I tell my story because I can’t NOT tell it.
I tell it because I need to let it out, I need to be honest, I need to talk about how I am feeling.
This coming Tuesday morning (21st August), I will be on BBC Radio Kent, talking about my experience as a victim of image-based sexual abuse.
It will be my 5th interview for the BBC, talking about something that many other victims do not wish to speak up about. I completely understand why they don’t – the crime of image-based sexual abuse (or Revenge Porn as you may know it) is fucking horrible, and in the UK it is not actually seen as sexual abuse, and so there is no anonymity for its victims.
So yeah, again I am going public with what happened to me.
It does trigger some uncomfortable and sad feelings each time I recount it. I repeat how I will never have control over any of those images that were posted online without my consent. I realise over and over again how I was groomed online from the age of 14 to, well, 23. My reputation feels tarnished. I feel branded. I remember all the pain. It’s hard.
But as I said, I can’t not tell my story, because by telling my story, not only am I able to process my emotions in a way that helps me, but I am also owning it.
Owning it means that I won’t let it define me in a negative way. I won’t let shame, embarrassment, guilt, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideations be all that comes out of this abuse.
By owning it, I am telling whoever is listening/reading/watching that yes, this happens, and yes, it happened to me. I’m hopefully reaching other victims who feel alone and making them feel a little less alone, a little less hopeless.
I’m letting people know that I am still trying to live my life. I still have my voice. I am more than a victim. I am a survivor.
I hope to keep telling my story. I plan to work with victim support charities and maybe even schools to spread more awareness and help those who need it.
If there’s anything good that can come out of image-based sexual abuse, then it’s worth doing, right?