Reclaim provides legal information and free legal advice and representation to people in Ontario, Canada, who have had intimate or sensitive images shared or published without their consent.
Reclaim is a collaboration between the University of Windsor Faculty of Law and Spark LLP.
About the Non-Consensual Sharing of Intimate Images
Almost everyone carries a camera around these days. Taking photographs—our food, our kids, our pets, and ourselves are most frequently the subjects—is a prominent feature of everyday life. Social media and instant messaging apps make sharing these photographs easy, and when that sharing is consensual, everything works just fine.
Sometimes, we choose to share intimate images (selfies or otherwise) with those we trust. Such photographs are shared consensually at first, usually strictly within the special relationship of trust that exists between intimate partners. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.
What is wrong is when someone chooses to violate that trust. When these images are shared or distributed in violation of the terms of the limited consent under which they were originally given, the result can be extreme embarrassment, humiliation, and social ostracization, resulting in serious emotional and mental harm.
Women are overwhelmingly the majority of the victims of this non-consensual sharing of intimate images. And just as with other conduct which violates consent, victim-blaming often takes focus away from the true wrongdoers: the ones who are violating the trust and the limits of the consent that was originally given.
In Ontario, the law allowing someone to sue a person who has distributed an intimate image without consent is still developing. Some other provinces have passed legislation to create a legal right to sue, the law in Ontario is still developing through judges’ decisions. So while things are a bit complicated, we can help. Check out our information pieces or book a consultation to see if the Reclaim Pro Bono Project can help you.