Shock, Denial, Fear: I thought my life was over when my photos were leaked
27th Aug 2020
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 one, Megan Sims, a victim of revenge porn, outlines the initial feelings she had when she realised that her intimate photos were on the internet for everyone to see.
There’s a moment in I Hate Suzie, Sky Atlantic’s new show, where Suzie, played by Billie Piper, throws her phone across the room in a bid to hide it from herself, and her husband, Cob. She’s in shock.
Suzie, a famous actress, who has just landed the role of her life, has been alerted to the fact that photos of her in a compromising position have hit the internet.
In a further bid to shield her husband from the truth, she disconnects the internet cable in the house as well as any electrical appliance she can find.
Scroll down to watch I Hate Suzie trailer
One woman who can relate to Suzie’s frenzied reaction is Megan Sims, a 23-year-old student from Limerick who found herself in a similar position in 2016, when her private photos were uploaded to social media without her consent.
Megan was scared. She was 19 at the time and enjoying a popular micro-influencer status thanks to her Facebook and Instagram following. She shut down all her social media and went to ground.
“I felt horrible,” Megan tells image.ie. “Like I was the worst human in the world because I had dared to be openly sexual. I was in a very bad place at the time. I was so shocked. I thought my life was over.
“It’s like a sexual assault, but public.
“I received 400-plus messages on Facebook saying horrible comments and slut-shaming remarks. Men and women that I didn’t know calling me a whore, a slut, telling me to kill myself.
“I shut down all social media, for years,” says Megan, after the photos and videos were sent to her family and friends, including her grandparents.
Megan was in such a low place at the time that she took the Facebook comments to heart, and attempted suicide once.
“There is this mentality that boys will be boys and girls will be sluts. But I was very comfortable in my body, I was never ashamed of my body – everyone has one! It was more about people seeing you in a position like that and the horrible, mean slut-shaming and bullying that came with it.”
Megan cites the Magdalene Laundries as a prime example of women’s oppression in Ireland. “When you look at history, especially in Ireland, we’ve such a bad history with slut-shaming women. I did think ‘if this was a man nobody would give a shit’.”
In I Hate Suzie, we see Suzie grappling with the fear that her much sought-after role – as a princess – would be taken from her because of the photo leak. And the shock that this had happened in the first place.
Rather than deal with the issue head-on, she instead chooses to deny any part of the photo hack, which has its own consequences.
To read what Megan and Suzie did next, read part two of our Exposed Emotions series here.
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.