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I Just Found My Sister-In-Law On PornHub — WTF Should I Do?

"I am worried my sister-in-law has no idea these videos are up. Do I tell her?"

Hello, world. My name's Stephen LaConte, I'm a writer here at BuzzFeed, and my favorite thing in the world (besides my dog) is giving people advice.

So I've invited readers like you to message me on Instagram and Twitter (@StephenLC in both places) with your biggest problems — and I'm solving 'em right here on BuzzFeed, one DM at a time. Let's get right to it.

Today, we've got this woman, who recently stumbled upon sexually explicit footage of her sister-in-law on the internet, and wants to know whether she should give her a heads up about what she saw:

Screenshot of an Instagram DM: A woman stumbled upon a video of her sister-in-law on PornHub. The boyfriend has a history of shitty behavior, and the letter writer suspects that maybe the sister-in-law doesn't know about these videos. Should she tell her?
@stephenlc / Via Instagram

Yeah, I think you should tell your sister-in-law what you found. Maybe she consented to the videos being posted, but if your gut is telling you that her boyfriend is the kind of guy who would do this without her permission, it's worth a potentially awkward conversation to make sure she's not being violated here.

A woman shocked staring at a computer
Fizkes / Getty Images

The way I see it, there are three possible scenarios going on with your sister-in-law right now, and having a (respectful, non-judgmental) conversation with her would be appropriate in any of them. So let's break this down.

OWN

Scenario #1: Perhaps your sister-in-law's consent is indeed being violated — either because she doesn't know these videos are public, or does know but isn't okay with it. If these PornHub postings are happening without her clear and enthusiastic consent, let her know that you've got her back, and you want to help her navigate a safe path forward. Together, you can help her leave the relationship, get the videos removed from PornHub, and consult with a lawyer to see if any further action can be taken against this man (or, at the very least, to see if she can secure child support payments from him going forward).

Court documents on a table
Semen Salivanchuk / Getty Images

Next, we've got Scenario #2: Maybe your sister-in-law happily consented to these videos being posted online. In that case, cool! That's a relief! But you still might want to give her a heads up about how easy it was for you to stumble across them while searching for a TikTok of their kid. She might not realize that these videos can be traced back to her personal identity so easily, and for her own safety and privacy, she might want to change the username of the PornHub account and take her real name out of the titles. Better for you to bring this to her attention than, say, her boss. Or her kid. Or a creepy internet stalker.

Hands typing on a laptop
Scyther5 / Getty Images

And that brings us to Scenario #3: Maybe she fully consented to these videos being released and doesn't care if they can be traced back to her. And hey, that's 100% her choice to make! But if she has no expectation of anonymity in these videos, then she shouldn't object to you respectfully inquiring about them. I'd also hope that anyone who posts explicit videos to the internet would understand and value the importance of consent — and maybe even appreciate a gentle check-in to make sure theirs wasn't being violated.

Fox

So yes, any way you slice this one, I think a conversation with your SIL is fair game here. Hopefully, it will be nothing more than an awkward chat where she assures you everything is totally fine. But if things are not fine, that conversation will be a vital first step in getting her out of an abusive, violating relationship, and protecting her from future harm.

Women supporting each other
Prostock-studio / Getty Images

As for your concerns about shooting the messenger? I think you just need to make sure you approach this conversation with lots of empathy, caution, and care, and with zero judgment. Make it clear that you respect whatever choices she's made — you only want to ensure that they were indeed her choices, not her boyfriend's. Good luck.

Pop

That's all the advice I'm giving today, folks, but if you've got any words of wisdom for our DMer, share them in the comments! I'll be reading...

Want more advice and updates on previous DMers? Follow me on Instagram and Twitter (@StephenLC in both places). And if you want to submit a question to be featured in the column, DM me — just be sure to read the rules below first.

BuzzFeed

The rules: All DMs sent to me are for publication on BuzzFeed. Because of the high volume of DMs I receive, I'm not able to respond to individual messages or provide any advice one-on-one. Also, please try to keep your DMs concise — the whole message must fit into a single screenshot or it will not be selected. Thanks!

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