A revenge porn victim who attempted to take her own life after her nude photographs were circulated online without her consent said she joined OnlyFans to "take back control".
However, 24-year-old Megan Sims says she's been targeted by trolls saying she's "not a real victim" because she is a creator on the racy subscription-based site.
Megan, from Limerick, said that she was flooded with abusive messages on Facebook after explicit videos and photos of her were leaked on sites including Pornhub when she was 19.
The images were also sent to her entire family.
She received more than 400 messages on Facebook telling her to kill herself, which led her to attempt suicide.
Megan said that other women who live in Limerick also had their images exposed, but the police claimed they were unable to help.
The model took time away from social media and started campaigning and petitioning for revenge porn to become a criminal offence.
Megan told Evoke that thousands of women contacted her to share their own experiences.
She said she was "traumatised" by how their images were traded "like Pokémon cards".
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She said that she decided to join OnlyFans during the first lockdown to gain financial freedom and regain control of her image.
Joking that she deserves to earn money from her photos circulating online, Megan said: "My photos were sent to me a lot to try to shame me.
"S***w this, you can't shame me for it if I do it myself. I just had to own it!'"
However, she says some people have called her "not a real victim of revenge porn" now she's joined the site, arguing that she can't campaign for image-based sexual abuse while on OnlyFans.
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But Megan argued: "It's all about consent. I consent to people to see my photos on that platform.
"I didn't give you consent to take those pictures and send them to all your friends."
She claims the need for legislation against revenge porn wasn't pushed through until thousands of women affected went public with their experience .
The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020, came into action in February 2021.
The legislation means distribution and publication of content without consent punishable by imprisonment as well as fines.
Megan admits she has struggled to be proud of how she has influenced people to speak out about their experiences because seeing revenge porn continue to spread is "upsetting".
She admits that it's constantly traumatising for victims and the misogyny is overwhelming.
Megan commented: "I would love to say that I’m proud of everything I’ve done and I’m happy that I’ve empowered people to feel comfortable enough to speak out. But to be honest, it’s just really upsetting seeing the level of it constantly."
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs to talk, call the free Samaritans helpline 24/7 on 116 123. You can also email [email protected] or find your local branch online.
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