No one should pressure you into sending any pictures of yourself. It is abuse and they could be breaking the law.
Being asked to send nude or sexual pictures of yourself to prove you love or trust someone is emotional blackmail. Once you have shared a photo of yourself, you have lost all control of it. Even if you change your mind and delete the photo you uploaded or shared, it may have already been passed on and copied. This puts you at risk of blackmail and abuse by other people.
‘Sexting’ can be illegal. If someone is found to have a naked photo of a person under 18 years old on their phone or computer, even if they delete it, they can be arrested. They can also be charged even if it’s a photo of themselves or if the person agreed to send them the photo.
Trust is not about knowing your partner’s passwords or where they are 24/7. This is abuse.
If someone tries to monitor your movements, messages or posts on social media, email, texts or anywhere, it is abuse. It enables them to control and put fear into you even when you’re not together. They may ask for or steal passwords to access your personal information. You do not need to ‘prove’ you trust them by giving them this access. They are not showing trust in you. Using digital or online methods to control others is now common. As well as monitoring, people use them to bully and frighten victims. This includes sharing intimate photos or videos without someone’s permission (sometimes known as ‘revenge porn’) or using spyware or GPS on their devices to stalk them.
If someone is trying to control your life, this is abuse.
Being jealous and overprotective may seem like signs of love at first, but they can be forms of control, which can get worse over time and turn into other abuse.
If control of your day-to-day life is taken away or if you have to obey rules and boundaries set down by your partner, this can lower your self–esteem and confidence. You may start to feel like you are not important or have no value. It is against the law in England and Wales to use coercive control. This is when someone tries to control another by using threats or fear. If they do not comply with the rules there will be punishments to scare, frighten and humiliate them. If you experience this kind of abuse you can report it to the police.
If someone forces you to do things against your will, this is abuse.
If your partner often makes you feel scared, lonely or hurt, something is not right in the relationship. It’s not ok to feel like you’re walking on eggshells. You should be safe and happy in a relationship, and not feel like you have to go along with everything your partner says in case they become angry. It is illegal in England and Wales to use coercive control.
If someone has sex with you without your consent, it is rape. No one should ever pressure you into any sexual activity. This is abuse and illegal.
It is always essential to get clear agreement (consent) before any sexual activity with another person. This includes everything from kissing and touching to sex itself. It could be considered rape or sexual assualt if consent is not given.
Consent can’t be based on previous experience and just because it’s been given once, that doesn’t cover that person forever. It needs to be renewed and reconfirmed. If someone has been drinking alcohol it can affect their ability to communicate clearly. It is not an excuse to pressure them or take advantage of them. Consent is when someone agrees by choice.
If you’re worried about a relationship you’re in, help is available.
If you are worried about your own behaviour you can also get support.
Click here for a list of contacts who can help and support you, including organisations that work with young people.
If you think you may have been a victim of crime, contact the police. If you are in immediate danger call 999. Call 101 at all other times or you can report online by clicking here
You can also call Victim Support on 0808 168 9291 free for advice and support (Mon – Fri 8am–8pm, Sat 9am–5pm)
For more information on signs of abuse click here.
Click here for Youth Campaign resources, including posters and gifs.