If you're looking for a rare bright spot in an absolute sea of darkness, you could do worse than the story of Serena Fleites. Fleites' private pornographic videos of herself when she was still a minor were shared to X-rated tube giant Pornhub without her consent and the experience nearly ruined her life. However, a recent New York Times profile on Fleites (and Pornhub's larger problem with policing child porn and sexual assault on its platform) have led to a fundraiser that's helping to turn her life around. A GoFundMe has raised nearly $50,000 to help the 19-year-old. 

According to journalist Nicholas Kristof, who wrote the piece, Fleites has used some of the money raised to check herself into a long-term motel. Fleites was living in her car at the tail end of a spiral that started when videos she sent to a classmate at 14 were uploaded to Pornhub. After switching schools, several suicide attempts and bouts of addiction to meth and opioids, Fleites ended up homeless in Bakersfield, California. 

“It was one small thing that a teenager does, and it’s crazy how it turns into something so much bigger," she told the Times. “A whole life can be changed because of one little mistake.”

The story encouraged an outpouring of support and Kristof shared a photo of Fleites in her new home to his Instagram.  

 

"I’m thrilled to report that, thanks to readers, Serena Fleites, the young woman in my Pornhub piece, is no longer homeless! She just moved into this long-stay hotel with her pups, and sent me this selfie with permission to post it," he wrote. "The room is financed by a GoFundMe that readers set up for Serena." 

In addition to the money, readers reportedly offered Serena work and other offers for housing, hoping to help the young woman right herself after forces outside her control popularized and spread her private videos. 

After the NYT report, Pornhub announced new policies with the goal of keeping such videos of the site. According to The Verge, unidentified users will no longer be able to upload videos to the platform. Users will also no longer be allowed to download videos beyond "paid downloads triggered through the company’s verified system."

Also, a screening group called the “Red Team,” will focus on “proactively sweeping content already uploaded for potential violations and identifying any breakdowns in the moderation process.”