My nudes are posted online! What do I do?!
First things first: don't panic.
You're probably feeling extremely anxious at this point, and for good reason. Someone has just violated your privacy in a deeply personal way, and you're afraid now that it might affect other parts of your life, even permanently.
But there is absolutely something you can do about it right now to help your situation. Please follow our How To guide to learn how to file DMCA Takedown Notices begin to get these images removed. But in the meantime please please make sure you read and know the following things:
- At any given time, very few people are Googling your name. You have adequate time to figure out this situation and to keep yourself safe.
- At any given time, very few people you know personally are browsing revenge porn sites or general user-submission based porn sites.
- Anyone you know who does see this material is likely to immediately recognize it as a deep violation committed by someone else. They're judging the person who did this to you, not you.
- Many people you know, more than you think, have taken these kinds of images and sent them to others, and know it could just as easily have been one of us. We understand.
- Locking down your social media settings as soon as you become aware of this material can give you important peace of mind. Make your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media (including dating site profiles) private. Ensure on Facebook especially that you've modified your search engine settings to make your timeline unsearchable.
- If this situation is making you consider hurting yourself or if you feel hopeless, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
- You will get through this situation. It might not feel like it right now, but it will get better.
An ex is threatening to release my images unless I agree to have sex with them, give them money, etc. what do I do?
This is called extortion, and it is a serious crime. Take screenshots of and print all threatening texts sent to you. Print all threatening emails. Take notes of all dates and times that you were contacted by your harasser. Bring this information to your local police station and talk to a detective to see if you have enough information to file a report.
In this situation it is also advisable to consult with a lawyer beforehand. Many lawyers will take a consultation for free, and many universities and employers have free legal clinics available to students and employees.
What kind of legal options do I have? Can I Sue?
Your legal options will vary by your situation, and even sometimes by your state. Please check your local directory for legal assistance or this listing by state of attorneys that have volunteered to assist with revenge porn cases. Depending on the details of your case, the website on which the material was posted, and whether the person with your images is known, you may have the ability to file suit under state statutes or in civil court.
Advocacy group Without My Consent notes, "A survey of legal cases demonstrates that this problem is widespread and that many people have turned to the legal system for assistance, with varying degrees of success. There are many recorded cases where the victim turned to the criminal justice system after being threatened with the online publication of intimate images.
For example, there are several cases where the perpetrator demanded money or sex in exchange for not posting images online. Other victims have used civil laws to sue the perpetrator for money damages. Victims have used many different causes of action, or civil laws, including Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Negligence, Stalking, and Invasion of Privacy claims. Other victims have obtained civil restraining orders to keep the victim from posting the images online."
Additional information that may be helpful to your lawyer can be found here, listed by state.
I'm not a victim, but this issue is important to me. How else can I help?
Bookmark this page and its instructions to keep on hand for yourself or someone else who might need it in the future.
Report violating images you find online, and do your best to not drive traffic to or support sites that host them. Speak out when you see others misusing intimate images sent to them or when you see others blaming the victim of revenge porn and harassment. Where you feel safe doing so, attempt to alert victims where you have found their images and offer support.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This page updated as of 10.01.2015.
My images aren't nude, but they're still being posted to harass me, is there anything I can do?
Good news, the entire instruction guide for filing a takedown notice for your images still applies even though your photos may not constitute "Revenge Porn." While some states are enacting special laws against posting nude or intimate photos without someone's consent, the basic protections of all images still apply to your situation.
One of the most common myths about doxxing is that if you don't take nude images, then you're safe from use of your pictures for online stalking and harassment. Often posting of personal information including otherwise innocuous photographs is often used to incite other users on a website to send sexually harassing messages to the victim, to send threats, find additional personal information, and find ways to stalk and harass them "in real life" at their place of work, school or at their home.
Sadly, these situations often arise when people find images of someone they either A: find attractive and want to see more photos of, or B: are seeking the personal information of someone who has written or created media that they distinctly and often violently disagree with. Bloggers, activists, journalists, and even commenters on articles have found themselves the subject of online smear campaigns where dozens if not hundreds of users are recruited to threaten and intimidate the person who posted the offending content.
Other examples of use of non-nude or non-intimate images for harassment include but are not limited to: posting personal photos and information on user-based submission porn sites to alter someone's professional search results, creating impersonation accounts on other websites, dating sites and for fraud purposes, and posting on forums meant to spread gossip or make fun of the victim.
My harassment doesn't involve images, but I'm being doxxed and harassed by lots of strangers. Is there anything I can do?
One of the most emergent forms of harassment is mob harassment and death threats aimed at those who express opinions contrary to the harassing group. LGBTQ activists, anti-racism activists, reproductive rights activists are often subjected to this form of harassment.
CrashOverride is an online task force of private agents that are on call the support and assist victims of online harassment, including providing personalized plans of action and recommendations to address your issue.
We highly recommend reading their comprehensive guide of best practices for victims for additional information on actions you can take to reduce your exposure.
My DMCA Takedown Notice didn't work, what do I do now?
If working on your own did not do the trick, there is an affordable third party DMCA notification service called DMCA Defender that can file notices for you for much less than their competitors, and have pre-existing relationships with many webhosts that can expedite your takedown.
In particular if you are a victim of revenge porn, DMCA Defender offers specialized assistance and deeply discounted rates. Take advantage of their experience and be sure to email them with any additional questions about their services.
This all sounds really scary, is there any way to prevent it?
We always highly advocate being as proactive as you can in knowing your online footprint and reducing it in line with your personal comfort. CrashOverride has a guide to finding and removing personal information online, in particular your home address.
Let's be clear, taking nude images will never be 100% safe from online reposting and use for harassment, but you can practice safer sexting by reviewing one of the many helpful and empathetic guides online of tips that can ensure that you can keep your right to engage in the intimate practices that make you and your partners happy.