You probably already know that you should never send anyone compromising photos of you, even if you have been dating for a while. But you also probably think that even if you did nothing bad would happen. That’s what I thought when I sent my boyfriend of four years a quick topless photo one night when he was on a business trip. I didn’t think anything of it and I even forgot that I sent it. Until about six months later when we broke up.
I ended the relationship and he took it badly. But, I thought after the dust settled that things would get back to normal. Unfortunately, I was very wrong. About a month after we finally ended things for good and he moved out I got a message from a friend on Facebook telling me to look at a website. They sent a link. And there, to my horror, was my topless photo with my name and my employer’s information. And my friend let me know that the link had been messaged by my ex to every single person on my Facebook friends list, including my boss and my co-workers.
I was mortified. And also terrified. I didn’t know what happen. I was afraid of losing my job and I was also afraid of being ostracized by co-workers. I was worried that clients or business associates would see those photos. I wanted to look on Twitter and Instagram to see if he was sending the link on those platforms but I didn’t have the courage to look. One of my friends looked for me and told me that the link had been tweeted to all of my ex’s ten thousand followers.
I called the police but they told me that there was nothing they could do. I was advised to print out the photo and the information from the website and start documenting any messages or contact I had with him in order to try and build a case against him. But there was no way to prove that he had uploaded the photo and because everything he was doing was online there was no way to stop him.
I started suffering from anxiety attacks all the time. I didn’t lose my job but I was definitely treated differently. My co-workers gossiped about me and I was passed over for a promotion that I had earned a few months after all this happened. Of course, I couldn’t prove that the photo had an impact on not getting the promotion but there’s a good chance it did. Eventually, I changed jobs but after just a few weeks my new employers received an email from an anonymous account with a link to the same site.
I never thought that one quick selfie would end up ruining my chances for promotion and following me from job to job. I trusted my boyfriend and I felt certain he would never do such a terrible thing. But it happened to me, and it can happen to you too. Think twice before sending any photos that could be used against you in the future.