Man arrested in Yucatán’s 1st revenge porn case

Women’s rights groups in Mexico applauded the passing of the Leyes Olimpia in 2018, but say that the new laws are not being enforced enough. Photo: Courtesy
Women’s rights groups in Mexico applauded the passing of Olimpia’s Law in 2018, but say that the new laws are not being enforced enough. Photo: Courtesy

A man in Mérida was the first person in Yucatán to be arrested after being accused of non-consensual photo sharing, also known as revenge porn.

The warrant falls under Olimpia’s Law, a set of legal reforms designed to combat the sharing of sexual content without the subject’s consent and ban the online promotion of sexist and hateful messages.

“This set of laws seeks to protect our integrity, full stop. It includes all of us, regardless of age, gender, or national origin, it’s all about equality and respect,” said Mexican Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sáchnez Cordero. 

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But until now, Olimpia’s Law had yet to be enforced in Yucatán.

In Yucatán, 28 individuals have come forward to complain about the unlawful distribution of their private images and videos. The cases are under investigation, but none have been heard by a judge.

Yucatán’s cybercrime division estimates that only 2% of cases that would qualify as a “Leyes Olimpia” case are brought to the attention of authorities.

Suspects in Mexico found guilty of revenge porn face up to six years in prison and a 450,000-peso fine.

The measure is named after Olimpia Coral Melo, who became an activist after finding a video online of her and her then-boyfriend having sex when she was 18. She vowed to help outlaw the practice in Mexico, and her efforts succeeded in late 2020. 

In 2013, Coral Melo lived in Huauchinango, a socially conservative and heavily Indigenous area in Puebla. A local newspaper had even published screenshots of the video, showing Coral and the man having sex, and only she was identifiable.

“There was my photo, naked, under a headline in red letters,” Coral Melo told The Associated Press. “I went to bed praying to God I would die.”

At the time, local prosecutors refused to act, despite the threatening and pornographic messages she was flooded with.

“Every ‘like’ (that the video got) was another blow, was like getting stabbed with a knife, as if you were being raped without being penetrated,” she recalled.

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.