Rob Kardashian may have contributed to this growing, disturbing trend by posting nude photos of Blac Chyna. By Gus Turner, pic @Rob_Blachyna on Instagram

Yesterday, reality television star Rob Kardashian shook the entertainment world by posting nude photos of his ex-fianceé, Blac Chyna, on Instagram and Twitter, along with captions alleging that she had cheated on him.

“I never been so disrespected in my life,” he added. “I just bought her 250K of jewelry yesterday. This woman is so disrespectful and I don’t care.”

The posts have since been deleted, and Kardashian’s Instagram account was shut down by the company. However, this story isn’t just a mere example of tabloid gossip; it raises serious questions about the legality of his actions, as it’s now being speculated that he could face charges for revenge porn, an offense that could amount to six months of jail time.

But if you’re having trouble following the ins and outs of this winding saga, here’s some key information you should know about revenge porn.

What is “revenge porn?”

The term refers to a relatively new and disturbing trend of people disseminating naked photos of their ex-partners. In the state of California, where Kardashian resides, an unlawful distribution of images is defined in the following terms: “Existing law provides that any person who photographs or records by any means the image of the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person, under circumstances where the parties agree or understand that the image shall remain private, and the person subsequently distributes the image taken, with the intent to cause serious emotional distress, and the depicted person suffers serious emotional distress, is guilty of disorderly conduct.

Why is revenge porn a problem?

It’s an obvious violation of another human being’s privacy. Plus, taking your exes’ naked photos and sending them to the world is about as low as it gets. However, that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from stooping to that level. In May, the Guardian revealed that Facebook alone hosted over 50,000 potential cases of revenge porn on its site, signaling that this is quickly becoming a go-to outlet for many who find themselves heartbroken and seeking retribution.

However, while the problem is becoming more prevalent, it’s also being met with the proper legislative response. More than half of the states in the U.S. have created laws to specifically discourage any would-be criminals from contributing to the rising number of revenge porn cases.

In South Africa, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery said a new section in the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill will be tabled in Parliament in the near future which criminalises the harmful disclosure of pornography, (ie “revenge porn”). “The proposed amendment aims to criminalise the disclosure of pornography, threats to disclose pornography and disclosure or threats to disclose pornography for the purposes of obtaining any advantage from a person.” Emma Sadlier, a lawyer who specialises in social media law told Cape Talk this would basically mean that if found guilty, you could be arrested or fined.

Does Kardashian’s act violate this law?

It’s possible. On its face, the incident seems to be a textbook example of revenge porn. After all, his motivation for posting the photos was clearly framed by anger and heartache stemming from his tumultuous relationship with Chyna.

“Rob has made the work of a prosecutor or a victim’s attorney quite easy so far as to even post about the very motive behind his outrageous act of posting these private and nude photos of his ex,” Carrie Goldberg, attorney and founder of Internet abuse and sexual consent firm C.A. Goldberg, PLLC, told People.

However, a report by TMZ voices skepticism that Kardashian’s act is in violation, noting that Chyna liked the photos on Instagram before they were deleted. They speculate that this could be read as a tacit endorsement of his decision to share the images.

Still, whether the act was legal or not, there’s no question that it was the wrong choice for Kardashian to make. You don’t need to follow his footsteps, though. Instead, read this guide, and learn the right way to make a clean break.

Originally published on menshealth.com