In 2014 my world, the world that I knew changed; when my ex partner decided it was okay to share intimate and very explicit photos of me, which he shared candidly on Facebook and porn sites. It felt surreal and very dream like (a had this really just happened) kind of moment!
I was angry but with that anger came betrayal, disgust, shame, anxiety, fear and much much more. I hated myself for allowing this to happen to me; I despised logical thinking that his actions wasn’t mine to carry and that I was the victim. The continuous emotional turmoil went on for 6 months or more before I dreamt about setting up a ‘safe-space’ sharing platform to empower others to speak out and using this negative experience to empower others by sharing what had happened to me.
Back in 2014 there wasn’t a name for this heinous cruelty so my ex was convicted under the Miscommunications & Harassment Act. The end of 2014 saw me helping the Ministry of Justice launch the Revenge Porn Law; the Revenge Porn Helpline followed suite. Recognising the word ‘Revenge Porn’ is victim blaming we now use the term ‘Image Based Sexual Abuse’ – its more fitting for the crime.
I set up this site to share my journey about being a victim of Image Based Sexual Abuse; my aim to empower other people who have experienced the same. To share with them that they were’not alone’ and that you can take back your power by speaking your truths. For me this was one of the ways I could ‘self counsel’ to help heal my spirit and make a difference. I felt the need to provide a common safe place for experiencers (victims) to share their journey, access support and discuss and share common feelings without being judged.
“I want to encourage other people who might have been affected by Image based sexual abuse, politically known as revenge porn to do what I did and report the perpetrator to the police. You’re not the one in the wrong and they shouldn’t get away with it”
VOIC (Victims of Image/Internet Crime) – The name for this site came to me in a dream. I think subconsciously i was trying to find solace and a way to heal my pain. I know as I walk this journey I continue to heal the pain, torture and shame, whilst at the same time I know I am helping those who are unable to speak out by continuing to raise awareness and working collaboratively/strategically with those who are also trying to make a difference.
For me this journey isn’t about forgetting or forgiving – it’s about accepting what has happened and using that experience to make a difference.
As each year passes and I find myself in creative spaces that helps me become stronger by speaking about the affects this crime has on experiencers (victims). It is important to me and to those who cannot speak out that our joint experiences are used as a discussion starter in order to instill change. There are lots of inspirational people willing to help and influence change and I am grateful for every opportunity where I have been able to create and be involved in ‘open discussions’ – one of the next steps for VOIC is educational settings. I am humbled by the people I have crossed paths with, reached out to, made a difference with/for, changed perceptions of and most of all I am humbled by self as I take back control of my life and encourage others to do the same!
“This journey has been very emotional at times but enlightening all the same – together we can make a difference”