Voices of BADASS: Char Hill’s Story

We are happy to share the story of Char Hill next.  

 

Char wants you to know that she was 45 when she took and sent the nudes that were later used to exploit her online. She wants you to know that age does not discriminate, and we are so thankful she made this point because that is one of the greatest myths about revenge porn, image abuse, and/or NCII: People want to think that this is something that only happens to “stupid teenagers” but the fact is, that’s just not true. 

 

Char, a Revenge Porn Victim, and her Dogs
Char’s dogs helped her through the darkest time of her life.
Char was brave enough to share her story for a recent hearing of Ohio HB497. We are proud to have her on our side.  Here is her testimony:

 

(Please note: If you are struggling with thoughts of harming yourself or others, this story may be triggering for you.)

 


It was evening, December 6, 2015 sitting in the comfort of my home when I received a text message of myself, nude. I was horrified. I was deeply humiliated. And emotionally damaged.
It was a forwarded image meant for shock value from my ex-boyfriend’s buddy. My ex was sending my photo without my consent to his friends, his coworkers, his basketball team and a friend of mine who is also a pastor.

 

My ex threatened that he was going to paper the vehicles in my church parking lot with my nude image. I had to tell the church and meet with the security team in which they kept a heavy look out. I was mortified. I immediately went to the police and was treated like it was my fault. I was told there was nothing they could do. A few attorneys along with Marion City prosecutor said “I know these 2 men are pigs, but there is no law against distributing nude photos in the state of Ohio”.

 

 

I was sick to my stomach. I was persistent to be heard and went back to the police station several times. I just so happened to get connected with a female officer who took me seriously. Sadly, the only retribution I could sustain was a telecommunications charge and a civil protection order. Very little punishment for sending me into a horrifying downward spiral into a mental health relapse hell.

 

I endured a severe recurrent episode of Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With ongoing (but without current intent) suicidal tendencies. I knew I had to get help when the thought of death was a peaceful thought, a release, a sigh of letting go. Being with Jesus sounded immensely more comforting than staying here with worldly people.

 

My urge to flight outweighed my fighting capabilities. I’m too exhausted to continue to fight. I checked myself into partial hospitalization where I spent over 4 months trying to make sense of it all. During my 4 month stint at Marion General Hospital Partial Hospitalization Program I endured what I describe as an “out of body”relapse. I had made it through the program and was now in relapse prevention. I was dealing with months of ongoing court issues that pertained to pressing criminal charges on the offender.

 

was triggered every time I had a court appearance, whether the perpetrator was present or not, or meeting with any agency that was helping me pursue justice. I walked in to relapse prevention somber, empty-handed, and feeling depleted.

 

With tears running down my face, I told the counselors someone was going to die. Either me, the coward of a man who did this to me, or both. My body was sitting in the chair but the words coming out of my mouth were that of a stranger and inaudible. I had so much confusion and noise in my head.
I can see the counselors looking at each other with great concern but I didn’t understand why. What was I saying that was so fearful? I vaguely remember them whispering to me if I was willing to surrender my weapon to someone trustworthy that would safely lock it away from me.

 

Somewhere between protecting myself and my household, became a very scary idealization of permanently ending the nightmare I was living. I am very thankful I was in a safe place with trained professionals to defuse a potentially horrific situation and immediately took appropriate action which placed me back into PHP for another month.

 

This heinous act of Revenge Porn has to stop. These monsters need to be held accountable for their actions. My photo was taken out of trust, loyalty and love. I am a beautiful woman inside and out. I should not be shamed for feeling attractive or being sexual. And it is not ok to share my intimate photo without my consent, period

 

 

Well said, Char.

 

As you can see from her story, Revenge Porn is something that affected every facet of her life. It’s important to take this crime seriously as the consequences of this act can be devastating to victims and their families. We are glad that Char got help when she did and she is brave for being open and sharing what happened surrounding her mental health, as talking about it is so often stigmatized.

 

We asked her to delve deeper into the mental health side of things that she wrote about in her testimony, in hopes that it may help someone else who is struggling with thoughts of suicide or harming others. Read on if you are interested, but please know that the following passage may be triggering for some:

 

I’ve struggled since my late teens with Major Depression Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and in my mid 20’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A lot of people would never know this about me because I mask very well! I’m bubbly, cheerful, silly and appear to be happy. 

It took me years to grow into my voice, and now that I have, I will not be quiet! With recent events of a heinous act of revenge pornography by someone I trusted and loved, I slowly fell into a horrifying mental health relapse. I have had a severe recurrent episode of depression, anxiety and PTSD with ongoing (but without current intent) suicidal tendencies.

This battle is not meant to be fought alone! With hopes to save lives and educate people- the most important thing you can do is tell someone how you are feeling! This persons betrayal of loyalty sent me into a horrifying downward spiral, into a mental health relapse hell.

I knew I had to reach out but I didn’t want to bother or worry my loved ones. I am thankful for these two friends for their unbiased support in this particular situation. But after months passed, I was still in a very dark place. PTSD can occur at the time of trauma or months, even years, after the trauma occurs. Trauma is very different to every individual- don’t judge. PTSD is not “what’s wrong with me” it’s “what happened to me”.

I knew I had to get help when the thought of death was a peaceful thought, a release, a “sigh” of letting go. Being with Jesus sounded immensely more comforting than staying here with worldly people. I can remember being on a flight, looking out the window & seeing the most angelic pathway of clouds that would lead me to a lovely eternity to heaven. I closed my eyes, leaned my seat back, and was at total peace with pleading God to please take this jet down. And when we landed being so very disappointed because I had to “go on” and put on my fake smile.

Let’s get back to this, I want to take a moment to explain what “fight or flight” means to me…

Over the last year I’ve been to Florida twice, Atlanta, Ft. Wayne, Kentucky, Las Vegas and Seattle. Sounds like a wonderful year of vacationing doesn’t it? What it really meant was escaping my demons, chaos, confusion and pain. Spending money I shouldn’t have with no worries. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great times and I’m very blessed to have friends and family help to get me away, distract me from my turmoil. But I also had unrealistic thoughts and plans as to where else I could escape to and not tell anyone.

Maybe check in with loved ones occasionally.

I would joke about loading up my two beloved German Shepherds and just drive until I ran out of funds and couldn’t drive anymore. I was certain we could live under a pier by the ocean (my only concern was how much I do not like fish), or in the wilderness, or for some reason… San Antonio stuck in my mind. I would tell people this and laugh but on the inside it was very real to me. The urge to “Flight” outweighed my “Fighting” capabilities. I’m too exhausted to continue to fight…

Back to the suicidal planning… The more places I went, the stronger my urges became. I’m not sure why. I guess because all these beautiful places that God created seemed so tranquil. While my friends and family were admiring wonderful clay-colored canyons, and majestic waterfalls, and the thickest green forests and breathtaking mountains, I was soaking in the serene Peace of knowing where I could drive back to and miss a winding curve into a sunlit canyon or freely fall into a fierce current of a violent waterfall. I didn’t want my loved ones to know my death was intentional. I hid my tears. Do you know how hard it is to choke back a melt down? I’m mastering that emotion, too.

After my last “vacation” I returned home and checked myself into Marion General Hospital Partial Hospitalization Program where I spent 5 months trying to make sense of it all.

Now comes the stigma…Ugh!! I keep rehashing why is my mental health any different than someone famous? They are well known, talented, wealthy, and admired. It’s such a shame, and considered a waste of talent if a star commits suicide. So why does society look down on the “average Joe”? I am a giver, a great mother of two amazing sons, I am a server for Jesus, I am loved, I cherish my family and friends, I am humble and I matter too! I’m not “crazy” or “oh she’s bi-polar”. Stop it! I’ve been through some stuff. I am wired differently.

My mind is overloaded and racing rampant. I need compassion and understanding. Just like you may have a broken bone, a broken leg. You can’t walk, you need help to get up. I need help to get up differently than you. Are you ashamed of your broken leg? I am not ashamed of my brokenness. Treatment plans are not that different. You go to physical therapy and tell them your difficulties, you will learn how to cope with your diagnosis, your struggles, and may need medication for pain, balance, infections, etc..I go to counseling, I give my symptoms, I tell my hurts. I may need medication to cope and manage just like you. We need to be brave and Stomp out the Stigma…

I mentioned earlier that I was asked to surrender my weapon to someone trustworthy who would safely lock it away from me. You see, for months I slept with a 9mm under my pillow, pepper spray under the other pillow and a steel bar at arm’s length placed under my bed.

It became surprisingly comfortable sleeping with a gun under my head. But somewhere between protecting myself and my household, became a very scary idealization of permanently ending the nightmare I was living. I am thankful God was with me that afternoon, as He is everyday, and placed me in a safe place with trained professionals to defuse a potentially horrific situation and immediately took appropriate action which placed me back into PHP for another month.

I’m not where I want to be but thank God I’m not where I was! I thank God for giving me grace and mercy and saving me from myself. For carrying me when I couldn’t stand, for the discernment to get to the hospital. I’m learning to set boundaries, recognizing my triggers and avoid them if possible, to run like hell when I see or feel a “red flag”, and give myself permission to slow down and say no and take “me” time. This is not an easy task for me. I’m educating myself and loved ones on my diagnosis. I’m trying to eat healthier (yea right lol), exercise, and use coping skills. I’ve become very active in NAMI. They have helped me be accountable in maintaining my mental health in which I am passionate about advocating and educating.

I have a safety plan in place. I promise not to mask and tell the truth when I’m struggling. Most importantly I promise to never break the hearts of my sons, my mother. my sisters, my brother, my grandmother, and the rest of my family and friends and my God  For I am the daughter of the most high King .

 

If you are considering suicide, help is available.  Call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone.

 

If you are in a life-threatening emergency or are an immediate danger to others, please call 911.

One Reply to “Voices of BADASS: Char Hill’s Story”

  1. Oh my what a powerful sharing is Char. God bless you Char. I’m a sobriety advocate and I will keep you’al in mind for the future.

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