FIRST PERSON

Victim of Marine Revenge Porn Tells Congress, ‘I Want to Stop Living in Fear’

A woman whose nude photos were sent to her parents by two Marines tells a House panel she no longer wants to live in fear like so many other women do.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Kate” was the victim of revenge porn sent by her ex-boyfriend, a married U.S. Marine, to her parents. The Marine’s wife also sent harassing emails to Kate’s parents. A civilian, Kate prepared a statement for a House panel investigating the epidemic of nude-photo sharing by active and veteran Marines. Kate’s statement will be read aloud by James LaPorta, a former Marine who has reported extensively on the scandal for The Daily Beast.

After nearly two years you think you know someone. I met Vince freshman year of college; we carpooled to church together. I was 18, and he was my first relationship.

As our relationship developed, he would say he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, that he wanted to grow old with me.

One day we were at a department store after we had been dating a while, and he took me over to the wedding ring section. He was always promising me forever.

And so when he asked me for pictures, I thought, “This is the person I see myself spending my life with; this is the person I want to marry,” so I rationalized the idea of it and sent them to him against my better judgement.

Of course, the relationship later fell apart. I found out he was sneaking out to see ex-girlfriends, had multiple dating apps that he frequently used while we were together, and was uncomfortably close with “just a friend” who he started dating the week after we broke up.

Therefore, I broke up with him as painful as it was to break away from the person you had imagined would always be there. When we broke up, I asked him to delete the pictures I had sent him, first he threatened to send them to people; I told him he did not have my consent to do so and that I had sent them to him in confidence; he later said he got rid of them all.

For quite a few months we didn’t speak. He got engaged two months after I broke up with him, and later married her.

Within two weeks after he was married, he contacted me, which was the first time we spoke in over six months. He wanted a threesome with his newly wed wife and his ex-girlfriend.

I told him to leave me out of his marriage. But he didn’t. He contacted me again over two months later. He apologized for how he acted in our relationship, said how I deserved better, that he was sorry, and that he still loved me. He told me his marriage was failing and that they would not last; and I took the bait. I did what I thought was unthinkable for me. I committed adultery with a married man and I tried to justify it to myself just because he took off his wedding band.

Around two weeks later, my parents got to read about what I did when Vince and his wife sent photos of me as well as about three paragraphs of explicit and extremely derogatory text detailing our affair.

My parents told them that if they got rid of the photos, and left us all alone, that they would not press charges. But they did not leave us alone. In the months that followed, I received many long and detailed messages on how I should kill myself, that I am a whore, that I am a slut, that I am worthless, that I am dirty, that I am trash, that I am a waste of existence, that I am a c**t, along with page after page of similar messages and emails which continued for three months.

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I’m sharing this with you anonymously. I never wanted my story of an affair and subsequent harassment and abuse to be how I was known in front of Congress in Washington, D.C.

I’ve studied Chinese under programs partnered with the State Department, I’ve written papers to U.S. consulates and embassies abroad on how to improve their social media relations, and I’ve studied international relations and national security and Chinese for years in hopes of one day becoming a diplomat or an international relations theorist.

That’s what I wanted my legacy to be, that’s what I wanted to be known for in D.C. Instead I’m the girl who committed adultery and got harassed for it. I do not want you to think that I see myself as an innocent victim in all this.

I knew better than to do what I did with Vince, and it was the greatest mistake I have ever made that haunts me and will continue to do so. I was wrong and I should have told Vince to leave me alone again, but I did not and I sinned and I wish I could take it back more than anything. But I also want this to stop.

I want to stop living in fear of when the next onslaught of messages or emails will appear, I want my heart not to race every time I get a notification. I’d like to one day manage the panic attacks and nightmares better. I’d like to feel like I’m worthy of having a relationship again one day. I’d like to repent and move on.