All posts by Folami Prehaye

My Lonely Walk As a Survivor of Revenge Porn

For those following my journey, I feel that at times I need to tell you how I feel.

LonleyThis has been a very lonely journey and at times I feel frustrated, disappointed but really not surprised to be honest. I have been helping other victims since becoming a victim of Revenge Porn in 2014, which is over a year ago and long before the Revenge Porn Helpline or the new Revenge Porn Law came into fruition.

Its alarming how those who claim to be fighting the same cause, ‘raising awareness of revenge porn’; ‘those who provide support & advice to victims of revenge porn’ deem to do so alone. I have tried to reach out to victims who speak out publicly (by the way there aren’t many) and other agencies to work in partnership against this heinous, sole destroying and destructive crime.  To date this proves to be a battle – just like battling my fears when I was a victim of revenge porn.

Now a survivor I feel that I have made my stance clear!

I do this because I care, because I’m passionate and no longer want to be a victim but to take control of my life. I do this because I want others to see that even though life can be painful and people are cruel, vindictive and hurtful. You can rebuild your life.

Continue reading My Lonely Walk As a Survivor of Revenge Porn

You cannot empower others without your power!

‘It is important to understand that my journey was and still is very very painful’ 

shameThis is apparent if you watched me when I first appeared on This Morning, you could see the pain in my eyes, you could feel the pain in my words. Yesterday again I appeared on TV, The Lorraine Kelly Morning Show, this time a year later.

I didn’t want to come across like a victim because that I am not, I am a survivor! It’s important for those that watched/listened to me and may have thought:

Ahhh! But she looks well, she has got over the ordeal rather quickly, look how confident she is, she doesn’t sound or look like a victim!

Let me just say for me to be able to help another I feel you need to have dealt with your pain, your torture, your anxieties and your shame, otherwise you are helpless to another and will only add your burdens to theirs. This is not empowering.

I am still healing, although I have very much taken back my power,  I hold my head high and walk strong.

I still feel pain, hurt and mistrust!

Talking on The Lorraine Kelly Show yesterday opened up the pain I had hidden away, the pain I thought I had dealt with. I woke up this morning feeling very very low, emotionally fragile and started to cry. I know in time it will pass and I will find that kind heart that beats in time with mine. I cry  and laugh to help me heal but I laugh more.

I wanted to show those who cannot speak up or who are afraid and still ashamed that life goes on. You cannot stay a victim forever, this I know is very hard and does take time, probably a very long time. I have connected with people that have wanted to ‘take their life’ and end the pain of public shame – I haven’t personally had those thoughts but empathise with those who do.

This is not an easy journey, its painful and at times very very unbearable for many. 

Becoming a survivor means the perpetrator hasn’t beaten you, you have taken back control and continue to live your life and I’m all for surviving as we only have one life and god knows it’s short enough! #revengeporn

Revenge Porn – My Journey 1 Year On Lorraine Kelly ITV

Lorraine Kelly & Me

What an amazing journey this last year has been! Monday 23 November 2015,  I was invited to talk on the Lorraine Kelly Morning Show at ITV Studios.

 

Watch my discussion with Lorraine Kelly by clicking the link below:

http://www.itv.com/lorraine/hot-topics/i-was-a-victim-of-revenge-porn

This has always been and will continue to be about keeping the topic of revenge porn alive. Sharing my experience and sharing how to take your power and control back after having your personal photos shared with the whole world. The connection I had with Lorraine was warm and caring, she understood, she empathised and paid attention to every word I said.

I am no longer a victim of revenge porn but a survivor, a strong woman that has taken back control of her life, I walk with my head high as I know that I did nothing wrong! I was the victim in all of this and I never consented to allowing my intimate photos to be shared outside of my ‘then’ relationship. Hatred and anger has left my heart and I now embrace the journey that has been given to me. My path has opened doors and enabled me to connect with people all over the world.

It makes me so happy to be able to connect with people who are still victims and to be able to support them emotionally through their journey, its a honour.  I will continue to speak up and speak out about Revenge Porn until such time that victims feel strong enough to walk by my side and speak in unison.

If you have been affected by Revenge Porn and don’t know who to turn to for emotional support please contact me. I will listen without judging you, I will show compassion because its so close to my heart and I have been there. I understand and  know the journey you are on. Reach out to me and together we can make a difference. Take back your power and regain the strength to move on in your life and share the burden. Follow me on twitter @voic_tweets and Instagram victims_of_internet_crime. I am also on facebook and email: info@voic.org.uk, so there are many ways you can reach out and connect with me.

 

Revenge Porn – The Independent on Sunday

The new revenge porn changes in Law! Will it make a difference? Will it change the lives of the victim but now you have to have proof that the intent was there and evidence to back it up. I have had a few victims tell me that they have got evidence and even a confession and the police are not taking up her case!

Does this mean that the buck stops with the Police as to whether they take on a case or not. Will these types of interventions encourage victims to come forward? It seems that the Police need hands on training and guidance as different forces deal with their caseloads on revenge porn in different ways. Should their not be common focused approaches to this crime? Read my opinion in the Independent on Sunday:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/revenge-porn-law-will-not-help-victims-say-campaigners-10187326.html

 

My Journey of Enlightenment

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Imagine a ship that travels from port to port, picking up passengers from near and afar. We mingled together and had many a good times, laughter was had but also sad times.

There were ups and downs on this ship but friendship kept our spirits high. The years past and the ship no longer visited the ports but drifted into the ocean and lost it’s direction but friendships kept our spirits high. We laughed and joked and kept the momentum going.

The waves became rockier and the wind would howl against the mast of the ship. Suddenly I felt the water beneath me, it was waist high….was I drowning? No I was swimming and friendships kept my spirits high.

The water was deep as I swam and swam with no clear direction. I could see the shore ahead, the sand was golden and the waves calm as the water ebbed and flowed but as I swam the sharks attacked hungry for a weak and helpless catch but I swam towards the shore, I kept thought of the friendships that kept my spirits high and fought off the sharks with this in mind.

Finally I reached the shore, I took a deep sigh and a very deep breadth it was at this point I realised that the friendships that had kept my spirits high was the reason I was alive.

Revenge Porn Now A Criminal Offence

Revenge Porn is now a criminal offence in England and Wales. Although the law has recognised the effects Revenge Porn can have on it’s victim, is it really enough of a deterrent!

Perpetrators can now receive up to 2 years imprisonment  but victims need to show evidential proof that they have indeed been a victim of such a vindictive crime, putting the victim in a position of fear. So what happens if you can’t prove without reasonable doubt that you have had intimate photos or videos of yourself shared for the whole world to see? Well let’s watch and wait as the time passes and more and more victims stand up and speak out. Let’s see if the change in law really makes a difference.

I made it clear when asked on a recent interview with Channel 5 News if I felt the change in law would make a difference. Listen to what I had to say https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5obq2sOMdl4

 

 

Round Table Discussion Sexual Harassment & Violence Against Women in the City – Bristol Cable

logo-white-trans-nosubheading2Earlier in the year I was invited by The Bristol Cable a new independent local newspaper to give my views with other women about Sexual Harassment and Violence against Women in Bristol. I went with an open mind but mainly from the perspective of recently being a victim of revenge porn. It was a hard to topic to discuss, mainly because its such a wide subject with different strands and some of the questions asked of us I feel needed wider input and maybe another discussion should take place on a wider scale.

I did however meet some really interesting women who in their own right are doing incredible things within the community. The discussion was put onto a podcast which was uploaded to Bristol Cable’s website, have a listen:-

http://thebristolcable.org/2015/02/round-table-discussion-sexual-harassment-and-violence-against-women-in-the-city/

 

Victim of Revenge Porn – A Life Ruined – Anonymous

A Life ruinedAs a male victim of revenge porn, I felt totally shattered as my life has been completely torn apart. What has made this most hurtful is that this was done by a close family member, someone I trusted and someone who visited me during weekends, Christmas and holidays.

My story begins in 2011, when I decided to open a business and my sister’s partner had agreed to look after me initially as an accountant for the business. For a variety of reasons, the business didn’t really take off. In December 2011, my brother in law came round as usual during Christmas and began making fun of my weight, mentioning I should lose weight and that I looked a mess. There was also something very odd about his behaviour, he was staring at me in such a strange sarcastic way. At this time I didn’t pay much notice. However around March 2012, I noticed my family were withdrawn, very anxious and not including me in their conversations. I felt surprised by the sudden change in their behaviour. I felt suspicious, but also concerned.

Then the reality hit me; someone had distributed something about me. My memory flashed back to the day I had met this women. I didn’t realise, could it really be?

I started to think to myself, could it be that sexually explicit media has been publicly shared online without my consent of it being shared. Then the shocking scenario unfolded.

I spoke to my mother, it became clear, that indeed I was betrayed,  I was taped, then the shock was too much to take. I soon learnt that my sister’s partner had shared this with almost everyone in the community, where my family go for religious prayers as part of their worship. Continue reading Victim of Revenge Porn – A Life Ruined – Anonymous

Im a victim of Revenge Porn and I’m Gay – Anonymous

Gay CommunityI am a gay man living in London, I had been in an on and off volatile relationship for over 5  years and recently noticed odd goings on with my boyfriend when I spent time with him at his flat. The oddness would revolve around him messing around with his computer each time I was there but i didnt think much of it!

This happened when we was intimate or on ocassions when I was by myself. I started getting the feeling that I was being watched and each time I was at his flat I had a ‘hunch’ because he was always fooling around with his pc. I asked him if he had been recording me; he said ‘he had not’ but I was sure he had. There was also strange occurances of people coming and going in the flat below and at early hours each time I was at my boyfriends flat.

About a month ago, my then boyfriend admitted that he had been filming me but denied any involvment in the filming although it was via his pc and claimed it had been remotely accessed.

He didnt even say sorry but said that ‘ i shouldnt be so popular’.

I feel really terrible and hurt by what has happened to me. I reported it to the police whom I do not think will do anything due to lack of evidence, even though he has admitted to doing it.

I feel cheated and I have no idea how many men have seen it.

This is something that seems to be going on now in the gay community. I told one of my friends about what had happened to me and he was in shock because one of his other friends, also gay had suffered an almost identical experience and under the same circumstances. The man who did this to me tricked me to come over to his flat and was playing me and pretending he was still into me but this I now know was only to get me on film to be exposed to other gay men in South London. I am pretty sure he was given money and or drugs to do this to me and all for his own personal gain. For all I know he could be doing this to others. Continue reading Im a victim of Revenge Porn and I’m Gay – Anonymous

Ministry of Justice Live Webchat – Subject Revenge Porn

Ministry-of-Justice-UKI was in invited by the Ministry of Justice to take part in a live online Q&A Webchat with ACC Gary Shewan, National Police lead for Restorative Justice as well as Stalking and Harassment for Greater Manchester Police and Laura Higgins, Overseer of UK Safer Internet Centre and the newly set up Revenge Porn Helpline.

It was really interesting and rewarding to be involved in this; I was really gratgeful for the opportunity to be able to give answers to questions from the public in regards to Revenge Porn. Changing/challenging public perceptions is not an easy task but at least the MOJ gave it a go. The invitation to attend their offices came as a surprise but at the time there wasnt many victims that had publicly shared their story. Now however there are more victims speaking out about this new technology crime and I am really glad that people are starting to listen and pay attention.

I arrived early enough to be set up online at the MOJ HQ in London; the other participants took part within their own cities. It was nice to be treated with kindness and empathy as I spoke to staff about my experience and what I had done by setting up a website. I had shared the event via my twitter @voic_tweets and also through my voic facebook page; it was an experience that helped those who have been victims and didnt know what to do and also a public perception challenge. There were questions directed at me from a victims perspective and I answered from that point.

OyinkansolaI Onile-Ere, Senior Campaigns Advisor, External Communications, Communication and Information Directorate at the Ministry of Justice emailed me the following results of the live wechat:-

23 questions/comments were asked, there were 186 live page views and 60 replay page views (those reading the transcript of the webchatsince it finished).

Take a look at the live webchat Q&A by following the link: http://www.justice.gov.uk/ministry-of-justice-webchats