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Male Revenge Porn Victim Explains Why He Didn’t Go To The Police

by : Francesca Donovan on : 07 May 2018 18:55
davey wavey male victim revenge porn sits in his cardavey wavey male victim revenge porn sits in his carFrancesca Donovan

Davey Wavey is used to being in the public eye.

For more than a decade, the LGBTQ+ presenter has been open and honest about homosexuality, dating and sex with his 1.1 million YouTube subscribers. Davey built a whole career on his candour after coming out.

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So when his private pictures were leaked online, the star blamed himself:

Davey, whose chose to withhold his real name, told UNILAD:

Back when I was in university, I took some naked pictures of myself and shared them with potential suitors.

Along the way, one such suitor saved the pictures and then, once my YouTube channel became popular, released the nude images to the gay press.

Within a day or two, they were featured on countless blogs and websites across the Internet.

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Immediately, Davey received ‘dozens of emails’ from fans who ‘simply wanted to inform me about the pictures’ and others who inappropriately ‘expressed disappointment in me for my lack of judgment’.

Now 34, he recalled:

At the time, I remember being angry. I wanted someone to blame, and it seemed logical to blame myself.

I took the pictures. I included my face in the images. I sent them to people. I took a number of risks, so it seemed only natural to blame myself.

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This was two years ago.

Thankfully attitudes towards the nature of revenge porn – which Davey now recognises in his own case – have changed and victim-blaming, even internalised, is widely accepted as wrong.

Davey took to YouTube to share his journey of realisation with his followers:

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He told UNILAD:

Of course, years later and after talking with other people about the experience, I realise that it isn’t my fault.

I have a good friend who was the victim of revenge porn, and she was really helpful in helping me realise self-blame was just further victimising myself.

While I took the pictures and gave them to other people, I never gave those people permission to share those very intimate images. What that person did was wrong, and they are at fault.

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Furthermore, they tarnished the online space where Davey, who was born and raised in a small Rhode Island town, had previously felt safe to be himself.

It was a real set back after a difficult childhood:

Growing up, I was a chubby child. I was often teased and picked on for the way that I looked, which is especially difficult when you’re a gay kid who knows they’re different.

Like most gay men, my body image journey has been difficult – but, as I grew older, I became more involved with exercise and physical activity.

My body had transformed, and even though I still had many of those same insecurities, I was proud of the transformation and enjoyed showing it. But I enjoy showing it off on my terms.

Not only does revenge porn take advantage of someone in their most vulnerable and intimate moments, revenge porn can bastardise the precious feeling of sexuality and self-confidence.

Davey described the images, saying:

I remember the images well. And I remember taking them. I remember feeling sexy while taking the pictures in my university dorm room with a self timer.

The images all included my face, and were easily identifiable. Because all of this occurred prior to my popularity on YouTube, discretion didn’t occur to me.

And I wasn’t embarrassed to be in the pictures. I was proud of them and how I looked. I sent the pictures out to a number of different guys – so I don’t know who saved the pictures and leaked them online.

The photo leak opened Davey up to trolls online which led to indescribable pain, he recounted, despite being ‘fairly accustomed to negative comments’ through his YouTube work.

The sex positive activist, fitness guru and digital storyteller said:

People critiqued my body, wrote commentary about my penis size and expressed moral judgments about who I am as a person.

It’s very difficult to see your naked body showcased to the world – without your consent – and open to the public for conversation. Many of those same feelings from being a chubby child resurfaced.

I don’t need to explain how painful that was.

In the years since Davey’s private photographs were leaked, there’s been a revolution against revenge porn sparked by a number of high profile cases disgustingly dubbed ‘The Fappening‘.

The phrase was coined after a number of celebrities’ iCloud accounts were hacked in order to access and publish private photographs.

Davey is now among the reams of victims in the public eye, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kayley Cuoco and Mischa Barton.

mischa barton was victim of revenge pornmischa barton was victim of revenge pornGetty

Professor Clare McGlynn, an expert of Law at Durham University dedicated to the legal regulation of pornography, revenge pornography and sexual violence, has argued cases like Davey’s should be considered forms of ‘image-based sexual abuse‘.

Prof McGlynn told UNILAD cases like this are ‘part of a broader phenomenon’ where ‘victims are subjected to forms of sexual abuse and harassment involving the taking and sharing of private sexual images without their permission’.

Terrifyingly, this type of abuse is becoming more and more pervasive:

Dr McGlynn reasons ‘these forms of abuse are experienced as sexual assaults’, adding the photographs of films ‘are often posted on the internet and the abuse and harassment, as a result, is sexualised’.

Of the other victims’ pain, Davey empathised:

When it happens, people seem to gloat and delight in sharing those images across the internet.

My experience has helped me empathise with these individuals; I understand what it feels like and what they’re going through.

justin bieber crime portrait revenge porn justin bieber crime portrait revenge porn Getty

Yet some attitudes towards female and male victims of revenge porn are bizarrely different, at a time when leaked celebrity ‘d*ck picks’ make tongue-in-cheek tabloid headlines around the world.

Nude paparazzi photographs of Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber were unethically shared online in 2016 – the same year Davey fell victim of revenge porn – to armies of people joking about paddleboards and ‘late Bloomers’.

Just take a look at some of the reactions on Twitter:

So much so, Davey didn’t talk to the police, he explained:

I couldn’t imagine having a conversation with a police officer about my sex life or the images.

I wasn’t sure if the police would be sensitive to an instance of gay revenge porn, and I was afraid to be further teased or harassed.

I also feared addressing the issue would only breathe more life into it. If an investigation resulted, I feared blogs would continue to cover the story and, ultimately, more eyeballs would fall on my non-consenting naked body.

Now, just a few short years later, Davey feels free to come forward about what happened to him in support of all the other victims of revenge porn, reaffirming ‘the importance of teaching and respecting consent in all aspects of our sex and sexuality’ with his company, Himeros TV.

Still, he claims, some men within the LGBTQ+ community are in danger:

My experience with men, including gay men, is they feel entitled. They feel entitled to touch and take what they want, and give little regard to the person they are violating.

Even on gay dating apps, men don’t seem to take no for an answer. If I express that I’m not interested, for example, I’ve had men say: ‘Well, how about a blow job then?’ What part of no are they not understanding?

Indeed, lesbian, gay and bisexual people are more likely to be victims of revenge porn, according to research published in 2017.

Davey also believes ‘most men feel a tremendous amount of pressure to hide their emotions and not seek out support’, which feeds the culture of silence around male sexual abuse victims.

Meanwhile, the RMIT University and Monash University team which conducted the survey on 4274 Australians, found women and men were equally likely to be victims of image-based abuse.

He suspects it’s particularly hard ‘to seek out support or come to terms with being a victim’ for straight men, who may ‘feel more isolated than gay men’ due to the strict definition of manhood society thrusts upon heterosexuals.

Davey, however, has never felt tied down by the damaging constraints of perceived masculinity and ‘as a gay man who is fairly flamboyant’ has had ‘the opportunity to redefine what it means to be strong’.

It served him well while he struggled to cope with the violation, with the help of his close friends and family.

He has ‘long since charted a different path’ for himself, he adds:

I’ve created a different definition of what it means to be a strong man, and my definition doesn’t have the same limitations and restrictions as mainstream society.

Strong is being an openly gay kid at a Catholic high school or university. Strong is being your authentic self in a world that doesn’t always value differences.

By anyone’s definition, the strength it took Davey to complete his journey of realisation and self-redemption is deserving of a medal.

If you’ve been affected by image-based sexual assault, you can call The Revenge Porn Helpline on 0345 6000 459.

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Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

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