All posts by David Canham

Love Death & Taxes – Image Based Sexual Abuse Within the LGBTQ Community by David Canham

It’s been 4 weeks since the 23rd October, and 4 weeks on I’m slowly beginning to realise just how important that date was…both in a deeply personal way, and in the representation of male IBSA experiencers – whether gay or straight.

Predominately this was an evening to raise awareness about Image Based Sexual Abuse within the LGBTQ community, but it was also about taking those first important steps towards unshackling myself from the humiliation and shame that an IBSA crime bestowed on my life, 3 years ago.

It was about speaking a truth, my truth, and in so doing decreasing the power that experience had over me.

Ultimately that’s what these crimes are all about, the power that the perpetrator(s) have over you….by the way of intentional public shaming. But once you begin to acknowledge, and find a way to ‘own your truth’, that power is diminished. My recovery journey is far from complete, but I will say this, the 23rd October now feels like a truly pivotal turning point in my life. A game changer if you will.

For those of you that have followed my journey, through social media or otherwise, you will know how much this issue means to me – it is truly close it is to my heart – particularly in terms of IBSA representation within the gay community. At the beginning of this year, I challenged myself to fight my fears and speak out. The fight against Image Based Sexual Abuse crimes cannot be won on words alone, and neither could I successfully participate in that battle without being able to vocally speak out.

When I was asked to participate as a member of the panel, I knew instantly that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t. Despite my fears about speaking publicly, I surprised myself. There was so much that I wanted to say, perhaps there were things that I wanted to say…and didn’t. I have no regrets, only excitement for the future….and what could be achieved in establishing better recognition for both current and future victims of IBSA (Revenge Porn). These crimes are here to stay, and they are developing and adapting. They are destroying more lives on a daily basis and we desperately need change to happen now.

My Story Joins Your Story – Let’s Change the Game Forever Together – David Canham

As I begin to write this, I’m exactly 4 weeks away from the anniversary date of a premeditated internet revenge act, an act that was targeted toward me by a group of sick individuals – who felt they had the right to expose personal aspects of what was then a deeply troubled life.

What started off as a ‘chemsex hook up’ turned into a hellish nightmare, that still affects my life today and has taken close to 4 years to recover from.  Both the recovery and rebuilding processes are still ongoing, and as part of that process I’ve decided to write my story for VOIC. This is the first time that I’ve publicly spoken out about that incident, and whilst I understand more about it now, I know that the journey has only just begun and further difficult times and discoveries await.

In retrospect I wish I had listened to that voice inside my head, that was trying to scream “get the hell out of there” but I wanted to lose myself in a world of meaningless sex and escape the hurt and pain that I felt at the time. I had lost my sense of self preservation, respect and survival.

To put my story into context, and for the first time in my life, I need to take ownership of an addiction to Crystal Meth.  An addiction that developed over a number of years on the gay party circuit. There were times when I naively thought that I had it under control, some of those times were during an 8-year relationship. For those times where I failed, life for my partner would have been tough to say the least, and as I look back over those years I take a personal responsibility for the pain that was endured. You must be ready to admit an addiction issue, and whilst I was hugely ashamed of it, I couldn’t bring myself to look at it closely enough in order to change it.

I was unaware that, during our turbulent time together, my partner was betraying my trust and indiscreetly going to pre-arranged sex parties – predominately but not limited to South London, where we spent a number of years living together. We both had interests in the gay fetish scene, which is how our relationship started. Over time, and through his own selfish wants and desires, my private struggles with Meth addiction were becoming widely known to people within that community. He was effectively using my issues, as an excuse for his own behaviour.

Several things are important here, the perpetrators who were involved in my ‘chemsex setup’ knew exactly who I was…. they also knew (through prior sexual interaction) my ex-partner. They had heard his stories, and thought it was time “someone taught me a lesson”.

For the want of a better phrase, they had appointed themselves as both ‘judge and juror’. At no point did they stop to consider the effect their actions would have on my life, career or family. Their minds were and are, too sick and warped, to even have a basic notion or care.

Their aim then was to webcam stream (without my knowledge or consent) an act of drug taking called ‘slamming’. A crude term for IV injection, used within the gay party scene. That aim was achieved in a flat in North London during 2016. Within minutes and seconds, it was streamed across a hardcore gay website, notoriously known for the darker side of fetish sex. Continue reading My Story Joins Your Story – Let’s Change the Game Forever Together – David Canham