Dozens of women are fighting back after intimate photos they sent to former romantic interests have been sent by their exes to a so-called “revenge porn” website and posted online.
Holley Toups says that she was at work one day and a friend called to tell her what she’d seen online. It’s the moment that Toups, a teacher’s aide in Texas, says her life became a living hell.
“She said, ‘I overheard some people talking about a website. Its pictures, you know, explicit photos that people have posted,’ and she said, ‘you’re on there,’” Toups said.
Toups found semi-nude photos she said she once sent to a former boyfriend — now posted on the porn site.
“I just can’t imagine why someone would do this to anyone,” she said through tears.
Toups’ pictures, along with those of dozens of other women, were on Texxxan.com, a site where private photos, often taken innocently for a former love interest, are posted as a form of payback.
Experts say to avoid becoming a victim never take explicit photos of yourself for anyone. And online dating expert Julie Spira told ABC News that it may not just be photos that are sent to the site.
“Their email address, phone numbers, your home address also get posted along with these photos,” Spira said.
That’s what happened to Marianna Taschinger who says that a man she had been dating for a few months posted her private photos on the same site. She says he even called her “one of my exploits.”
“He eventually got me to trust him and I did,” Taschinger said. “I guess I didn’t know that people were that horrible.”
Toups, Taschinger and dozens of other women are trying to reclaim their privacy. Together they’ve filed a petition for damages, and hope to have a class action lawsuit certified against texxxan.com and its hosting company, Go Daddy. Calls placed by ABC News to Go Daddy were not immediately returned.
“These sites are all about public humiliation,” attorney John Morgan said.
Shortly after the suit was announced Texxxan.com moved from a free site to a subscription site and is now down, though there is no way to know if the photos may reappear somewhere else.
Toups said that she has will not be shamed by the images as she fights to the site.
“I don’t regret speaking publicly about it if that’s what it takes to make a change,” she said.