We know just how fear-inducing this moment is, and that your anxiety must be at an all time high. So here’s what you can do if someone has leaked your nudes photos online.
Remember that you are not alone. We know from our research that many young people across the country fear having their nudes leaked, it has happened to them or they don’t know how to open up about serious instances of assault. As such, we want to get the world talking. Letting people in and sharing your problems is not only the best way to look for a solution, but will help protect your mental health in the process.
So where do you start if someone threatens to leak your nudes?
Remember this is not your fault
The most important thing is not to blame yourself. Taking and sending nudes is something that happens a lot, and when you sent it, you thought you could trust that person. It is absolutely not your fault that this person has fallen far short of your expectations. These threats are not OK, and it is entirely their fault.
Tell someone you trust
If there is someone in your life that you trust implicitly, you should tell them. We know you might be frightened of being judged or rumours being spread. But talking about this is the best thing you can do to protect your mental health and come up with a solution. They might be able to direct you to the best trusted adult in your life that would understand, be non judgemental and support you through this process.
Don’t give in to their threats
If they are asking you to do something in return for keeping the mnudes under wraps, do not give in to their threats. Whether it’s for money, to get back with them or do them a “favour” of any kind, you shouldn’t do it. This is extortion and it is a crime. You can go to the police if this happens.
Keep a record of the evidence
When this kind of thing happens, it can feel like you just want to forget it and move on, ignoring the situation completely. But, if there is any chance that this can be dealt with efficiently and effectively by the appropriate authorities, you will need proof. Keep a few screenshots of any messages or posts that refer to the threat, and try to include the time and date in them. This is something you will need going forward so the appropriate action can be taken by your school, or even the police.
Report and block them when you’ve gathered the evidence
When you’ve got the records, report the account to the social media platform if the threats take place on a platform. This will at least get the ball rolling on the account being taken down, perhaps even before they have actually posted anything you don’t want to be seen.
You can go to the police
Sextortion is a crime. As is distributing naked images of children. If you were under 18 when you took it and sent it, you will NOT get in trouble, but if they send it on or publish it online, it is an extremely serious offence, and you will be well within your rights to go to the police about it. This article can tell you some of your legal rights in the UK.
You might think that this kind of issue does not counts as bullying, but all the usual things that a perpetrator of bullying does are present in a scenario like this. They threaten, intimidate, scare, and abuse you. It counts.
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This Anti-Bullying Week, we are tackling the BIG issues. For more, check out our dedicated bullying hub here.