I started speaking to a man online and I had sent him photos of me! They were normal pictures and nothing sexual or explicit. The man I was talking to also had my contact details. Not long after our first conversation; the man told me that he had been in prison and had a past history violence. I felt that I no longer wanted to continue speaking with him and distanced myself from him.
I stopped returning his calls. Then I started getting calls from different men who started harassing me. I was so humiliated that all these men were contacting me and harrassing me I eventually changed my number.
My story begins nearly 2 years ago in the summer of 2013 when I went away on holiday with my friends and my boyfriend of nearly 2 year ends the relationship because he “can’t trust me”. However when I got home it was a couple of weeks after, I was being bombarded with calls and texts from my ex who wanted to meet up to try and rekindle things; however I did not feel the same so tried to ignore the texts and calls then I changed my social media to private, however then I started getting nasty emails.
A couple of days later when getting ready to go out with friends my door bell rang, it was a man whom i had never met before and was convinced I had been speaking to him on dating site. I was completely shocked, scared and embarrassed. A further 2 more men came to my house saying the same thing. I then recieved messages on Whatsapp from men who had got my number of a dating websites. I tried getting onto these sites; however I did not have the email addresess to remove the profiles. Then my worst nightmare happened, fake profilesof me had been put up on Facebook and Twitter leaking intimate photos of me and referred to me as being a ‘slut’. I was so embarrassed and angry so I got in touch with the police who didn’t even know where to begin. The police took ages in getting him in for questioning.
About 2 months after I phoned the policw, they arrested him and charged him for breaching the communication act due to the emails he sent. At the time there was no laws in place for revenge and I don’t think they fully looked into my case which has made me lose my faith in the police and justice system in this country. My case was later closed after two court appearances. I have experienced being recognised by two men in a bar which made me feel so anxious and made me lose my confidence in going out. Nearly 2 years on I am still effected I have anxiety attacks when in the house alone and I feel panicky when I hear the door bell or the phone ring. It has caused relationship problems with my mum and dad as they were obviously embarrassed and blamed me for what happened as no parent wants to think of their child letting their partner take pictures of them; so my relationship with them has been effected.
I am anxious when I go out as I worry I’m going to be recognised even seeing people I know from school makes me so anxious as I fear they will laugh at me as they probably know what’s happened; however I could have never felt how I feel know which is much happier, due to my family and friends who have been there for me so much and can’t thank them enough.
I believe revenge porn is going to get worse as our daily lives consist of social networking and the Internet and more needs to be done for the victims. Revenge porn is a form of abuse and should be taken seriously. To my fellow victims I share your pain and hurt and to anyone out there experiencing this right now you are not alone.
My work highlighting the affects Revenge Porn has on victims and my subsequent profile raising by sharing my story on national television attracted women who had gone through the same or similar experience.
Sonja contacted me via Facebook and sent me a message of support for coming out and speaking about my ordeal. Sonja has gone through a similar situation by her stalker which stems her abuse over 4 years. I have been supporting Sonja to help her cope with the frustrations she has experienced from the Police and the lack of support from others in helping her to bring her perpetrator to justice. This is one of the many things Sonja told me:
I have just felt so alone with it all. The most disappointing time of my life, going through a divorce and dealing with the stalker. I have lost all faith in the things I was brought up to believe in, the law, order, what is right, justice……it’s shook me to the core
I was contacted in October 2014 by a student Alicia Gonzalez Betancort who is a student at Bournemouth University who as part of her course wanted to quote me about my experience being a victim of revenge porn. Time was of the essence and Sonja lived in closer proximity to Alicia so I asked Sonja if she would mind doing a small clip to share her story as Alicia’s case study. I told Sonja that talking about her ordeal would help her come to terms with it and help her to accept what has happened to her plus aid her healing.
Sonja shares her story:
This video was produced by Alicia Gonzalez Betancort who is a student at Bournemouth University. Alicia has been interested in the topic of Abuse against women and you can see more of her articles by clicking on the following link: http://buzz.bournemouth.ac.uk/revenge-porn-homepage/
This has been going on for a number of years; the sexual exploitation of women and young girls on the internet. The internet has evolved at an alarming rate over the last 10 years if not less. There is no one policing or monitoring its usage. In fact you are able to upload anything you like from any source about any person and there is nothing in place to stop people doing this.
This is a story that could happen to almost any teenager on the Internet. They call themselves ‘cappers’ – a new breed of cyber-predators who systematically stalk websites looking for girls on webcams, flatter them into performing sexual acts, then capture their images. Some use those images to blackmail their victims, in a fast-growing online crime that goes far beyond Amanda Todd.