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Unpacking Zara McDermott's Revenge Porn Documentary

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Feb 25, 2021
07:00 P.M.
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Zara McDermott’s revenge porn documentary highlights the impact that non-consensual pornography can have on a person.

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Zara Mcdermott’s powerful documentary “Revenge Porn” details her experience with being the victim of revenge porn from fourteen. The documentary also delves deep into the consequences of what’s becoming an increasingly prevalent issue in the age of modern dating.

The former “Love Island” star gets candid about her journey and how being the victim of revenge porn twice has affected her mental health, her family, and relationships years later.

Revenge Porn Documentary

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Getty Images

In the Revenge Porn documentary on BBC Three, McDermott details an incredibly traumatic time in her life. At fourteen years old, she was bullied for her looks and being a ‘goody two shoes.’

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School was a tough time for her. She felt pressured by a boy at her school who bothered her for weeks to send him naked pictures of her. The boy saying ‘Please, Zara, please do it. It will make me like you more.’

“I honestly thought that if I took the picture, it would make him like me, and want to be with me, and I saw it as a way to prove myself to him.”

She told "The Times"

McDermott Was Betrayed Twice

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However, that was McDermott’s first encounter with image-based sexual abuse. The boy that she had sent her picture to had subsequently circulated that image around the school. The image was far-reaching, being shared in neighboring schools with her younger brother of eleven at the time and her mother.

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"It was such a dark time, I’ve blocked out so much. A few days after the picture began circulating, I was just so worn down. I think I remember not eating properly, I remember not sleeping properly, I remember just having this constant low mood that you could just never lift.”

She shared.

Her second encounter occurred at twenty-one years old. At the time, she was starring in “Love Island” in 2018. She was oblivious to her images circulating as she was without her phone during the filming.

Life After ‘Love Island’

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"I can’t even tell you the feeling, feeling like your parents are ashamed of you. How will they look at me the same ever again? It was so embarrassing. I just wanted to die."

Zara says tearfully, in the documentary.

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McDermott alleges that the man she was seeing before her appearance on the show was responsible for circulating the images. An accusation which the man denies.

Zara says that if she could go back and undo her actions, she would. She adds that: “The moment I share that image of myself, yes, it’s my body, but it’s no longer my choice." she says to camera.

Reactions To The Images Hurt Her The Most

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Having been betrayed twice, Zara is not only upset with the people who shared the images but peoples’ reactions too. McDermott experienced a lot of trolling and victim-blaming following the incidents.

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She shares how people were focused on the fact that she sent images to someone rather than her pictures being distributed publically without her consent. She says she reads comments from people who question her campaigning for awareness on revenge porn, bringing up her bikini pictures on her Instagram.

"They’ve absolutely missed the point. I was completely violated, and my trust was broken; someone broke the law – it’s not against the law to put bikini pictures on Instagram."

She says in the documentary.

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Campaigning For Awareness On Revenge Porn

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The issue around non-consensual pornography is ever-growing. Despite the sharing of intimate images becoming increasingly common, the subject is still taboo.

Zara has since posted a video thanking those who contributed to the documentary, especially the people who have shared their personal experiences with revenge porn.

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