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I Was a Victim of Revenge Porn -- I Don't Want Anyone Else to Face It

My ex tried to sell nude photos of me on eBay and put them on a porn site. I fought back
 
 
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In February 2010, my ex-boyfriend, Joey (name changed) and I had a fight over a skirt I wore to work. He deemed the skirt too short. He shamed me, called me a hooker, and accused me of sleeping with all my male friends. After watching his jealousy and possessiveness steadily increase over our seven-month relationship, I was at my breaking point. We were over.

The day after the fight, Joey called me at 11:53pm. He was livid. He said he was looking on my Facebook page and from what he could see it was clear I was sleeping with at least three other guys. I tried to rationalize with him, to convince him he was mistaken. But he was too far-gone to hear me.

He threatened to  start an eBay auction. If I didn't tell him the truth about how many other guys I was sleeping with, he said he was going to auction off a CD of 88 naked images of me that I allowed him to take after three months of relentless pressure. He said he would send links to the auction to my friends and family, to people at the college where I teach. I shook with desperate fear. I knew no words would change his mind. Joey had flown into a rage, uncontrollable and impervious to reason. I knew my fate, and my only defense was to call the police. I begged and pleaded for him not to carry out his threat.

Then he said the words that would change the course of my life: "I will destroy you."

I called the Baltimore County police and through my sobs tried to explain what was happening and why I needed help. The dispatcher sent an officer to my home who looked down on me as I explained that I wanted him to stop a threat. It was the first of many times I would be told, "There is nothing I can do. No crime had been committed." And at that point, no crime had been committed. I was frantic over a threat, which to the bored officer was nothing to worry about. To me, it was a portent of the misery I'd soon suffer.

The auction went live the following afternoon. I received about three emails from  eBay informing me that, "Joseph Mann thought you might like this item on eBay" The link read: (Name of college)MD English Professor Nude Photos!

Gorge rose into my throat. I gagged and ran to the kitchen sink. Then I shifted into damage control mode. Since Joey and I were still Facebook friends, I received alerts in my newsfeed that he had posted links to the auction on five of the college's Facebook pages. I sent messages to the pages' administrators explaining what was happening. I would learn in the weeks to come that a few students and at least three colleagues followed the links, logged into eBay, and saw the auction.

More emails arrived from friends, my ex-husband, and my babysitter. They had received the same messages from eBay and were concerned. I reported Joey for abuse on Yahoo!; I reported his Facebook page; I contacted eBay and told them about the auction. Damage control consumed me for at least 48 hours. I called the police and again an officer stood in my home, looked down on me and said, "Nothing we can do. No crime here." I went to a local police precinct hoping someone else would know more than the cops I spoke with. I stood by fighting tears while three officers looked over the auction printouts I brought and snickered. The blond one who finally came over to talk to me seemed amused. It was my first experience with overt victim blaming. And because it came from someone charged to protect and serve, it drove my shame and embarrassment to a paralyzing level.

 
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