Jennifer Lawrence and other actresses would be feeling “sick, shocked, hurt and betrayed” after intimate images of them were exposed to the public by a hacker, a mental health expert says.
According to psychologist and author Meredith Fuller, the theft and distribution of the images is a “complete emotional violation”.
“It’s an absolute betrayal of your public persona,” Ms Fuller says. “The fact that it’s out of your control and you’re powerless is outrageous.”
The effects would be particularly severe for a young actress like Lawrence, 24, who has long been outspoken about her struggle for privacy.
“My personal life is now ruined,” Lawrence told Empire magazine of her newfound celebrity in 2013.
“I’m just mourning my old life. I miss that. I don’t want to forget what it’s like going to a coffee shop and people looking at me like a normal person. A part of me can’t get used to it and it makes me sad.”
According to Ms Fuller, Lawrence and the other women involved in the hacking (Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and others) face a real risk of shutting off completely.
“One of the things that has been violated most severely is your sense of trust. What you would hate to lose is an openness to meeting people so it’s important to not become so incredibly hurt that you totally shut down.”
Rather, Ms Fuller advises anyone involved in this kind of incident to think of the bigger picture.
“It’s really important to remember that this is an issue for everyone in society. Take it one step removed and look at the broader problem. By doing that you’re demonstrating that you are intelligent, wise and calm.”
Career-wise, “scandals” involving risqué photos or footage have typically helped to boost the profile of stars, most notably famous socialite Kim Kardashian.
For Lawrence, whose profile as a young adult star is already huge, the repercussions are less clear-cut.
When teen Disney star Vanessa Hudgens was faced with a nude photo scandal in 2007, she promptly lost the ‘good-girl’ image that had made her so successful
“That was just a really s**tty situation that sucked,” Hudgens told Paper magazine in 2013.
“That was by far the worst moment of my career.”
Today, Hudgens tackles more adult roles (like 2013’s Spring Break) and remains a brand ambassador for major US clothing companies.
How Lawrence – the star of young adult franchise The Hunger Games and the face of clothing company Dior – will recover remains to be seen, but so far her major supporters have stuck by her side.
Importantly, Ms Fuller says it’s the public’s role to help her on her way.
“We must never forget our humanity and respect for everyone, whether a best friend or favourite celebrity. We all need to take responsibility by saying ‘this is not appropriate I don’t want to collude with this’. It’s a useful moral compass.”