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 haven’t, then this is for them.
1. When I noticed I was getting more “Send me nudes” requests on dating apps.
2. When a man twenty plus years my senior gave me attention on an online forum.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. When almost any man would make a pass at me (online or offline).
6. When I had just lost my virginity, even though I was unsure whether I had actually given consent.
7. 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).
8. When I stripped in a hotel room on a first date because that’s what I thought having an older boyfriend meant.
9. 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.
10. When I asked if I was the number one lover my ex had ever had, and he said I was 2nd.
11. 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.
12. When a boy my own age would want to snog me at a party.
13. When a married colleague started to ‘drunk-text’ me at the weekends.
14. When I lost a lot of puppy fat by saving my lunch money to buy an iPod shuffle instead of lunch.
15. When online creeps would talk to me about their ‘librarian fantasies’ just because I happened to wear glasses.
16. 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.”
17. When men would use me for sex when I confused sex for love and approval.