The distribution of sexually explicit images or video of individuals without their consent may waste a person’s reputation and self-esteem. However, the number of reported incidents is constantly increasing the last decade — Laura is one of these victims.

Illustration image – A girl discovering a video of her on a pornographic website. © AK

“All over the world, girls might be bullied because they once realized a sexual fantasy”.

Laura was a studious and class-leader pupil before to become the laughingstock of her high school because of a private video she didn’t control the publication of. “I didn’t regret it but it was like I was forced to feel guilty.” She was this kind of free girl from South of France when I knew her, not really used to be ashamed by sexual jokes or seductive attitudes — she actually liked it. But aged of 18 the view of ourselves and self-esteem are really vulnerable. When I met her for this article, after a four-year gap, Laura was not the same person anymore : strict outfit, no make-up, head down. For me, she agreed to go back to this traumatic event.

The evil of the century

Revenge porn is usually used as a way to blackmail someone. Laura wanted to break up with her boyfriend and when it comes to have this ultimate conversation he decided to use the video they shot months before. “He threatened me to publish the record if I refused to stay with him”. The schoolgirl was so overwhelmed that she did stay several weeks more. “But I told myself that my desire to leave him was stronger than my reputation and that I didn’t care what people would think about it”.
She didn’t imagine that this video would achieve her family’s eyes. “The most awkward moment was when my 14-year-old brother tried to tell me that he saw me on a pornographic website”

 “Of course I was ashamed that everybody knows how I was making love with my partner, but it is natural to try new stuffs with my fellow, isn’t it?”

Illustration image – A man ready to upload a video on a pornographic website. © AK

Laura then realised that her boyfriend’s threat was real. “I didn’t hear about him for few weeks, I thought he forgot and had already found a new girl”. It was before to know that her face was the front image of the Pornhub’s amateur section. “I was of course chocked to discover this, thanks to my brother’s phone by the way, but overall in the middle of thousands other videos which doesn’t require the approval of the performers.” If revenge porn is a current woe, it is because amateur porn is a current trend. Pornography consumers want more and more real, far from the overplayed standard scenari. This law of supply and demand that keeps digging a gender gap in a sphere where it is already present enough.

“If the life of my ex-boyfriend became a success story, in my small town, mine was ruined.” Laura’s family was marginalized, she was daily insulted, her brother as well. “I went to my brother’s secondary school to pick him up when I heard ‘Hey slut!’. I turned back to answer when a kid supported by his ‘crew’ spat on me. I had no word anymore. My brother arrived in front of this scene, head down, while all the pupils’ parents turned the eyes away as a way to tell me that I deserved it”.

An awareness in progress

Illustration image – Group of boys feeding amateur pornography’s success. © AK

Laura’s parents supported her “I am happy that their view on me didn’t change otherwise it would have been dramatic for me”. However, they also felt in their workplaces that some colleagues were acting differently. “I realized that every body was watching porn and supporting an industry that allows these kinds of practice.”
All the family then decided to move to another city. “Few months after the publication my father had a job opportunity in Paris and it appeared like a chance to start a new life.”
In parallel, Laura tried to bring prosecutions against her tormentor. “Three years ago there were no legislation about it and the few associations I talked with just answer me ‘But why did you do this?’ as if I was the only case.”

“I have no advice to give except shot it with your own phone.”

Laura is unfortunately not alone at all. Governments are now referencing the Revenge Porn in their Law — Florida and New York states recently made it punishable. Moreover, last November, Facebook launched a test program in Australia to avoid this type of leak. The US tech titan even compensated and pay the costs of the action of a Northern Irish teenager in January.

The only problem is that you first have to send all your nudes to allow the social network to detect them.

 

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