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A few days back my classmate shared a picture of my mom (her facebook profile picture) on a subreddit for cum tributes, and sent a screenshot to me.

After much threatening and requesting I was able to get him to take the post down, but I am scared that he has shared her pictures and/or her personal information elsewhere as well, since she keeps getting calls from unknown numbers daily.

I am actually not sure what to do in this case. Both of us are underage (15 this year), so I am not sure if he can get into legal trouble if I report this. I don't want him to go to jail or anything,

I just want him to not do this in the future.

I am also unsure if I should let my mom know about this, because if I do then surely the situation will escalate much further, and it is also a bit embarrassing to discuss these things with her in the first place.

How can I have him understand that his behaviour was more than inappropriate and that he must not do this again?

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    What is "cum tributes"?
    – guest
    Jun 24 at 6:05
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    It's almost like there should be heavily enforced laws with severe penalties for these things.
    – ribs2spare
    22 hours ago

3 Answers 3

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As far as bullying attempts are concerned, in my experience, what works best is to escalate several levels above what the bully expects.

Verbal threats usually do not work. Anyone can say anything without it carrying any weight. However, actions matter.

Here's an example:

My parents own an appartment in a collective ownership building. An inspection resulted in a list of mandatory upgrades we had to do. The property management company sent a 4000€ quote. After a bit of investigation, I found out that only €1000 out of that was part of the mandatory upgrades, the rest most likely not mandatory, but simply extortion (ie, €3000 for 3 electric radiators). However, it was impossible to make the property manager say what was mandatory and what was not, most likely because she would get a cut on the extortion, so it was in her interest for me to believe the non-mandatory stuff was actually mandatory.

On an old man with cancer who can't leave his home, this legally constitutes "abuse of weakness", which is punished by 3 years jail time, a hefty fine, and other goodies.

Knowing the manager was trying to extort, therefore an enemy, there was no point in further discussion. So I simply escalated over what they expected. I had the lawyer print out the legislation, write a nice summary ending in "you have been warned" and send a registered mail copy to the property manager. Then I sent a copy to everyone, and called everyone in the building to check what kind of stuff they were trying to force them to buy at inflated prices, thereby saving a couple thousand bucks to quite a lot of people who were being extorted too... and killing the manager's business.

They simply dropped the ball and pretended nothing had happened, problem solved.

So, concerning your "friend", here's what I'd do if I were you:

If someone doesn't understand on their own that posting pics of someone's mom on a cum tribute site is not something you do, then there's no point in having a polite discussion to convince them of this fact. Especially since you already tried. Most likely, this guy thinks it's funny.

It's always like that. There's nothing wrong in being civilized, but that only works on civilized people.

So, you should first archive everything: reddit posts, incriminating answers, any mail, text, or voice where he confessed doing it, etc. Several copies, at least two in the cloud, for example MEGA and google drive, on separate storage accounts from your mains.

If your mother is getting anonymous phone calls, then it means someone shared her phone number. That goes even further past the red line than publishing the photos. If you don't want the cops to get involved, IMHO you're being way too merciful.

The anonymous phone calls could be explained in different ways. First, EXIF tags with GPS coordinates added by the phone to photos. Facebook is supposed to strip those. Second, someone using a reverse image search on the photo to find your mother's public profile, then getting the name. Third, your "friend" actually sharing the name, location, or phone number.

It is quite important you figure out why she's getting those phone calls, because if the address or name was leaked, someone could show up uninvited.

So you can make him confess that he did it via text message. If he already confessed via text, this is ideal. But you need evidence to link the anonymous reddit account and the guy in question. Back up everything and make several copies.

Then you can simply show him that you have all the evidence. Basically, don't make threats, instead simply make statements, like "You posted the photo, I have all the evidence you did, and now my mother receives anonymous phone calls, what do you plan to do about it before we call the cops." Simple as that. Wait for a reaction and act accordingly.

It would be better to do this by text, or he could try to take the phone and delete the messages.

If he doesn't get it, involve your mother, who will most likely send the evidence to his parents. At this point, something should happen that will make him understand.

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    IANAL, but there are two things that seem really very out of bonds and maybe laws : 1. recording someone without his knowledge 2. using it to threaten him. Seem close to blackmailing too. Can you clarify please ?
    – OldPadawan
    Jun 12 at 15:49
  • No problem: when someone posts pics of someone's mom on a cum tribute site, the kiddie gloves are off. However, it is likely OP has all the necessary incriminating evidence in their text message history already. In this case there is no need to risk recording with a hidden camera.
    – bobflux
    Jun 12 at 16:44
  • "(T)o escalate several levels above what the bully expects." Yes - bullies often cave into gibbering wrecks when their victims escalate, when they realise that what they thought was a world in which they could kick their victims around like pieces of dirt, completely at their leisure, is now non-existent.
    – tell
    Jun 25 at 15:42
  • @tell yes indeed! While most people are civilized and open to dialogue, some are not. Failing to identify an enemy (and therefore not dealing with them accordingly) is the first step towards ending up as the victim.
    – bobflux
    Jun 25 at 18:18
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When I was a kid, and was facing an unexpected situation or issue, and didn't know what to do, I would always ask/tell my parents. That's what I was taught, and their explanation was crystal clear: "there's more in two brains than one, and elders have more experience they can share with the younger people". That doesn't mean you're wrong and that they know better, it just means you can get help and then you make a wiser decision. Because they've probably faced it before. Or know people better. Or think a couple of moves ahead because of their experience. They more than often have a much more broader and clearer view. Maybe you missed some parameters and they'll take them into account.

In my case, my Dad would always help me tune my thinking by asking questions. What do you think? What would you do? What will happen if you do that? Or do this? How do you think the other person will react? And so on... If I was lost, or uncertain, he would just advice and say what he'd do or recommend. He would hit the target 99%.

That's what I'm going to do with you, because it's the best thing that ever happened to me, and that helped me so much afterwards: I'll advice you to tell your Mom exactly what you were told, what you've witnessed, what you think about the situation, and ask for her wisdom. Not only she's the one involved, so it's better be her decision, but you should not have to deal with such a situation at your age. Was this happening to you, I would recommend exactly the same.

Parents (should) take care of their children, help them grow, and are the ones who should deal with such a touchy situation. Just make sure you share your thoughts and fears, and what outcome you'd prefer. Especially if you want to "protect" your friend, despite him doing such a bad and wrong thing. My last advice would be to tell her the truth. Don't lie or say only parts of what you know. Giving incomplete information could lead her to make a bad decision.

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    I agree. Also, as the mother is directly involved and the victim - even more reason to bring it to her attention. Jun 25 at 16:04
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"After much threatening and requesting I was able to get him to take the post down".

What did you threaten him with? If your sole aim is to ensure that he doesn't do it again, or something worse, in the future, then since your threats have worked you might consider multiplying the strongest of them by 10 and telling him that if he ever does anything like this again (anything remotely similar in nature, even if on a smaller scale) then THAT is what is going to happen to him. That will hopefully solve the problem. All bullies are cowards.

Learn from your successes.

(This is an answer to how you might achieve your stated aim. If you also want to make him tell you about anything else he has done that has brought unpleasantness in your mother's direction - such as who he has shared her number with, if that's what he has done - then other, or additional, methods might be called for.)

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