Legislation has been introduced that may make it illegal to send unwanted "sexually explicit visual material."
State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) introduced House Bill 2789 Feb. 28, which would make sending unsolicited photos, containing nudes or sexual acts, through text messages, apps and online platforms, a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.
"Time and time again we hear stories of this sort of harassment, and it's time for a solution," Meyer said. "Sending a lewd photo to someone that has not requested it or someone you don't know is no different than exposing yourself to a stranger in public or performing other lewd acts. This is becoming a bigger issue among our teenagers and young adults, and while it seems less egregious since done over text or email, we must establish that this is not acceptable by making it a punishable offense."
Meyer worked with Bumble, a Texas-based relationship app, to highlight the growing issue of unwelcomed sexual communication through text messages, social media and dating apps.
"A considerable amount of our lifetime is spent online – especially young adults – yet the digital world has fallen short in protecting us there," said Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd. "What is illegal in the real world must be illegal in the digital world, and this legislation is a first step in the right direction in adding that accountability."
If passed, the new law would take effect Sept. 1, 2019.