The Nude Exposé: It’s Not Shameful, Don’t Blame Yourself
It is not okay to share intimate photos that someone has sent you without their consent
1 in 4 teens are sexting. What is sexting? Well sexting is defined by sending sexually explicit images, videos or messages. Sexting is very normal and there is nothing to be ashamed about, but when we misplace our trust in the wrong person this could end up disastrously such as: your nudes being revealed online for the whole world to see.
The reason why I’m writing about this now is because I have sent nudes in the past. I remember feeling nervous and standing in front of my full length mirror trying out poses which would make me look sexier. Inhale, exhale, click. The nervous rush that came after clicking on the send button and the immediate relief and giddiness when my crush replied and gave me a positive feedback. Fortunately for me, my nudes have not been ‘leaked’ (or as far as I know) but I can’t ignore this niggling thought in the back of my mind: what if I wake up one day and see my nudes on the Internet? So here I am today telling the conservative society to f*ck off with their judgments.
A study published by the Data & Society Research Institute in 2016 found that 1 in 25 Americans are either threatened with or victims of non-consensual image sharing, or “revenge porn,” and that women under 30, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community are much more likely than men to be threatened with revenge porn. There is also the complex matter of nudes or videos, consensual or not, being shared between minors. Strict child pornography laws mean that even consenting teens can find themselves guilty of possession of child pornography, which can result in a host of very serious legal consequences, including placement on a sex offender registry. Which is something that is really worrying. We need to stop punishing and blaming the victim. Its time that justice has to be done and punish those who have been circulating those nudes instead. A consenting teenage girl who sent an explicit picture of herself to the boy she likes shouldn’t be charged, it is the boy who spread those images and it is he who should be held accountable.
How long does society want to keep closing their eyes to online sexual harassment? Victim blaming is not right. For many years now we see celebrities, politicians and athlete’s careers destroyed because their intimate images have been leaked online. Let me mention this loud and clear, it is not okay to share intimate photos that someone has sent you without their consent (forced consent is not okay as well). We are all human and we deserve the right to privacy and respect. Sharing someone’s intimate pictures without their consent is a betrayal of trust and you can be charged by law for that.
New sexting stats from Seventeen.com may give you pause, according to the site’s study of more than 11,000 girls ages 14 to 22, 84 percent have been asked to take and send a nude photo — and 62 percent copped to actually doing it. 31 percent of the girls surveyed by Seventeen said they’d never take or send nudes, despite the fact that of the girls who did send out sexy pics, 13 percent admitted that their images had been leaked and shared. Let me break this to you: a teen girl sending nudes to someone she thinks she can trust does not deserve getting her pictures getting leaked online. Its quite shocking that many people turn a blind eye to this issue and nude exposing is still considered a taboo topic.
How it feels to be exposed
The first initial reaction would be a horrifying sense of shock which is completely understandable. Right there on your digital device you see your intimate pictures out there for the whole world to see, then as you try to process what you are seeing in your brain, a sense of mortifying horror comes through you. Then you would think how could this go so wrong? You try to control the emotions that comes flushing in and that emotion is blame, guilt and regret.Why am I foolish enough to trust that person? Why did I even send the pictures? How can live with the fact that everyone who has seen those images now think that I’m a slut or a roue?
I want to tell you that you have no reason to blame yourself. Just because you’ve sent someone a nude, it doesn’t mean you’ve consented to them sharing it. You trusted them to respect your privacy. They broke that trust and put you in a really crappy situation.You’re not alone, and it’s definitely not your fault.
Why you shouldn’t feel ashamed of your nudes
Nudity isn’t something to feel ashamed about. After puberty, everything from how often we crave sex to how much we enjoy self-serving sexual practices to how turned on or not turned on we are by naked photos becomes pretty subjective. But no matter how your sexuality is manifesting — provided no one is being subjected to blurred or abused consent — is OK. If one way is through the use of nudes, so be it. For a lot of people, nude images are one component of sexuality. If you don’t believe that sex is taboo, the nudes that can often accompany it shouldn’t be, either. Nudes can promote self-love and it is a way to reclaim your sexuality, your body, and anything else that’s been used against you.
Everyone has a role to breaking the victim blaming chain in this society and stop this public shaming of individuals who did absolutely nothing wrong but trust the wrong person. However you have to face reality and protect yourself if (for some reason) you want to send your nudes to somebody.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself:
- Check out the terms and conditions on the messaging platform.
- Learn about the image abuse law in your country or state. [Know that you have a full copyright and control over your image,video or selfie]
- You can copyright your images to have a more strong hold on it.
- Visit these websites for more info: Without My Consent , Lawstuff
And if your nudes have been leaked here is what you can do (and remember it is not your fault):
- Screenshot it. Do not delete the evidence
- Report it to the eSafety website commissioner.
- Refer to an attorney if you want to press charges. (this is a delicate step I do not want to impose on anyone)
- Do not forget to take care of yourself.
- Talk with a therapist. Do not ignore your emotions or let your emotions overwhelm you.
I want to let everyone know that ignoring these situations is not okay. You are continuing a generation that is blind and deaf to personal rights and dignity. There can be no words powerful enough to describe the turmoil of emotions that comes after the ‘leak’ of intimate images. It is our duty to make such issues stop and spread more awareness about this. I’m pretty sure that it is our best interests that the next generation can grow up using non-toxic online platforms.
It is time for us to wake up and fight for personal rights.