All posts by Folami Prehaye

Shattering Myths about Image Based Sexual Abuse – Clare McGlynn, Erika Rackley and Kelly Johnson

Image-based sexual abuse thrives on myths.

Myths about motives. Myths about victims. Myths about political,  legal and institutional responses.

  • It’s only a picture, you can move on … myth!
  • It’s all illegal now anyway … myth!
  • All you need to do is report it to the police and the picture will be taken down … myth!

Our report – Shattering Myths and Lives: A Report on Image-Based Sexual Abuse – drawing on 25 interviews with victim-survivors of image-based sexual abuse concentrates on the reality of this pernicious form of sexual abuse.

Image-based sexual abuse shatters lives. A significant numbers of victim-survivors experience profound ‘social rupture’ – a major devastation that drastically alters all aspects of their lives. Take, Anna (not her real name), for example:

“My whole world just crumbled … I’m nowhere near the person I once was. That’s gone and it’s rebuilding a new part of me now … It’s torture for your soul, it really is”

Victim-survivors spoke of abuse that is constant, ongoing and relentless; that shatters not only their lives, but also the lives of those who love and support them.

And yet, the Government is proposing to wait at least three years – that is until 2022 – before making changes to the law that we know now would make a dramatic difference to victim-survivors. Such as extending the law to cover so-called ‘fakeporn’ and threats to distribute nude or sexual images without consent, to provide all victim-survivors with automatic anonymity, to provide victim-survivors, and those supporting them, with resources and support to enable them to provide bespoke technical and long-term emotional support.

ACTION IS NEEDED NOW

To provide victim-survivors with increased protections, access to justice, adequate support and to prevent further lives from being shattered by this devastating form of abuse. And if the Government truly understands this, it will take action now to correct the most egregious gaps in the law, and increase support for victim-survivors.

Read the full report here

 

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

My Reality

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 Abuse not Revenge Pornography – Let’s be real now!

Let’s set the record straight

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!

not-revenge-porn-but-abuse-lets-call-it-image-based-sexual-abuse-by-mcglynnclare-erikarackley

 

Don’t Suffer Alone! Stand Up Speak Out

Finally for the first time in 4 years I can honestly say I don’t feel alone on this journey. Its been a struggle but perseverance has been key.

VOIC now has a Facebook Group of victims that provide peer to peer support. If you are out there with no one to talk to and no one understands then why not join our group.

It’s a safe closed space and no one will judge you. Reach out and connect and don’t suffer alone. Just click on the poster to find our group.

 

Collective Energy – A Room Full of Collaborated Understanding

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…..!

Digital Abuse: A Collaboration Between Artists & Activists

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.

                                 You took a piece of me - Folami Prehaye

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.

Continue reading Digital Abuse: A Collaboration Between Artists & Activists

Expressive Art – A Photo Captures A Thousand Words

How Powerful Would It Be !

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 Emotional Turmoil - Folami Prehayeverbally 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.

Again – I find myself impelled to get involved in things that i feel would benefit others; that will support my cause and my worth as a human being, trying to make a difference.   Continue reading Expressive Art – A Photo Captures A Thousand Words

Naked Selfies Are Everywhere – By Lauren

lauren“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 Reese Witherspoon’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.

Continue reading Naked Selfies Are Everywhere – By Lauren

Call for ‘revenge porn’ victims to be kept anonymous – My Thoughts

I agree that victims should be given a choice whether to remain anonymous or be seen in the public eye

15 December 2015
Keeley Richards-Shaw
Image caption Keeley Richards-Shaw said a change in law was crucial to help victims “keep their personal life personal”

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.

‘Not tolerated’

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.”

Continue reading Call for ‘revenge porn’ victims to be kept anonymous – My Thoughts