By Maan de Vera
At some point, all of us have played our roles in spreading risque content online. Whether you shared inappropriate photos of someone else in your friends' group chat or you’re on the receiving end (even when you just happen to stumble upon a photo you know you shouldn’t see,) it’s safe to say that no one is really 100% innocent here. With this, the internet is becoming scarier by the moment as our privacy and reputation are now at stake with the prevalent spread of what is supposed to be a private matter.
While we trust that you know what’s best for your body, you might want to consider these tips in the event that your own sensitive photos or videos leak online.
1. Take time to breathe.
Don’t make the mistake of being pressured to make a statement regarding what just happened. Take a moment to let it all sink in no matter how ugly the situation may be. Remember that everyone else was not supposed to see what they just saw and that you do not owe anyone an explanation until you are ready. This is not the time for irrational decisions as you might complicate the situation even more.
2. Choose your support system wisely.
Reach out to people who you can trust. The sad truth is, there are those who would reach out to you for the sake of getting a scoop. Identify the friends, family members, or anyone who can guide you through the situation without judging you. The last thing that you need is to be surrounded by a mob that contributes more harm than good. It is also better to lay low from social media because people can and will say things that will rub salt to your wounds.
3. Report the photos/videos.
There are community guidelines that sites are required to follow, and this often includes non-consensual vulgar content. You may either write an email to the website that you wish for the content to be taken down or use the “report” feature. However, be prepared that once something is out there, it is nearly impossible to get rid of every copy of the file.
4. Consider your legal options.
We will not dive into specifics as it can be really complicated and confusing. What is important for you to know is that there are legal options that you can take in case you want to. You can file a case with the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Unit or the Philippine National Police Anti-CyberCrime Group. Sure, filing an actual case may seem intimidating at first, but this might be a necessary step to prevent something like this from happening again to you and to others.
5. Don’t let what happened define you.
Your entire being should not be anchored on this one really unfortunate moment in your life. You are more than whatever a camera can ever capture. It may seem that you have been overexposed and that you have nothing left to show for -- that’s understandable. However, in the moments that doubt comes haunting you, keep in mind that only you can define who you really are.
In the end, we have the freedom to use our bodies in any way that we see fit. We just have to keep in mind that with that freedom comes a difficult responsibility of protecting ourselves in an era when everyone can easily broadcast anything that they can get their hands on.
ALSO READ: In Focus: What To Do When Social Media Makes You Feel Bad About Yourself