, opportunities, money, followers, reputation, character – the list goes on and on. What looked like a promising future and career turned into trauma and abuse overnight,” Uldouz said.

After several years of struggle, Uldouz decided not to remain silent. She took action and, virtually singlehandedly, went on a mission to help prevent image-based sexual abuse from harming others.

“The experience made me realize that there are no laws against this type of crime on the Internet. I decided that I want to change the law and set better laws to protect future generations. The laws need to be updated to match new technology,” Uldouz said.

“We need to focus on being proactive instead of reactive when it comes to image-based sex abuse. Otherwise, we’re always 10 steps behind the criminals,” Uldouz added.

But changing laws in an ever-evolving space like the internet is a tall order even for elected officials. Without any roadmap or playbook for how to effect chance, Uldouz began contacting senators, congresspeople, and other lawmakers to tell her story and encourage them to get behind new legislation to protect everyone from image-based sexual abuse.

She testified on Capitol Hill and began working with lawmakers and other survivors of image-based sexual abuse to create The Protect Act. Additionally, Uldouz recently became an advisor for the White House Task Force. She met with federal officials in January to discuss implementing laws that will not only protect online users but also hold platforms accountable.

“I became an adviser for the White House Task Force, and in working together I’m giving them my recommendations for how we can create better laws to protect everyone – but particularly children and teenage girls who are predominantly impacted,” Uldouz said.

The White House Task Force focuses on online harassment and abuse and has expressed concern about the issue of IBSA. Uldouz shared her personal story along with other survivors, and together with the White House Task Force, they are taking steps to better protect users.

During the meeting, topics of focus included how to better train law enforcement to handle image-based sexual abuse crimes and also how to ensure that online platforms take steps to verify age consent of anyone who is uploading content and whose image is being used anywhere on the internet.

What is The Protect Act?

As Uldouz notes, while the issue of image-based sexual abuse is more widespread than ever – with intimate pictures and videos circulating across the internet on pornography websites, social media platforms, search engines, etc. – a cruel irony exists in that there are currently no federal laws in place to verify the age or consent of the victims depicted within the content.

By taking two critical steps – verifying the age of the person in the image or video and confirming that the individual gave consent for its use – image-based sexual abuse could be significantly reduced. And, as Uldouz told us, the technology for ensuring that this level of security is applied across all platforms already exists.

“It’s really a massive gap in the law, and one that must be and can be immediately rectified. These platforms currently have the technology that is required to erase nonconsensual content, but they simply don’t want to implement it,” Uldouz said.

Every platform has technology like the fingerprint stamp system, which scans a video or image ahead of time and won’t allow a user to upload nonconsensual content. The Protect Act will require platforms to use this technology by law. This way, if something is every being shared non-consensually, you can request this technology so that the specific material in question won’t be uploaded again. They’re currently using this technology for movies and music, but not for children, women, and men who are being exploited.”

And as Uldouz told us, the fact that platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok do not use age and consent verification security is telling.

“It just kind of shows you what these companies prioritize, and it’s basically all about money. If this level of security is being used when purchasing movies and music,  it should absolutely be required by law across all platforms – age verification and consent is what stops illicit content from getting out in the first place, and the fingerprint stamp provides a remedy if this content is already released,” Uldouz said.

What Does The Protect Act Do?

The Protect Act essentially fills a void within existing law which allows pornography or intimate images to be created, uploaded, and distributed online without the consent of persons depicted in the material. As a result, image-based sexual abuse has allowed for the victimization of countless women and men whose options are extremely limited under present law.

Some of the measures within the bill include:

  • Robust requirements for websites to quickly remove content and prevent the re-uploading of content (once they are notified the content was created or distributed without consent)
  • Adding criminal penalties for those who knowingly upload sexually explicit content without the consent of those depicted
  • Clearly conveying a zero tolerance policy toward image-based sexual abuse stipulating that such activity is wrong, harmful, and will be prosecuted
  • Empowering IBSA victims to hold both the uploaders and the platforms that profit from their abuse accountable through civil remedies, including lawsuits for damages

How Can You Support the Protect Act?

The Protect Act has received bipartisan support, and while Uldouz told us that she fully expects the bill to pass, the public’s continued support and assistance in spreading awareness is critical.

“I would like to encourage everyone to sign this petition, because this is a problem that affects everyone. Even if you think you couldn’t ever be impacted because you didn’t take intimate pictures, deepfakes and AI make everyone vulnerable. In my case, I never actually took a video of myself, it was my ex-boyfriend. But images and videos are never one hundred percent secure, and whether it’s a hack, editing, deeepfakes, etc., virtually anyone can become a victim of image-based sexual abuse or revenge porn,” Uldouz said.

To help ensure that The Protect Act is passed, please go to and sign the petition.

To read the full text of The Protect Act, please click here.

As Uldouz told us, increased social media use by children and teens is one of countless factors that should cause people to take the issue of image-based sexual abuse seriously.

“This whole generation of children, they’re constantly seeking attention from social media. And many young people are very isolated as a result. And when kids are lonely and isolated and want attention, it’s the perfect opportunity for an online predator pretending to be someone that’s around their age to strike. And before you know it, that predator might be talking to your kids and sending them pictures or videos,” Uldouz said.

Additionally, you can help support Uldouz’s work and ensure the passage of The Protect Act by contacting your local state senator and encouraging him or her to vote yes on the bill.

In addition to creating The Protect Act and lobbying elected officials to take much-needed action, Uldouz founded a nonprofit organization – Protect America’s Daughters. Uldouz’s organization – also known as Foundation Ra – supports children, women, and men who are victims of online image-based sexual abuse and works relentlessly to protect and prevent potential new victims.

To make a tax-deductible donation to Protect America’s Daughters, please click here.

Are You a Victim of Image-Based Sexual Abuse or Revenge Porn?

Uldouz Wallace made the courageous decision to tell her story publicly. In fact, in November 2022, she appeared on the Dr. Phil Show with Dordulian Law Group’s founder, Sam Dordulian, to discuss the subject of revenge porn.

During the Dr. Phil Show, Uldouz and Dordulian described how survivors are impacted by image-based sexual abuse and what their options are under the law.

In California, laws were recently passed giving survivors of revenge porn an option to file civil lawsuits for damages. In fact, California was the first state to outlaw revenge porn in 2013. State law says it is illegal to:

“…distribute the images wherein the victim is identifiable, with the intent to cause serious emotional harm or distress to the victim, thus causing the victim to actually suffer such distress.”

In other words, if someone distributes intimate images or videos of you and it causes you harm, the act of releasing that material is illegal and you may be able to file a civil lawsuit with Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) revenge porn lawyers to recover damages.

It’s important for survivors of revenge porn and image-based sexual abuse to remember that consent is always required at two stages:

  • When the image or video is taken
  • When the image or video is shared with any third party

In many cases, the first level of consent is missing – meaning that the images or videos were never obtained with permission. Victims of image-based sexual abuse are often unaware that any photo or video was ever taken. Moreover, survivors can be coerced into sharing images/videos, or the perpetrator may have simply stolen or hacked the material. In another common scenario, an image might be initially shared freely in the context of an intimate relationship, but when the relationship ends, the content is then shared with others without the victim’s consent.

If you’re the victim of image-based sexual abuse or revenge porn, reach out to a member of DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM for a free and confidential consultation.

Our experienced and proven Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys will fight aggressively to ensure that your rights are protected and the perpetrator who shared your intimate images without your consent is held liable for any applicable damages, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Psychological harm
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced future earning capacity
  • Reduced quality of life

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian a former sex crimes prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council. Dordulian and his team of Los Angeles, California, sexual assault attorneys have helped survivors secure countless multi-million dollar sex crime settlements. Contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM to discuss your image-based sexual assault lawsuit.

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