So much more than a betrayal online

So much more than a betrayal online

Imagine being in a loving, committed long-distance relationship and your fiancé requests nude pictures.

Imagine being in a loving, committed long-distance relationship and your fiancé requests nude pictures. You send some because you trust him implicitly, he’s also sharing his naked images, and this is the man you’re planning a life with.

Now imagine, two years later, you discover one of your private full frontal nudes displayed publicly on his Twitter account. Your business has been tagged and he has written: “This is the thief and liar who calls herself a counselor. She’s a gold digger who uses people.”

The victim of this particular attack is a friend I’ll call Joan. She is the only parent and sole provider for two children that she wants to protect— hence the alias.

As horrified as she was to discover the betrayal of the man she’d been in love with for three-and-a-half years, she wasn’t ashamed of her picture nor shocked that he posted it.

He had threatened that if she didn’t comply with his demands by a certain time he would embarrass her, and after seeing an alarming new side of him since their recent breakup, she could envision him doing almost anything.

Of course, there are two sides to every story, so detailing the specifics of their relationship or the subsequent deterioration of it is insignificant. What is significant is that he publicly posted a naked picture of someone against their will with a defamatory statement. Anyone who does that should lose all credibility and respect.

The man responsible for this repulsive act is a firefighter in Texas. If ever there was a group of individuals who would be aghast at his dishonourable conduct, professional heroes such as these would be it.

When Joan discovered her naked photo posted to Twitter, she immediately reported it to the social media site. An hour later he posted it a second time stating that she uses people and destroys lives. He then tried to connect with her children.

Joan contacted the RCMP in West Kelowna where she lives, the police in Texas where he lives, the pastor of his church and the fire department where he works. The pastor and the fire marshal responded with a promise to investigate.

After 36 hours the pictures were removed from Twitter, but his account stayed active. Joan now worries they’ll appear again within her professional circle or on revenge porn sites. She’s constantly in surveillance mode, glued to her electronics, feeling like a sitting duck.

Distressed at the prospect of enraging him further, she’s terrified what could happen next from the man who texted that he didn’t care if he went to jail.

“Out of fear I planned to surrender to his blackmail,” she said.

“But when it came right down to it, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I teach my children to stand up to bullies. I felt physically ill at the idea of not standing up for myself or any other woman he may do this to. It’s like giving in to a terrorist.”

This was more than a betrayal for Joan.

“It was an unconscionable act,” she said. “That someone would love and appreciate my body when they got what they wanted, and then use it against me when they didn’t shows an age old power dynamic of entitlement and ownership.”

And the even bigger issue for her was safety. There’s no control over where those pictures went, who saw and shared them or how they might be used. It puts her and her children at risk for stalkers, sexual predators and offenders. It could also impact her ability to provide for them.

Many people will question Joan for sending him pictures in the first place.

“This reaction highlights an underlying attitude of misogyny,” she said. “People shouldn’t be asking ‘Why did she?’ but ‘How could he?’ They should be appalled at his abhorrent behaviour. Friends and colleagues should find it so totally unacceptable and repugnant that they look at him in a different light entirely.

“The change in our society will come when men stand up and hold others accountable and say this is not okay. Because as women, we should be able to look, act, share, speak and exist without the inhibition that lies in wondering how any of that might be used against us.”

The change will also come when people understand that she has nothing to be ashamed of. He is the criminal who sexually violated and exploited her.

For more information visit EndRevengePorn.org and CyberCivilRights.org.

 

Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at LoriWelbourne.com.

Just Posted

The North Island College campus in Port Alberni is located on Roger Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College to offer digital and in-person classes this fall

In-person classes will be able to resume in September

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
B.C. forestry watchdog finds lack of compliance in Nahmint logging

Forest Practices Board says old growth and biodiversity near Port Alberni are at risk

Port Alberni Fire Dept. deputy chief Wes Patterson, right, and another firefighter monitor the front of a garage at Second Avenue and Argyle Street that burned on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Fire starts in empty garage on Argyle Street in Port Alberni

Garage was attached to empty multi-storey commercial building

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

RCMP outside the Nanaimo Ice Centre investigating a report of a suspicious person. The incident resulted in hold-and-secures at two nearby schools, but those emergency procedures have now been lifted. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Man walking around Nanaimo marsh with airsoft rifle concerning to police and nearby schools

Two schools went into hold-and-secure procedures Thursday, May 13

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Saanich police and a coroner investigated a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal Greater Victoria crash

Driver who died veered across centre line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read