I wrote this a few months ago and thought I would share it. The emotions are real!
Calming voices talk to me at night, when my eyes are closed I wander to a place where I no longer feel alone.
I stumble upon a pasture that was once green with life, whittling away dying from the cause of mindless people. You know, those people that make the world seem such a cruel place.
As I knelt amongst the pasture, I lay my head and cried because I also felt like I was whittling away and dying. I became slumped in a place where life seemed to be dark and lonely.
I close my eyes and the calming voices appear once again. I listen intentively and start to write mental notes but the tears kept on coming. The calming voices became louder to a volume where I had no choice but to listen.
Dried up tears turn to smiles and as I open my eyes and inhale, the pasture that was once whittling and dying now green with life and purpose, I no longer feel alone.
I feel safe but now know that the pasture and I have commonality and that time, patience, empathy, love and compassion will enable trust to build as the bond grows stronger.
Those calming voices I heard when my eyes closed at night and started to get louder until i had no choice but to listen, no longer just happened at night; they became my reality and I no longer feel alone
Its time for a reality check and an insight into the reality of what is politically referred to as ‘Revenge Pornography’!
I can tell you first hand that the evil that was done to me was just spineless, a cruel calculated act of jealousy, done by a person that allows their emotions to control their reality, callous and vindictive it is; the way some people think they can control another person in a way that causes distress on a different level.
Well look at it this way; according to the dictionary ‘Revenge’ means:The action of hurting or harming someone in return for an injury or wronged suffered at their hands.‘Pornography’ means: Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity intended to stimulate sexual excitement.
So the political incorrect term of those labelled as victims of revenge pornography in essence; refers to victims who have been hurt or harmed by someone who feels they have been wronged; so they share explicit printed or visual material that display sexual organs or sexual activity to stimulate sexual excitement.
Is this sexual excitement for the perpetrator? Sexual excitement for the victim or sexual excitement for anyone that happens to come across it?
Slightly misleading don’t you think? Professor Clare McGlynn has written a brilliant article that clearly states why the name should be changed to reflect the crime.
After all abuse whether its on or offline is ABUSE!
The moment you walk into a room, you feel exposed but you feel safe!
Today Saturday 13 May 2017, I felt like a huge bolder had been removed from my shoulders; a knott removed from the blades between my neck and my arms, that feeling of an object being stuck in your throat and you cough or swallow and it disappears. That’s how I felt during and after the Digital Online Abuse – A Collaboration between Activists, Victims and Artists.
At last! I am surrounded by energetic souls empowered to make a change, buzzing with energy and exhuberated creativity that filled the whole room. I smiled, I was energised and my spirit alive. It has been a long journey – one that has taken 3 years in the making, to sit in a room of souls and listen to how there experience was similar to mine; a room full of empathy and understanding. We had a common objective and a common understanding and all without judgement. Ears intentively listening, eyebrows raised we all absorbed the energy that surrounded the table.
At last! I feel I have done what I originally set out to do. To make a difference, to empower others to take control and take ownership to self empower, find self worth and motivation to make a change. We shared, we laughed, we cried – so much absorbed energy that I feel overwhelmed but very emotionally drained. We discussed common experiences, common understanding, we debated, we changed perceptions, we ate together and we talked about intimate things, like the vagina, the difference between male and female experiences, how we are all individuals that share commonality. I felt safe, i felt loved, i felt inspired!
Image Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA)/Non-Consensual Image sharing was most definitely the subject of the day; the reason for the collaborative artistical entwinement of ideas that I know will provide that place for healing through a collective creative approach. Im buzzing and ready for the next step…..!
Have you been a victim of Image Based Sexual Abuse aka Revenge Porn?
As a survivor and having directly been affected by this, I am putting myself out there!
Over the last 2 years I have worked tirelessly to help victims take back their power and learn how to take control of the impact this crime has. Its abuse and shouldn’t be tolerated. Let us stand together and make a difference, let us heal together and share our journeys. I know that it isn’t easy to ‘stand up and speak out’ about being abused – trust me it was a decision I didn’t make lightly but I feel so much better for doing so.
Working in collaboration with Sarah, an artist/activist I am taking part in the ‘Digital Abuse’ project – which is a collaborative effort between artists and activists that uses education, empowerment and visibility to facilitate discussion, raise awareness and combat public perception of Image Based Sexual Abuse and the treatment of women online.
There are many ways in which you can speak out about your trauma! You don’t have to use words. Here is one of my journey photographs that I did with See It From Her – Survivors Project in 2016.
We are hoping that you are also ready to share your journey, share the burden and release some of that stigma that comes with being a victim of abuse. We encourage you to join us in a united front. If you are ready to share and take back your power and would like to make a difference, come along to our creative workshop on the 13th and 14th of May.
If we could all speak out verbally about the way we feel, the hurt we have gone through, the trauma being abused brings and the betrayal that you feel, knowing you let someone do this to you! Imagine, there are many victims who want to speak out but don’t know how; to find the courage, the belief or the strength to do so.
‘How powerful would it be if we could all speak out verbally’
I dedicate this post to those victims, that cannot express themselves verbally like I do. For those who are struggling, to ‘live happy lives’ because the affects of image based sexual abuse, has ‘stripped their spiritual soul’ and they have been thrown into a world of depression, unworthiness, disgust, fear, anger, disgrace and despair.
“Kim K posted them and got both praise and critique, starting a huge feminist debate that hung around the internet for several days. Chelsea Handler posted one to celebrate ReeseWitherspoon’s birthday. It seems to be a accepted to be naked on the internet”.
Unless that decision was made by somebody else for you. Unless that picture was meant for one person’s eyes only. Unless that photo has been used against you.
In August 2015, I found out that I was a victim of what is most commonly known as ‘Revenge Porn’. If you’re not sure what it is let me introduce you to one of the worst corners of the internet; ‘Revenge Porn’ is the sharing and publicizing of images with the intention to embarrass. Most commonly it is the act of a former partner who sees fit to share your images that you never thought in your scariest nightmares would be shared.
My experience with it was not how the usual ‘Revenge Porn’ occurrence. I may have found out about it in 2015 but it had started 3 years prior. My friend had texted me a screenshot of a Twitter account with my pictures all over it – yet it was not mine. The account had several links in the bio for a lot of photo-driven social media websites, all with my first name and my personal photos. Not only did social media have my photos but also some of the most disgusting porn sites I have ever seen. I was everywhere.
Going through the images was tough – I couldn’t bare to see anymore of them on anymore websites, but I had to keep going in order to gather evidence for my case officer.
I agree that victims should be given a choice whether to remain anonymous or be seen in the public eye
By Sarah Bell Victoria Derbyshire programme: 15 December 2015
Victims of “revenge porn” should be given the same anonymity as victims of other sexual offences, campaigners say. A petition urging a change in law has been launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan, and a revenge-porn victim. Keeley Richards-Shaw, whose ex-boyfriend was the first sentenced under the revenge-porn law, said media coverage had increased her distress.
The Ministry of Justice said judges had discretionary powers to withhold names. Sharing revenge-porn images and videos became a crime in England and Wales in February, but the law currently gives victims no right to anonymity.
Mrs Mulligan and Ms Richards-Shaw have written to Justice Secretary Michael Gove and the chairman of the Justice Select Committee, Bob O’Neill, requesting meetings on the issue. They have also launched an online petition called Change the Law: No More Naming of Revenge Porn Victims.
‘From bad to worse’
Ms Richards-Shaw told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she had become involved in the campaign after her ex-boyfriend shared intimate photos he had taken without her knowledge. He was prosecuted and given a suspended jail sentence.
She said a change in law was crucial to help victims “keep their personal life personal”.
During the court case, she had told just very close family – but the day before he was to be sentenced, she received a text message saying the press were planning to cover the story .
“It just went from bad to worse,” she said. “My picture, my name, my job, they’d gone on my Facebook page and published that, they were waiting for me outside court, I had them at my doorstep the next morning. It was horrible – I had gone from being stalked by him to being stalked by the media.”
Mrs Mulligan said there was a loophole, as “revenge porn” seemed to have been categorised as a domestic abuse offence as opposed to a sexual offence.
“If you looked at it in the sexual offences category when the law was being passed, then they may have thought about anonymity.
“We really want ministers to listen to what Keeley has to say and to change the law.”
She added that some of the media had said they would not publish victims’ names, but this was not automatic.
The law classes “revenge porn” as “photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public”.
It covers images shared on and offline without the subject’s permission and with the intent to cause harm. Physical distribution of images is also covered. A Ministry of Justice official said: “Revenge porn is an abuse of trust that can leave people feeling humiliated and degraded.
“By making it a specific offence, we have sent a clear message that this crime will not be tolerated and we have already seen an increase in the number of people coming forward.
“It is vital that victims have the confidence to report cases. That is why judges have discretionary powers to prohibit the naming of victims if identification would affect the case and cause undue fear or distress.”
I recently became a victim of revenge porn. I felt as if my world came to an end.
Words cannot express how I feel right now. I feel as if my life will never be the same, I cry every single day and ask God why it had to be me. I wouldn’t want anyone close to me to experience what I am experiencing. I cannot cope with the stress, it’s affecting my studies and work.
Sometimes I think it isn’t worth living, that’s how much it has affected me.
My Story is a bit strange but this is what happened. Last year June 2014 I logged onto my Facebook to find that pictures I had sent to my boyfriend at the time was posted on my wall, but it was from his Facebook. I called him straight away and started crying, assuming the mother of his children had hacked into his email and posted the pics on my Facebook page.
My ex said he would sort it out I asked him for his Facebook and email password so I could delete the pics, which is what I did. Nothing appeared or happened again after i had deleted the photos. Two weeks ago the pictures had been sent to some of my Facebook contacts, I called my ex and told him what had happened. He informed me that it wasnt the mother of his kids that had posted the original photos but that it was another girl that became obsessed with him and was jealous of the love he had for me.
I watched you on crimewatch and thought that I would share my story with you.
I am a young man and sex is always my number one priority, for the last couple of years I have been involved in swinging, dogging and online dating so one day I thought I would have a go on a website called ‘Chat Roullette’ this girl added me and we started to talk and have web cam sex she then told me to add her on facebook, within seconds she was telling me that she was going to send my sex act to all my friends on Facebook but if I pay her she said she would delete the video; she even sent me a link to youtube where the video was.
I froze for a couple of seconds and thought how stupid I was to fall for a stupid trick like this but as I said, before being involved in swinging there were already pics and videos of myself naked and having sex on the Internet. I told her to fuck off and jump in front of a train as I’m not paying and I sent her a link to the website where my pictures are.
Next think I know she has vanished from ‘Chat Roullette’ and Facebook I’m guessing the joke was on her for thinking I was going to be worried about it but I was a little annoyed at myself for falling for it. This happened in January and ever since clicking the link she sent me to my video on YouTube (which did appear) I thought there might be a virus; so ever since then I have a piece of blu tack over my webcam.
Im not sure this will help but I thought I would just share my story with you.