Life After Revenge Porn

I met him in 2014. He was from India, and he came to perform for my sister’s wedding. We became friends and eventually started long-distance dating. We were together for three years, always talking on WhatsApp, IMO, and Facebook. We would video call for hours and talk about different things until one day he asked me, “E., do you trust me? Can we take this further? I really want to see you naked.”

I stared at him on the phone, really scared about it—but I was so much in love that I agreed to indulge in online sex. We kept maintaining our relationship like this, until eventually we started fighting due to different time zones, lack of communication, busy schedules, and work. I decided to break up with him in 2017. He would always send me emails and try to get back together. But I was done with all the fighting.

In December 2018, I met a man who wanted to marry me and who proposed to me. My ex, who was in India, had connected to many of my friends on Facebook and was inquiring about me to them. Once he got to know I was getting married, he planned with one of his friends to create a Facebook and Instagram profile where he could spread my nudes. What I had not realized in my three years of dating is that he had saved all our videos of online sex and took screenshots so that he could use them against me in future. He used a female profile and added all the people he could find from my country and community on Facebook and Instagram. He used all his contacts where I live and got the number of the man who wanted to marry me; then, he sent him my nudes and videos. He made up stories about who I had slept with, and finally, he succeeded in breaking off my marriage proposal.

After that, people from my community approached me—and they judged me. Some of them would ask me what was happening, while the others would look at me like I was dirt. I cannot forget the moment one of my Facebook friends sent me my nudes and told me someone had sent them to him. I was afraid and panicked. I began shivering and salivating uncontrollably. At that moment, I wanted to end my life. It was too much to bear. I was naked in public.

People didn’t see only my naked body—they also saw me sexually aroused, doing things to myself. I was scared of losing the person who wanted to marry me. I was ashamed and humiliated in front of my community and family. Everyone had different opinions. Some told me they understand I was being unfairly targeted by a vengeful ex. Others tagged me as a “whore.” Everywhere I went, people would stare. I started suffering from social anxiety. I would cringe and squirm when anyone looked at me. I wanted to sit at home and never face the world again.

My ex also wanted me to lose my job and sent my nudes to my workplace. I would walk into the classrooms and feel my colleagues talking about me. I wanted to complain to the police and go to the cyber-crime branch, but I could not do it, because they would ask me questions I would not know how to answer. Did I really want to get the police involved and make this matter bigger? My ex was not even in my country! How would we even catch him? I was confused and suffered in silence, until one day, my mother talked to me.

She gave me the best piece of advice anyone could ever give me. She told me, “E., your ex is doing this to you to make you suffer. Why do you want to give him the satisfaction of it? This is your life and your body. Society will talk and judge, but will you run away from people? Every person has a story. No one has a clean past. Don’t ruin your life by listening to what people think and say. You live your life and face the world.”

That is when I started to gather my life back. I started realizing several things. Here are the lessons I learned and implemented:

1. I accepted the situation. Yes, my ex was taking revenge. Yes my nudes were going around, and I could not do anything about it. I accepted the fact that it was not in my control.

2. I forgave myself for blindly trusting him and giving him my all.

3. I chose to face the world. I stopped running away.

4. I decided to take my life back into my control. I started going for walks and doing everything I used to do before this traumatic event.

5. I spoke to my friends and involved them in it. Some judged me, but others supported me. Bad times reveal who your real friends are. Those are the ones you want in your life.

6. I forgave the man who wanted to marry me. He could not stand for me in the worst period of my life. He would not be able to stand for me in anything else in the future. I let all my grudges go.

7. People talk…so let them talk. I was the only one who defined my own life. I no longer allow others and their opinions to define my life for me.

8. I focused on my career because I realized financial stability will take me a long way. As long as I have shelter and food on the table, what anybody says didn’t matter.

9. God has a reason for everything. At my lowest, I realized that I had to take control of my life. I lost fake friends, and I was free from shame and social pressure. I knew the people who believed me and supported me were all I needed.

10. I realized that life goes on. Yes, people saw me masturbate and naked in public. But now—so what? Life has a way of moving forward. A new story of someone else will come, and it will be forgotten. Time heals.

11. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that I don’t need a man to accept me. As women, we first have to accept and love ourselves. A man who truly loves you will love all your flaws and understand your past. Anyone who cannot do that is not worth your time.

12. How you see yourself is how others will see you. I didn’t let the world put me down because of their perceptions. I valued myself over them.

Lastly, I would like to leave a message for anyone going through cyber-bullying and revenge porn. It is not the end of the world. Fight for your life and take it back. We cannot control everything in life, but we can choose to be courageous. Perhaps even share our story. Being in love and having sex (online or physically) does not define your character. But it says a lot about the person bullying you. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. This is your life. Talk to someone. It feels good to share. Finally, don’t regret anything. God is in control—and good things will happen. Take these bad experiences and make them your stepping stones to a brighter future.

 

E. M.

About the Author | E. M.

E.M. is a woman who believes that every person has a story. We are no one to judge people for their choices. We can just accept them for who they are. She enjoys spending time with friends and laughing out loud. At the moment, she teaches second grade and loves to see her students indulge in creative work. She lives in East Africa and loves her country!

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1 comment to "Life After Revenge Porn"

  • Alaa Mansour

    The advice number 11 and 12 are so important. we all make mistakes, nobody is perfect, and those who judges you severely they were not only revealed by someone,. True friends and those who deserve your love are the only one who will always stand by your side, trust you and believe you.