I live in Michigan and my ex girlfriend lives in Indiana. She took a picture of me fully nude and we broke up. I guess someone got her phone and now they are posting nude pictures of me to people I know. It's really weird to explain it to everyone I know, but also really frustrating to have this going on. I did not give anyone permission to do this. They have also said they're gonna kill me. What action can I take?

  • Unfortunately at this time "Revenge Porn" is not illegal in Indiana or Michigan. You may be able to pursue them under harassment charges, the best thing to do is probably talk to a lawyer or go to the police. – Ron Beyer Jan 3 '19 at 20:14
  • If you are under 18, and if your ex is distributing nude photos of you, then that could render them a sexual offender under many states laws... – user4210 Jan 3 '19 at 21:58
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    If they've threatened to kill you then you should definitely notify the police of that; even if you don't think they mean it, its a much more serious business than posting the pictures. – Paul Johnson Jan 4 '19 at 12:11
  • Did your ex take the picture of you against your will at the time it was taken? Or did you pose for it? You don't have to answer to specific details, but it will affect advice you should take. The fact that you live in two separate states does raise the matter to a Federal Crime, so the FBI could get involved (this is a good thing... The Feds are usually better at investigative matters than the states AND they tend to be a bit stricter on parole). Threats are not protected speech under the First Amendment and can be prosecuted. – hszmv Jan 4 '19 at 14:54

The situation described could lead to a suit for "Intrusion of solitude" or "invasion of seclusion" one of the torts classed under "Invasion of privacy" The state of Michigan recognizes this tort, and in Tobin v. Mich. Civil Serv. Comm‘n, 331 N.W.2d 184, 189 (Mich. 1982). the Michigan Supreme court said that the elements of this tort are:

(1) the existence of a secret and private subject matter;

(2) a right possessed by plaintiff to keep that subject matter private; and

(3) the obtaining of information about that subject matter by defendant through some method objectionable to the reasonable man.

Some later decisions omit the 3rd element. In Harkey v. Abate, 346 N.W.2d 74 (Mich. Ct. App. 1983) plaintiff proved the existence of a hidden viewing panel in a restroom, but not that anyone had actually observed her, and still won a judgment, the court writing that:

[i]n our opinion, the installation of the hidden viewing devices alone constitutes an interference with that privacy which a reasonable person would find highly offensive..

Such suits are permitted by MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 750.539d. See Fordham Law Review (Vol 83, Issue 6) "No Harm, No Foul? 'Attempted' Invasion of Privacy and the Tort of Intrusion Upon Seclusion"

See also "Divorce Wars and invasion of Privacy" for a discussion of related issues.

A Book on Liability of traspportation Entity for Release of Secure Data notes that Michigan has "long recognized" this tort, quoting Dalley v Dykema Gossett (287 Mich App 269), and quotes Lewis vs LeGrow (258 Mich app 175 that:

It is clear that [the right of privacy] includes keeping sexual relations private.

The described conduct could also lead to a charge of harassment, which can be either criminal or a civil matter.

According to Cyber Civil Rights Michigan makes "revenge porn" a misdemeanor under Sec 145e, added to 1931 PA 328, by SB 508 (2016) which says in part>

Sec. 145e. (1) A person shall not intentionally and with the intent to threaten, coerce, or intimidate disseminate any sexually explicit visual material of another person if all of the following conditions apply:

(a) The other person is not less than 18 years of age.

(b) The other person is identifiable from the sexually explicit visual material itself or information displayed in connection with the sexually explicit visual material. This subdivision does not apply if the identifying information is supplied by a person other than the disseminator.

(c) The person obtains the sexually explicit visual material of the other person under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know or understand that the sexually explicit visual material was to remain private.

(d) The person knows or reasonably should know that the other person did not consent to the dissemination of the sexually explicit visual material.

Indiana apparently does not have a similar law as yet.

One might report this to the police under this Michigan law, or file a civil suit under an invasion of privacy or harassment theory. It would probably be well to consult a lawyer who knows these laws, who can advise on the releative merits of these different courses of actions.

Be aware that filing a lawsuit will make the subject of that suit "newsworthy" and permit others to publicize the matter without penalty, and there is a risk of the Streisand effect coming into play.


Firstly, save everything. All messages on all platforms. Take screenshots where you can.

If they have made threats against your life, report them to the police.

If you are under the age of 18 in the photo, report distribution of child pornography to the police.

You can also contact many social networks and ask them to block the specific image. Refer to the help pages of each site for information on how to do that.

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    If the OP was under 18 then they might get in to trouble for creating the pictures in the first place (although some places have laws that specifically exempt "innocent" sexting by teens). However AIUI if the pictures are merely nude, not emphasising the genitals, then they are unlikely to be considered pornography. – Paul Johnson Jan 4 '19 at 12:13
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    @PaulJohnson: OP writes that "my ex girlfriend took a picture of me", so I don't think they would be responsible. I believe only the person taking the picture infringes a law. – sleske Jan 7 '19 at 8:43

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