Sexting scandals are everywhere: whether with celebs or regular folk. So what do you do when a jerk makes your private photos a public display?
It seems like a new celebrity sexting scandal pops up once a month or so, with racy photos being leaked all over the Internet. The result is much the same: we raise our eyebrows and return to our game of Peggle, or perhaps, some curious pervs will have a peek at the photos or video. As a society, we seem to shrug off these unfortunate celebrity nude scandals as something crazy or self-indulgent happening in Hollywood.
Celebrities usually manage to bounce back from their incidents with no real damage done, but what about the average Joe? Sexting scandals are becoming more and more paramount in non-celebrity society, wreaking havoc on your privacy, as well as causing family turmoil, bullying, trust issues, and even suicides. Unfortunate sexting circumstances make it even more important to warn teenagers and millennials about the importance of sexting privacy and what to do if it gets breached.
If your nudes have been leaked by a disgusting hacker or a douchebag ex, then your life is probably feeling pretty topsy-turvy right now – but don’t despair. You can rise above anything and come out stronger in the end. Don’t give this jerk the satisfaction of ruining your life over one little blip. After all, you’re pretty fabulous, so why should YOU be the one who’s embarrassed by these actions?
How to bounce back after getting your nude photos leaked
It may seem like your world is crashing down all around you, but there are ways to do damage control if your naked pictures get posted on the internet.
#1 Take a breath. You are not to blame. Our society has a tendency, especially towards women, to play the blame game. If a woman was sexually assaulted, they ask what she was wearing. If nude photos get hacked, they said she deserved it for putting her photos out there in the first place.
While it’s true that the best way to avoid having a nude scandal is by not taking and sending nude photos *and might I stress: absolutely NEVER trusting someone else with damning photographs or information about yourself*, the fact is that a huge number of people send naked photos or suggestive texts that they probably shouldn’t. So why are you being slut shamed or having your feelings disregarded because you got caught?
We are all human, and we all do things we regret. Should you be punished for this for the rest of your life? No. Does your sexting mean that you deserve to be called a slut, or have your dignity, privacy, and humanity stripped from you? No. The one who leaked your photos should be blamed, not you.
#2 Tell your parents. Alright, so it’s never fun to tell our parents when we’ve done something admittedly stupid or embarrassing, but this awkwardness skyrockets whenever it has anything to do with sexuality. Finally commenting on the photo scandal, Jennifer Lawrence referenced either never being able to get all the money she made from The Hunger Games trilogy or having to call her dad and tell him that nude photos of her were now on the Internet, indicating the choice was obvious.
That being said, it’s always in your best interest to tell your parents and the authorities, such as trusted teachers, a counselor, or the police, what has happened. Not only might they be able to do something to right the situation, but they’ll also offer comfort and support during an emotionally trying time in your life.
#3 Surround yourself with people you trust. Stated above, surrounding yourself with trusted friends and family can only help. While it may be a little embarrassing at first, leaning on your support system will help you gain a bit of stability after seeing your nude photos in public.
After all, everybody makes mistakes. There have been too many bullying- and sexting-related suicides for you to keep yourself hidden away from the world. Be a warrior. Be a survivor! Surround yourself with the people who love and understand you, and screw the rest.
#4 Keep records of everything. Keep any evidence you have of the perpetrator, or the website where you’ve seen the photos. If you have text messages from the person who leaked the photos, take a screen cap. If you have e-mails from perpetrators about the photos or print screens from the website where they have been posted, keep them.
KEEP EVERYTHING! Continue to keep all evidence of the ordeal. This will help the police greatly, especially if you decide to lawyer up. [Read: How to stop a creepy ex from contacting you repeatedly]
#5 Try and get the photos taken down. If you know the jackass who leaked your photo, start out by sending a cease and desist e-mail. This e-mail should outline a settlement agreement wherein they will remove your content and will be restrained from being near you in the future. Have your lawyer help you with the wording if you have pursued official legal action.
This letter should also include a copyright assignment *meaning you own that nudie pic, and if they don’t take it down, they’re in big trouble* and an agreement that you’re allowed to fine them big bucks if they break your agreement.
#6 Tell the police and find a lawyer. While you may just want to close your eyes and wait for your ordeal to fade away, the best plan of action is to tell the police and find a lawyer. Both parties will be able to help you get your photo taken down, and you may even get to prosecute the perv who is currently making your life difficult.
File a police report, hand over copies of all your records to them, and ask them about enforcing criminal action against the perp. Also, find a lawyer. With the media scandal surrounding leaked nudes, there’s bound to be a lawyer out there who’s familiar with the ins and outs of your case.
#7 If you can’t get the photos taken down… If the website moderator is being a total dick and won’t take down your name or dirty photos, then the best thing you can do is pay close attention to your Google ranking. Your Google rank is the order in which the search results of your name *or whatever particular subject* will come up.
Push your scandalous photos to the seedy underbelly of Google’s back pages by paying close attention to your social media. Anything that is connected to your name should be regularly updated, such as your Google+, LinkedIn, or Facebook page. Another great suggestion would be to start *and regularly update* a series of blogs under your name. This will mean there will be tons of positive search results coming up under your name before people find those undesirable pages.
#8 Don’t share in the ex-revenge. If you want to take revenge on the jerk who leaked your photo, go for it! But do so in the legal way. The last thing you’ll want to do is sink to their level and share your ex’s dick pics with the world because:
– Males are less ridiculed for sexual misdeeds. For whatever reason, society expects women to be angelic creatures that are slut shamed when they break out of this mold, while men are congratulated for their sexual exploits.
– If you’re hoping his dick pic will spread across the internet, it probably won’t. Not at the rate a leaked nude of a woman would, anyway. Because porn and revenge websites are largely looked at by males, the odds of them wanting to spread around that “dirty man-slut dick pic” is pretty low.
– It’s low, and you’re way better than that. You now know how violated it feels having your goods shown to the strangers of the internet. Don’t be that kind of person. Do things the right, and legal, way. Also, you could have legal action taken against you – and that would totally suck. [Read: 12 devious ways to get revenge on your ex (or not!)]
#9 Everything blows over. It may not feel like it, especially if you are in high school or college, but everything blows over eventually. Fortunately for you, there’s always someone doing something bigger and badder than any embarrassing thing you feel has happened to you.
While scars of the ordeal may pop up now and then, the public side of the event will likely have blown over within a month or two. Social media is always up and ready to report the next ridiculous thing happening in your town.
#10 Speak out about it. If you want to grab the bull by the horns, then endeavor to be proactive about your situation. Alright, it happened and it sucks, but try to use your newfound sexting education to help another girl *or guy* avoid the problem in the future.
There are programs in place for people to speak out at high schools and colleges about the dangers of bullying and sexting. If you can help another girl avoid going through the pain that you went through, then at least something positive came from your unfortunate situation.
Keep your head held high, even if scandalous photos of you have been leaked. It’s hard to have your privacy stripped from you, but don’t let your life be ruined all because other people are. Learn from what happened, and do something about it. Being proactive will help you own the situation and will only make you stronger in the end.
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