In this blog post, Sourabh Makhija, from RDVV – Jabalpur, guides on the steps that can be taken if you’re threatened by your boyfriend/girlfriend or your ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend who use your nude pictures to blackmail you.
Had a breakup? Are you afraid that your ex might publish your personal photos? Fear of seeing a naked picture on any social media site or anywhere else can shake even the hardest soul! Of course, porn stars are an exception. But we aren’t porn stars, and we don’t want our private photos and videos made public. Shockingly, thousands of revenge porn videos and pictures are posted on the internet every day. So what are the possible options in front of you when someone blackmails you using your nude pictures? (I hope this situation never comes in your life, but one should have the knowledge as to how to deal with a situation like this).
How are Nudes leaked?
No one will happily share his/her nude pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. We still have cases where one’s private photos are leaked, so what are the possible reasons for those leaks?
Revenge Porn: The former sexual partner with a motive to cause distress or embarrassment leaks the sexually explicit images or videos of a person on the internet.
Hacking: After the breakup, the angry boyfriend/girlfriend will try to hack your profile, will seek to access the files which solely belong to you and will take a copy from your profile with them. Capturing of videos or a picture through spy cameras is also very common.
While many people may not want to share the pictures or videos of their ex, many use such photos or videos to either blackmail or take revenge by making them public.
A partner may save these pictures somewhere out of your reach and wait for the right time to use them against you.
He/she can also forward those photos to his/her close friend, and then the close friend can further forward those pictures to their close friends. Till now, your pictures or video clips are being distributed (leaked) to friends of friends. One of these people may then chose to sell the clip to a porn website for a few dollars. Sometimes your ex-intended nothing more than sharing a clip with his best friend, but that itself may lead to your nude pictures being all over the internet overnight.
Another possibility is that your ex or another person who accidentally comes in possession of such photos begin to blackmail you, and it’s extremely common.
“If you don’t do what I tell you to do, I’ll tell your parents we had sex.”
“If you break up with me, I’ll post those pics everywhere…”
If your partner makes threats like this, they’re putting you in a terrible situation. This type of threat is called blackmail, and you might feel like you have no option but to do what your partner says. Blackmailing is a form of emotional abuse, and like all abuses, it is about power and control. A person who uses this tactic wants to make you afraid of some consequence to get you to do what they want.
What are the possible outcomes of those shared images?
- They might get leaked worldwide.
- They might get used in pornographic videos.
- They may destroy one’s reputation and social life.
What to do when someone Blackmails you using your Nude Pictures
The following steps can be adopted to help a victim of blackmailing to proceed:
- Neutralize the threat: Neutralize the threats that your partner is making. For example, if they are threatening to tell your parents about something you did, you could go to your parents first and be direct and honest about what happened. Surely it is an uncomfortable thing to do, but your blackmailer would no longer be able to control you with that threat.
- Turn to Your Support System: A support system can help you stay firm and feel supported during a difficult time. Parents, a friend or a counselor would possibly be able to calm you down. You need to share with them the problem you are facing.
However, doing all the above things won’t help till you take certain critical and necessary legal steps. Here is what to do:
- You can call the police on the hotline number 100 and tell them what is happening. They will take your name and address and immediately send police from the local police station to meet you. You can then guide them. The police will note down your statement and then catch hold of the guy/guys behind this, take away their phones and computers, lock them up and interrogate them till the police find out where the rest of the clips are so that nothing can be leaked. They will recover these clips and gadgets and take it into police custody. After proper evidence recording, they are required to destroy all the clips or photos.
The drawback of this approach:
- Police can be insensitive in the way they talk to a victim, usually a young boy or girl. They can be rude and sometimes even harass the victim. If money is not a problem, hiring a civil lawyer, female if you prefer so, to be present from your side to manage everything, especially the interaction with the police, is an excellent idea.
- Police might muddle somewhere, and that may lead to a leak of the clips or photos.
- After recovering the evidence, they may forget to dispose of the clips. They may watch such clips themselves or even circulate.
What usually happens
- The culprit and their family members are summoned to the police station. Then they are put through much shame and harassment. Their phones and laptops are confiscated.
- The accused, especially if boys, are usually arrested and interrogated.
- If they are from the rich and influential background, they may not get arrested. Police may try to “amicably settle” the matter.
What I recommend in such situations:
I would advise you to approach a lawyer you can trust, who will be sensitive and supportive. Through such a person, file a civil case asking for an injunction from the court on the individuals who are threatening you. Once notice is served on them, they will be worried and not want to make things worse by leaking anything unless they are lunatics. If you think they are insane, then go to police straight instead of following this approach. Otherwise, this is the best bet. Once a notice from the court is served on them, ideally along with an injunction to not share those clips or photos with any person, plus a demand to present themselves before the court, your lawyer should reach out to them and begin a negotiation. At this point, they will be scared that you may file a criminal case as well, which would lead to their arrest. You may indeed opt to do so if the negotiations between your lawyer and their side do not go well.
Therefore, if you can afford a few thousand rupees of lawyers fees, it is advisable that you take help of a competent lawyer in such scenario. Sometimes the victim is worried that their parents will come to know about the situation. One must not just wallow in such thoughts and let the situation go out of control. Contact either the police hotline (100) or the above helpline to get advice on how you can handle the situation in the best possible way.
Legal Provisions available with a person suffering from threats or blackmailing about their private photos or videos being circulated
- SECTION 66E OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000 – VIOLATION OF PRIVACY – This section penalises the capturing or publishing the image of a private area of any person without consent. Illustration: A is trying out a new dress in the changing room of a clothing store. B, an employee of the store has hidden a camera that records A while she is changing her clothes. B will be liable under this section for imprisonment which may extend to 3 years.
- SECTION 67 OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000 – TRANSMITTING OBSCENE ELECTRONIC MATERIAL – According to this Section, anyone who uses electronic means to publish any picture, video or audio or anything which is capable of defaming a person morally will be considered as a crime and the person doing such an act will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to 5 years and with fine also.
- SECTION 67A OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000 – ELECTRONIC MATERIAL CONTAINING SEXUALLY EXPLICIT ACT – According to this Section whoever uses electronic means to publish any material which contains sexually explicit act will be liable for imprisonment which may extend to 7 years. Illustration: A and B are engaged in the act of sexual intercourse in their hotel room. C, an employee of the hotel uses a hidden video camera to record this. He then copies this video recording onto a CD and gives a copy to his friend. C is liable under this section.
- SECTION 67B OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT,2000 – CHILD PORNOGRAPHY – This Section penalises the publishing of obscene electronic material involving persons below the age of 18 years.
- Section 292 in The Indian Penal Code – Sale, etc., of obscene books. Whoever, sale, distribute or does anything to spread pornographic books is charged under this Act. The punishment is two years, and fine which may extend to two thousand rupees.
- Section 501 in The Indian Penal Code – Printing or engraving matter is known to be defamatory. Whoever prints or engraves any matter, knowing or having good reason to believe that such matter is defamatory of any person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
The government has also set up cyber forensic training and investigation labs in various states (till now in 9 states) for the training of law enforcement and also for the judiciary in 3 states. Cyber-crime cells have been set up in all states and Union territories for reporting and investigation of cyber-crime cases.
Blackmailing is an act done by cowards; one must not fear from threats in the first place. The society should not criticize the nudes leak. Instead, it should support the victim in his/her battle to punish the wrongdoer. It’s obvious for the victim to panic, but you must take all the right actions without delay, because delay may lead to unpredictable results.
If you want to learn more about cyber law, you can take up this course that is created by iPleaders.
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