May’s story

It all started with someone messaging me on Tinder.

It was a completely normal chat – we talked for a little bit before exchanging our naked photos – that’s the way things sometimes work on Tinder.

May sitting on the bank of a river

We also exchanged numbers and Snapchats after talking for a few more days. I was completely ready to meet up with this guy until he started saying that he wanted to get his friend involved and record it. That was the first alarm bell. He also mentioned wanting to do stuff that I wasn’t into. At this stage, I was no longer interested, and blocked him on Snapchat and Tinder without telling him.

That’s when it turned really nasty. After he realised he had been blocked, he started calling my phone constantly and leaving abusive voice messages saying that if I didn’t do anything with him he would make sure that everyone I knew saw my naked photos. He said he had screenshotted these without my knowledge – so much for self-destructing images on Snapchat!

I didn’t know what to do. The calls kept coming so I blocked his phone number.

Then he took it to a whole new level by making a new social media account, which he used to re-send my photos to me, making sure I knew that he had them, and threatening that he was still planning to send them to everyone I knew. I didn’t know what to do by this point – every time I tried to do something to protect myself, he seemed to find a way back to me and make it even worse. And I had never even met this guy!

By this point, I felt like I had no other choice but to do what he asked me to do: I didn’t want everyone to see my photos, and so I did what he asked.

What May wants others to know

I just wanted anyone who might be going through this to know that you should never feel like you have no other choice. Talk to somebody while it’s happening, they may be able to help you.

If I had talked with someone sooner, I might have been able to get professional help – counselling or legal advice. And all of this would have told me what I know now – that this was not my fault – I was just really unlucky. After all, heaps of people share images like this all the time, and not all of them have horror stories like mine.

*May’s story combines the experiences and emotions of a number of individuals in this situation. Stock photo. Posed by model.

You will find options for support and counselling services below. There are also a number of ways you can take action to try to remove and report abusive images.

Ash

Ash’s story

I was 15 when my naked photo was shared without my consent. My boyfriend at the time kept asking me for a naked photo. I didn’t feel comfortable, even though everyone else was doing it, so at first I refused. Then one night I was staying at a friend’s house with a group of my friends.

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