Zara McDermott Says She Was Suicidal After Teachers ‘Blamed Her’ For Revenge Porn Aged 14
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Zara McDermott has given a candid interview in which she describes contemplating suicide after being blamed as the victim of a revenge porn incident aged just 14.
The 24-year-old spoke out about the experience in an interview with The Times, explaining that after a boy at school shared naked photos of her she felt ‘shunned, punished and shamed’ while the boy who shared the photo got off ‘scot free’.
Zara spoke about how she had finally succumbed to weeks of persistent pestering from the boy to send him nude photographs of herself.
She recalls how the photo then circulated around her own school as well as other nearby high schools - even reaching her mum, who worked as a food technology teacher.
But rather than being treated as a victim in the episode, Zara was instead called to the headteacher's office and later suspended.
"People don't realise when something like this happens, it affects the whole family," she said. "My teachers just washed their hands of me. Drilling it into me, constantly blaming me. Do you know what that does to a young girl?"
Devastated and embarrassed by the incident, the reality tv star says she considered taking her own life, thinking about ‘how she would do it’. "I never want to go to that place again," she added.
Thankfully, it seems as though positive steps have been made in the last decade. The school Zara attended - Coopers' Company and Coborn School in Upminster, east London - has said it now has ‘specific policies for peer on peer abuse and clear procedures for sexting incidents’.
Sadly, Zara was once again the victim of a revenge porn incident in 2018, when she appeared on Love Island and an ex-boyfriend shared images of her online.
“When I came out of Love Island, and came out to images of me, what felt like, circulating around the whole world. It was one of the hardest things I went through in my whole life," she said.
But Zara is now working on a BBC documentary which gives an ‘emotional and raw’ account of her revenge porn experience.
Announcing the news on Instagram, she wrote: "Hi Everyone. Some of you may be aware that I have been a victim of Image Based Sexual Abuse, which is also known as Revenge Porn.
"For those of you who don't know what this is, it's basically when one person shares intimate images or videos of another person without their consent…
"I am really humbled and honoured to announce that the BBC and I are currently making a documentary to share my story.
"My main aim is to bring awareness to this issue, and be a voice for those who have suffered in silence and to help make a change. I am sharing my story and being my most vulnerable, emotional and raw."
The documentary is due to air on Tuesday 23rd February.
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