In our digital age, communication is more available than generations before us. Dating pools are now larger, with social apps giving us access to a wider range of people who live further away, compared to, say, our parents who probably went to school together or came from the same area. Our partners are now just a text, a call, a WhatsApp or a FaceTime away, still maintaining a relationship (whatever form that relationship may take, no judgement) where you don't need to be physically with each other in the same room or even the same town.
So inevitably, there may be times when you're not together in the same room and those good old horny vibes start to kick in. You trust each other, right? So you get naked and send nudes to each other, perhaps even videos. Nothing wrong with that at all. But then you break up, lose contact or one of you ghosts the other, and suddenly you have a whole archive of their nudes, and they of you... What happens next?
Many of you may be aware of the Chrissy Chambers case and victory last month, whereby her ex-boyfriend secretly filmed them engaging in sexual acts and, once spurned by their break up and still reeling years after, uploaded the clips onto known iron site RedTube. Chrissy successfully (after a long battle) sued her ex for harassment, breach of confidence and misuse of private information. You'd never think that you would be in this position, until one day, you could be recognised on the street as ‘the star of porn’ or start receiving messages from your ex’s friends, or even family. I can't even begin to imagine the humiliation, anger and upset over the situation, not to mention the goings-on in the aftermath, personally, professionally, and beyond. And even though laws have been put in place to make revenge porn a criminal offence, the real question is: how much do you trust your ex with your old photos and clips?
Here’s hoping that they had the respect to delete everything straight away. Just because you've seen each other's naked bodies before doesn't mean that, post-break up, you have the right to share or utilise the content in any way. You'd like to think that they respect you enough to delete them and move on, job done. Even if a relationship has ended on bad terms for you, you'd still like to think that there's enough respect there for things to be dealt with responsibly.
In my opinion (although I know some situations can be more nuanced or complicated), if you feel like your ex would use those files to manipulate or degrade you in any way, I'd make a point of getting hold of those files by any means possible before cutting all contact and calling it a day. Even if it means physically standing with them and watching them delete them all from their phone or computer, or possibly having them hand over a memory stick. Even with that, there's still got to be the trust between the pair of you that you've been able to wipe the lot from their files with no copies lurking anywhere else. If it means protecting your wellbeing, your body, your private space, then it's worth it. Perhaps even talk to a close friend or family member who could help you out if you feel like you can't manage it on your own.
These days everyone is driven by data and information. It spreads so fast that you could blink, and BAM, there you are on seven sites. You have every right to do what it takes to claim your information back. The Ex Files are named exactly that because they should be left in the past, not dragged up as ammunition to avenge wounded ego in the future. Revenge porn is not control, it's an abuse of power and isn't taken seriously enough. They may think they ‘own’ the file, but they don't own you, your body, or have any say in what you do with it.
If you've been affected by or are worried about revenge porn, head over to our Resources in order to access the support that you need.
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