Neighbours star Olympia Valance says her phone was hacked and intimate images shared without her consent, using her statement to combat the “heartless and intrusive crime” and call for a better understanding of image-based abuse.
Taking to Instagram on Thursday, Valance, 27, confirmed that a series of images were stolen from her phone over a year ago, with new images recirculating in recent weeks.
The actor said she has contacted police and sought legal representation to combat the “profound violation”, but they have battled to keep the stolen images from further circulation.
Valance said she wanted to draw attention to the way offenders try to “humiliate, degrade, control and blackmail a person,” shifting focus away from the victims of image-based abuse.
“Taking intimate photos of yourself, or to share with a partner is not a shameful thing to do,” she said.
“Stealing them and sharing them online without consent is.
“We should be allowed to embrace our sexuality without fear that someone will take those images and manipulate them for their own gain.”
She then pointed directly at the people who stole and shared her personal images.
“If you actively search for those photos, shame on you,” she said. “If you’ve actively shared those photos among your mates, shame on you.”
Image-based abuse, sometimes known as ‘revenge porn’, is a growing focus of Australian law-enforcement agencies.
In addition to potentially pressing criminal charges, those impacted by image-based abuse can seek help through the Australian eSafety Commissioner. Civil penalties for offenders may apply.
“I will not apologise,” Valance said.
“I have done nothing wrong.”
You can read her full statement below:
Recording, sharing, or threatening to share an intimate image without consent is a criminal offence across much of Australia.
If you’d like to report image based abuse to police or get help removing an intimate image from social media, reach out to the Australian eSafety Commissioner here.
If you’d like to speak to someone about image based abuse, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.