IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Found Out I Was a Victim of Revenge Porn Via Snapchat

I am sharing my story on my own terms.
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Publish date:
February 16, 2015
Tags:
Tags:
revenge porn, betrayal, M, snapchat

I was in a desperate need of a dull Saturday night. I was so fucking hungover that at 8 p.m., I had just consumed my first meal of the day — a tall caramel latte and a toasted everything bagel from Starbucks.

As I was headed over to my boyfriend-thing’s (how do you even define a boyfriend in New York City?) apartment, I decided to catch up with some friends the good old-fashioned way, via Snapchat.

I was snapping my semi-distant friend “James” that I hadn’t seen in a little over a year when the jokes began. I ripped on him for being a certain age and yet still living at home, and he made fun of me for being a whore. All in good humor.

As I approached my subway stop, I anxiously opened James’s snap. What could he have possibly replied back to my middle finger to the floor?

My jaw dropped.

The snap showed James and two of his buddies holding up an iPhone with a picture of me in bed naked. James, “Luis,” and an unknown third male smiled and gave me a thumbs up.

Holy shit, I thought to myself, my future is actually over.

I couldn’t believe I just made direct eye contact with my vagina through the phone of a stranger in a 10-second Snapchat.

The worst part was, this wasn't just a simple naked photo of me floating around. This was a screenshot from a video I had sent an ex years ago when we were dating. A VIDEO! But how? I sent it to one person, “Kevin.”

I’m honestly still in shock. I’ve contacted my lawyer and alerted my sister, but I'm continuing to avoid calling my mother to confess. I don’t know how long this has been online or who else might have seen it.

I instantly texted both of them asking where they found it. They said it was their friend who discovered the picture, and recognized me as the ex-girlfriend of a guy I dated when I was 18. None of these guys knew, even indirectly, the culprit behind this act.

Fucking “Kevin.”

Kevin and I met in January 2012 in a college lifeguarding class. He was reserved yet funny, six foot five inches tall, and a virgin. Like most people living at home at this stage of life, his parents were the bane of his existence. We learned a lot from each other. We shared our stories and made some new ones together.

In May 2013, I decided it was time to break it off. Kevin had transferred to a state school eight hours away upstate. Things weren't necessarily difficult, but I felt like I was holding him back. I wanted him to be happy and have new experiences. Get drunk, hook up with a stranger, study a lot, study too little — I wanted him to figure it out for himself just like I did.

This is the part where in the movie where things change for the better and both parties live happily ever after. But this isn’t a movie.

Immediately after discovering my vagina’s Internet debut, I reached out to Kevin via email, requesting the names of the sites of which he leaked my video. I knew I shouldn’t have, I was advised by a friend not to, but I had to know. My dignity and career were at stake. He wouldn’t confess or write back, but instead, started blowing up my cell phone with various unrecognized numbers.

I jumped online and searched his name in a criminal data base to discover that he had recently been arrested for domestic violence against his parents. Kevin’s whole life was going down in flames and he wanted to take me down with him. I knew he was spiteful, but this was some next-level shit.

A week later, I was in downtown New York in family court filling out paperwork for an order of protection. Beyond that, there was nothing I could do except try and move on.

Here’s a message to the party behind this:

Kevin, please seek help. In the last two months you were kicked out of your home, disowned by your parents, and arrested for domestic abuse amongst other charges. I don’t know what happened to you, it brings me to tears. But you have to face your own burdens, not put them on me, or those around you.

Additionally, please stop contacting me. I know that hurts, but it’s for the best.

To those who have seen the video and those who will:

I am a good human being, but I’m not perfect. I fucked up. If I disappointed you, I am sorry.

To my current, prospect, or future employers that will possibly see this: If you do not hire me (or if you fire me) because I was a victim of revenge porn, you are not worth my time, energy, or effort. Bye Felicia.

To the public, if I reveal myself, then I’m an attention whore. If I wait to be exposed, I was hiding from the truth. I will never win in the eyes of many and that’s okay. But sharing my story on my terms, when I want, how I want feels empowering. Knowing that I can control to a degree, what people know, when people find out, and can possibly help someone out there by sharing my story is worth the ridicule I’m going to face.

I want to be a strong positive role model for women across the world. I want to be an advocate for those who need someone to voice opinions they’re afraid to speak.

Most importantly, if you or someone you know is experiencing harassment or abuse of any kind, please take the proper actions to make sure this ends immediately and the safety of yourself and your loved ones are never at stake.