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'It made me feel really dirty' - Victim powerless against revenge porn attack

When Jane’s ex-boyfriend posted naked photos and a sex video online, gardaí were unable to take any action against him.

MY IMMEDIATE REACTION was to run to the bathroom and throw up. I couldn’t fully compute what I was seeing. I couldn’t imagine who would do that or why they would do it.

A young woman has described how her ex-boyfriend uploaded naked photos and a video of her in a ‘revenge porn’ attack, which received 10,000 views before she was made aware of it.

But due to a lack of legislation around cyber crimes, gardaí were unable to take any action against the man who uploaded the images. Instead, the woman was reduced to confronting her ex-boyfriend herself.

The woman told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning how a male friend took her out to dinner last February to alert her to the fact that naked photos and a video of her were on a porn website. They had been online for a year by then.

“He handed me his phone with an image on it,” the woman, going by the name ‘Jane’, said. “There were naked photos of me on the screen along with a video and descriptions of me saying where I lived, how old I was. All it left out was my name.”

The first thing she did was run to the bathroom to get sick, she said.

It made me feel really dirty, to be honest. I didn’t know how to deal with that. It’s one of the most intimate, personal things. I felt so vulnerable and violated. It’s a violation of my trust. It’s a violation of my basic human rights. It makes me feel physically sick that someone could do that to me.

The video footage was 10 minutes long and showed the woman and her ex having sex in his bedroom in his parent’s house.

shutterstock_217498456 Source: Shutterstock/Vadim Georgiev

Jane said her ex appeared to have secretly filmed the pair using the webcam on his laptop, but she had no idea at the time.

The photos were consensual photos that they had both agreed they would delete after viewing, she added.

He said he’d delete them and you like to think you can trust someone you’ve been seeing for a year. But obviously you can’t.

When Jane went to the gardaí with the footage, she said they were extremely helpful and promised to do everything they could to help her case.

But when she returned a few days later to make a statement, she was told the guards had since been made aware there was nothing they could do due to a lack of legislation.

“The garda I was dealing with said, ‘Jane I’m really sorry. It turns out it’s not illegal. We can’t actually do anything’,” Jane said. All she could do was make a statement for the Director of Prosecutions (DPP) to highlight the legal loophole.

shutterstock_258726044 Source: Shutterstock/GaudiLab

Gardaí did contact the porn website and had the images and video taken down, but her ex-boyfriend put them back up immediately. Finally, Jane and her parents confronted him in front of his mother.

She said he eventually broke down and confessed.

“His poor mother, she couldn’t believe her son had done this,” Jane said. “She asked him what I had done to deserve it and he said he didn’t know.”

He then deleted all of the images and the video from the website and his hard drive.

Jane said the couple had gone out for one year but had no contact for two years prior to the revenge porn coming to light. Their relationship was troubled at times but the break-up was amicable. She still doesn’t know why he put up the images and video.

Jane is now calling for the law to be changed when it comes to revenge porn, adding laws were put in place in the UK last year.

It’s completely archaic…It’s horrific this kind of thing has to come to light before the law can change. It’s deplorable I have to publicise my personal life, my private life.
Because it’s the internet, you can’t completely erase anything. It could be up there again right now for all I know for the world to see. But I have no control over it whatsoever.

Read: Man took intimate photos of his sleeping girlfriend and posted them to Facebook

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