Featured Storyteller

MEXICO: I Fought Back Against Revenge Porn

Olimpia
Posted April 21, 2021

When her long-term boyfriend released an intimate recording, Olimpia thought her life was over. Then, she and a group of women activists joined together to pass a law to protect women from digital violence.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the name that had embarrassed me because of a sex tape would become the name of a law to ensure that no woman is blamed and scorned for her sexuality.

A few years ago, I recorded a sex tape with a boyfriend I had been with for six years. Without my knowledge or consent, he released it on WhatsApp and it was widely circulated. He recorded the video, so my naked body was there for everyone to see, while there was no way for him to be identified. He denied sharing it and even being in the video. People began speculating about who I was sleeping with—my reputation was ruined.

There wasn’t a single day I didn’t receive requests from random men asking me for sex on my social networks. A local newspaper put the story on their cover, stating that I was “burned on social media” and therefore I no longer had a future. The newspaper sold like hot cakes. They profited from my body. I was only 18.

Everyone in my hometown told me that I was at fault. Even my family judged me. I thought my life was over, and I tried to commit suicide three times. The scandal meant that I had to leave everything: my home, my freedom, even my name. I was no longer Olimpia; I cynically adopted the name people gave me on social media: the “gordibuena of Huachinango”, a derogatory sexist term meaning that I was “hot” despite being curvy.

I believed that I was to blame because I had “allowed” these bullies to see my naked body while being sexually active with my long-term boyfriend. I felt like I was being raped, even without anyone else ever having touched me. They raped me every time they shared that video, every time they made fun of me.

It took me a long time to understand that what happened was not my fault, but eventually I gathered my courage and reported the video to the authorities. At the time, spreading intimate content on the internet without consent was not considered a crime. Even the authorities blamed me.

When I found out that I was not the only girl to go through what is commonly called “revenge porn,” I was livid and decided to fight back. I joined up with a group of feminist activists who unconditionally supported me. We put together a collection of bills to ensure that digital violence against women is recognized and prosecuted in Mexico. At the same time, we formed Digital Defenders and the National Front for Sorority Collective.

We toured across the country to convince legislators and decision-makers to pass the bill. It wasn’t easy. For a long time we felt like we were screaming “Neither porn, nor revenge!” People were neither listening nor taking it seriously; they believed that what happens virtually isn’t real life. We dealt with opposition, criticism, and even backlash, but we kept going. There were a lot of tears and long nights until the tide started turning in our favor. I can now say that we are finally accomplishing what we set out to do: Today, because of our work, there are 28 Mexican states out of 32 that consider spreading intimate content through digital spaces without consent a crime.

When people learned about the story behind the reform, they called it the Olimpia Law. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the name that had embarrassed me because of a sex tape would become the name of a law to ensure that no woman is blamed and scorned for her sexuality. Because of the Olimpia Law women can now report, denounce, and access justice when they are violated in this way. When the Law to Access a Life Free of Violence Against Women passed, it was the first time that digital violence was recognized as a crime.

Our work isn’t over. Through the Digital Defenders and the National Front for Sorority Collective, we created a virtual “violence-meter” to explain the spectrum of violence against women. We promote digital education and advise women and girls around issues such as safe sexting. We have also started working with past offenders to make them aware of their responsibilities. Our challenge and aim is to ensure our safety and security, even on the Internet. More people must be aware of the damage digital violence can do so that women no longer have to put up with inequality in digital spaces.

I left my past life behind me and created another where I’m freer and happier. Women have saved me. This is why I travel the country to raise awareness of digital violence against women. To me, the Olimpia Law isn’t just some legal text; it is a crusade. I want every woman to know there is hope and that it is possible to create change if we exercise our own power.


SheTransformsTech

This story was published as part of World Pulse's SheTransformsTech Campaign and is included in the #SheTransformsTech final report. Download the report to find out what grassroots women and gender-diverse individuals from 60+ countries say individuals, policymakers, and tech companies must do to make tech equitable for all.

 

Comments 39

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Beth Lacey
Apr 21
Apr 21

I want to pop a champagne bottle and toast you! You are so strong and so brave and you are helping so very many others!

Jody Vandergriff
Apr 21
Apr 21

What a powerful story! You rose from a horrible situation, took back control of your name and helped countless others in the process. Wow.

Nini Mappo
Apr 22
Apr 22

I celebrate you, Olympia. You reclaimed your name, your dignity, and your power, and helped many more women past and future, to reclaim theirs as well. I can't even imagine how much gumption it took to be able to crawl out of such horrible persecution until you could hold your head up high again with purpose and pride. Viva the Olympia Law! May this important crusade against digital violence reverberate across the world!

shelbybennett456
Apr 22
Apr 22

You are so brave to regain power in a situation that was created to make you feel powerless! Keep on going!

Kabraham
Apr 22
Apr 22

I admire your courage for even speaking out and sharing your story. This is so wrong and I'm so sorry you had to go through this at 18 years old. You took back control of your life and the narrative painted again you. So proud of you for not only doing something for yourself but something that will positively affect others as well.

Shofali Agarwal
Apr 22
Apr 22

What an inspiration you are! Thank you for sharing on this platform where you will empower many others!

Jill Langhus
Apr 23
Apr 23

Keep up the great work, Olimpia! You rock!

jfaria
Apr 23
Apr 23

Olimpia, I'm deeply sorry that you had to go through this nightmare. But thank you so much for being such a brave woman fighting for a more equal world, where women can be free and choose what to do with their own body.

Precious Umo
Apr 24
Apr 24

Such a great bounce back. Sorry for all you had to go through. You are simply phenomenal!

Susu Mohamed
Apr 25
Apr 25

Dear olompia,
How are you doing,
Thank you for your storytelling ,congratulations on award. Keep up posting and adding values our world pulse community.

Best regard,
Suu

Kat Haber
Apr 25
Apr 25

I stand strong with you! Be peace through the chaos. You are loving, lovable, and loved. Let those go who fail to feel that.

noemi.hdz.gro
Apr 26
Apr 26

Gracias por compartir Olimpia! Increíble la fortaleza, dignidad y determinación. Te admiro por la pelea que estas haciendo en búsqueda de un mejor país y mundo! Cuenta con todo mi apoyo!

Karenday
Apr 26
Apr 26

Thanks for sharing your story Olimpia! It infuriates me to see how women are taken advantage of - especially as part of intimate relationships. Your vocal battle with this situation and the amazing movements you have built will help thousands of girls and women around the world avoid being caught in this same predicament! I salute you!

emarxen
Apr 26
Apr 26

Wow. This is fascinating. Thank you for being so open, and for being such a crusader against this.

srivarsha.gorge
Apr 27
Apr 27

Such an inspirational story! I celebrate and look up to your bravery and strength. Thank you for everything that you are doing to protect women from digital violence.

Reading this story reminds me of numerous incidents that are targeted at a woman's defamation. - Most times as a mere outcome of a man not being able to handle rejection. I wonder if there are any laws (and to what extent) that protect women against Digital slander/libel?

Luana Gimenez
Apr 28
Apr 28

You're such a brave soul Olympia, what an inspiration!

narayani khadka
Apr 29
Apr 29

so brave of you Olympia!!!!! kudos to you and the team.
sending you lots of love
Narayani

TonyaH
Apr 29
Apr 29

Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable for something that happened to you, and happens more often than we realize.

hcampuzano
Apr 29
Apr 29

as Mexican , I´m so proud of what you did Olimpia , todas las mexicanas lo agradecemos

itsjessde
Apr 29
Apr 29

Thank you for being so open to sharing such an intimate ordeal and paving the way for others to fight back!

MMLong
Apr 29
Apr 29

I am incredibly impressed by your courage and bravery. What an empowering story to not only overcome the defeat you felt but to rise up and use it as a platform to help other women. This is a great example of why women should speak up and not stop until someone listens. You truly are an inspiration!

E Barker
Apr 29
Apr 29

A brave story about resilience and driving change for good. Inspired by your courageousness Olimpia!

Ilemmens
Apr 29
Apr 29

Hi Olimpia, thank you for your story. As a survivor of sexual assault, I am so happy strong women are standing up and saying NO to this.
Not only have you helped other women, you were courageous and fearless to challenge the norm. And I thank and applaud you!

Tamarack Verrall
Apr 30
Apr 30

Dear Olimpia,
No doubt your story here will not only heal wounds women are carrying, you have also not only given us all a blueprint for how one woman can gather her strength and transform the pain into "I was livid and decided to fight back". I love the name of your movement "Digital Defenders and the National Front for Sorority Collective", and congratulate you and am inspired by your tremendous successes "Today, because of our work, there are 28 Mexican states out of 32 that consider spreading intimate content through digital spaces without consent a crime. WOW!!! And the Olimpia Law! And a virtual “violence-meter”! Olimpia you are such an inspiration for what one woman is capable of doing, and what happens when sisters rise to support sisters. "I want every woman to know there is hope and that it is possible to create change if we exercise our own power". So much love to you.

Geo
Apr 30
Apr 30

Hi Olimpia!
You are incredible and it's amazing what you're doing! I love how you took something so personal and hurtful into an avenue to help others. I love it! So much courage fueled by love and desire for change. Thank you!!!

Mariaolsen49
Apr 30
Apr 30

Thank you for your courage! I stand with you, my sister!

Vasanth Ayothiraman
Apr 30
Apr 30

Exceptional courage Olimpia.
Very heartwarming to read the line, There were a lot of tears and long nights until the tide started turning in our favor.
Agree with you, Olimpia Law isn’t just some legal text; it is a crusade.

kimberlr
Apr 30
Apr 30

“They tried to bury us; they did not know we were seeds.”

This was the quote that came to mind after your reading your story. Thank goodness you were a seed who fought back and flourished! Thank you for doing what you've done.

Fabiola Lisiero
Apr 30
Apr 30

I admire your courage in bringing an extremely delicate topic. And I am also very happy to know about your achievements and how to support other women who are going through the same. Keep strong.

karina lima
May 01
May 01

Wowwwwww you did it girl! Thank you so much for sharing your story, vulnerability and strength

Nari
May 01
May 01

Thank you for sharing your story, it was truly inspiring.

ruthibelle
May 02
May 02

Awesome. Strong. Brave. Inspiring. What a wonderful name: Olimpia.

Jayne Cravens
May 03
May 03

Thank you for your work to raise awareness of digital violence against women. Your work and voice is so important. We are a better world because of you.

Elizabeth Francis
May 25
May 25

What a powerful testimony of resilience and courage even at such a young age, you stood up for yourself and others, our challenges don't have to destroy us, we use what was meant for evil to empower and impact.

Mahima Rathore
Jun 01
Jun 01

Hello olympia
Thank you for sharing your courageious story with your sisters. same case i encountered last week. one of my beneficiaries's boyfriend is threatening her to post their intimate videos on social media. After reading your story i am gathering courage to fight for her. you are motivation for many women .lots of love for you dear.

Lively Loes
Jun 05
Jun 05

Starting to read your story, I was full of rage of this injustice.
Our sexuality is normal and our right. It shouldn't be worth a comment.
Spreading intimate content without consent constitutes an enormous disrespect of others borders, which should not be tolerated by a society. This should be worth a comment. This is not normal, this is crime.
Finishing to read your story, I feel relief.
You do your name all the credit, you should be sitting in the Olympus, between Gods and Goddesses. May your work be successful also in the other states and the whole world!

Emma Aloka
Jun 17
Jun 17

Don't forget everything come to pass despite the scar it creates. Stay strong

Selma Ndi
yesterday
yesterday

This story is so encouraging. It reiterates the fact that speaking out on any issue is better than dying in silence. Thank you Olimpia for your strength. You did not relent, and because of that ... women in Mexico can now stand up boldly for their sexuality

Marie Abanga
8:52am
8:52am

Dear Olimpia,

I rest my case as a lawyer wow wow wow. RESPECT My dear sister, you have done so well and it's so inspiring, motivating and encouraging.
Light and love
Marie