This is probably the most honest I will ever be in a blog post and I am hoping that in doing so I will be able to raise this issue with others and discourage people from doing the same thing I did. But if you haven't already guessed from the title, my nudes were leaked.
At the time I was sixteen, had just left school and was going through quite a lot of things at home. My Mum and Dad were in the middle of a heavy divorce, I felt like I was losing a lot of friends, I had just learned what mental illnesses were and the fact that I had them, and was being messed around by a guy who I really liked and had no self-respect to end things with him. Why is all of this important to my nudes being leaked? They are kind of the reason why I sent them in the first place.
Whilst all of this was going on, there was another guy (not the one I mentioned above) that I also really liked. After things kind of ended with the guy above (it was just a situationship), I decided to pursue things with him. He was good looking (my type on paper) and I felt that he really liked me too. But things got pretty intense really fast and he was soon asking me to send some 'pictures' to him. Because I was aware of how easy it was these days to send pictures you receive from one person to others, I said I didn't really want to, so at first, he managed to persuade me to start sexting him. I didn't necessarily enjoy doing this but felt like I had to in order to keep him interested and to not lose him like I had managed to do with the other guy. However, I soon felt like this wasn't enough to keep him interested and he kept on asking me to send him pictures of me. So one day I finally caved and sent him the pictures.
These pictures (and videos), including the sexting, were probably sent on and off for just under a year. I had sent them on Snapchat because when you send a picture or video on Snapchat if the other person takes a screenshot of what you have sent them, you get a notification saying they have done so. I did this because I knew that he knew that I would know if he screenshotted them, either to keep for himself or to send to others. I knew that this would prevent him from doing that, but in general thought I could trust him not to do so. Or so I thought.
It turns out he was getting the pictures on one device and was taking pictures of them on another. This way, he was able to keep the photos/videos I had sent him and was then able to send them to other people. I only found out he was doing this because my friends thought I wasn't capable of sending nudes as I hadn't really done a lot with guys at that point, so being a sixteen/seventeen year old, I decided to brag to them about the fact that I had done that. They didn't believe me so messaged him about it and as soon as he knew that they knew me, he sent them a few of the pictures. To my knowledge, the only people he sent the photos to were two of my friends, another guy who was a mutual friend of ours and actually told me he had sent them to him pretty much straight away and also to my ex-boyfriend (he was my boyfriend at the time that this guy sent the photos). This then led to over a year-long struggle to get him to stop sending the photos, to delete the ones he had, and to actually apologise for what he did without then asking me to send him more photos/say I could do the same to him (and so far I don't think he's done any of those things, but it's been two years since we last spoke so who knows?).
In regards to getting him to stop, the guy he sent the photos to was actually really helpful in working as a go-between for me to communicate with the guy because it was really difficult for me to get through to him at times and sometimes I just couldn't speak to him at all, even though I needed to, so I really want to thank that guy for that. He did send me a screen record of him deleting all of the photos/videos, but given after he'd done that I could see no other photos, I'm guessing he only deleted the ones he had in a folder and didn't actually delete them properly as they still would have been in his camera roll. Anytime he did 'apologise' to me (either of his own accord or because the other guy involved in all of this had told him to), it always ended in him either trying to get me to send him more photos, telling me how 'fun' that time was and that we should do it again, or telling me that he would send me a picture and I could get my own back on him by screenshotting that picture and sending it to people. The last two things mentioned were what he said to me when we last spoke just a little over two years ago. I haven't heard from him since, have never got a proper apology from him, and don't intend on trying to get in contact with him ever again either.
The reason why I'm telling my story today is that I want to make others aware of the dangers of social media and sharing things online. Regardless of whether they are intimate photos or not, these things can always come back to haunt you, as these images have done to me for the last four years. I am constantly living in fear of these photos resurfacing and also the fact that if they do, my future career could be ruined before it's even started. I fear that my family may somehow end up seeing these images. I fear that they may end up on a porn site (if they haven't already, that is). I fear that that guy is going to message me again and either pressure me into sending more photos, or threaten to send them to more people/places. This is a fear that I shouldn't have to live with and neither should anyone else.
As I was only sixteen at the time, this is illegal and is considered as child pornography. At the time I felt that everyone else was doing it, so didn't see why I shouldn't also do it. The difference there was the majority of people were sending their images to their partner who they could trust; whereas I was sending mine to someone I barely knew. I should have known better and I'm hoping that in sharing this story, it discourages other young people (and adults) from making the same mistakes I did.
Love Beth xx
If you have been the victim of child pornography or childhood sexual abuse, you can get help by getting in contact with RACPAUK (Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse UK).
If you have been the victim of revenge porn, you can get help by getting in contact with the Revenge Porn Helpline (UK)