“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.
I came across your site after my girlfriend of over 1 year had become a victim of revenge porn. This happened just over a month ago, she has since lost her job as a teacher and her life has been turned upside down.
The imagery posted is over 5 years old, this series of events has nearly brought our relationship to breaking point. I cannot even begin to imagine what my girlfriend is going through at the moment.
I’m trying everything I can to be as supportive as possible however I’m currently going through cancer treatment and having to come to terms with this isn’t easy. I’m sure no boyfriend would wish to see nude images of their partner with an ex, I feel now as though my girlfriend has lost her trust in me as we no longer have the same loving and fun relationship as we once had.
I dare not talk about this matter with my girlfriend as I can only imagine it will cause her distress.
My girlfriend is currently seeking legal help on this matter, I know this will be a slow process and I shouldn’t interfere but I want to support her as best as I can. I’ve never been in this situation with a girlfriend before and I’ve not told any of my friends or family about what has happened. Any advice on how to cope with this from a boyfriends point of view would be a great help.
I would like to thank you for voic.org.uk website. It’s like a beacon of light in the darkness.
I would like to share my story of a current ongoing revenge porn ordeal which is being caused by a UK citizen to me and I live in another country. I need to remain anonymous as I don’t live in the UK but I am currently illegally residing in the country where I now live.
I found out about you while doing a Google search about laws in the UK regarding revenge porn. I read the new article from the BBC about you. Unfortunately I couldn’t see the interview video as it wasn’t available in my country but I felt that somehow I have someone I can talk to.
My issues is still ongoing and I haven’t told a soul about my ordeal, accept the police. Not to my mother, my sister nor my current boyfriend. I feel very lonely, guilty and hopeless.
I met a guy from the UK about 9 or 10 years ago through a social media network. I was very stupid and naive at the time and started an online relationship that continued for a few
years. Along the way, a lot of things happened and our communication ended in 2012. I was happy that it ended.
In last year, he tried to contact me again, but I didn’t pick up his calls and didn’t even read his emails. Then, about 4 months back, I found my pictures on Tumblr. I contacted Tumblr to take down the images. Then I Googled his hometown’s police email address and have contacted them to help. It’s a complicated matter for them because I’m not from the UK. I don’t think he’s been investigated yet.
I don’t know if he’s still posting more pictures or not and I’m just too scared to Google my name and find out more.
Right now, I’m just trying very hard to be brave and keep myself together. Each waking moment is a pain to go through. The kind of pain that only a victim of this crime could understand.
The main thing I want to let you know that this issue is a global thing occurring across countries. Those awful people can still hurt victims no matter where they are.
This is something I wouldn’t wish upon even my worst enemy. So I want to prevent future victims from suffering the same fate as I. I’d like to help others as well, but I myself is doing not so good.
You’re the one who is making an impact. That is why I wrote to you. If you know more about the stories, more about how it can happen, I hope that somehow you will be able to help others more.
It’s too late for me but please don’t stop helping others. Thank you for your website and your bravery to stand up for those who are too afraid.
My friend has informed me that my ex has set up a porn site in my name.
My friend was at the time staying with my ex and has provided me with the registration details that my ex used to set up the site, along with the credit card details, the home address and email information that he also used.
I had to move away and my ex lives in a different city to me. After numerous phone calls to the police in the city where my ex lives and also phone calls to the police in the city where I now reside, I feel like I am going around in circles and I really don’t know what to do.
The police in the city where my ex lives has said that because I am no longer in the city they cannot take a statement and the police in the city where I currently live are adamant they are not responsible for taking the statement as no crime was committed here.
I am shocked and horrified that the police are so uninterested!
For those following my journey, I feel that at times I need to tell you how I feel.
This 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.
‘It is important to understand that my journey was and still is very very painful’
This 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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, so there are many ways you can reach out and connect with me.