A day after announcing her resignation from Congress amid an ethics probe, Rep. Katie Hill said Monday she would become an advocate for victims of unwanted distribution of explicit images, a practice better known as “revenge porn.”

Nude photos of Hill, who is accused of having a relationship with an aide in her office in violation of congressional ethics rules, were published on a conservative website and a British website. The articles also alleged that she previously had a relationship with a campaign staffer.

In a message Monday to supporters, she apologized for her “imperfections” and promised to “fight to ensure that no one else has to live through what I just experienced” in connection with the release of the intimate photos.

“Some people call this electronic assault, digital exploitation. Others call it revenge porn. As a victim of it, I call it one of the worst things we can do to our sisters and our daughters,” Hill said in the video.

She continued: “I will not allow my experience to scare off other young women or girls from running for office. For the sake of all of us we cannot let that happen.”

In her resignation announcement Sunday, Hill said she was considering legal options over the photos and that “as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next and how much it will hurt.”

An ethics committee investigation could have lasted several months, pushing beyond the Dec. 6 filing deadline to run in the California primary on March 3.

A senior Democratic aide said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not ask or demand that Hill resign. However, Pelosi issued a statement Sunday supportive of Hill’s decision to resign. She said Hill “has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a Member untenable. We must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress, and in all workplaces.”

Hill’s resignation, less than a year after flipping her seat from Republican hands in the 2018 midterms, will shake up the House race in her northeastern Los Angeles district.

On Monday, California State Assemblywoman Christy Smith announced she would run for the seat and released an array of endorsements from California Democratic leaders. Secretary of State Alex Padilla is also considering a run, according to a person familiar with internal deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions. Another person who has been floated as a possible contender is George T. Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, the private space company.

Despite the fact that the seat was previously held by a Republican, the district leans Democratic. Democrats expressed confidence they would win the open seat next year in a district that Hillary Clinton won by six percentage points in 2016.

That confidence is largely rooted in shifting demographics in the district, with more diverse and independent voters, said Darry Sragow, longtime Democratic strategist in California who runs the nonpartisan California Target Book.

“A Republican who wants that seat back is clearly going to have to distance himself or herself from the president, assuming that the president is on the ticket in November 2020,” Sragow said. “You can’t say that a Republican . . . would never win, but it would be difficult given the trends and given the unpopularity of not only the president, but basically Republican stances on issues like immigration.”

The controversy surrounding Hill comes at a politically sensitive time for the Democratic leadership, which is trying to remain focused on the impeachment inquiry, Sragow said.

“I think as a practical matter, the Democratic Party and Democratic leadership would be well advised to avoid getting stuck on a debate about something that is inherently intriguing at a time when there’s a much more serious issue to be wrestled with,” Sragow said.

The allegation raised against Hill would have been a major test of new ethics restrictions put in place after the #MeToo movement, prohibiting relationships between members of Congress and their staff.

The restrictions were put into place “with the understanding that there is a huge power dynamic between lawmakers and their staffers, and that can cause all sorts of ethical and moral problems,” said Jessica Levinson, ethics expert at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Additionally, she said, “you really want to be conducting the people’s business as opposed to personal business.”

The case involving Hill is a high-profile example of the threat of online abuse against individuals by weaponizing private images, said Mary Anne Franks, president of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a nonprofit that focuses on fighting online abuse and discrimination.

Hill’s decision to consider pursuing legal action points to the challenges in seeking protection against the unwanted release of intimate photos. There is a patchwork of laws in 46 states that have different requirements as to what constitutes “revenge porn,” Franks said.

Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.