Shame, Bargaining, Guilt: I internalised the guilt when my intimate photos were released

In a three-part series, inspired by new Sky original show I Hate Suzie, we'll explore the different emotions that are exposed when a life-changing event happens. Here, in part two, Megan Sims, a victim of revenge porn, outlines the guilt she felt when her nude photos were made public. 


Read part one here: Shock, Denial, Fear: When I saw my photos had been leaked I thought my life was over


"I went off social media, for years, because I was so ashamed of myself," says Megan, whose intimate photos and videos were shared on social media in 2016, without her consent.

Advertisement

"When [they were shared on social media], I did regret it."

Her intimate photos being on the internet for everyone to see was one thing to contend with, but having people perceive her as someone she was not was far more damaging, says Megan.

Scroll down to watch I Hate Suzie trailer 

"I was made out to be this horrible person. I had people– who I didn't know – with vendettas against me. I felt extremely betrayed that they were making me out to be someone I was not. There was a narrative pushed out with the photos. It was bullying, anything to make me look bad."

Megan was eventually diagnosed with PTSD.

In I Hate Suzie, which is available to watch now on Sky Atlantic, Suzie's character spirals out of control when the shame of being tabloid fodder for every gossip site on the internet catches up with her. Every part of her private life – her marriage, her parenting and her career – is now being dissected in public.

Megan opted to take a break from social media and "spent a lot of time soul-searching". She also moved away from her family and friends in Limerick.

Advertisement

Women began getting in touch with her about her photos being uploaded to an anonymous revenge porn website. They were looking for guidance on what to do about their own photos being uploaded to the site.

"When women were coming to me with their own stories, I realised that I didn't see anything wrong with them taking photos of themselves. I wasn't blaming them and I didn't think they were sluts, so why was I putting that on myself?," says Megan.

She subsequently enrolled in a psychology degree and continued to study feminism and the history of 'slut-shaming' in society. "I came back on social media and I was taking it slow but I'd always been working behind the scenes."

That work seems to be paying off. Megan is campaigning for the Department of Justice to legislate on revenge porn, and at last count, has amassed 15,000 signatures for the petition 'Make Revenge porn a criminal offence in Ireland'.

To read what Megan, and Suzie, did next, visit image.ie next Thursday for part three of our Exposed Emotions series.


Advertisement

New Sky original, 'I Hate Suzie', is an eight-part series with all episodes available now on Sky Atlantic. It stars Billie Piper, Leila Farzad and Daniel Ings. Piper created the show with long-time friend and writer Lucy Prebble, known for Succession and Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which also starred Piper.   

Join us for an evening of honest chat to celebrate the launch of 'I Hate Suzie' in our Let's Talk Emotions virtual event with Daniella Moyles, Tara Stewart and Erica Cody. Register for free now. 

The image newsletter