Since millennials live most of their lives online, it’s only natural that their sex lives have gone digital as well, and Hill was no exception. One 2015 study found that, like Hill, 82% of adults had sexted in the past year, mostly with their partners in a committed relationship. But all those sexual messages can be easily weaponized by disgruntled exes or abusers: a 2016 study from the journal Data & Society found that 1 in 25 Americans—roughly 10.4 million people—have either had their photos posted without their consent or else had someone threaten to do so. For younger women, that figure rose to 1 in 10.
The weaponization of nudes is a 21st century sex crime, one that state and federal officials have done little to address. Hill’s nudes, including one of her combing her campaign staffer’s hair while naked, were leaked to a conservative blog and to the Daily Mail, which forced Hill to admit to the affair and apologize. But for millennials who are young and single in the age of dating apps, leaked nudes may soon become ubiquitous—and could eventually be considered as scandalous as a past divorce or a failed business: just another part of life. “The only person who seems to have a gripe is @repKatieHill’s soon-to-be ex,” tweeted Rep. Matt Gaetz, a millennial Republican who opposes Hill on most political issues but served with her on the Armed Services Committee. “Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo/text?”