Online voyeurs beware: sending unsolicited nude pictures is now a crime in the state of Texas.
Starting on September 1, a new law goes into effect across the state that makes electronic transmission of sexually explicit materials a Class C misdemeanor. As the Texas Tribune reported, that means people who send unwanted nude photos will face a fine of up to $500.
The report noted that the law will be one of the first of its kind and put Texas at the forefront of a troubling trend. A 2017 poll from YouGov found that one-in-four millennial men have sent a lewd photo to a woman, and of that group, about one-in-four did so without being asked or without asking for consent for the receiving party.
As the study found, a majority of millennial women have been at the receiving end of these unwanted snaps.
"Given the prevalence of these provocative snapshots, it tracks that just over half of millennial women (53%) have received one," the study noted. "Specifically, a staggeringly high number of these respondents have been messaged an uninvited graphic image – roughly 3 in 4 millennial women (78%). Actually, more young women responded that they'd received an unwanted [lewd photo] than had received one because they asked for it (69%)."
The new Texas law was signed by Governor Greg Abbott in May, and came in response to complaints from people who were fed up with receiving unwanted photos. One woman quoted by the Texas Tribune said that she re-entered the dating pool and tried meeting men online, but ended up getting an unsolicited nude picture from a man. The woman said she was upset that her children could have gotten the phone first and found the lewd photo.The dating site Bumble, which is headquartered in Austin, had actually proposed the idea and worked with legislators on the new law. Whitney Wolfe Herd, the dating site's CEO, told lawmakers that many men and women were told that receiving these pictures is not a big deal, but that's not the truth.
Republican Morgan Meyer, a Texas state legislator and father-of-three, said he wanted to close a loophole that made indecent exposure a crime, but allowed for people to so the same thing online with no repercussions.
"Quite frankly, the thought of someone doing that to one of my children scared me," Meyer said. "There had to be some sort of deterrent to stop this from happening — and now there is."