Hey Bestie: I have broken up with my boyfriend of four years and we parted on pretty bad terms. I’m glad to be out of the relationship but now I’m worried he’ll use some of the sexy texts I sent him during our time together against me. How can I approach this topic with him without making the situation worse?
This question is perfectly timed and I’m going to tell you why in just a moment.
Firstly, I want to thank you for asking a question like this because the concept of sexting is quite common in relationships, even though there are warnings galore about the reasons why not to sext a partner.
So, what’s a sext? Well, essentially, it’s taking and then sending either a sexually suggestive or a sexually explicit image to someone else.
In most cases, this message is being sent to your current romantic partner. Someone that you trust and are typically in a relationship with.
It’s rare for people to send sexually suggestive images to complete strangers … and if you are doing that, you might want to think again before sending the next one.
So, we’ve established that there is a level of trust when you decide to send a sext through to someone else.
However, like in the question above, what happens when you are no longer in a relationship with that person?
It would be awesome if you both mutually deleted all sexts and then we wouldn’t even have to worry about the solution to this dilemma … but let’s be honest, that’s not at all the case … although it is wishful thinking.
So, let’s assume that your ex-partner chooses to keep the images as their property. Which, technically they can. What happens when they decide to use this maliciously against you?
Well, that’s why this question is so timely!
In Western Australia, a new law called the intimate images law, now makes it a crime for intimate images or videos to be shared with anyone under 16 or without the consent of the person in it.
So, once you break up, if you send the partner or ex-partner a text and state that you do not consent to them sharing, posting, etc…the image and they do – it’s a criminal offence and you have the right to call the police and report the situation.
Be mindful that there are laws in place across Australia which make it illegal to use your phone or internet to take, keep, look at, send, or even ask someone to send sexual images or videos of anyone under 18 years of age…even if they look to be under 18!
It is also a crime if it involves harassing people of any age.
The solution? Have an honest and mature conversation with your ex-partner, even if you parted on bad terms. Send them a text stating that you do not consent to the images being kept, sent, etc… and let them know your concerns. If they do share the images, you then have choices of how you want to proceed, especially knowing that it is a criminal offence.
Remember, it’s your body, your choice to take the images in the first place, your choice to send the images or videos to a partner, however that’s where the line is drawn.
Legally, they do not have the choice to post them anywhere or send them to others without your consent.
If you feel that a crime has been committed, seek help sooner rather than later because after all, everyone should be able to feel safe and supported by their decisions.