Mischa Barton describes 'horrific experience' of being apparent victim of 'revenge porn'

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WATCH Mischa Barton describes 'horrific experience' as apparent victim of revenge porn

Actress Mischa Barton today described the "horrific experience" in recent weeks as an apparent victim of “revenge porn” by someone whom she said she had "loved and trusted."

“The O.C.” star, seated beside her attorney, Lisa Bloom, said she took legal action after learning that a former boyfriend has apparently been shopping around explicit videos and images of her taken without her consent.

"I just want to say I've been through an incredibly hard and trying time," Barton told reporters today at the Woodland Hills, California, law offices of the Bloom Firm.

Reading from a statement, Barton said that after her "absolute fear" was realized, she contacted Bloom "for myself and women everywhere. No woman should have to go through this."

Bloom also spoke, reiterating her comments on ABC News’ "Good Morning America" earlier today, when she said in no uncertain terms that anyone who tries to release the images or videos would be considered an "agent" of the man who is purportedly trying to sell them and, therefore, putting themselves at legal risk.

Bloom added this afternoon that the man was someone Barton had dated briefly in the past year. She did not name him.

Earlier on “Good Morning America, Bloom said, "Mischa believes that there's a man she was seeing some time ago who did these surreptitious recordings and is doing this either for financial gain, or to get back at her. The law absolutely applies and we have a message for anyone who is trafficking in these images of Mischa Barton. We will come after you. We will bring you to justice under the strong California law on both the criminal, and civil side.”

"This is a form of sexual abuse and we will not stand for it."

Bloom first disclosed the allegations Monday in a statement via Facebook.

"It has been reported that naked or sexually explicit images of Ms. Barton are being 'shopped around,'" she wrote. "Ms. Barton does not consent to any disclosure of any such images."

Bloom continued: "There’s a name for this disgusting conduct: revenge pornography. Revenge pornography is a form of sexual assault, and it is also a crime and a civil wrong in California. And we will not stand for it."

So-called revenge porn, or nonconsensual pornography, is considered a crime under California law.

Under the state’s penal code, the law applies when someone “intentionally distributes” explicit images “under circumstances in which the persons agree or understand that the image shall remain private, the person distributing the image knows or should know that distribution of the image will cause serious emotional distress, and the person depicted suffers that distress.”

The law also cites a “person who uses a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera, or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape, film, photograph, or record by electronic means, another, identifiable person who may be in a state of full or partial undress … without the consent or knowledge of that other person.”

But Bloom said the law might not be enough to keep the tapes out of circulation.

This news comes just two months after Barton, 31, said she was hospitalized after she said she was slipped the date rape drug GHB during her own birthday party. “I voluntarily went to get professional help and I was informed by their staff that I had been given GHB," the actress said in a statement to People magazine in January.

Now, Barton is fighting back against whoever is possibly trying to distribute the video footage of her.

"Mischa is brave," Bloom told “Good Morning America” today.” "Mischa has decided that it's time to stand up for her rights and I always think when a woman does that, it's a very healthy and empowering move."

Bloom said her client has "been aware for some time," via rumors, that someone is shopping the tapes around. But she was not aware until recently that porn sites are apparently considering buying the material, Bloom added.

"We can't be sure that people are going to comply with the law and we wanted to send out a strong message to anyone who is considering purchasing or posting these images that she does not consent and that we will come after you," Bloom said.

She stressed that "revenge porn" can have a devastating effect on victims.

"This is very serious," she said. "Women have committed suicide over images like this being posted. We have the right to control our bodies, we have the right to control images of our bodies and anybody who violates those laws can and should be prosecuted.

“I'm very proud to be in California that has a strong law against this."