By Nicole Brewer
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The photos are intimate moments but they are exposed to the world without a woman’s consent.
“I wanted to throw up,” says Sarah, who is only using her first name.
The 20-year-old woman says photos that were intended for her boyfriend’s eyes-only were posted on a website.
“I couldn’t even understand how something like that could become public,” she said.
Sarah thinks it may have happened when she transferred her pictures to an online photo account.
“I was disgusted,” says another woman who doesn’t want her name to be used.
Her pictures also were never intended to go public.
“No, they were sent to my boyfriend,” she said.
She’s not sure, but she thinks they may have been left on a cell phone she sold.
For many, it’s a case of what’s called ‘revenge porn’.
It happens when someone sends photos or videos to a pornographic website as a way to shame women and sometimes even men.
Even worse,names, phone numbers, workplaces and Facebook pages are often published.
There are a number of these websites.
We’re not naming any of them, so as not to bring further harm to the victims.
And they’re everywhere.
We found images of women in our area, from Chadds Ford to Villanova, Pennsylvania to Browns Mills, New Jersey on the site.
“I was pretty sick to my stomach and I didn’t really know how to react,” said a Philadelphia woman who does not want to be identified.
She thinks a former co-worker sent her pictures to a site.
Now, strangers contact her.
“I kept getting these texts at like 2AM and 3AM and it was just crazy,” she said.
But Craig Brittain, who runs this website, makes no apologies.
“I would suggest they took the pictures, they wanted people to see them,” said Brittain. “We dont want these people to hurt, we just want entertainment, we want the money.”
The site refers anyone who wants their pictures taken down to a service that will take care of it for $250.
Brittain believes sites like his are protected by the Federal Communications Decency Act, which exempts website operators from liability for content submitted by other people.
It’s not clear whether that’s true.
But some people are taking action.
“I thought that was outrageous,” says Holly Toups.
Toups part of a class-action lawsuit against one of the other sites which posted pictures she once sent to an ex-boyfriend.
“I think I stopped breathing for a while,” she said. “It was humiliating to say the least, I didn’t want to go anywhere.”
“It’s one of those things, you think, it’s never going to happen to me but it does,” said Sarah. “And it’s happened to a lot of people out there.”
And it will continue to happen until the law catches up with the technology.