When Tia, a 16-year-old, discovered that an intimate video she had shared with her then-boyfriend was circulating in her school’s WhatsApp group post-breakup, she was shocked. However, Tia chose to face the situation head-on, realizing that blaming herself wasn’t the solution. In this edition of That’s Puzzling, learn how Tia dealt with it and what you can do if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Remember, involving your parents or a trusted adult can be a crucial step in resolving these issues effectively.
- Don’t blame yourself: Tia understood that trust is a fundamental part of any relationship, and her ex-boyfriend’s actions of sharing private content were a betrayal of that trust. If you’re in this situation, remember it’s not your fault. It’s important to talk to your parents or a trusted adult about what happened, as they can provide support and guidance.
- Block the offender: Tia immediately blocked her ex-boyfriend on all social media platforms and her phone. If you’re facing this, do the same. This step is crucial for your mental well-being.
- Talking to parents/trusted adult: Approaching your parents or another trusted adult about a situation like this can be incredibly challenging. It’s natural to worry that they might react strongly or “freak out” when they learn about what’s happened. Understand that your parents may initially react with shock or anger – not towards you, but at the situation. It’s a natural protective instinct. Give them time to process the information However, it’s important to remember that they are likely to be your strongest allies and sources of support. If you feel that you absolutely cannot talk to your parents, find another adult you trust – maybe an aunt, uncle, teacher, or school counselor. They can offer support and might even help you talk to your parents about it.
- Don’t hide any details: Share your feelings and the entire situation honestly. Hiding certain details, because you might be ashamed of them, can lead to complications later. Your parents or a trusted adult need the full context to help effectively.
- Take a social media break: Feeling overwhelmed, Tia temporarily deactivated her social media accounts for some peace of mind. You might want to consider doing this too. Discuss with your parents or a guardian about this step and how it might help you.
- It’s not the end: Tia talked to someone she trusted – her sister and her parents. They helped her see that this phase would pass. It’s essential to have a support system. Reach out to family members, friends, or even a counsellor for support.
- Consider your next steps: Tia, with her parents’ guidance, deliberated on whether to confront the situation or to distance herself from it. This is a personal choice, and it’s crucial to discuss it with your parents or a trusted adult to weigh the options.
- Legal action: Tia and her parents decided to consult with legal experts to understand their options. Remember, sharing intimate photos or videos without consent is a crime. If you’re considering this, involve your parents or guardians in the decision to approach the police or legal authorities.
- Preserve evidence: Tia saved all the messages, emails, and screenshots as evidence, a step that saved her. We know it is a tough choice given all your messages will be read by someone else but that’s crucial if you want to take things forward legally. If you’re in this situation, do the same and keep everything in a secure place.
- Report to online platforms: With her older brother’s help, Tia reported the content to social media platforms for removal. If you face this issue, report it immediately. Your parents or siblings can help with this process. You can write to Instagram/Facebook/YouTube and report this as a crime – they are known to take pretty strong action by taking the post down and banning the person who indulges in any such images of another person. For Facebook removal, click here, for Instagram, click here. YouTube also allows you to report abuse by this link.
- File an online complaint: Tia filed a complaint online with her parents’ assistance. If you’re uncomfortable going to the police, consider this option. Your parents can help navigate the process. Here is the link. The help is also available on Twitter through the handle Cyber Dost – Cyber-safety and Cybersecurity awareness handle maintained by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
The FIR is followed by an enquiry by the police to file a charge sheet.
- Stay strong: Tia focused on her life beyond this incident, with support from friends and family. Remember, life has much more to offer. Lean on those who support you, including your parents, and know that this too shall pass.
It may feel difficult to believe this now, but your life always has more to offer. Be strong and lean on those who you have your back. Through Tia’s story, we see the importance of self-care, seeking support, and understanding your rights. Always remember, that involving your parents or a trusted adult can make a significant difference in handling such situations.
Photo: Pexels/Persons in the photo are models and their names have been changed.
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