• Alexander Morgan

What can we do about revenge porn?


If you’ve ever sent a nude or a saucy text; you’re not alone.

We’ve all done it – walked past the mirror after a shower, thought we looked mildly attractive, lighting is good, and we crack out our phones and snap a shot. In those fleeting moments of confidence we send it to a potential someone as a modern attempt of flirting and that is all dandy.

But, what prevents those people sharing those personal images with others? What refrains them forwarding them on to a friend? What stops them uploading your shower selfie or a video? The answer was nothing.

It’s happened to me. Last year someone had found some of my moments online and slid into my messages with the link. It was clear their intentions weren’t admirable when they threatened to post them on twitter if I didn’t show them more. Luckily, although not sure where from, I had the confidence to call their bluff and they didn’t post them.

Protection against these threats has struggled to catch up with the digital age. New threats of sexual exploitation such as revenge porn are becoming a growing problem. So what is it?

Revenge Porn is the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress. It was only in 2015 that a specific law was created to help combat the growing statistics.

The images can sometimes accompanied by personal information about the subject, including their full name, address and links to their social media profiles.

The offence applies both online, offline and to images which are shared electronically or in a more traditional way so includes the uploading of images on the internet, sharing by text and e-mail, or showing someone a physical or electronic image.

According to recent figures, 40% of men affected by revenge porn identify as gay, and 50% of male cases report bribery, or ‘sextortion’ (threatening to release images as a form of blackmail).

Our team at Stay Brave has come up with some ways that you can be safer when sharing your moments of good lighting;

1) Keep you face out of it.

They already know your face is cute. So, keep things to a bod shot only and keep recognisable backgrounds to a minimum. This way if the worst does happen you have some deniability. Also handy not to show areas with tattoos. If that’s unavoidable try using some stickies/edits to cover them.

2) Trust the recipient. Easy one. Do they seem like the person who might be the kind that posts your images or use them as blackmail? Do they seem trustworthy? Not sure? Best keep the images to yourself until you’re sure.

3) Use more secure apps. So, don’t just text a nude. Using apps like Snapchat that only flash your nude for a period of time helps, it also alerts you if someone screenshots it, however it’s not a full proof system. Instagram also alerts you if someone has snapped your screen. Apps like Whatsapp and iMessage, although encrypted from hackers, do not offer any feature to prevent a recipient saving the images their end. Unlike Snapchat, apps such as Privates (iOS) has screenshot protections – however, this doesn’t stop other taking a photo of the screen with another device. Bleep (iOS, Android) has a self-destruct function that deletes your images after a period of time and if a screenshot is taken it ‘blurs’ the name of the sender in the corner (not super helpful but still!)

4) Saving more wisely. Clouds can be hacked – ask Jennifer Lawrence. Try and keep your nudes on local devices, which are passcode protected and encrypted. An external hard drive is best, however keeping them local to your phone in a password protected folder can sometimes be better than the cloud. And in case your phone is stolen - put a password on your phone, duh!

Now, this is not a place of judgement. If you want to send a nude, send one! There’s nothing wrong with being naked and sexting is fun. However it is paramount that we stay in control of how our bodies are used – and staying safe from those who might exploit. Stay mindful, folks!

If you’d like to talk to someone or if you’ve been affected by someone sharing your images you can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline: 0345 6000 459

This article was originally posted on FS Magazine website. You can read this article and others here.

This article was written by Alexander Morgan, CEO of Stay Brave. Alex is a survivor of abuse and exploitation and campaigns against gender stigma that prevent access to abuse services. You can hear more from Alex by following him on Twitter or reading his articles on Huffington Post.

#Nudes #Sexting #RevengePorn

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