Online predators spread fake porn of me. Here’s how I fought back | Noelle Martin

Online predators spread fake porn of me. Here’s how I fought back | Noelle Martin


[This talk contains graphic language
and descriptions of sexual abuse] Can I get a show of hands
who here has ever Googled themselves? I have. But what started off
as momentary curiosity very quickly turned into an almost five-year horrific battle that almost ruined my life. I Google Images reverse-searched myself: a function of Google
that allows you to upload an image and it shows you
where it is on the internet. This is me at 17 years old. An innocent selfie I took before a party. Now, before I continue, I must point out that what I’m about to talk about
is very confronting and graphic. But there’s no way out. This is a very confronting issue. In a split second, my screen was flooded with that image and dozens more images of me that had been stolen from my social media, on links connected to porn sites. On these sites, nameless,
faceless sexual predators had published highly explicit
sexual commentary about me and what they’d like to do to me. “Cover her face and we’d fuck her body,” one person wrote. They also published
identifying information about me: where I lived, what I studied, who I was. But things got worse. I soon discovered
that these sexual predators had doctored or photoshopped my face onto the bodies of naked adult actresses
engaged in sexual intercourse, on solo shots of me being ejaculated on by two men. Sperm was edited onto my face. I was edited onto the cover of a porn DVD. Perpetrators had edited my images to give the effect that my blouse
was transparent or see-through, so you could see my nipples. Perpetrators ejaculated on images of me, took photos of their sperm
and penises on these images and posted them onto porn sites. “Cum on printed pigs,”
is what they call it. Now, you might be wondering, what sorts of images
I posted on social media. This is me, at around 19
at the Claremont Hotel, just a few suburbs away. And they superimposed that face into this. And things got worse. Nothing was off limits
for these predators. They even posted an image
with my little sister on these sites too. Now, you might be thinking, “Well, you do dress provocatively, even a little sexually suggestive, attention seeking maybe.” But just because
a woman’s body gets attention, doesn’t mean she’s attention-seeking. And what is provocative anyway,
what is sexually suggestive? In some parts of the world,
showing your ankles is promiscuous, is provocative. It’s just like, no matter
what a woman wears, it’s always perceived
as more sexual than it is. For me, I just wanted
to feel pretty and confident. What’s so wrong with that? Now, you might be thinking, “Well, can’t you just
set your social media on private?” Well, these perpetrators were calculated. They befriended my friends on social media under fake profiles, they followed the public galleries of the events and places
I regularly visited. But why? Why should one have to retreat and hide out of fear that something
like this could happen? What I post and what I wear isn’t an invitation
to violate and abuse me. The only person that should be
changing their behavior is the perpetrators. (Applause) Now, you might be thinking, why me? Well, I’m just one of the thousands upon thousands of ordinary women
who are being preyed upon in these mass-scale, horrific
online cultures, websites and threads that are dedicated
to sexually exploiting and doctoring ordinary images of women into porn. As I speak, there are women who are being preyed upon,
and they don’t even know it. In the beginning, I tried seeking help. I went to police,
I contacted government agencies, I even tried to hire
a private investigator, but they were too expensive. There was nothing that they could do. I mean, what could you do when the sites are hosted overseas
and the perpetrators are from overseas? I was told I had to contact
the sites one by one, notifying the webmasters
to get everything deleted. And so as you can imagine, in complete and utter fear and pain, I did. I contacted the webmasters, requesting that they delete
the material shared without consent. And I had some successes, but I also had some major setbacks. The more I fought, the more sites I would discover, and with time, the more my images
were being seen and shared in the tens of thousands. I had one webmaster respond to me
saying he’ll only delete the site if I sent him nude photos
of myself within 24 hours. And this went on for years, fighting against these
dodgy, disgusting sites. But I was fighting a losing battle. And I couldn’t continue this any longer
for my own mental health. But what could I do? Maybe, I thought, if I spoke out, I could reclaim my name, and I could rewrite my narrative
on my own terms. Maybe if I spoke out, I could raise awareness about this. Maybe I could even try to change the law. And so I did. (Applause) I spoke out publicly late last year and news of my story
reverberated around the world. But this was the response. “She’s a fat, ugly slut, she’s a whore.” “She’s an attention-seeking
piece of trash.” “Feel flattered, baby, it’s a compliment.” I was victim-blamed and slut-shamed and told I was deserving
of what happened to me. And quite frankly, that was more difficult for me to endure than my actual experiences
of image-based abuse. But I couldn’t let
this criticism defeat me. I knew what the perpetrators
had done was wrong, and I knew what they were doing
to others was wrong. And so I petitioned. I sent out impassioned pleas for support. But it didn’t work. I think I got like 330 signatures. And that was really disheartening. But I then contacted
my state and federal MPs. And I was referred to the New South Wales
Attorney General’s department, who were already in the process
of drafting new laws to criminalize the nonconsensual
distribution of intimate images. Image-based sexual abuse. Some of you might know it as revenge porn. And soon I became a spokesperson, a public face for the new laws. But I must point out, I do not in any way, shape or form want to take credit
for this change in the law. This is on the backs
of cybersafety experts, of researchers, of the Attorney
General’s department, of so many people
who have fought for years. New South Wales was the first
state in all the world to specifically include a provision
on altering images. Something that happened to me, something you certainly
don’t hear about very often. And now ACT has also criminalized this, also with a provision on altered images. And next year, WA
is introducing legislation and hopefully, they introduce
a provision on altered images and I urge every state and every country
in this world to follow suit, because right now, there’s no justice for people like me. Despite it all, despite the hate
and despite the criticism, despite the fact that I’m never
going to get justice, because my experiences happened
before this movement of law reform, speaking out was
the best thing I’ve ever done, because I know for a fact
that it has helped people. And I just want to live in a world where, regardless
of what I wear or what I post, that I’m still worthy of being treated
with dignity and respect. Respect. Now, that’s an idea worth sharing. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause)

24 comments

  1. The internet is NOT private. Period. If you stand on a public corner and do anything then its public knowledge. If you put anything in the public realm then it is what it is. Its not right but its how the world has always worked and will always work.

  2. Her story is raw and absolutely horrible. Eye opening .. But this content is not for me. She's not well spoken, and doesn't offer enough new insights to get me past 4:33 which is where I stopped watching and left this comment. I do hope that this issue of female victimization can be addressed because I want to live in a world where no one is that harassed and no one is that desperate.

  3. 4:59 that’s just such an absolutely naive statement

    The problem is you expect others to be good, the problems is they aren’t.

    Your rights are expected to be upheld by others which means you’re at the mercy of others and that’s not something you always can have.

    You need control over your life, if you’re out of control you’re gonna crash, there are certain things you should decide if it’s worth doing or not like posting on social media

    I also don’t think this statement should be a reason for social stagnation, we can definitely do better and actually improve as a society but for the individual it’s best to take these advices when society is probably not gonna change for you and the predators hunting you.

  4. I dislike many of the comments below. People refusing to see the perspective is very telling to their empathy and emotional intelligence. It is disappointing that so many don't understand. Sexuality is completely different for males vs females. For males if you have many sexual conquests then you're experienced, attractive, revered and put on a pedestal in many cases. For females your considered tarnished, used, unworthy and less than. This a parallel for what we are seeing in this video. It is not her fault for showing some cleavage, she was probably born that way. She wanted to feel sexy. She did nothing wrong. It is true that the internet is not private but the perception that how women dress is because they had it coming is ridiculous. If you dressed in a mechanics jumpsuit doesn't mean you're gonna get hired as a mechanic. How ANYONE dresses is not consent or intent. I hope they implement severe consequences for using anyone's photo without their consent. If you're still having a hard time understanding imagine someone photo shopping a penis in your mouth no matter your gender and sharing that photo all over the internet.

  5. How unfortunate you're a pretty girl with a outstanding figure. You call these people who photoshop your face on to other women's bodies as predators. Well, in realty they are just highly motivated people who fantasize about you strictly as a visual ideal in their mind. They see a voluptuous woman and for a short while they do a little internet stalking hoping to find all the images they can. And when they can't find the nudity they may be hoping for, they improvise by using readily available nudes. If this upsets you (as I'm sure for the majority of women it would) then you need to edit what you post. The internet's job isn't to censor,… it will post the good, bad, cute and ugly in all of us. Try pasting a copyright ghost over all of your photos!

  6. Ohh come on Karen, men are sooo easy to understand. When we see melons like this our primal instincts turn on and our imagination turns to adult content. Thats how 99.9% straight men are wired. Try to take it as some kind of weird compliment, obviously you are very attractive to a lot of people, even if you dont like the way they express it.

  7. Women should retialate in kind. Photoshop every straight man's face on some explicit prison pr0n, then post widely.

  8. no one and nothing can control the internet, educating the youth about the consequences of posting their photos on the internet may help them think twice about what kind of photos they should post, that can help, but trying to govern the internet with laws is waste of time, and i am not event talking about the dark and deep web

  9. Love says "I am everything." Wisdom says "I am nothing." Between the two, my life Flows. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj #ProjectBonXai

  10. The purpose isn't to complain, but bring the darker sides of the internet, and how it's been supportive of sexual abuse.

  11. People are truly messed up. To go to such extreme lengths to ruin someone's life to that extent ( all in the name of sexual pleasure ) is disturbing. I feel empathy towards her and I also commend her for bringing up this issue.

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