In 2019 I met someone on Tinder.
We dated for 3 months but towards the end o the relationship he became very distant and rude at times towards me. It then ended quite badly with him sending nasty messages over WhatsApp that I was a fat dirty slut and that I was only good enough to be raped.
A few months went by and I was then contacted by a friend of his to say pictures I had sent to him during our relationship had been shared to a website without my consent with the purposes of selling me for sex to other men also without my consent. I also found out he had made a fake tinder account in my name from work colleagues.
I couldn’t go to the police as he had a young daughter and I didn’t want her to see her father as a monster. I also live in Northern Ireland he lives in the Republic of Ireland so if I had of chosen to prosecute it would have been me named as the victim and not him under Irish law.
I couldn’t face the shame of everyone knowing.
I spent over a year living in constant fear, at times I walked with my keys in my fists. There were times I couldn’t even leave the house. I also became extremely depressed during this time. I tend to relapse from time to time as I feel like I’m not good enough. I’ve turned a lot to comfort eating and have gained 3 stone. I feel like I’m trapped in a body that’s no longer my own. I hate having to look at or dress and undress myself. Even things like getting my hair cut leave me not wanting to look at the person staring back at me.
I tend to have a few good weeks at a time, then something will happen that will trigger me and then I’ll end up back to the start of my trauma. Recently it got so bad in October that I considered taking my own life – sharing my story has helped, reaching out to VOIC has been a godsend and I am still here to be able to share this story.
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
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.
Continue reading My Lonely Walk As a Survivor of Revenge Porn