Home All Posts Sex, Lies & Videolinks – Life On The Revenge Porn Helpline #Workingmums

Sex, Lies & Videolinks – Life On The Revenge Porn Helpline #Workingmums

by Author: Jade Lloyd
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Parenting and revenge pornography.

Now there is a title to get attention. Not to be confused with mummy porn. This is not my lament to fifty shades. Whilst yes, this is predominantly a parenting blog, a parent is not all I am or all I am interested in. Do not digitally scurry away, close your laptop screen, scroll past quickly or tut without reading. This is important, be brave, keep reading.

What is revenge pornography?

For the acronym lover, ‘RP’ (and yes the media coined the term and no, I don’t like it) sometimes referred to as non-consensual pornography or image based sexual abuse, is an adult issue. It is the act of sharing intimate pictures or videos of someone, either on or offline, without their consent.  Part of a culture of humiliation that needs to be stamped out.

What do you as a job?

Open Mon-Fri 10 am to 4 pm, the Revenge Porn Helpline is the UK’s only dedicated service that provides free, one-on-one confidential advice and support via email and phone. It is not the job I dreamed of when I was eight years old, then becoming an astronaut was my vocation of choice.

What it is, is a unique role, which allows you to help hundreds of people; traumatized, desperate, often drowning in guilt and shame which none of them should be made to feel. Anxiety, depression, fear, this is the language of revenge pornography. Do I hear you utter ‘well if someone is going to take a photo then it’s their fault?’ That would be painful and damaging ignorance, do women who wear skirts deserve rape? Does a man deserve to have his trust destroyed by the person he loves when she sends his most intimate images to his boss and he loses his job? No one deserves to be a victim, to be treated so abominably.

The fault lies with those who disregard consent, those who seek to humiliate and to punish, to hurt, and they do, revenge pornography can destroy lives. Its effects are pervasive and long lasting.

But who becomes a victim of revenge porn?

You, me, your milkman. Again you may say, it’s just ‘young’ people that take pictures. In reality? People from eighteen to eighty contact the helpline. Do you have a camera, a laptop, a phone, a body? Male or female it can happen to you. But you are not alone.

So many different stories are heard on the helpline; a woman after decades of domestic abuse, a survivor, called weeping as her ex who coerced her into taking pictures posted them on social media and sent them to her adult children.  A cruel tool of power and control. A couple’s laptop gets hacked and their personal video is shared on multiple adult sites. Another, a mother calls as her daughter has her intimate pictures printed and stuck under the windscreen wipers of the whole street by the new girlfriend of her ex. A widower, lonely, hoping to find a connection, to find romance, films himself on webcam to someone posing as a woman but who belongs to a criminal gang and demands his pension. Threatens to share content with his church. That last case is sextortion by the way, or cyber enabled blackmail. It’s a pitiless, heartless practice, a crime. And it’s growing.

The heartache of the helpline.

Practitioners are specialists in the RP field. They offer practical assistance in reporting and removing content online, coach callers on how to gather evidence, offer legislative advice and how to approach authorities. To signpost, to give emotional support, they are here to help minimise the reach and harm. A day in the life of a practitioner on the RP helpline? It is one filled with hope, emotion, anger, determination, advocacy, and yes of graphic content BUT all a practitioner sees in the pictures are people that need help, a voice. Victims of a repulsive crime. Like all small charities seeking funding adds additional stress and takes away focus on the victims who are the more important focus. They will fight to be here for you as long as possible. If you want to help the service is raising donations to secure funding to continue but also to meet the extraordinary rise in demand.  A little goes a long way, check out the current crowdfunder.

Cough up.

‘How do you do it all?’

I didn’t. No one does. Those of us with complex professions, like all working parents struggle to find balance, to avoid burnout, trying to live up to unrealistic parenting standards. Many people ask how could I do a job like that and go home to my son with a head full of tears and hateful actions. It is not always easy. It is hard being a working parent, a SAHP, a parent full stop. We all know about sacrifice. Chores, stress and chaos. Some days I am tired and bossy, stressed, tired, and rushed. Others, independent, determined, rewarded. The perfect parent is fiction, and would faint at the thought of RP.

P.s for parents.

RP is NOT to be confused with,

Sexting: which can also be enjoyed by adults, and often is. In the context of child online safety ‘Youth Produced Sexual Imagery’ better describes peer to peer sharing of intimate images of anyone under the age of 18 with someone of the same or similar age.

Indecent Images of a Minor: You have to be sixteen to consent to have sex, but the legal age to distribute sexual content is eighteen so producing, possessing or sharing content of minors is a serious offence and the drivers, motivations and legal consequences are different to RP. BUT if you are under 18 & share nudes of anyone over 18, you could be criminalised under the revenge porn law. For information you can contact the IWF, CEOP or Childline on 08001111.

This is the digital world our children are growing in, that we live in. One of pixels, and of online harm. It is not the fault of the smartphone or Google. Don’t fear, educate. Fight but understand what you are fighting.

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