I Was A Victim Of Revenge Porn

Let’s cut right to the chase:

I am a woman who enjoys having sex and I’m not embarrassed (nor should I be) to admit that.

However, I have always been conservative and uncharacteristically careful on the topic of sending naked photos. I have never felt comfortable with the idea of someone having such a tangible, visual keepsake of me and my body. Having a mental image is one thing, but I grew up hearing stories about private photos being shared in locker rooms or ending up on amateur porn sites. This is why I have never once sent a risqué photo to anyone.

Unfortunately, it seems that my participation in sending such photos was not a necessity.

I recently received a call from a friend to inform me what she had heard through the grapevine. A video of me having sex, taken without my knowledge and distributed without my consent, had been sent to a group of people. A group of people, some who I didn’t know, had now seen me at my most exposed, most intimate, and most vulnerable.

The video had been sent by someone that I had been casually, but consistently, sleeping with. I don’t believe that you have to be in love with every person you sleep with, but I do believe that there is a basic level of trust and respect that emerges when two people participate in such an intimate act together. Because of my apparently naïve views, I had just assumed there was an element of friendship and compassion between us. I never thought that I would have to sit him down and say something along the vulgar lines of, “Hey buddy, I would really appreciate if you could not send a video of me bent over your desk to all your friends.” Strangely enough, I thought that was just common courtesy.

After about 30 seconds of silence after being told this news, the first thing I did was let out a hollow and almost hysterical laugh. How ironic. I had been so careful all of these years, despite begging from boyfriends and requests from flings, not to send out anything that would ever put me in this situation and yet, here I was. It was the real life version of that dream everyone has where you’re suddenly naked in public. Only I was naked and in a bit more of a compromising position.

In the next five minutes, I experienced the most intense and fast paced changing flurry of emotions I ever had. Anger, of course, surfaced first (Who the fuck does he think he is?) but was quickly followed by humiliation (Who has seen the video? What will people say?) with some sadness (Why would he do this?), vulnerability (What else does he have?) and a whole bunch of other feelings that are so sublime that I can’t accurately describe without using a bunch of facial spasms and over the top hand gestures.

Secretly filming someone while having sex is demoralizing in a way I didn’t know possible. This boy didn’t respect me enough as a human to treat me with the dignity and respect he would want for his sister or friends. I was worth no more than my body; my feelings, mind and soul just didn’t matter. I again went from hot anger exploding from my body, to physical revolution where I wanted to be sick, to a type of sadness that I had never experienced before, with silent tears flowing down my face.

After a few hours of attempting to leave the anger and betrayal aside, I started to think about the shame that was consuming me. Deep down, I know that he was in the wrong, but I’ve experienced and seen enough slut shaming and victim blaming to think that I should be the one ashamed. Despite the fact that I was the one whose rights were violated, I was the one worried about the consequences, whereas he had probably forgotten all about it. I felt like I had lost all agency over my body.

I know that in the bigger picture this speaks about larger issues: the lack of respect some men have for women, the sexual shame that women inherently feel no matter how hard they try to ignore it and concerns surrounding technology and privacy. But for me, it’s even more basic – someone treated me like shit, and it’s pretty difficult to look past that feeling.

I’d like to say that this story had some sort of deserved karmic ending, but that’s not the way these things tend to end. I’d like to say that when confronted with what he had done, I received an apology, but apparently that would just be asking for too much. There’s so much I would like to happen, but reality is, I’m just going to keep going through life like I did before, just a lot more guarded and a lot more likely to stick to positions where I have a 360 degree view of what’s happening. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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