3.8 Case study 2: Nude photo leaked online

Jessica-18Jessica Logan was an 18-year-old high school senior who sent nude photos of herself to her boyfriend. After the couple broke up the boyfriend sent the photo that was meant for his eyes only to hundreds of other teenagers via group chats. The photo sharing led to name calling and taunts at school. Phrases like “slut, porn queen, and whore” were regularly spoken referring to Jessica by schoolmates. The taunting continued via Facebook and through text messages.

Jessica was feeling miserable and depressed. She was afraid to go to school and started skipping classes. Jessica’s mother only learned of a problem at all when she started getting letters from school reporting that her daughter was skipping school. Jessica’s mother took away her daughter’s car and drove her to school herself, but Jessica still skipped classes. She told her mother there were pictures involved and a group of younger girls had received them and were harassing her and calling her vicious names. Unfortunately, the mother didn’t realize the full extent of her daughter’s despair.

When the school officials became aware of the harassment they offered to go to one of the girls who had the pictures and tell her to delete them from her phone and never speak to Jessica again. Jessica’s mother saw the solution in talking to the parents of the girls who were bullying Jessica, but her daughter said that would only open her to even more ridicule.

2 months later Jessica committed suicide.


Type of cyberbullying:

Outing (sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing photos online).

The victim profile:

  • Can be anyone. Might have low self-esteem, people pleasing, in abusive relationships.
  • Likely to need help with developing a positive self-image, body image, boundaries.

The  cyberbully profile:

  • Revenge, anger, hurt, highly emotionally invested, low empathy.
  • Needs help with emotional development (emotions, recognizing, dealing with, expressing…)

How to promote constructive use:

  • Teach teens about good behaviour online (»netiquette«).
  • Work on self-esteem, body image, personal boundaries.

prevent-01 How to prevent it from happening:

  • Teach teens (especially girls) to know their boundaries and how to communicate them.
  • Raise awareness on cyberbullying, sexting etc.
  • Teach kids to be good bystanders (do not forward, tell someone, show empathy…).
  • Try to catch the signs early. If possible, work with the bully before it is leaked to try to prevent it from happening, work with the girl to prepare her for the worst case scenario (, no blame approach, individual counselling).

react-01 How to react if it happens: 

  • Do not waste time! Work with the victim (dealing with shame), the bully, the bystanders.
  • Limit the damage if you can. Stop the spreading if possible.
  • Document it (prtscreen…), but get kids to delete it from their devices.
  • Help the victim to block the abusers. Report abusers to social platforms, phone companies…
  • Get the schools or the authorities involved. But be sensitive, respect the privacy.
  • Keep the media out.