Revenge Porn And Me

revenge porn, image based sexual abuse, this stuff is golden,

“Well, I guess you’ve learnt your lesson now then,” said my case officer, after she had taken notes of the story I had relayed to her.

The lack of support and blatant victim-shaming caused me to instantly curl up into a ball of tears as soon as both police officers let themselves out. I was scared for my own safety from myself, so I called up a friend to come over with wine as I ordered us some pizzas.

It was something I never thought would happen to me, just like when traumatic things happen to other people, that’s normally one of the first things that they say. I definitely did not see this coming, and I’m pretty sure that shock was reflected in my expression when I found out in August 2015 that I was a victim of ‘Revenge Porn’.

More shock slapped me in the face when having digged a little deeper, this ‘Revenge Porn’ had been happening since 2012 without my knowledge, and had been using images of me I had naively taken when under the age of 18.

If you’re not sure what the heck ‘Revenge Porn’ is, please let me introduce you to one of the darkest parts of the world wide web’s personality. ‘Revenge Porn’ is the sharing and publicizing of images with the intention to embarrass. Most commonly, it is a former partner that sees fit to share your intimate pictures via social media.

My experience of this was not quite so black and white, as the person who had uploaded these images of me had been a trusted friend for many years after initially having a short term romantic relationship. He had gathered quite a few photos of me, that were given by my silly self, over several of those years. For reasons I still do not know, as I don’t see the point in asking, the images were put on some of the grimiest porn websites I have ever seen, with captions that I do not wish to repeat. He encouraged viewers to share the images and talk about them on forums, which was an unpleasant read to say the least. This prodding inspired somebody else to take my images and create fake social media accounts, portraying me in ways that were untrue and soul-destroying.

You would most logically assume that that was the worst part of the whole thing. Google picture searches finding them on so many different websites. The length of time I hadn’t known about it. Reading some of the view counts on the pictures. But it wasn’t really.

The worst part is happening to me now.

Of course, August was a terrible month; having to report to the police what I had found, attempt to persuade websites to take down the images, report social media accounts and so on. Not knowing what to do to get this resolved was crushing. Not only did I feel like an idiot for taking the pictures in the first place, but I didn’t even have a clue on how to get the whole thing deleted and gone forever.

I remember distinctly driving home from work one day, just thinking if I were to swerve right now, it would all be finished and I wouldn’t feel anything anymore. I wouldn’t have to deal with all this shame.

Unfortunately, those feelings have not completely shaken off, not even after the guy was arrested and charged. When my case officer called me to let me know he had admitted to the offences, she said that she hoped this would bring me some sort of closure. It didn’t really. More than anything, it made it even more real, that this thing had happened to me, and somebody I had trusted was getting in trouble for it.

In October 2015 I went to see the doctor for my anxiety and increased sadness. He was very sympathetic and diagnosed me with depression, giving me leaflets and a prescription to help me feel better. Diagnosing me felt like another slap in the face. How on Earth was it fair for this guy’s actions to cause me to feel this low?

The point of this post is quite a selfish one really. Struggling through this depression; which is a lot harder than I once thought; I haven’t vented much as talking about darker emotions is not something I am forthright about. So I decided to tell whoever wants to read about how ‘Revenge Porn’ actually feels like, and what it does to people:

  • worthlessness
  • embarrassed
  • ashamed
  • idiotic
  • helpless
  • isolated
  • betrayed
  • self-hatred
  • disgusted
  • numb.

To not be selfish, here’s some advice that will hopefully help out someone else who is unfortunately experiencing similar circumstances to me.

If you know someone who is going through this, here’s what not to do:

  • make jokes about it
  • try and turn it into a compliment
  • blame them.

(Cannot stress that last point enough. I couldn’t believe how some people I had told made me feel worse by being unsympathetic, as it was obviously my fault for taking the pictures in the first place. I was being appropriately punished for being promiscuous. Yet it seems to be normal for a man to send a dick pic after a three-message exchange to a girl on Tinder. I digress.)

If you know someone who is going through this, here’s what to do:

  • offer a listening ear.

If you are going through this, here’s what to do:

  • call the police
  • make contact with the Revenge Porn Helpline (UK)
  • confide in a close friend
  • blame the person who has done this to you, not yourself
  • talk about it, there’s nothing to be ashamed about
  • talk to me if you like, contact me here
  • or talk to a trained professional stranger, like the Samaritans.

Hopefully this informs a few people about what ‘Revenge Porn’ actually is and what it can do to someone. Even better if this helps somebody who is going through such horribleness. Perhaps some good will come out of this after-all.

15 Comments

  • […] When I was underage and sending sexual photos to older men in return for compliments. […]

  • Thank you for sharing this. What a horrible experience you have gone through! I have never heard of Revenge Porn before and am horrified by its existence. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. You have done nothing wrong.
    Thank you for be brave enough to share your story. I’m sure there are people out there who appreciate knowing they are not alone.

    • laugraeva says:

      Thank you for the kind support! Unfortunately this is a thing that happens and a lot of victims are too embarrassed to even report it. Thankfully this post has helped some people at least come forward and talk to me about their experiences.

  • RPDodge says:

    I have never had “revenge porn” but I have had my images used without my permission. I am sorry that you have to go through this. I can’t even imagine your levels of emotion. Stay strong. You are already very strong by opening up and blogging about it. I am also glad that some sort of spotlight is being made on this topic, more and more. It helps people who also experienced this dreadful revenge to feel they are not alone and the feelings that come from the experience are “normal”.

    • laugraeva says:

      Thank you for saying that, makes me feel like writing this story is worth doing!
      So sorry that this happened to you though. If you ever want to talk about it feel free to ping me an email anytime.

  • I’m looking for a word that applauds you for declaring that you are willing to help others. Who does that these days, people will consider this a bad nightmare and run away from it.

    And lastly, even though it has been a while now, it was always his fault. You are right in that

    Great post

    • laugraeva says:

      Well tried to turn a negative into a positive, which weirdly it has for me – it helped process it more by writing it, plus a few ladies have got in contact just to talk to me about their experiences, which is just really nice to be able to do for someone.
      Thanks for the kind words!

  • […] I get from posts I am almost too scared to publish in the first place – things like my Revenge Porn post, or even talking openly about sex – the comments I get, either through email or Twitter or […]

  • […] I don’t think I would have the courage to post such a picture of myself. Not because I am ashamed of my body – everybody’s bodies are beautiful in their own way, and mine is no exception. I just wouldn’t be able to post sexy photos of myself because of what happened. […]

  • Laura says:

    I’m so sorry for this pain. Thank you (!!) for being so open about it.

    Please don’t answer if this is a trigger: I have 2 kids (9 & 11, both with limits on technology), and raising them in the digital age often freaks me out. I watched my sister try to convince her teen girls that images can hurt them but I couldn’t tell if they got it. Do you have any advice for what to say to tweens/teens that might get through to them?

    • laugraeva says:

      It’s okay, I’m more than happy to help others avoid/get through this type of thing. I would say that the most scary thing would be that once the images are out there, you have absolutely no control over them. My pictures were unknown to me for 3 years, so goodness knows how many people saved them to their personal computers. I will never have full control of those images ever again, and they could come back to haunt me at anytime. I know it seems like the normal thing to do to capture the attention of the opposite sex, but unfortunately with something like this it will bring you the wrong kind of attention, and with that attention comes slut-shaming and labelling. So not to scare them but, perhaps imagining that at some point a picture of them ends up on several strangers desktops, that might stop them from taking the photos in the first place. I think that is what drove me to my initial thoughts of suicide – because death was the easiest way of not thinking about however many complete strangers had something so personal that I could never get back.
      Hope that helps?

  • stephieann8 says:

    So sorry this is happening to you. The most I’ve had to deal with is a crazy ex who made a fake instagram account and was using all my profile pictures on Facebook on it. He wrote in the bio section about how I am a bitch, c*nt, and I sleep with married men which is not true. I filed a order of protection and he took it down.

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