Recently, whilst on a nurturing, much needed break in Thailand, I became subject to a blackmailing operation where nude photos of me were shared publicly on social media as well as privately to my personal contacts.
It all happened towards the back end of my holiday and I felt violated, scared and quite frankly, a bit ashamed. These images were from a few years back, taken to be shared only with my then boyfriend from whom I lived countries apart.
As I fairly quickly however was able to distance my personal connection to these pressing messages my emotions turned into anger - I was not to be shamed. Not for my love of passion. Not for my body, and not for my art.
My fury grew greater with each breath as I started realising how many more women this happens to. Women who may not be equipped to manage something like this. Women who may not have the support I had or the confidence to feel it isn’t their fault, or that their bodies or what they do with them isn’t anything to be ashamed of.
I have to say though that now I am grateful. My heart and spirit grew stronger. I became a better warrior. A better influence within the sisterhood and a much stronger power in solidarity.
In the early stages of me processing the threats placed upon me, while also dealing with authorities in different countries trying to find the person, or people, behind this operation, to make it stop, not only for me but for future victims, I wrote this:
It is my choice.
It should be my choice. My choice to share my body with whoever I wish. Our bodies are our temples. And we can choose to adorn them in any way we please. To tend to them as we like. It is my choice to give my body to another person, for fleeting moments or a lifetime and it is my choice as to how much I want to lend or give away any moment of any time. It is my choice to show my body whether it is for my own or for another’s pleasure. But it is just that - it is my choice.
From this I, with the support of my heart-sister, started dreaming up what turned out to be my own therapy session. For International Women’s Day this year, Sunday the 8th of March 2020, I symbolically gathered a group of magnificent women to shoot together only wearing our beautiful naked skin in the name of #itsmychoice, creating a photography project as an artistic expression in response to the people out there believing they can use our sexuality, our bodies or our thoughts against us.
We stood, and still stand, together in removing the stigma around female sexuality in an aim to disarm the predators to ensure no one can be exploited, shamed or manipulated. My friend and fantastic photographer Jenny Perklén did not hesitate to offer to capture what came to be our Power Photo Session and I am beyond excited to share the final images from this - coming soon.
I am grateful to you. I am thrilled over the response to me sharing this experience which is so full of stigma, and am honoured to be standing tall with so many of you wonderful people by my side. On the side of solidarity. Of kindness. Of compassion and support.⠀⠀
My love, always