A BEACHGOER was left horrified after discovering a creep had taken a picture of her sunbathing topless.
Personal trainer Lily Cook was secretly photographed while lying on a beach in Sydney with her sister and only learned hours later that the photos had been shared online.
She said she had seen three men at the beach – two of whom she knew – and had waited until she thought they had left before she took her bikini top off.
Later that evening, a pal forwarded her a photo and asked if it was her in the picture sunbathing topless.
“The person who sent me the photo confirmed who sent him the photo,” she said.
“This is when I realised a photo had been taken of me without my consent and had further been distributed.”
Lily, who shared the pictures of her sunbathing topless on her own Instagram page, contacted the men and their girlfriends in a group message.
She said the men denied taking the photos while she was at the beach on November 12 and claimed she was accidentally part of a wider image taken by one of their friends.
But Lily said: “Due to the quality of the image and the angle, it was clear one of the males had snuck closer to me to get a close-up of me topless.”
Lily said one of the men finally admitted accessing the photo on the phone of the man who took it – and then shared it with two pals who sent it on.
She told The Project she “felt violated” by the men – and the incident had “changed her worldview”.
In an Instagram post, she said: “These men (and I use that word generously) chose to create and corroborate in further lies, embellish stories and gaslight me rather than apologising and admitting this stark and obvious truth.
“I can’t help but think of how different this whole process would be if they had the strength and dignity to own their actions and how it can impact a woman.”
But the man who admitted sharing the snap refused to make a statement to police, Lily said.
And she claimed she was told by officers that they couldn’t take the incident any further as the photo was taken in a public place.
She said she was also told it couldn’t be proven that she was actually the one photographed as the photo was of her side profile.
Lily told the Daily Telegraph: “I’m disappointed because I trusted that something would be done.”
The personal trainer also said no one ever apologised to her for the “disgusting, perverted, and juvenile” act.
“What I’m struggling with is the intent behind taking and distributing the photos,” she said. “It’s these people thinking they now have some kind of power.”
Lily said finding out the photo was shared online “had a profoundly detrimental effect upon her mental health”.
“It is a moment in my life that will haunt me forever,” she said.
Writing on Instagram, Lily said she was sharing her story for women who have had similar experiences.
“I am sharing my experience because I know there are women and girls out there who have experienced this same violation and like me feel overwhelmed by hurt and the burden of societal stigma,” she wrote.
“I want them to know we share a bond and can draw on each other for strength.”
New South Wales police said: “Distributing images, particularly of an intimate nature, to others without permission can have a serious impact upon a person’s health and mental wellbeing, and may lead to criminal action.
“Images of this nature can be distributed and viewed with increasing ease and can go viral in minutes, with long-term damaging consequences for victims.
“Even in a public setting, the privacy of others should be respected and if someone feels unsafe due to the actions of others, they should report it to police.”