Does Kansas Have Cyberflashing Laws?   

In the Digital Age, it has become more difficult to prevent criminal sexual activity that is perpetrated through electronic means. Thanks to modern technology, it is possible to send anyone – including strangers – unsolicited sexually explicit content. An emerging trend in this criminal sector is “cyberflashing”: the act of sending someone unsolicited nude photos or obscene images.

What Is Cyberflashing?

Cyberflashing refers to receiving unsolicited sexually explicit images or videos electronically. It can refer to any type of obscene content being sent through electronic means, including email, text message, instant messenger, file-sharing application, chatroom and social media. The most common form of cyberflashing is a perpetrator sending images of his or her naked body, especially the sex organs, to someone who has not asked them to do so. Other examples include:

  • Fraudulent or spam links to obscene content or pornography
  • Pornographic images concealed in an attachment
  • Explicit images or videos airdropped to a device
  • Receiving indecent photos on the job
  • Obscene content sent to random phone numbers

If an individual receives unsolicited or unwanted photos of someone else’s private parts or genitalia, he or she can suffer emotional distress and psychological harm. This is especially true of child victims of cyberflashing. Women and girls are the most commonly targeted victims of cyberflashing – namely, with “dick pics.” This issue became especially prevalent during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to the dating app Bumble.

Is Cyberflashing Illegal in Kansas?

Currently, Kansas does not have any laws against cyberflashing. However, it does prohibit other sex crimes, such as sending unsolicited “sext” messages, breaching a victim’s privacy, sexual harassment at work, indecent liberties with a child, promoting obscenity to minors, child pornography, revenge porn, cyberbullying, and sexual abuse and assault. Many examples of digital sex crimes are prohibited under various Kansas statutes, meaning perpetrators can be held criminally and civilly accountable for violations.

Kansas may soon be next on the growing list of states that are taking legislative action specifically against cyberflashing. In Texas and Virginia, cyberflashing has been declared a crime. In 2019, Texas passed a law against cyberflashing that classified it as a class C misdemeanor, with a fine of $500. Virginia followed suit with a bill penalizing unsolicited sexually explicit pictures. In California, the proposed FLASH (Forbid Lewd Activity and Sexual Harassment) Act would permit victims who receive unsolicited and obscene material electronically to seek up to $30,000 in civil damages from the sender.

How to Prevent Cyberflashing

If you are on social media or dating apps, turn your profile settings to private to restrict who can see your profile, message you and where these messages go. Do not accept social media requests from strangers or give your contact information to people you don’t know. While in a public place or the workplace, turn the WiFi and Bluetooth off on your devices to prevent unsolicited images from being airdropped to you. If you receive any obscene unsolicited images, report the person or user right away.

What to Do if You Have Been Cyberflashed in Kansas

If you are a victim of cyberflashing, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the offender. While this specific act is not yet against the law in Kansas, it does constitute a form of sexual harassment under state law. You may be able to go up against the sender of the unsolicited explicit image in a civil lawsuit in Kansas.

Protect yourself by filing a report or complaint against the person who sent you the content. This can include reporting it to law enforcement, your school, your employer or another authority. Keep evidence connected to the incident, such as screenshots of digital transmissions, to build a claim against the perpetrator. Then, contact an attorney at DRZ Law to discuss a potential sexual harassment claim. We offer free and confidential case consultations.

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