Georgia Harrison: I was living in fear of more s.e.x footage
Reality TV star Georgia Harrison says she was “living in fear” that more footage from an explicit video shared without her consent would be released. Her ex-partner, Stephen Bear, was jailed for 21 months after being found guilty of voyeurism and sharing private s.e.xual videos online. The 28-year-old said seeing the footage on subscription site OnlyFans was “the final straw” for her.
Ms Harrison said she feared Bear would sell even more footage. He had used CCTV cameras in his garden to capture them having s.e.x and then sent it to a friend and sold the video online – none of which she consented to.
A six-minute clip was posted online but the original video was 20 minutes long. Ms Harrison told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme she was aware some people “were viewing the whole thing” which was “a lot harder” for her to cope with. I was living in fear that he was going to sell more,” she added.
Ms Harrison – who has waived her right to anonymity – started criminal proceedings against Bear, who she met on a reality show, in December 2020. She said the process of going to court was tough but “empowering”.
“I just felt it was the only option. I’d been pushed so far, and before I actually saw the video had gone viral on the internet, I’d had multiple men telling me they had it shown to them,” she said. Bear was given a restraining order to not contact Ms Harrison, who has appeared on Love Island and The Only Way Is Essex, for five years.
He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and will be subject to notification requirements for 10 years. The incident “took away an innocent sort of spark” Ms Harrison had and made it difficult for her to trust others, she said.
While her case has “shocked the British public”, she said incidents like this are actually “such a common thing” and she receives messages from at least five women going through a similar situation every day. Ever since this happened to me I became someone that victims reach out to, and I get at least five women a day – usually victims but sometimes mothers of victims or family members who want advice,” she said.
“You just wouldn’t believe how big this is and how many people are affected by it.” About one in 14 adults in England and Wales have experienced a threat to share intimate images, according to the Ministry of Justice.
Ms Harrison said she has been “enjoying making a difference” through her work as a campaigner on this issue and would be interested in getting involved in politics. Asked whether she would like to become the next prime minister, she joked: “We won’t push it.”
Sharing explicit footage without consent – also known as non-consensual pornography or image-based sexual abuse – was made illegal in 2015. An amendment to the law was created in 2021, which also made threatening to release private s.e.xual images and films an offence.
However it can be difficult to convict suspected perpetrators, due to the law requiring intent behind the release of pictures and videos – either to cause distress or embarrassment. Ms Harrison is calling on the government to remove the requirement to prove intent from the law.
An amendment to this effect was proposed as part of the Online Safety Bill in November. It is currently not known when this bill would become law. I think if you are sharing explicit images or videos without consent – it’s very obvious that it will cause distress.
“If they were to change it and take that out I think a lot more victims would have a chance of getting some justice, like I did,” she said.