Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

House Passes Rep. McSally’s Bill to Criminalize Non-Consensual Pornography

May 24, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The House of Representatives today passed U.S. Representative Martha McSally’s legislation to crack down on nonconsensual pornography in the military. H.R. 2052, the Protecting the Rights of IndiViduals Against Technological Exploitation, or PRIVATE, Act will define when private photo sharing is a military criminal act—which is not clear in current law. The measure—introduced just last month, has broad bipartisan support with over a hundred cosponsors and passed on a vote of 418-0.

“As the only female Republican veteran in the House of Representatives— the first woman in the U.S. to fly in combat and to lead a squadron—I  have personally experienced, confronted, and overcome sexist behavior in the military. Our service members should not have to watch their backs among the individuals who are supposed to be their teammates,” said Rep. McSally. “The military needs to clean this up. By strengthening and modernizing the UCMJ, this bill enables the military to hold perpetrators accountable, and I am thankful the House has joined me in taking such swift action.”

“As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I find it abhorrent that some service members are willing to compromise unit cohesiveness by sharing non-consensual explicit photographs of fellow service members. The PRIVATE Act seeks increased protection for members who are victimized by other service members. I strongly support this bill and thank Rep. McSally for her work on this important issue. Together, we must continue to work to prevent these deplorable acts from occurring in the future," said Rep. Mike Coffman, chair of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel of the House Armed Services Committee.


On Saturday, March 4th it was discovered that individuals linked with the private Facebook group “Marines United” were posting nude, intimate photos of women as well as personal information, such as their names and duty stations, without their consent or knowledge. Less than one week later it was discovered that this was not an isolated activity— sharing intimate photos without consent is a problem that pervades all branches of the military. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation is still ongoing.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)  has two broad articles to address unprofessional conduct. The PRIVATE Act would strengthen the UCMJ by defining when non-consensual sharing of private, intimate media is a crime by clarifying the intent. This will allow commanders greater flexibility to prosecute members of the military who participate in this shameful act, as well as protect whistleblowers who tip off media or law enforcement.

View the legislative text of the bill HERE.

View the Hill’s coverage of the PRIVATE Act HERE.