Finding explicit contents of yourself – that you shared with someone you trusted – online can be incredibly, deeply distressing. You might feel the ground should just open up for you to enter.
But if you think your private, sexual videos or pictures have been posted on the internet without your consent, there are steps you can take to right it.
Here’s what you should do if you’re a victim of revenge porn.
Call the police
Sharing explicit contents of someone without their consent is a crime, and perpetrators can serve a prison term for it.
You may feel embarrassed or ashamed, but this is something you absolutely must go to the police about.
Reporting the crime to the authorities is the first step – it will not only bring the perpetrator to justice, but it will help stop them from doing the same thing to another victim, and in the event the issue should take a different dimension.
Get it taken down from the website
After reporting to the police, the next thing to do is get the content off the website of.
If the photos are selfies, or a video that you took yourself, then you own the copyright. Contact the website and say they were uploaded without your consent.
You should also mention that you’ve reported the images or footage to the police.
Get it removed from Google
Removing the content from the website of origin is not enough. Google has recently made it easier for victims to stop revenge porn from appearing in search results.
To request that your content is removed from Google, you can fill out this form.
You just need to provide them with the following information:
- Your full name
- Contact email address
- URL for where the content is live, if applicable
- A sample URL of Google search results where the image or video appears
- Screenshots of the offending content, which will help ensure that Google is removing the correct results. Use image-editing software to obscure the sexually explicit portions of the screenshots, but ensure that it will help identify the specific content you wish to be removed.
Get it off Facebook
If the images or video has been shared on Facebook, you can anonymously report the posts to the site.
You can also report the individual user to the social network, as long as you provide the URL to their profile and their email address. Do so using this link.
Talk to someone
Even though you’re not in the wrong, being the victim of malicious leaks or revenge porn can make you feel ashamed, isolated and depressed. It is an incredibly traumatic thing for anyone to have to go through.
Given the nature of the crime, you may not feel comfortable bringing it up with friends, family, colleagues or teachers.
If so, remember that you’re not alone – there are people you can talk to, especially people who are honest with you about the occurrence.