Georgia Harrison: I had no choice but to sue Stephen Bear
March 19, 2023, 10:45 GMT
Updated 20 minutes ago
Watch: Sharing explicit images without consent is a ‘common’ problem
Reality star Georgia Harrison said she felt she had “no choice” but to go to court after explicit images of her were shared without her consent.
Her ex-partner, Stephen Bear, was jailed for 21 months after being convicted of voyeurism and sharing private sex videos online.
The 28-year-old said seeing the images on subscription site OnlyFans was “the last straw” for her.
She told the BBC the process of going to court was difficult but “empowering”.
Ms Harrison – who waived her right to anonymity – brought criminal proceedings against Bear, whom she met on a reality show, in December 2020.
“I just felt like it was the only option. I had been pushed so far, and before I saw the video had gone viral on the internet, several men had already told me that they had shown it to them. “, she said. told the BBC on Sunday with the Laura Kuenssberg show.
“So I think when I saw it was on OnlyFans, that was just the final straw for me.”
Bear was given a restraining order not to contact Ms Harrison, who has appeared on Love Island and The Only Way Is Essex, for five years.
He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register and will be subject to notification obligations for 10 years.
Ms Harrison said she ‘lived in fear’ that Bear would sell more footage he filmed. A six-minute clip was uploaded, but the original video was 20 minutes long.
“I was also very aware that people were watching all of this, which was a lot harder for me to deal with,” she said.
Stephen Bear posed outside Chelmsford Crown Court ahead of sentencing
The incident ‘took away a kind of innocent spark’ from Ms Harrison and made it difficult for her to trust others, she said.
While her case has ‘shocked the British public’, she said incidents like this are in fact ‘such a common thing’ and that she receives messages from at least five women going through a similar situation every day. .
“You just wouldn’t believe how important this is and how many people are affected by it,” she added.
The former Love Island contestant said an amendment to the Online Safety Bill was vital.
Ms Harrison said she ‘enjoys making a difference’ through her work as an activist on this issue and would be interested in getting involved in politics.
When asked if she would like to become the next prime minister, she joked: “We won’t insist.”
Sharing explicit footage without consent – also known as non-consensual pornography or image-based sexual abuse – was made illegal in 2015.
An amendment to the law was created in 2021 which also made it an offense to threaten to disclose private sex images and films.
However, it can be difficult to convict alleged perpetrators, due to the law requiring the intent behind the posting of photos and videos – either to cause distress or embarrassment.
Ms Harrison calls on the government to remove the requirement to prove intent from the law.
“I think if you share explicit images or videos without consent, it’s very obvious that it will cause distress.
“If they were to change it and remove it, I think a lot more victims would have a chance to get justice, like I did,” she said.