What to do if someone shares your nudes

It’s not okay for someone to share (or threaten to share) your ‘intimate’ pics without your permission. If they do, they’ve seriously broken your trust. This might leave you feeling scared, unsafe and worried about what will happen next. The good news is there are a few things you can do to get the issue sorted and help you feel better in the meantime.

Remember, it’s not your fault

Your first thought might be to blame yourself for sending the nudes, but that’s not fair. Just because you’ve sent someone a nude, it doesn’t mean you’ve consented to them sharing it. You trusted them to respect your privacy. They broke that trust and put you in a really crappy situation. In fact, sharing someone’s photos or videos with their consent (or threatening to share) is called ‘image-based abuse’. It’s a really serious issue. It affects around 1 in 5 Aussies and is unlawful in most states and territories (check out Lawstuff and the eSafety website to find out more). You’re not alone, and it’s definitely not your fault.

Screenshot the threats to expose your nudes

Screenshots give you evidence of the abuse and are useful if you need to take the issue further by reporting it or taking legal action.

Get your nude photos offline

The next step is to have the content removed from wherever it’s been posted. If you feel safe and confident to say something, you can tell the person who’s posted it that you no longer consent to them having your nudes, and you don’t consent to them sharing them. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this alone, you can ask a trusted friend or adult to help you. It’s also a good idea to screenshot this message as proof of what you’ve said.

If they’ve posted it on social media or a popular website, you can untag yourself and report both the post and the person who posted it. The eSafety website has all the deets on how to do this.

If someone is harassing you via phone or email, you can block them by changing your personal settings or by contacting your phone or email provider. Find out more about how to do this here.

Report that someone has exposed your nudes to the eSafety Commissioner

Anyone who lives in Australia can make a report to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. They’re total pros and can help you to get the content removed if you don’t feel confident reporting it yourself, or if the host site looks a bit dodgy, or reporting it didn’t work, or if you just want to be extra-sure the content gets deleted.

Find out more about this process on the eSafety website. Then, when you’re ready, you can start a report.

Tell a trusted adult about the incident

It’s a good idea to tell an adult you trust about what’s happening. This could be a parent, auntie, older sibling, teacher or a school counsellor. While this might be more than a little awkward, it can be a big help. It’s also possible that they’ll find out about it some other way, so it’s better if the news comes from you. They might be upset, angry or shocked, so it could help to ask a trusted friend or relative to help you. If you don’t feel comfortable telling anyone you know, give Kids Helpline a call on 1800 55 1800.

Talk to the police about the leaked nudes

After having intimate pictures shared without consent, you may choose to go to the police to talk about what has happened, and make a report. It is 100% your choice to go to the police or not, and it's perfectly okay whether you do or don't. It can be a good idea to talk to a parent or trusted adult before you do this, so they can support you with contacting police and making a report. Head to the eSafety website to learn more about how to go to your local police about nude image sharing.

Remember to take care of yourself

Having your nudes leaked is a really stressful and upsetting experience, so it’s important that you look after yourself. Because it’s happening online, it might feel like there’s no escape from it. To give yourself a break, you can try to limit the amount of time you spend online. While it’s not fair that you should have to stay off the web because of someone else’s actions, it might help you to feel safer and happier. This list of ways to chill out on the cheap might provide you with some helpful distractions

This is another great reason to report the abuse to the eSafety Commissioner. Once you’ve made a report, they’ll give you updates on how the removal is going. That way, you don’t have to constantly check if the content is still online.

You can also check out our tips for self-care if you’re looking for some feel-good activities.

Commonly asked questions about leaked nudes

What is considered a nude?

The eSafety Commissioner defines "intimate images" to include nudes. This means pictures or videos can be classified as nudes if they show:

  • a person who is partly naked or fully unclothed, like in a nude selfie.

  • private body parts, which can include upskirts and underwear shots.

  • a person involved in a private activity, such as undressing, showering, or any sexual activity.

  • fake pictures or videos altered to make someone appear as someone else.

Why do people leak nudes?

There are various reasons why people might leak nudes. The eSafety Commissioner mentions some of the reasons why someone might leak a nude photo, including:

  • trying to harm someone who has ended a relationship with them

  • using it as a threat to make the other person stay with them

  • attempting to blackmail the person shown in the image

  • intending to embarrass or upset the person

  • trying to get the person in trouble or make them do something against their will.

  • boasting or showing off

  • causing problems for someone who was trusted with the image or video, like a romantic partner.

Where do people leak nudes?

Nudes are most commonly shared in digital spaces as messages or comments such as:

  • mobile devices 

  • social media platforms

  • email

  • online forums

  • websites

Why do people send nudes?

The reasons someone might send a nude can be a bit complicated as it’s not always with a negative intent in mind. According to the eSafety Commissioner, people may send nudes because they:

  • think it's a way to be seductive or a turn-on

  • view it as a normal part of flirting or dating

  • hope to receive a nude in return

  • want to shock or get a reaction from the recipient

  • plan to trick the recipient into sending a nude back so they can use it to blackmail them, which is known as 'sexual extortion'.

It’s important to understand that while you may not always know why, leaking nudes is never okay, and if it's happened to you it's not your fault. 

What can I do now?

  • Read up on image-based abuse on the eSafety website.

  • Visit LawStuff to find out what laws apply in your state or territory.

  • Get some tips on looking after yourself if this has happened to you.


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