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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 (or threatening to share) someone’s personal pics or vids without their consent 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 it

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 it off the net

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 it 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

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.

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 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.

What can I do now?

  • Check out this article to find out what you should consider when sending nudes.
  • Read up on image-based abuse on the eSafety website.
  • Visit LawStuff to find out what laws apply in your state or territory.