Once upon a time, you had 14 shots of tequila—as far as you can remember. You kinda lost count after the 7th. All you can recall for certain is that the shots made you feel sexy. In fact so hot that you took off your top and let your boyfriend take your photo while chugging down another shooter. The next morning, your head feels like a brick. But that’s the least of your worries. You also discovered your not-so-decent photo was posted online by the guy who you thought was your boyfriend. He turned out to be just some random tool who promised you marriage after the 8th drink. The next day, he didn’t look so hot either.
You have just become a victim of revenge porn. What now? First, have another shot. They say the best cure for hangovers is another drink anyway. Besides, you need something to relax your nerves before you call the perpetrator to demand that the photo be taken down immediately.
Before calling, make sure you document the post in case you want to take legal action. A screenshot can be used as evidence when you reach out to the police, your lawyer, and the site hosting the abusive content. It is also a good idea to take a screenshot of search engine results of your name that can lead to the content in question. Also document messages related to the content. It may be from the guy informing you that you’re now infamous. Web pages should be saved as PDFs. When you take a screenshot, make sure you get the entire page, including the URL and the date and time. Prepare to record your conversation in case the lowlife’s ulterior motive is blackmail.
Next, confront the perpetrator. This can be very tricky. You need to be firm without inciting anger, because you want to end this quickly without pushing the person to make any more damaging actions. Make it clear that what he did is illegal and can be grounds for serious legal action which could lead to a hefty fine or even imprisonment.
If your offender refuses to cooperate, contact the site hosting your indecent exposure. Before reaching out, research about their policies on nonconsensual pornography or revenge porn. Most popular platforms will remove the content upon request if it violates their policies or standards. Here are a few quick guidelines to go about reporting the abusive content in the following social networks:
Facebook has a Report Photo or Report Video option under Options in the lower right-hand corner when you hover over the content. Following the screen instructions, you can either report the post as nudity or pornography or as content that humiliates you or someone else. Then submit your complaint for review. For a more detailed guideline, click on the question mark icon on the top right of your page next to your notifications icon. At the very bottom of the menu tab, choose Report a Problem and then click on Abusive content.
Select the More icon on the offensive Tweet then select Report. Select It’s abusive or harmful. You can either choose Includes an unauthorized photo of me or Includes private information. You will receive a confirmation email which will give you further instructions. For more information, hover over your profile picture and choose Help Center on the menu tab. Scroll halfway down and choose Abuse under Safety and Security.
For iOS or Windows click on ••• and for Android choose on the top right of the post. Click on Report and then It’s inappropriate. Follow the instructions that pop up. If you don’t have an Instagram account, the site has a help center that features a form to report violations.
Under the video, find the More button which will pull out the menu featuring the Report button. The menu bar on the left-hand side of YouTube’s home page also features a section for Policies and Safety which explains their guidelines on sexual, harmful, or violent content, hateful posts, cyberbullying, scams, and other policies.
Other major social networking sites or search engines like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Tumblr, and Reddit also have policies and help centers to guide you through the process of reporting your complaint.
Be aware that once your photo or video is out there, it could quickly spread. You may have to search to see where else it may have been shared. If you’re lucky and if you move fast enough, you may be able to do a clean sweep. But there is a chance that you may not be able to keep up and you may have to enlist the services of a takedown company—like DMCA Defender or Copybyte—to track your images and directly get in touch with the sites for you. Be warned—takedown services are not cheap.
Time for serious action
Research and know your rights. Republic Act No. 9995 states that photo or video voyeurism is punishable by law with either a fine of at least P100,000 or imprisonment between 3-7 years. Under the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009, it is illegal to take a photo or video of anyone’s private area “such as the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast” to broadcast, share, or sell without the person’s consent. Similarly, it is also illegal to capture an image or video of anyone performing a sexual act. Even if you had agreed on the coverage, it is still illegal to post the content without your permission.
If you can prove blackmail with your screenshots and/or voice recording, you can charge your perpetrator with violence against women under the RA 9262 on top of the violation against the Anti-cybercrime law. Contact your lawyer immediately to seek legal advice. If you can’t afford one, file a complaint at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). And next time, drink responsibly.