Respond

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO GET HELP

If you have experienced Image-Based Sexual Violence (IBSV):

  • Trust your feelings.
  • Remember, it’s not your fault that you encounter image-based sexual violence. Don’t blame yourself, and certainly don’t face it yourself.
  • When necessary, seek assistance from professional organisations. You’re not alone.

If you were a bystander:

  • Believe in yourself. You have the ability to intervene in sexual violence incidents.
  • Your intervention could actually stop image-based sexual violence from happening.
  • Every single word you say to the victim could bring hope, or alternatively, bring more harm – please choose your words wisely.
What to do if you are experiencing IBSV
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What to do as a bystander
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Seeking assistance
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Someone has taken an intimate image of me?

Seeing non-consensual intimate images being taken as a bystander?

Avoid directly confronting the perpetrator. Seek assistance from third parties.

When someone records you without your consent, you could seek assistance from third parties such as passers-by, security guards and staff, and try to keep the perpetrator on the scene. If you are secretly filmed on a bus, you can seek help from the bus captain. If it takes place in the MTR area, you can ask MTR staff for help. They are responsible for handling and following up passengers’ complaints.

Collect evidence
  • Use your phone to capture the perpetrator’s face and the scene. These photos can be used as evidence when you decide to make a police report.
  • Observe the environment and check if there are any CCTV nearby. Get the witnesses’ contact information. These may be helpful for future investigation.
If you decide to file a police report…
  • Remember, making a police report is not compulsory, but a matter of personal choice. You can make a decision that suits you best.
  • You should know that you have the right to report to the police. You also have the right to obtain the case number from the police for future follow-up.
  • You may describe to the police how the incident took place, as well as your feelings, including any anxiety and panic.
  • If necessary, you may contact the counsellors at RainLily. The counsellors will explain to you your legal rights, and accompany you in the entire reporting procedure. Learn more about the services of RainLily
Seek legal advice
  • Before taking any legal actions, consider seeking legal advice to learn about your legal rights.
  • RainLily provides free legal consultation to all victim-survivors, including survivors of sexual violence and image-based sexual violence. Through face-to-face consultation with pro-bono lawyers, you can learn more about the laws and your legal rights. More details and online appointment.
Someone is threatening to share my intimate image(s)

If you need emergency medical attention, please call the 999 hotline or the Fire Services Communication Centre at 2735 3355 for emergency ambulance service, and head to the nearest A&E.

RainLily provides companion for immediate and follow-up medical care and legal procedures, contact RainLily Hotline 2375 5322 for more or request RainLily services at A&E. All information is kept strictly confidential.

Stay calm
  • Don’t immediately comply with the perpetrator’s demands out of fear.
  • Stay calm. If you aren’t sure how to respond, refrain from doing anything.
  • Remember, it’s not your fault that sexual violence took place. Don’t blame yourself and don’t overwhelm yourself with guiltiness.
Retain evidence
  • If the perpetrator threatens to distribute your intimate images through phone, email or other communication applications (such as Whatsapp / Facebook / Instagram), you may keep a record of the conversation content or phone call recording, or keep the relevant threat messages through screenshot for future investigation purpose.
  • We understand that many victims may choose to immediately delete the conversation records and/or the intimate images out of embarrassment. To avoid triggering more negative emotions, we suggest that after taking a screenshot of the relevant messages, victims shall store the record in a less-frequently used computer file but not on their mobile phones.
Warn the perpetrator off further actions

To prevent further actions by the perpetrator, warn the perpetrator that he/she may have already violated the relevant laws, such as blackmail or criminal intimidation. Learn more about existing law

Seek help from professional organisations

It’s not your fault to have experienced sexual violence. We encourage you to recover from the trauma with accompaniment. When necessary, contact RainLily for counselling and other supportive services. Learn more about the services of RainLily

Seek legal advice

Before taking any legal actions, consider seeking legal advice to learn about your legal rights.

RainLily provides free legal consultation to all victim-survivors, including survivors of sexual violence and image-based sexual violence. Through face-to-face consultation with pro-bono lawyers, you can learn more about the laws and your legal rights. More details and online appointment

If there is a need to bargain with the perpetrator
  • Discuss with and seek help from professional organisation(s) before any negotiation.
  • Choose to communicate with the perpetrator over the phone, instead of face-to-face communication.
  • Avoid meeting the perpetrator alone if face-to-face communication is inevitable. Involve your relatives or friends whenever possible and try to meet the perpetrator in a public place.
  • If you are meeting the perpetrator alone, give the address of the meeting location to someone you trust beforehand. Set a time to check in with your friend/relative and agree on follow-up actions in case you cannot be reached.
  • Try to use a gentle tone and stay clam during the course of negotiation. Avoid resorting to provocative actions or words. To gather evidence, try to record the process using a recorder or mobile phone.
  • Leave the scene immediately when the situation escalates.
Someone has shared my intimate image
Retain evidence
  • Through screenshot, keep a record of the relevant useful information such as:
  • URLs containing the relevant content
  • Username of the original poster / the person who forwarded the intimate images
  • The date and time when the post was created; and the date and time when it was forwarded
  • The relevant intimate image/film being distributed
  • IP address of the original poster / the person who forwarded the images (if IP address is not displayed, it can still be retrieved from the network operator through the police)
  • Any other information you find useful.
Report and remove images that are being distributed

We understand that victims of image-based sexual violence would want to have the intimate image/video be removed immediately. However, if the perpetrator threatens or blackmails you with this intimate image/video, we encourage you to retain a screenshot of the relevant content before requesting for its removal. The screenshot can serve as evidence for further legal action and for reporting to relevant websites or social media platforms. Of course, you may first seek help from professional organisations, lawyers or police so as to come up with a safe and comprehensive response plan.

If you decide to report directly to the relevant websites or social media platforms, most of these sites have policies prohibiting the non-consensual distribution or forwarding of intimate images. They also have in place specific mechanisms for making reports and removal requests. Know more about resources for reporting and removing intimate images

For websites that offer no formal channel to request for content removal, you may send a direct email to make a report, but bear in mind:

  1. Avoid providing or disclosing any personal information
  2. Register a new email address for future contact
  3. Avoid providing your full name, ID card, photo, address, phone number or bank information, etc.
Ta-DA Take-Down Assistance
If you have had your intimate images shared online without your consent, we can help you to request for removal through our Take-Down Assistance service. The service aims to reduce the secondary trauma done to victim-survivors in the process. Click here to learn more
Seek legal advice
  • Before taking any legal actions, consider seeking legal advice to learn about your legal rights.
  • RainLily provides free legal consultation to all victim-survivors, including survivors of sexual violence and image-based sexual violence. Through face-to-face consultation with pro-bono lawyers, you can learn more about the laws and your legal rights. More details and online appointment
My partner is requesting me to take intimate image
Affirm your will
  • Listen to your inner voice and evaluate the risks such as the credibility of your partner, network security, etc.
  • If you don’t want to take intimate images, we encourage you to say no and explain your concerns to your partner, or refuse the request on the grounds that you are not in a good state. Alternatively, you may suggest filming intimate images for your partner so that he/she may be discouraged after being put in your own shoes.
Communicate clearly with your partner
  • If you consider taking intimate images, you may first reach consensus with your partner on the purpose of the images, the means of storing the images, storage duration, viewing rights, etc. You may further suggest to your partner that if either of you requests for deletion, the other one should also do the same. Remember, communication does not imply distrust or that you don’t love each other. Rather, transparent communication improves mutual understanding and intimacy, and reduces future misunderstanding.
  • Exercise caution when storing the intimate images. We recommend saving the images in confidential applications or encrypting the files to reduce the risk of leakage.
  • Avoid taking photos that show your face or other personal features such as tattoos and birthmarks.
  • When removing the intimate images, take a further step than simply deleting the photos. Remove the photos from your “Trash” or “Recently Deleted” album, as well as the back-up copies on cloud storage space.
Seeing non-consensual intimate images being taken

It is not always easy to step in as a bystander. It’s important to believe in yourself and realise that your actions can have a big impact. Your intervention could stop image-based sexual violence, and prevent further harm being caused to the victim. In addition, while your words may bring hope to the victim-survivor, they may equally turn into a secondary trauma. So, think twice before you say anything.

  • Remind the victim – The victim may not realise that he/she is being secretly filmed. You may remind the victim using eye contacts or non-verbal cues. When possible, ask if the victim needs any help from you.
  • Assist the victim to leave the scene – You may help the victim leave the scene in a more natural and less obvious way, such as quietly telling him/her that ‘it’s kind of crowded over there, do you (the victim) mind moving towards this side?’
  • Stop the perpetrator – You could stare right into the perpetrator’s eyes to let him know that their act has been uncovered. If circumstances permit, you may expose the perpetrator and demand the removal of the relevant images/videos.
  • Block the perpetrator’s camera – To stop the perpetrator from secretly filming the victim, you may block the camera or lens using your body or bag, or stand between the perpetrator and the victim.
  • Retain evidence for the victim – You may first record how the perpetrator secretly films the victim, and give the record to the victim for evidence. However, in addition to filming the process, please take at least one action discussed above to step in and offer assistance.
Coming across non-consensual intimate images online
  • Don’t view, ‘like’ or share the intimate images.
  • Don’t blame the victim. Remember, the fault is on the perpetrator.
  • Don’t ‘like’ the comments that blame the victim.
  • Report the relevant content. Know more about resources for reporting and removing intimate images
  • Encourage your friends not to view, ‘like’ or share the intimate images.
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If you have experienced sexual violence, it is not your fault and you are not alone.

RainLily Sexual Violence Helpline: 2375 5322

SafeChat Online Support:
WhatsApp 6730 1892
Service Hours
Mon - Fri: 09:00 - 22:00
Sat: 09:00 - 13:00
Sexual Violence Legal Consultation:
rainlily.org.hk/eng/lc
RainLily provides legal consultation, police reporting & judiciary procedures accompaniment, emotional support, counselling, and medical assistance to victim-survivors of sexual violence -
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