The idea for this project came about after the creator, Mikala, found herself falling victim to instances of revenge porn which spanned over the course of around five years.
With little help from the police, and the narrative online being largely one-sided, it seemed like time to take action and to put power back into the hands of victims.
Mikala is not alone in the experiences she’s had and ideally would like to try and gather as many voices as possible to build a series of important messages of struggle, empowerment and eventual overcoming.
Revenge porn became illegal in 2015 but even since the criminalisation there have still been very few cases of success for victims. One in three allegations are actually dropped, due to anonymity not being granted for the victim, or a lack of police support. There were over 3,000 reported instances in the UK from 2017-2018, and the number is rising at a staggering rate.
It is important to note that many victims will not take action in reporting this offence to the police. It feels very much like a violation to have to show even more people the images, and often personal phones or laptops are actually seized by the police force and can be taken for years. It can also be incredibly difficult to pinpoint or remember who could have shared the content in the first place, and with nobody to take the fall, cases can collapse. On top of this, there is a harrowing amount of victim blaming that occurs.
Arguments such as “just don’t take naked photos” are pedantic, ignorant and actually irrelevant - as there is a percentage of revenge porn that happens without the victim even knowing. Photos and recordings that have been taken when the person is unaware, facing away or even asleep have trickled onto the internet in forums, porn websites, and file-sharing sites.
Victims often have to find out in troubling ways: messages from others who’s images have appeared, friends or even from strangers who have viewed the images for pleasure and think it appropriate to bring them up as a means of starting conversation. The internet is a wicked place too, and even if the content is removed, it’s often been saved, shared and posted to lots of other places, meaning that it can follow victims around for years.
All of this put together means that revenge porn can ruin lives, careers, relationships and opportunities for so many people. People changing their names and moving cities has become commonplace, and it seems that despite revenge porn’s regular occurrence, few know of how serious it is.
The purpose of this project is to provide a second narrative. The victim’s.
Much of the content shared is of private, intimate moments initially intended for one other person to see. When this trust is breached, the desolation that occurs is hard to describe.