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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Getting Help In Therapy If You've Been Betrayed and Violated By Revenge Porn

Revenge porn has become a serious problem over the last several years.  In this article I'll define revenge porn and what you can do to take care of yourself if this happens to you.

Getting Help If You've Been Betrayed and Violated by Revenge Porn

What is Revenge Porn?
Revenge porn is usually defined as sharing sexually explicit photos of someone to shame or humiliate them.

The usual scenario is that when someone in a relationship wants to end it, the other person either threatens to share sexually explicit photos with others or on social media as a way to get back at the individual who wants to end the relationship.

These threats are also made as form of coercion where the partner who is making the threats hopes to prevent the breakup.

The person who threatens or who actually shares sexually explicit photos wants to frighten, control, and embarrass the other person and cause emotional pain.

Why Do People Engage in Revenge Porn?
Generally speaking, the person who is angry about being left wants to hurt the partner because s/he feels hurt, abandoned and angry about being left.  It's a way to get back at their ex.  This is not an excuse to condone this behavior.  It's an explanation for the behavior.

Some people who make these threats might hope that the threats will keep their partner from leaving or, if they have already broken up, they might hope that it will force the ex to get back in the relationship.  This is obviously a very serious form of manipulation.  

Note:  In New York City, revenge porn is a crime (more about this later).

Not surprisingly, research into this behavior has revealed that people who engage in revenge porn often lack empathy and are not concerned about hurting others.

Feeling Betrayed and Violated by Revenge Porn
Anyone who has ever had the experience of having sexually explicit pictures shared with others or placed on social media without permission feels betrayed and violated.

Going through a breakup can be painful enough without having to deal with an ex--someone you once loved and trusted--violating your trust by exposing your nude photos.  It can make you feel like you never knew this person, and it can make it hard for you to trust again in future relationships.

Revenge Porn: Prevention First
To avoid having potential problems in the future, your best option is not to allow anyone to take nude or sexually explicit pictures of you that you wouldn't want to be revealed.

It might feel sexy and fun to share nude pictures, but once these pictures are out of your possession, it's hard to control what someone might do with them.

If someone has taken pictures of you that you're unaware of, that's a different story.  But, to the extent that you can avoid this problem, prevention is your best choice.

Revenge Porn is Illegal in New York
I want to emphasize that I am a psychotherapist and not a lawyer.  But I'm aware that in New York City revenge porn is a crime.

The New York City Council passed a law that makes it illegal to leak nude images with the intent to harm someone.  In New York City, the person who leaks such photos risks going to jail or being fined $1,000.

In order to break the law, the individual who is sharing the photos must be trying to cause harm on an economic, physical or on an emotional level.  It is also illegal to threaten to show nude photos, and the perpetrator can be sued (click on this link for more information from the NYC Council website about the law).

You can also consult with an attorney to find out your other legal options.

Getting Help in Therapy
Trying to cope with revenge porn can be traumatic on many levels.

Many people who have experienced revenge porn feel too ashamed to talk to friends and family about it or, if they do, they often find that their loved ones don't understand.

A skilled psychotherapist can help you to overcome the feelings of betrayal, sadness and anger that people often experience after revenge porn (see my article: The Benefits of Psychotherapy).

Rather than suffering on your own, you could get help from a licensed mental health professional who can help you to work through these feelings (see my article: How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist (see my article: The Therapeutic Benefits of Integrative Psychotherapy).

I work with individual adults and couples.

I am a trauma-informed psychotherapist, and I have helped many clients to overcome trauma.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.















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