Single Lady In Nairobi: How revenge porn lead to a suicide attempt

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When I looked forward to my life in 3 years after meeting the man I knew would be the love of my life I thought things would be different. I had pictured my boyfriend, now my husband, in our 3-bedroomed house on the outskirts of Nairobi with two kids and maybe a dog or cat as a pet.

In this fantasy of mine after finishing my degree in the states we had moved back to Nairobi.  I had seen my hard work pay off as we went on holiday with my family.  I looked at my husband, I had seen the many other relationships I knew that had broken and was glad that I had stayed and worked on my relationship. I would look at that gorgeous man playing with our children and my heart would beam with joy for the work we had put in to make us work and I would be forever proud.

This, however, wasn’t the scenario playing out in my life at the moment.

I was now a 28-year-old lady in Nairobi, with no job, no family to turn to and friends who had deserted me. All this because of a few leaked nude pictures and videos courtesy of my very jealous and enraged boyfriend Josh.

A year ago, I decided to end things with my boyfriend of two years and when I decided to leave, I wasn’t sad; I was relieved. Although the relationship had started well, my boyfriend Josh, had become controlling; coming to my house uninvited and refusing to leave, tagging along on nights out with my friends even though we clearly didn’t want him there and going to the extent of recording and following my every move.

Josh’s behavior then escalated – forcing me to sleep at my friend’s house – because he’d gone to the extent of beating up any guy who came close to me, even my workmates.

It took me a while to get the courage to break up with Josh. Eventually I had to leave my house for fear of losing my life because of his angry tendencies. He eventually stopped calling and the unanswered texts slowly dried up. Then one night as I was having dinner with a friend where I was staying, he texted me again. Seeing the text and obviously terrified of the content of the message – since he had even threatened to kill me for breaking up with him – I even asked one of my friends to check the message which said:

‘You’re gonna be really sorry you broke up with me’.

In obvious fear, I wanted to stay where I was a bit longer but upon telling my dad, he asked me to schedule my flight back home. This was after almost six months of not staying in my house after the breakup and honestly, I was tired of living in fear. My dad assured me that everything would be alright plus he told me coming back to Kenya would probably be a good idea at this time.

However, when I was heading back to my new house about an hour after having my dinner, I realized what Josh meant – several naked photos of me, which I had sent him during our relationship, had been posted on Facebook, and a sex tape which I didn’t know he made while we were together – was sent out on social media. Our mutual friends had been tagged, and so had I – meaning my entire friends list, including members of my family who hadn’t yet seen the pictures via WhatsApp, could see them.

My entire world crashed before my eyes. I could almost hear my heart and spirit breaking into a million pieces.

I was now a victim of revenge porn.

Suddenly my phone started blowing up. Calls, texts and social media notifications all attacking me. All the while, no one wanted to know why this was happening, they all just kept calling me a slut, slut-shaming me and mocking me.

When I was on the plane coming back to Kenya I thought I would have a santuary at my parents house. However, nothing could help me recover from the shock of my father beating me up badly and putting me under house arrest.   My dad who happens to be an elder in our church had gotten quite the rude shock when he was told about the photos and the video from our senior pastor. He was mad that I had embarrassed the family. My mum who was almost crumbling inside was shown the video after going to a prayer meeting where I was suddenly the topic of discussion.  Things got worse as they circulated. There were articles all over about the photos and some even accused me of being a socialite.

 

Woman who is upset. Image from http://ameboguru.com/7-signs-you-are-not-ready-for-a-serious-relationship/2/

 

As soon as I thought that it couldn’t get any worse, I received an email from the HR department at my work place in the States saying that they were letting me go due to the negative publicity surrounding me and the negative impact it would have on the company.

That was when I hit rock bottom. I went from being a respected woman with a great job to becoming a slut-shamed girl with no morals, dignity or self-respect; no parents, friends or family to back me up and no job to go to.

Josh had ruined my life, and all I wanted to do was take it away. I wanted to give him the satisfaction of seeing me die because I had no fight left in me.

After that I tried to commit suicide but my family got to me on time. I was in hospital for 3 weeks.

I had hit rock bottom. I’m now trying to move on with my life. I still can’t find a job because of the negative reputation that still haunts me. I also try to ignore the worrying gossip that continued to plague me.  The experience was difficult, and I was extremely disheartened with how people handled it without wanting to know exactly what happened, without realizing that I was the victim.

The best advice I can give to anyone in this situation: report it. There’s absolutely no shame, whether you sent the pictures or if they were taken without consent- you are the victim here. Do not feel like it’s in any way your fault. Also, before you click, send and share nude photos, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Hint, it never is.

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This story is loosely based on a true story that was on twitter last week. Single lady in Nairobi is a collection of real life stories and opinions from different women. It looks at the current world of dating and experiences that ladies have gone through. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Potentash.com.

Featured image via www.pinterest.com.

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