IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Was The Victim Of Revenge Porn And Forced To Resign From My Job

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Publish date:
October 7, 2015
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Tags:
revenge porn, IHTM

It was early on a Wednesday morning in the early summer of 2007, and I was getting ready for work at a job I had been at for less than a year.

My cell phone rang as I was applying my make-up. It was my boss’s personal cell. This was unusual. He rarely called me after hours, let alone so early in the morning. I was immediately concerned, and answered the phone immediately.

“Hello?” I asked. He spoke quickly.

“Please don’t come in until 10:00 a.m. this morning, and when you do, please speak to security and have them escort you directly to the Human Resources Manager’s office.” Click. There was no goodbye.

I had no idea what was going on.

I arrived at the security desk at 10:00 a.m., and was swiftly escorted to the HR Manager’s office. I was nervous, and my stomach was in knots. Security closed the door behind me. The HR Manager sat at her desk with her hands tightly clasped before her.

We were alone. I sat down across from her, hands fidgeting, stomach rolling. I knew something was very wrong.

She wasted no time: “Do you know anything about this?” she asked, looking at me directly in my eyes. I looked down, and there it was. A grainy cell-phone photo of me naked in a bath. It was black and white, and had probably been printed that morning from the laser printer I could see sitting behind the manager’s desk.

My right nipple was barely visible through the pixelated bubbles. I was smiling.

The HR Manager had a naked photo of me in a bubble bath. What the fuck was happening?

I blinked and flashed back to the previous spring.

I was 26 and madly in love with my long-distance boyfriend, Rick, who had accepted a job in a neighboring state early on in our relationship. We tried our best to make it work. We visited each other as often as we could. We spoke multiple times a day on AIM, email or text, and had many late-night phone chats.

Of course, these conversations also included a great bit of sexy talk. I was young, and in love with a wonderful man who no longer lived in my city.

Attached to one of those sexy emails was a grainy, low quality cell-phone photo of me naked in a bath. My right nipple was barely visible beneath the grainy, light pink bubbles. I was smiling wildly. The subject read: For your eyes only. :D

The photo I sent that day was meant to be silly and cute, not titillating. When he was younger, Rick had a very short career as a model for a couple magazine ad spreads. One such spread included him sitting in a bathtub, surrounded by bright pink bubbles, grinning wildly. I laughed until I cried when he showed me that picture. I knew he would get a kick out of my re-enactment.

Rick called laughing me the moment he received that photo. He told me that he loved me. It was by far the best digital moment we had during our relationship. I still remember it very fondly.

Unfortunately, the long distance eventually became a strain on the both of us, and we split in the fall. The break-up was mutual, but it was hard, and we didn’t talk for a long while.

Did Rick do this? This didn’t seem like Rick, and last I'd heard, he was dating someone new. Surely Rick was not so cruel.

I blinked again.

My memories directly following the photo reveal are fuzzy. I remember being told that the only option I had was to resign voluntarily, or I’d be fired. I couldn’t think. My heart was racing. I was in shock. I was handed a piece of paper to sign.

The HR Manager stared at me point blank the entire time. Her eyes never left my face. I knew even then she was trying to intimidate me. It worked. I just wanted to get the fuck out of there.

I signed my resignation without another word, got up and left. I was escorted out of the building by three guards, and was told someone else would need to come pick up any personal belongings from my desk.

When I got home, I was in panic mode. I couldn’t believe Rick would do something like that. I had to find answers.

I immediately went to my computer and tried to log into my e-mail. I couldn’t get in. My password had been changed. What the hell? I then tried unsuccessfully to log into my LiveJournal and MySpace accounts.

This was bad. My heart raced.

Thankfully, I had a second email address that I almost never used, and had tied it to my main account. I was able to sign in. I still remember the intense feeling of relief I felt the moment my inbox appeared. With that accomplished, I was able to get back into my main email account, and my LiveJournal (I eventually had to send in a photo I.D. to get back into my MySpace).

I still didn’t know who had sent that photo to my boss, but I did know that LiveJournal recorded I.P. addresses for each log-in attempt.

Bingo!

As soon as I found where the I.P. address came from, I knew who had taken control of my accounts and sent that photo. Not long after Rick and I broke up, I quit my job working in the copy center in a big real estate office. My supervisor’s name was Mike. He was in his late 40s, and had made it clear he did not like me.

Maybe it was because he had a very obvious meth problem. Probably it was because I couldn’t quite keep the annoyance off my face every time he spoke about what a great “hacker” he was, and how much better he was than the all youngsters.

I don’t know for certain how he got into my main email account. The easiest answer I have is that he was able to key-log my activity on the computer we both shared. He had administrator access and I did not. He may have spent months watching my activity, combing through my emails.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much I could do about him, or the job I was bullied into resigning from. I had no real resources, and no money. I was broke and suddenly very jobless. My bank account balance was quickly shrinking.

Mike had deleted all evidence of the email he sent to my boss, and I needed to subpoena Google to gain access to that information. All I had was the I.P. address that had logged in to my LiveJournal account, but that wasn’t much to go on without the proof from Google.

I didn’t have the energy, or the time, or the money. I dropped it. I did call the office Mike worked in, once. He answered and said hello. I hung up. I never tried to reach out to him again.

I was lucky. I was able to find another job fairly quickly. My friends and family were supportive. Even though my dad confirmed that he had received the email and the photo, we never talked about it again. Mike’s photo and bio are still listed on the same company website, with the same job title.

I don’t wish him any ill will. I hope he has found happiness, and hasn’t tried to hurt anyone else.

I still have that email, with the photo. I never use that email address anymore, and the password is unique and very long. I am glad I kept it. It is a wonderful memory, and I am not at all ashamed of it. I don’t at all regret taking it, or sending it to my boyfriend, who I was in love with.

I am far more careful with passwords, now, changing them more often, and working hard not to use identical passwords for more than one account, but I will never regret sharing that moment of happiness with the man I loved.