Trigger warning: this post contains topics such as sexual consent, revenge porn, body dysmorphic disorder & online sexual abuse.
I spent a lot of my time online when I was a teenager – MSN, MySpace, or random forums and chat rooms. I was a lonely and insecure young girl.
I hope that these days young girls are being taught about the dangers of online creeps, not just ‘catfishes’. I hope they are being taught about having a positive self image and not needing the approval of others. If they aren’t, then this is for them.
- When I noticed I was getting more “Send me nudes” requests on dating apps.
- When a man twenty plus years my senior gave me attention on an online forum.
- When I started to say no to men because I didn’t want to do anything with them, rather than say yes because I thought that they were the ones doing me a favour.
- When I was underage and sending sexual photos to older men in return for compliments.
- During the time when I was unknowingly groomed for several years.
- When almost any man would make a pass at me (online or offline).
- When I had just lost my virginity, even though I was unsure whether I had actually given consent.
- When I was in a ridiculous love triangle with three colleagues, two of which were way too old to be my boyfriend (though one of the older ones did date me for six months).
- When I stripped in a hotel room on a first date because that’s what I thought having an older boyfriend meant.
- When a man described what he wanted to do to me on MSN when I was around 14. I ended up saving the conversation because I thought that it was the highest of compliments. My mum later found it and threatened to send me to a different school.
- When I asked if I was the no.1 lover my ex had ever had, and he said I was 2nd.
- When anonymous guys would talk dirty to me online. If there wasn’t as many doing it, I would start to feel ugly and rejected.
- When a boy my own age would want to snog me at a party.
- When a married colleague started to ‘drunk-text’ me at the weekends.
- When I lost a lot of puppy fat by saving my lunch money to buy an iPod shuffle instead of lunch.
- When online creeps would talk to me about their ‘librarian fantasies’ just because I happened to wear glasses.
- When one of my older brother’s old friends made a pass at me, saying he didn’t recognise me because I was “hot now.”
- When men would use me for sex when I confused sex for love and approval.
As ever – if this has resonated with you in any way, please feel free to get in touch with me if you need to talk.