Dealing With Intimate Reveals
Discovering that someone, especially someone with whom you once shared an intimate relationship, is using your most private photos to try and shame you or damage your reputation can be heart breaking. But whether your ex is sharing personal and private photos of you online for revenge or some loser hacked into your computer or phone and is now distributing photos, there are steps that you can take to minimize the damage and get the pictures offline.
1# IDENTIFY THE ACCESS POINT AND CLOSE IT
How did the distributor gain access to the pictures?
- If you saved photos to a shared dropbox, cloud, or other photo sharing service, erase them. And if possible, terminate the other party’s access to the service.
- If someone has hacked into your computer or stole a flash drive, or other storage device, contact the police.
- If you provided your photos to the distributor, you can still get them removed. But it can become more challenging.
2# IDENTIFY THE PLATFORMS
Almost all social media and internet service providers have terms of service rules that prohibit either explicit photos or the posting of other people’s photos and will provide removal information. Follow the instructions, work with the platform’s customer service people and the pictures should be removed quickly.
Even pornography web sites will generally remove personal pictures if you alert them that the photos are being used without your consent.
3# IF YOU ARE NOT IDENTIFIABLE – DENY
While you will have to alert the various platforms that the picture(s) in question are of you, there is nothing preventing you from denying the pictures to friends and family, if you aren’t identifiable. Unless your face can be clearly seen or some other aspect of the picture makes it clear that the photos are of you….deny, deny, deny.
4# CONSIDER CONTACTING THE AUTHORITIES
Posting or emailing nude photos to shame an ex is so prevalent now, many criminal courts won’t get involved unless the photos were physically removed from your home and then they may proceed with burglary charges. The prevailing attitude is that if you didn’t want sexually explicit photos distributed, you wouldn’t have taken them in the first place. If the photos clearly show that you didn't know that they were being taken, such as when you were asleep or through a window or secret camera, the police are far more sympathetic and likely to get involved, but even then, honestly it is on a location by location basis. Some police departments are much more clued in then others.
Civil courts are more likely to entertain an action, especially if the photos are clearly taken without your knowledge. But, if you took the photos yourself or knew that they were being taken, courts have little sympathy.
However, if the pictures are being used as a part of ongoing harassment and you can prove that this is a part of a terror campaign, the police are more likely to get involved. They are also more likely to get involved if the pictures contain someone under aged or are counter to a restraining order.
5# STOP TAKING NUDE OR SEXUALLY EXPLICIT PHOTOS OF YOURSELF
Really. Just stop. I understand that in the heat of the moment, it can be very sexy. But it invariably turns out bad for the exposed person. Don’t make the matter worse by continuing to share these sorts of pictures, no matter how much you currently trust the other person.