In Canada, we have a law for dealing with intimate (sexual) images that have been shared without consent. If
a peer has your image, you could send them a message. Once the person knows how you feel, they can no longer
say they didn’t know your views. The best way to send a message is in writing so you will have a copy of
what was sent.
Sample email message
“I have reason to believe that you are in possession of an intimate image/video of me. [Suggestion: include some details, such as a description of the image/video and the circumstances under which it was taken/provided to the person (e.g., The image shows me nude in my bedroom and I texted it to you on December 31, 2015 when we were dating.)]
The image/video that I believe you have was taken in circumstances that I consider to be private and personal. I do not consent to you being in possession of the image/video of me [add the words “any longer” if the intimate image/video was initially provided to the person voluntarily]. More specifically, I do not consent to you sharing it with any other person or posting it in any online location. I request that you delete the image/video, and all copies you may have of the image/video, immediately. If you have posted the image/video in any online or other location, I request that you remove it immediately.
This request is being made now in order to avoid the need to involve police. In Canada, it is a criminal offence (162.1 (2)) to distribute an intimate image of another person without the consent of that person. [Optional: Generally speaking, an intimate image is a photo/video of a person in which the person is nude, exposing a private part (genital organ, breast, anal region) or engaged in explicit sexual activity; taken in circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy; and in respect of which the person depicted retains a reasonable expectation of privacy.]
Please respond to this message and confirm that you have deleted/removed the intimate image as requested. If I do not receive confirmation from you within [set the number of days – anywhere from 2 to 7 days should be enough, depending upon the method of notice and how quickly you think the person will see this and be able to respond], I may have no choice but to contact police.
From: [Add your name, or if you don't want your name to appear in the message, some descriptor that will make you identifiable to the person, such as “The person who was your girlfriend/boyfriend for the last 6 months”.]
- If you are scared that an intimate image of you will be shared by someone, this Canadian law does allow you to apply to the court for something called a “prevention order” (an order of the court that names a specific person and tells them not to share or post an existing intimate image). Local courthouses have information about how to obtain a prevention order.
- We strongly suggest that you involve a safe adult (parent, counsellor, etc.) in addressing a peer having your picture on a phone and/or sharing it via MMS with other peers.
“Getting help is anything but weak. Getting help is for the strong. Hiding and pretending something never happened is the worst thing of all.”
— Ernestine (character from How Sweet the Sound by Amy K. Sorrells)