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Victims of revenge porn reveal what happened when their naked photos were leaked

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A few years ago, hardly anyone had heard of revenge porn – it wasn’t a known term, and few people knew what it involved.

However, as of April 2015, it is now a specific criminal offence that can land offenders up to two years in prison.

Despite this, there has been a significant rise in internet abuse, with over 400 victims contacting the Revenge Porn helpline between February and April 2016 alone.

Now, speaking anonymously in a new Reddit thread, several victims of revenge porn have come forward to reveal what happened to them when their intimate or naked photos were maliciously leaked.

And, judging by their comments, it seems as if there is still a lot of work to be done in cracking down on perpetrators of this invasive crime.


Read more: Leaked photos of celebrities are no better than revenge porn


Writing under the handle WinonaK, one woman said: “While we were together, my (now ex) boyfriend posted pictures of me on a swingers website. Apparently he was swapping them with other men for pictures of their wives/girlfriends too.

“When I found out I was very upset, because I did not even know he had these pictures. My face was showing in them and I would never have consented to them being put online for anyone to see. What's worse is that many of the people he sent the pictures to were in the local area, so I could easily have been recognised.”

She continued: “I made him take everything down, but I can't do anything about copies held by other people. His excuse was ‘I didn't think you'd mind’. We broke up shortly afterwards.

“I investigated taking legal action but apparently because they weren't posted ‘with malicious intent’, I had nothing on him.”

“I made him take everything down, but I can't do anything about copies held by other people"

“I made him take everything down, but I can't do anything about copies held by other people"

Another user wrote: “A friend of mine [aged 13] sent nudes to a guy she met over the internet. He kept asking her to do more and more things in photos and she started to get uncomfortable and said no.

“After she said no, he posted the nudes he did have over 300 times on her MySpace profile and wrote ‘Look, a whore!’

“She called me crying, saying she didn't know how to delete MySpace comments, so we worked together deleting them on our own computers. It took a while, and she didn't see the comments until almost an hour after posting, so it's pretty possible her other MySpace friends saw.”

She finished: “We reported him but there wasn't really much else to do. We were also both young and didn't realize how big of a deal it was that he was leaking photos of a naked 13 year old.”


Read more: Jennifer Lawrence slams naked photo theft - "it is not a scandal, it is a sex crime"


One Reddit user, writing under the name BringYourEhGame, explained that she hadn’t known her personal pictures were online until she was contacted by a lawyer.

“I had no idea that my pictures were posted until a lawyer from California messaged me on Facebook informing me. Somebody had posted my nudes, with my Facebook and Twitter links underneath on one of those revenge websites. I still don't know exactly who did it.

“The lawyer who contacted me was working on taking the website down as a class suit.”

She continued: “It was a few months of stress, random people adding me on Facebook, and praying nobody I knew would see. Thankfully the website got shut down within 3 months or so.

“I was also only 16/17 in the pictures. Happened about 6-7 years ago. Shout out to that lawyer though, he was a big help and made me feel as comfortable as possible assuring he was going to have it shut down and not to pay any take-down fees.”

“I had no idea that my pictures were posted until a lawyer from California messaged me on Facebook"

“I had no idea that my pictures were posted until a lawyer from California messaged me on Facebook"

DreyaNova continued the conversation, writing: “When I was 14, a senior in my high school convinced me to send him a nude picture. I wasn't very popular, pretty lonely, nerdy, antisocial; honestly I was just flattered and excited that a senior was showing interest in me. So I sent him the picture, and he proceeded to send it around the school.

“People would stop me in the hallway and say things like ‘I've seen you with your tits out!’, I was called a whore a lot, I was ostracized and ridiculed... it made me really suicidal for a while.

She added: “It never occurred to me that I could tell an adult what had happened, it never occurred to me that an 18 year old distributing naked pictures of a 14 year old was a crime. I just assumed it was my fault for being a ‘slut’. So I bottled it up for years, did my time in high school, started dressing goth/alternative because it made me feel a little more powerful and like less of a sexual object.

“I finally graduated, and realized how detrimental the effects of having a nude photo of myself be shared around school had been to my self esteem and self worth… I genuinely believe that this topic should be covered during early sex-ed classes.

“My life would have been so much easier if I had known I could talk to my mum or a teacher about the mistake I had made in sending the nude picture, and that the guy who distributed it had committed a far greater crime than my sending it to him in the first place.”


Read more: "Why are women's cries for help still falling on deaf ears?"


Revenge porn is not a crime solely aimed at women; one man, calling himself The AntiSpoon on Reddit, wrote: “In high school, freshman and sophomore year, I was a nerd, antisocial with about 0 skill with women. I was f**king in love with this girl named Kendra… but I was never anything more than a friend to her.

“Fast forward to a year of this going on. I get a text one Friday or Saturday night from her and she's acting different. Like over-the-top forward and acting interested in me. I knew something was up, but she was the girl of my dreams at that point so I was ignorant and thought (hoped?) that it was real.

“One thing led to another and she's texting me to send her nudes [and I obliged]. She responds acting impressed and turned on. She starts saying she has weird kinks or whatever (in more words or less) and she hoped I could help out. Which of course I oblige. This was the most attention I ever received from a girl.”

He finished: “What'd she want? She wanted me to send her pics of me in panties. I'm not proud of it, but I went to my mom's dressing room, got a f**king thong and sent her a pic of me in it. She asked for more so I sent more.

“Within a week everyone in my small friends group had seen them and most of my grade as well as others. I was made fun of relentlessly. I tried to kill myself shortly after. Which I obviously failed at.”

"I was made fun of relentlessly... I tried to kill myself shortly after"

"I was made fun of relentlessly... I tried to kill myself shortly after"

Still on the topic of revenge porn, 18Jay95 added: “Stupidly sent them to an ex, he sent them around and they ended up on a Tumblr. I’ve even seen them posted on various subreddits before.

“At first I was a little annoyed but I’m not that bothered anymore. The worst bit about it is people using my photos on dating apps, I’ve had people message me on Facebook saying they were talking to me on Grindr and can they have my number. (I don’t even have Grindr).”


Read more: Why do women always get blamed for acts of abuse against them?


However some of the stories ended on a positive note – particularly when it came to the reactions of loved ones.

Ndividualistic said: “So my ex was a douche but I was young and married him at 18. We were together less than 2 years before we split. In that time I obliged him with nudes, but thankfully left my face out of the photos.

“Fast forward some time later and I meet a guy. We are hitting it off really well and decide to move in together. We had the porn talk and found out what each other liked. One day I'm doing homework and he comes in and says, ‘Hey, is this you?’ and proceeds to show me a nude of myself online. I'm mortified, and fully expect this to result in an argument.”

She continued: “What I did not expect is his complete understanding and faith that I actually did not post those and they were from a few years prior with my ex. He not only remained calm about the ordeal, but didn't bring it back up later.

“We have been married almost 2 years now. This all happened about 5 years ago. Even though he enjoys teasing me about things that make me uncomfortable, he won't bring this up and to my knowledge has not tried to find those photos again. All in all I'm pretty damn lucky with my experience.”

Revenge porn is a crime in the UK, punishable by up to two years

Revenge porn is a crime in the UK, punishable by up to two years in prison

It seems as if the UK has a long way to go before the problem of revenge porn will be completely eradicated – although there are people out there who can help.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newsbeat, laura Higgins, helpline manager at the UK Safer Internet Centre, said that her organisation has seen a large increase in calls over the past year – and that this is just “the tip of the iceberg”.

“So many people are simply too embarrassed and humiliated to seek help or advice," she said.

She has been calling for better support for victims, to mirror the help that is available in the US.

"I think we're a bit slow catching up here and because it's being talked about a lot more in America they're starting to introduce more robust laws.

"There is legislation here in the UK but I don't think it's very co-ordinated," she added.

"It depends very much on who your local police force are and whether your courts have had experience of dealing with these issues."

If you find yourself the victim of revenge porn, you can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline on 0845 6000 459. The helpline is open from 10.00am - 4.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Emails can be sent at any time to help@revengepornhelpline.org.uk

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