Many of us will have sent a ‘not so PG’ photo, whether it be to your boyfriend, girlfriend or just someone you’ve been chatting to online. In fact, 4 in 10 of us admit to sending a naked photo of ourselves at least once, according to The Wireless Report 2014, so it’s actually pretty common. But what do you do when the dreaded thing happens, and the photo ends up in the wrong hands? Revenge porn is a form of online harassment whereby people distribute explicit photos or videos without your consent. Revenge porn is an offense and it can leave people feeling violated, devastated, humiliated and unsure of who to trust.
Of course if this happens to you it will naturally come as a huge shock, so first of all, stop, breathe and don’t freak out. Remember – it’s happened to loads of others including countless celebs, so you aren’t alone in this. As embarrassed as you might feel right now, it will be okay and we are about to tell you about some things you can do.
- Your reactions are normal: It’s normal to experience a range of feelings, from frustration, anger, and hatred. It is, after all, a major breach of your privacy. It’s good to try and do something to process these emotions by ignoring them and burying them away never works out in the long-term. You could also try our Stress Reprogramming guide
- Don’t stress and accept: It’s probably going to feel like your world has come crashing down all around you. The very important thing to remember is not to stress yourself out and fight what has happened. Remind yourself that where there is a challenging situation, there is always a solution (which is easily forgotten). A few minutes away from the problem can really help you relax and will make you more productive. Take it from us, it’s impossible to act rationally and properly when you’re stressed
- Stay positive: You may become worried or anxious about what people might think of you and feel like you want to hide away in a cave until it’s all over. Staying positive is vital when you find yourself in such a situation. It might seem a bit silly but try and say positive thoughts to yourself to undermine any negative thoughts. Even if you don’t really believe them in the beginning, say them anyway. Over time, they become a habit and the negative thoughts will dissolve
- Talk about it: It’s so much easier to get through something when you let others give you a hand. It is really important to tell someone that you know you can trust about what’s happened. This can be a close friend and yes, maybe a parent or guardian. Remember they might kick up a bit of a fuss at first but they won’t judge you. They will, however, be there to give you the best possible help, guidance and advice (and they will get over it, promise)
- But, don’t tell everyone: You may feel tempted to tell lots of people, maybe to make the person responsible feel bad or it may just be that it feels relieving to share what you are feeling. Try to resist this. Only hang around with close friends who will support and not criticise you
- Contact the person responsible: You’re probably feeling angry (with every right) and want answers as to why someone would do something like this. Sadly we have found that it is more often a problem that the person themselves has, or something bad going on in their life that has caused them to do such a thing. We have found that it can be beneficial to speak to them about resolving issues. If you feel comfortable doing it, here are some tips on approaching it
- Get it removed: There are some steps you can take to get a photo removed from an online site: you can send the website owner an email telling them to remove your photo from the site. You can also contact ‘Cyber Civil Rights’ an organization that will help you will the removal of images. You can also get advice on the other practical and legal steps open to you from them. There is also a Helpline who can be contacted on844-878-CCRI (2274)
- Contact the police: Seriously, contact the police and make them aware of your situation. Revenge is a serious criminal offense and as with any crime, you should consider informing the Police at an early stage. Try and collect every piece of evidence you can, keeping records of everything – this can be screenshots of the site your photo is on, emails or texts. The police are there to help you. Also, if you are below the age of 18 or were at the time you took the photo, it is also classed as child abuse, which is also illegal
- Don’t seek revenge: Okay we get it, you’re going to be feeling pretty peed off and that’s completely fair enough and normal. You might even feel tempted into getting some sort of revenge of your own. This will in no way help your situation, it will most likely make it far more complicated so try not to be overwhelmed by your emotions and keep your head held high. It’s also likely that you’d get into trouble and it would probably water down your case
- Most of all remember it’s NOT your fault: It’s easy to feel like blaming yourself for what has happened, but don’t! It’s important to remember that you did not cause this to happen and it is not due to anything you said or did. This behavior is a form of bullying and is probably the result of them having a bad time in their life which caused them to act out. So again you are aren’t to blame
We hope that these top tips provide enough advice to enable you to overcome cases of revenge porn. If you have any further questions about dealing with a naked selfie leak or require further advice, please do get in touch.