It all started with someone messaging me on Grindr.
It was a completely normal chat — we talked for a little bit before exchanging our nude photos. That’s the way things work on Grindr.
We also exchanged numbers and Snapchats after talking for a few more days in which we exchanged more photos. I was completely ready to meet up with this person until he started saying that he wanted to get his friend involved and record it. That was the first alarm bell. He also mentioned stuff that sounded really violent — like he wanted to see me cry and wanted to make it painful and that he enjoyed hurting people. At this stage, I was no longer interested, and blocked him on Snapchat and Grindr 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 on my phone as well.
Then he took it to a whole new level by making a new Grindr 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 Luca wants others to know
I just want 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 there were other options, such as contacting police or eSafety. I was just really unlucky and I didn’t know what to do. After all, heaps of people share images like this all the time on Grindr, and not all of them have horror stories like mine.
*Luca’s story combines experiences and emotions of a number of individuals in this situation.