Sexting is the term given to the act of sending or receiving nude images, videos or sexually explicit text messages. It also covers partial nudity and related sexual content. Interestingly enough, there are somewhat valid reasons why someone would risk exposing very intimate parts of themselves to strangers and ultimately to the entire world. Listed below are some of our thoughts on this topic, with the hope to bring a better understanding of why and hopefully share enough reasoning to prevent someone from engaging in the act.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS WITH SEXTING?
Once you share an image with someone else it’s difficult to control what happens to it, even if you send photos or videos that disappear (as indicated by Snapchat) there are ways for other people to make a copy without you knowing e.g. screenshots or recording with another camera. So bear in mind that whatever is send electronically can be preserved for an eternity – without you knowing.
CyberSafeTT has received numerous reports where people have had their nude images shared with another while in a relationship. However, when that relationship has ended or when one person becomes angry with the other, one of the most common occurrences is to share those private photos, also referred to as revenge porn.
Sometimes people blackmail others into sending more nudes, by threatening to release the original nude if they don’t send more.
IS SHARING SOMEONE ELSE’S IMAGES ILLEGAL?
Someone sharing your nude images without your consent is not your fault and it may also be an offence under Offences of the Person act. Once sexual images are shared it is known as image based abuse which falls under the category of revenge porn. It can also be an offence under the Child Pornography Act and potentially other Acts outlined by the laws of Trinidad and Tobago.
Even if you originally shared or made the images/video with someone consensually, it doesn’t mean you have consented to the content being shared to a wider group or publicly. If this has happened it may be an offence.
It can also be an offence to threaten to share images or videos without someone’s consent.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES UNDER THE LAW?
At the time of writing this article the Cyber Crime Bill was not yet proclaimed. However fines upward of TT$250,000 have been quoted also coupled with arrest and jail term.
Current laws however have been brought into play for similar circumstances and the use of these current laws have resulted in fines upward of TT$80,000 for sharing of images without consent.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOUR IMAGES HAVE BEEN SHARED?
If nude or nearly nude images or video of you have been shared without your consent, there are things that you can do:
- Get evidence. Screenshot the content if possible and make a record of where the content is (capture any URLs if you can)
- Report the content to the platform (e.g. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, PornHub) it is on and request the content is removed
- Report the profile or account of the person who shared your content to the platform it was shared on
- Contact your nearest police station and file an official report. Request that your matter is take to the Cyber Crime Unit.
- If all else fails, you can share your situation with CyberSafeTT and we will do all that is possible to assist.
ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT SOMETHING YOU’VE SHARED?
If you have sent a nude to someone and now regret it, you should contact that person and ask them to delete it. The quicker you ask them to do this the better. It can be difficult to control what someone does with an image once they have it, but having a direct conversation can help stop it from being sent on.
If you’re feeling stressed or worried you should talk to someone you trust or consider talking to a support service.
SOMEONE IS BLACKMAILING ME. WHAT CAN I DO?
If someone is threatening to share nude images or videos of you or blackmailing you, then you may have recourse to take this matter to the TTPS and by extension to the Cyber Crime Unit. CyberSafeTT has dealt with similar situations so do not hesitate to ask for guidance or assistance in such situations.
HAVE YOU RECEIVED A NUDE YOU DIDN’T WANT?
Being sent a nude image you didn’t ask for can be upsetting, especially if you are young person. It can be even more disturbing if it is someone you know. You should immediately delete the image / video. You could try talking to the person who sent it and ask them to stop sending inappropriate pictures. You can also report the content or block the person from contacting you again.
This article is an adaptation of an original article posted here by NETSAFE, and online safety resource in New Zealand.8