Revenge Porn

I watched a brilliant BBC programme last night about revenge porn.  Although it was more than about people hurting each other when in or leaving relationships.  The other side being the behaviour of the trolls which is difficult to both describe and understand.

What was interesting for me was hearing about the number of ex partners who resort to these damaging tactics to ‘hurt’ someone who was their partner when the relationship is over.  I truly believe that the way in which someone behaves under stress is a crucial aspect of who they truly are.  This is such a betrayal of someones love and trust in you no matter how long ago.  If they finish the relationship for whatever reason and you behave in that way it would suggest that they made the right decision and did not leave a minute too soon.  Would someone choose to be in a relationship with someone who is capable of being so publicly hurtful.

These behaviours are not only hurtful to the person whose name is slandered on line or their intimate photographs are now for public viewing, what about the person who put the information or the photographs there?  What does it say about them as a person?  A new potential romance is likely to think twice before being involved as do they want to be the next victim of this behaviour?

Plus, the other people who get hurt in these revenge behaviours are the families and bystanders.  What child, no matter what age, wants to be a witness to intimate photographs on line of one of their parents?  How long before grown ups carelessly speak in front of their children and the children of the victims get bullied at school?

As a psychologist who has worked with many people over the years I ask questions when told of a new potential romance ‘what does he/she say about their previous partner’?  Imagine, saying ‘oh she/he was so awful my new partner posted pornographic photographs of them on line or said things about them that were betraying intimate secrets for the world to read”  My next question would likely be ‘and what makes you think that won’t be you in the future’?

Whether the relationship is going well or you have decided to call it a day and go your separate ways then kindness is the key.  Revenge for a perceived wrong may feel good for a few seconds and then the reality hits and once you have put something on line it cannot be taken back.

I encourage people to get rid of their anger in a healthy way and respond to a hurt and not react.  I hear excuses like ‘I was so hurt and angry I couldn’t stop myself’.  You are a grown up, deal with your emotions to avoid escalating to a point where your behaviours are regrettable to you and everyone else around.  I have always liked the idea of would you want this behaviour to be the headlines in a national newspaper or a you-tube clip of it sent to your own family?

The programme showed us that people can lose friends and their careers due to revenge behaviour.  Stop, think and don’t do it.

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