Christabel Chua, or Bellywellyjelly as she’s known to her fans, has finally come out to talk about the incident in May which saw her private videos with ex-boyfriend Joal Ong being leaked and disseminated without her permission.
In an open letter published in Singapore Press Holdings magazine Harper’s BAZAAR, she bravely acknowledged that she had been affected by what’s happened, but felt that it was important to address the issue. Here’s what she wrote:
“I’m Christabel (many of you know me as “@bellywellyjelly”) and I want to talk to you about something that happened to me very recently. I spent the last couple of weeks coming to terms with what has happened, and now that I’m in the right headspace, I’m ready to address the situation because I do feel it’s important to do so.
Others who have been similarly bullied reached out to her after the leak
“Since the incident happened, a few individuals have reached out to me to let me know that they are going through the same torment of being sexually harassed. This is an open letter to let you know that you are not alone and that I stand with you.
The videos were obtained by “an anonymous source”; Christabel still receiving lewd message
“In the last month, I have had my privacy violated and my modesty disregarded. An influx of lewd messages that can only be classified as sexual harassment have poured in after private videos, taken during a committed four-year relationship, and obtained by an anonymous source, flooded the internet. I am still getting them to this day.
“When it first happened, I felt scared, humiliated, violated; and I did not know what to do. Who do I call? What do I say? And how do I make it all go away? Knowing that any action on my part could escalate the situation left me petrified. To be thrown headlong into a situation of such chaos and verbal abuse was very hard to deal with at first.
It was as if the leak of those videos had declared open season on me: My modesty was discussed crudely in forums; people created anonymous email addresses and Instagram profiles to send me rude messages that detailed the perverse thoughts they had of me; angry messages were sent to my friends, family, and clients that I’d worked with. It was as if I was no longer worthy of being a daughter, a friend or an individual with any right to privacy.
The Internet became a major source of pain and torment. I spent the first week or so coming to terms with what had happened, looking for any silver lining that I could cling to. It was only through the love from family and friends that I was thankfully able to find the strength and support I needed to stay afloat.
Christabel condemns the sharing of leaked videos
“The Internet has always been a platform for me to spread joy, love and happiness. Yet, out of the tumult of emotions that descended on me, the sharpest that I’ve felt is disappointment. Disappointment at the blatant disregard for privacy and lack of basic human decency that many individuals have shown during this incident. I stand against cyber bullying and sexual harassment. And I certainly condemn the reckless sharing of private material in celebration of humiliation and amusement.
“Don’t let what has happened to you define you but shape you”
“So if you are someone who has gone through a similar situation, if you have been harassed, violated or assaulted, then this letter is for you because I want you to know, and believe, that you are not any less of a respectable human being because of it. People will certainly say otherwise – in the last two months, I have truly seen the best and worst of humanity – but I urge you to shut those voices out, reach out to your family, friends or someone you can trust to find strength and carry on. Or, if reaching out to people around you is not a viable option, there are hotlines that you can call for help (they’re listed at the end of this post). Make the call and speak to someone. Don’t let what has happened to you define you but shape you.
“More importantly, I want you to know that there are actions that you can take, including the legal ones listed below. I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy but find strength in the fact that you can make a stand and take charge of your situation. And now, hopefully, you’ll know how. So make a stand and know that I stand with you.
“Now, and always,
Harper’s BAZAAR has also included a helpful PSA piece for those who may have suffered the same fate as Christabel and need legal advice.
Legal Ramifications of the Distribution of Obscene Materials
By Mark Teng, Infinitus Law Corporation
It is common knowledge that Singapore has strict criminal laws. Some of these laws that can be used to combat possession and distribution of obscene content are as follows:
Section 292 of the Penal Code provides, inter alia, that the distribution, transmission by electronic means, circulation, and even possession of obscene content may be criminal offences that are punishable with a term of imprisonment of up to three (3) months or more.
Section 29(3) of the Films Act also provides, inter alia, a parallel remedy, against the distribution and possession for the purposes of distribution of obscene films. The convict is subject to a minimum fine of $2,000 for each such film up to an aggregate of $80,000 or imprisonment for up to 2 years or both.
Victims of revenge porn may consider the following options:
1. Content Removal
The priority for any victim is to have the images or videos removed from the public domain. Given that perpetrator had been vengeful enough to upload the content, the culprit would unlikely be forthcoming in response to your complaints. However, content online is usually hosted through a third party social media host, or a website with an administrator.
Find out how you can protect your privacy here.
Credit for featured image: Harper’s BAZAAR
Other sources: mustsharenews.com