I am becoming increasingly concerned about the mounting evidence that is arriving at my office in relation to rape through porn. It seems, in 2017 London, gang rape of vulnerable victims on amateur adult film sets is far more common than anyone could have ever imagined.
Rape through porn happens when an individual agrees to participate in a pornographic film in circumstances, which give rise to some serious questions about the validity of the consent they gave.
In many instances, the issue of consent comes about as a result of a participant in an adult film, allegedly consenting to be sexually exploited whilst being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
I found it impossible to understand why a woman in her early 20s will be willing to have sex with a group of 10 men, picked up from the street, and then have the film posted on hundreds of pornographic websites in return for a payment of £250 or less.
Under English law, a person who is intoxicated or who is under the influence of drugs is not capable of giving consent to sexual intercourse. Strictly speaking, you cannot give consent to some other forms of personal assault either.
Other common circumstances that might invalidate consent are associated with what I would term as “duress of circumstances”, where the individual allegedly consenting to participate in a particularly degrading scene is doing so under so much pressure whether personal, financial or social, which result in a mistaken belief that they have no choice but to agree to participate in that scene.
In circumstances where an individual was paid a sum of money and/or signed a contract of any sort, the payment or the signing of the contract could in fact evident the lack of consent rather than the grant of it.
An example of this might be an individual who is not a professional actor and who agreed to be paid a small sum of money, (commonly few a hundred pounds or dollars) in return for their participation in a hard-core pornographic film, where the amount paid was totally disproportionate to the actions they were required to perform or to be subject to.Often, they tell me, is no way they would have agreed to take part in that scene now, when they are no longer under pressure to do so.
Another example might be where an individual signed a contract or an agreement or a disclaimer, which state that they were consenting to participate in a pornographic film, but it is clear from the circumstances that they had not been given sufficient time to consider the contract, did not understand the contact, had not sought independent legal advice, where unable to read or write, were under group pressure or pressure by the producer or the film maker or where what they had given up in terms of legal rights, was highly disproportionate to the remuneration they actually received. Evidence of this can be found in buyer’s remorse where very shortly after participating in a sex film, the amateur actor changes his or her mind, but is told that it was no too late.
Whenever consent by an individual to participate in a particular sex scene simply doesn’t make sense, it is likely it was given under questionable circumstances. The usual rules of civil contracts don’t always apply to participation in sex films so a contract might mean absolutely nothing in terms of granting consent. The contract might also be invalid for many other reasons, which I intend to discuss in a separate post.
The type of legal rights, a performer in an amateur adult film is giving away, often go far beyond copyright or other intellectual property rights. They often also give away forever their right to privacy, and their right to not have their personal data used in a degrading manner. Arguably, no one in their right mind would agree to give away so much in return for so little, unless they struggled to think straight at the time, and were unfairly taken advantage of.
In fact, often the issue of consent goes far beyond civil legal rights and straight into the realm of criminal offending. If there are questions regarding consent, then this should give rise to a police investigation and to potential criminal charges of rape, indecent assault and other related offences including conspiracy to commit a variety of criminal offences involving interference with one’s physical being.
All parties involved and present during filming could face criminal charges, including individuals who participate in sexual activities whilst knowing or having reasons to suspect that the person they were indecently touching or penetrating was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
From the growing number of inquiries of this nature this law firm has recently received, it is starting to become clear that there is a huge problem here involving vulnerable victims who had been sexually exploited and who are too afraid and too embarrassed to revisit a dark period in their lives, which they are desperate to put behind. There seem to be zero policing activity and very little awareness of the issue in this country.
If you have been sexually exploited on a film set, please get in touch with us.