It’s not a relief but it’s something

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This happened decades ago and I’ve never spoken about it to anyone. I did mention it to my cousin and my sister but never gone into detail. I also want to say nothing ever happened to me physically but I was emotionally and mentally traumatized by what occurred to me. I was groomed at a young age by a man I met on the internet. I was young in my early teens doing what kids in the late 90s do and surfing the web and going on to chat rooms on aol back when it was a thing. Met this guy on the internet he stated he was 18 and I was just 12 at the time. I was so naive then and I guess that’s how I was manipulated. This guy made me do things in camera for him under the guise of love or what I thought was love. I feel so much guilt because of this. This went on for about 3 years until he decided to go ghost. I felt I may have did something wrong and going into my late teens the depression hit hard. He then came back into my life for a brief period but i fell back in the same routine and he disappeared again. I came to find out later he was a lot older than he said and that he could have been doing this to other kids my age. I beat myself up for being so easily manipulated. I’m so guarded now. I do not feel comfortable to be in any sort of relationship. The doubt in my head makes me sick. What is even sicker is that he may have recorded some of the things I did and the fear of knowing that it could be out there has made me weary of everyone. I know people have gone through way worse but I feel that now as an adult I should try to put it to word. I don’t know if this would be even be considered abuse but I know that I was young and he was an adult and that it happened. I never told my parents About this, my dad passed away several years ago so he never knew. I don’t know if it’s relief I think it’s a step forward in my healing process. I do ask the others if you have children please let them know about the strangers on the Internet. My parents are good parents they taught me right from wrong And this was at the advent of the internet. But when you’re young you think you can do anything and be anything and I feel so much shame because of this. I know it’s not really my fault but it’s really hard not think so. 


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45 comments

  1. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there obscurerose,

    Thank you for sharing your story and trusting us with it. What happened to you is not your fault. I am so sorry for what he put you through, but please remember that those where his actions. You are not to blame. I hope that sharing your story here has provided some relief and can be a step in your healing journey. Have you considered seeking help from a counselor or other professional? Sometimes sharing our story in a safe setting can help us progress in the healing process. Or maybe journaling? We are here for you. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help. Sending strength and love your way.

    Carmen

  2. Brooke Volunteer

    obscurerose thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. Please know that nothing that happened was at all your fault. What happened to you was absolutely abuse and as a child to go through that I can only imagine the pain it caused. I’m so sorry he groomed, manipulated, and coerced you into doing things you didn’t want to do. Have you spoken to a therapist about this yet? They may be able to provide some useful processing techniques to help process these feelings of shame. Just remember its not your shame to carry. It was not your fault. We also have a Find Help tab if you need any additional resources. Everyone here supports you and believes you. Please be kind to yourself. Sending lots of love.

  3. leoreslavick Volunteer

    Dear obscurerose,
    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story as I know it was not something easy to share. Don’t beat yourself up about being manipulated into doing things over the camera. This has everything to do with the guy and it was no way your fault. I am so sorry that you were put in a situation where you were coerced into doing things that you were not comfortable doing. What he made you and others do is completely immoral and it’s so sad that he made young kids his victim as it’s very easy to be coerced at such a young age. What happened to you does not define you and I know that you will overcome this.
    Stay strong,
    Leore

  4. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you for coming to AVFTI to share your story. We are all here for you, to help in any way that we can. I’m so sorry to hear about what that older man had you do when you were younger. It’s so hard when you are young because the attention feels nice, and you should be able to trust people not to take advantage of you. I promise what happened was in no way your fault. What he did was wrong, and you were too young to know any better. It’s definitely important to make sure kids are aware of stranger danger on the internet. I hope sharing here helped, but we also have some amazing resources here: https://www.avoicefortheinnocent.org/help/ .

    Stay strong,
    T

  5. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi there!
    The internet can be an open door to so much even today. I am glad you are sharing about what happened to you! It takes one person to make a difference. Maybe with sharing your story about the internet could help another person from becoming a victim. Thank you for sharing. It breaks my heart thinking that the internet was used to cause harm. The mixed feelings you experience are a normal response to what happened. Thank you for raising awareness regarding internet dangers. Your story is unfortunately more common that what is spoken of. Be proud of yourself for having the courage to step out & share! You will overcome because you are a true warrior! Take care of you.
    Dawn

  6. adrian Volunteer

    Hey, obscurerose-

    You are brave for sharing your story here at AVFTI. You did not deserve to be groomed and manipulated like that. These individuals are very cunning; it was not your fault. It is more common than many of us think- sharing your story offers space for others to share theirs, as well. When we share as a community, we can heal together. I hear your desire to live life past this event and I can see that you are taking steps to heal. Healing takes time and it is normal to feel the way you do after experiencing this. We have a tab up at the top of the page called, “Find Help”. It offers some resources to aid you in your healing journey, whenever you are ready. Keep fighting the good fight.

    Take care,
    Adrian

  7. Mary Ella Day Captain

    Obscurerose,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I want to start off by saying that what happened to you was not your fault. You were only a child at the time and it is hard to see someone’s true intentions on the internet. It is not your fault. I can see how this experience could cause so much anxiety, especially when you might have been recorded and he might have done this to other girls. I am sorry to hear that your experience with this person has affected you throughout the years, and even now as an adult. I truly hope that writing your story out on this platform helped you gain the support and validation you deserve. You deserve to heal, and I hope that one day, you could let go of the shame you’re feeling. You can do that by writing here or even talking to a therapist. Feel free to come back and share any updates. If not, you can go to our Find Help page and see if there are any resources available in your area. Take care.

    Mary

  8. Neesha Volunteer

    obsurerose,
    Thank you for trusting us. I certainly understand avoiding getting into details of our traumas. 12 is the age where its appropriate to be ‘naive’ and to not consider that others have ill intention. Your trust was abused and it makes a lot of sense that you are guarded now. I believe he manipulated you into doing things on camera, that is abuse. As awful as it feels and while it does not fit, feeling shame is normal. It is so human to blame ourselves when others do bad things to us. It speaks to the sweet part of you that wants to be safe and trust the world to be as kind as you. Try to be gentle with yourself and you move through your difficult feelings. I so hope for you that you learn to let that shame go, because his behavior was not your fault

  9. Starling Volunteer

    Hi Obscurerose,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. You didn’t deserve it, and it wasn’t your fault. He took advantage of you, and you were too young to understand what he was manipulating you to do. Have you considered talking to a professional about what happened? A therapist might be able to help you work through the thoughts and emotions you’re struggling with. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  10. rachelb098 Volunteer

    Hi there,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I’m so sorry for the trauma that you’ve been through, and for all the guilt you’ve had to carry with you all these years. I can’t imagine how exhausting that burden must have been to carry. I want to validate that what happened was absolutely not your fault, and I hope that writing this down and expressing your story has been able to ease some of that burden of shame. It sounds like while you know what happened wasn’t your fault, you’re still struggling with truly internalizing that. That must be a very painful, and I want you to know that you are worthy and deserving of support. We are always here to listen if you feel like sharing again, and there are some resources as well under the “find help” tab. I wish you the best of luck in your healing process.

    -Rachel

  11. anonjous

    A similar thing happened to me. Your feelings are valid. I am recently having memories surface of those times and it feels so deeply disturbing. My heart is with you. I hope you find all the peace and joy life could offer.

  12. morganndelacruz Volunteer

    Hi Obscurerose,

    Your story was so powerful, thank you for sharing it with us. Sharing your story has never been more important. You were so strong and powerful before this horrible man took them away. Healing will take some time because it’s not your fault. Your attendance is guaranteed. It is almost impossible to trust after what you have experienced in nature and in feelings. With this, I am in the same boat as you. Nevertheless, it has nothing to do with me. Your relationship and environment deserve to be safe and protected. It is so very important that you get more than you deserve. Those who belong to this community and organization will make you feel welcomed, safe, and help you to move forward with your path. There is a find help tab bar on this website that leads you to some amazing resources. You are taking a high milestone but just putting yourself and your story out here, showing real and true bravery and strength. So, please take your time and take care of yourself and be patient.

    You are not alone no matter what, Morgan.

  13. tolleytn Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    You are so brave to tell us about your story. What he did was completely inexcusable and you are right to think that it is sick. Everyone’s trauma is significant and I promise that even if it may seem that things could have been worse, your feelings are still valid. Stay strong and we are always here for you whenever you need to talk to someone! <3

    – Tiff

  14. sarahj Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you for being brave and sharing your story with us here. This is a safe online community where you will find nothing but support. I hope you know that your feelings are valid and I empathize with you a great deal. The internet used to be even scarier than it is today — nothing was monitored properly and it was just a playground for some very terrible people. I am so very sorry this happened to you, and I’m even more sorry you continue to carry embarrassment and guilt because of it.
    What happened to you was not your fault. You did not deserve to be put in the position you were. I know we cannot undo the past, but I wonder if it might be beneficial for you to speak to a counselor about your experiences – if you haven’t already. Additionally, you can always check out the “Find Help” tab here to find other helpful resources.
    Please feel free to come back and share with us at any time. We are always here to support you on your journey.
    Sending you love and healing,
    Sarahj

  15. sarahsays Volunteer

    Hey obscurerose,

    Thank you for being here and sharing your story. I want to say first and foremost that it doesn’t matter if what you experienced was online. Your feelings and pain are valid and what happened to you was wrong. I remember how scary and dangerous chatrooms used to be and I have experienced very similar situations as you. It’s a lot when we grow up and process those things and have an understanding that they were wrong and we were groomed. You did not deserve that and it’s certainly not your fault. It’s important to remember that you were a child and to try and give yourself the same grace you would if you were hearing a child tell you this today. Guilt and shame are all heavy emotions to carry but you do not have to carry this alone, we’re here to remind you that you didn’t deserve that. I’m glad you felt comfortable speaking your truth and I know that if I do ever have children, I will absolutely open this dialogue with them and make sure they are protected online. Thank you for the reminder.

    Take care,
    Sarah

  16. kr1510 Volunteer

    Hi Obscurerose,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Even though this was decades ago, it is never too late to share. I’m sorry this man took advantage of you when you were younger. I know it is hard to accept that this was never your fault but it truly wasn’t. It may take some time to stop thinking and seeing that it isn’t. I understand the struggle that now comes to trusting someone after what you have been through. Although you may think you experience is not as “bad” as others, you still went through trauma and your feelings are valid. Please feel free to come back and update us on your journey on healing!
    Stay safe!
    Kr1510

  17. aegardiner Day Captain

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us – you are brave for telling your story. I remember when chat rooms started in the ’90s. There was so much unknown and you really had no idea who anyone was that you were talking to, which made them exciting. I remember being in the same situation and initiating conversations with people who I had no idea who they were – I think that was incredibly common back then. Please don’t beat yourself up for being naive or thinking you should have known any better. The only person who is to blame for what happened is the man who was clearly an adult and used the situation for his own advantage. I am so sorry that he manipulated you and that it has had an impact on your life for so many years after the fact as well. You deserve to be at peace and find a fulfilling, respectful relationship. If you haven’t done so yet, I would encourage you to look through the Find Help tab on our website in order to locate resources near you that could help you process all your feelings and concerns. You have taken the first step and shared your story and now you deserve to start to heal from your story. We are here for you as often as you need. You are not on this journey alone. Take care of yourself!  

  18. haesol Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you for sharing this. You were so young, and people older than you had the responsibility to act their age and not use it to their advantage — to take advantage of you; that guy had no right to groom you and manipulate you, and he must have known it was the wrong thing to do. I’m really sorry it happened. It is not your fault. I can’t name your experience for you, but your feelings regarding it are valid, and your story is, too. I’m glad you’re taking this as a step forward in your healing process, I really hope you can continue to heal healthily and steadily as you deserve. We are always here for you.

    Stay safe.

  19. timms_andrew Volunteer

    Hey obscurerose,
    I am sure what you went through was incredibly difficult for you. I am proud of you for sharing your story. My deepest condolences to you about your father. I know it can be scary to share that kind of stuff with your family. Unfortunately, predatory people take advantage of teenagers who don’t know any better. Even though it may not feel like it, I can assure you that person had no right to do that to you. I wish you the best moving forward with your healing process, and we are always here for you if you need it!

    Andrew Timms

  20. Lex Volunteer

    Hello obscrurerose,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It takes a lot of courage and strength to be able to do so. I am so sorry that you were manipulated by an older man at such a young age. I am glad that you know that that none of this was your fault at all because it wasn’t. This man took advantage of you and was lying to you. You were so young there was no way that you could have known better. He was the adult in the situation and should have none that what he was doing was wrong and put an end to it. Please don’t compare your story to others because your story is just as important as everyone elses. If there is anything else that you need, please do not hesitate to share with us again.

    We are here for you, always. Stay strong.
    – Lex

  21. JudithT Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you so much for trusting us with your story. It takes a lot of strength and courage to be open and vulnerable. It sounds frustrating to look back and realize that what this older man did to you was so wrong but you didn’t see it at the time. The internet can be a dangerous place, but this was not your fault at all. You did not deserve to be taken advantage of as a child. This older man was the one who used and hurt you. Although he did not physically harm you, he knowingly took advantage of your trust, manipulated you, and disappeared, and the lasting effects of guilt, fear, and distrust that you feel now are real and valid. It’s understandable that even though you know it’s not your fault, it can still be really difficult to process these emotions of guilt and shame. Please feel free to explore our resources under the “Find Help” tab and know that you can always come back to share anything with us. We wish you the best on your healing journey and we will always be here to listen and support you.

    Sending strength and love,
    Judith

  22. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry that man on the internet used you like that. It’s wrong for anyone to manipulate someone into doing things on a webcam, but it’s especially bad that it was an adult lying about his age to a child. I completely understand why you feel shame, but I don’t think you need to. You were so young and thought you were in love. Hindsight is always 20/20, too. Of course you realize now that what he was doing to you wasn’t right, but it’s hard to see the red flags when you’re young and a cool, older person is talking to you online, saying everything you thought you want to hear. They’re in the wrong in this situation, not you.

    Unfortunately, I think that sort of thing happened a lot when AOL was a big thing. I remember going into chatrooms and talking to weird older people, too. I think/hope people now are more aware of how dangerous the internet can be so they are more restrictive about what their kids are doing.

    It’s good that you realize that it’s not your fault, but I understand how you’re feeling. Just remember, HE was lying to YOU to get you to do those things. Please let us know if we can help you through this in any way. A professional might be able to help you work through your guilt, too. Feel free to check out our “Find Help” tab for lots of resources!

    Stay strong!
    Marissa

  23. silverliningsunshine Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you for sharing what you’ve gone through, it takes a lot of courage and strength to do so. We at AVFTI believe and support you- you did not deserve what happened to you. Please do not blame yourself, you are not responsible for what happened to you & were taken advantage of. I hope you can find peace and healing during your journey, and you are much stronger than you believe. Our platform has extra resources under the tools section if you’d like to take a look! Please feel free to update us on your journey, we wish the absolute best for you!

    -silverliningsunshine

  24. pinksky92 Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I want to let you know that your feelings and story is valid. What you endured must have been incredibly painful. You were young and were taken advantage of by a much older man with very bad intentions. You are absolutely not to blame and should not feel any shame as a result. I can definitely see why this experience has made you guarded and protective. I think that a lot of us just assume people have good intentions, but there are a lot of bad people on the internet who do not have good intentions, and, in particular, are out there to exploit children. I think that it may be beneficial for you to speak to a therapist so that you can process some of the emotions that are coming up. It may also help for you to feel less guarded and more comfortable with the idea of entering into a relationship with someone. Of course, this is all on your time line, so whenever you feel comfortable and ready <3

    I wish you all the best on your healing journey. Feel free to update us at anytime. We will always be here for you.

    Take care

  25. brookeA Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you so much for trusting us with your story. I’m so sorry that you had to experience that, and your feelings are very understandable. I’m so glad you know it is not your fault. He is completely responsible for his horrible actions, and he never should have taken advantage of you like that. Please feel free to come back and share anytime- we are always here for you, and we believe you! I wish you the best in your healing process.

  26. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello obscurerose,

    I’m so glad you found out about us. Thank you for taking the time to come here and share your story. You are so brave and showed so much courage throughout this process. Since this is your first time here I wanted to be sure to share this link with you: https://www.avoicefortheinnocent.org/help/ It has tons of resources should you ever need any.

    I am so sorry to hear what that man did to you. I hope you know that what happened wasn’t your fault. I know you mentioned you were going through a lot of doubt and mentioned it’s hard not to think it’s your fault, but please know that it truly wasn’t your fault and everyone here would agree with that. I can tell you are making great strides on your healing journey and we are here for you throughout this process! Please feel free to come back any time you wish to share more. We are here for you 🙂

  27. Ashley Day Captain

    obscurerose,

    I appreciate your willingness to share your story with our community.

    I commend you for confiding in your cousin and sister, even if you didn’t go into detail. It’s okay that your experience wasn’t physical; you deserve to feel heard and since this has affected you, you deserve to express your emotions and thoughts.
    He had no right to deceive you by lying about his age. In this situation, he was the adult and he should have known that engaging in conversations with you wouldn’t have been appropriate.
    Since he placed you in a vulnerable position and suddenly walked out of your life, it’s understandable that depression and guilt emerged. It sounds like he made you feel like you could trust him and it makes sense that you want to protect yourself from others now. If he has videos of your younger self and other children in his possession, he should feel ashamed of himself.
    I’m sorry for the loss of your dad. The internet can be a scary place and it’s terrifying to think about the people that prey on children through the internet.
    I’m thankful that you know this wasn’t your fault because you did nothing wrong. He was an adult and he should have been a better person.

    I believe you.

    Ashley

  28. musicislove

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you for coming here and sharing your story with us, I know sharing experiences of trauma is not easy and you have a lot of strength for taking that step. None of what happened was your fault and I’m so sorry that an adult took advantage of you the way they did. Whether he was 18 or older, he had no right to manipulate you the way he did. It’s understandable to be guarded and not feel comfortable in a relationship after your experiences, I’m sorry you feel so sick about what has happened. No one should take your feeling of safety away and I’m sorry you’re struggling. Like others suggested, therapy can be really beneficial if you ever decide you want to talk to someone about what you went through. The trauma you endured is still trauma regardless of what others have gone through and your feelings are completely valid. We are always here for you if you ever want to share more.

    Delaney

  29. ajklessig Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,
    What happened was not your fault and you should not feel shame. The internet is a very easy place to hide your true identity and take advantage of others. I too have been targeted on the internet and it can be really violating but that doesn’t make it your fault. What this man did was wrong and I wish you wouldn’t have had to go through that. I completely understand struggling to trust others now, and that is normal. It can take a really long time to feel like you can trust the intent of others. Have you thought about talking to someone about this? Sometimes therapists can help offer strategies to slowly build trust.
    Also, your experiences are totally valid regardless of what others have gone through! Please feel free to come back again.

  30. jcastle38 Volunteer

    Hi there,
    Let me reassure you that none of this was your fault. I understand you may doubt if it is considered “abuse” because nothing “physical” happened, but a lot of cases it doesn’t have to become physical for it to hurt you mentally and emotionally. And i am so sorry that this happened to you, I can imagine how it has affected your emotions but you didn’t deserve any of it. He was much older and should not have taken advantage of a young innocent person. I hope you have a good support system, perhaps a counselor that you may feel comfortable talking to. I always think talking is the first step to healing, so thank you for sharing with us. You can always visit our “find help” tab for more resources. I hope you are able to heal from this trauma, just know that none of this was your fault. Feel free to come back and update us if you feel the need to do so, we will always be here. Sending you lots of love and positivity. Hang in there.

  31. Caitlin Volunteer

    Hello,
    This isn’t your fault. None of this is your fault. You were a child and he was (what I am guessing) an adult. I can totally understand that you are struggling with trust and shame but I can also see that you didn’t really have the cognitive ability at that age to do so. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It can help to get it out and use this as a place to start. I would recommend you find support system and people who deserve your trust and just start small. Finding a counselor if you don’t already have one could do wonders for how to trust again and release some of that shame.

    I wish you so much luck as you navigate this and come back anytime (no pressure) if you like!

    -Caitlin

  32. chompyapple1 Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. First off, I am so sorry that this happened to you and that you’ve kept this with you for a while. What he did was unacceptable and disgusting. Your feelings of what happened are completely valid. Maybe you can open up to your close relatives or friends. Our “Find Help” tab also has some resources that are handy. Whatever choice you decide on is perfectly fine. I hope you can heal, even if it may seem impossible. Stay strong.

  33. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey, I am glad you were able to find us and feel comfortable sharing your story. I know given the circumstance and must be hard to actually share what you have been through. It is understandable to not know you have been groomed and know it wasn’t your fault as well. What the individual did was not right and it was solely on him. The abuse from emotional trauma and mental health is very serious and make sure you really take care of yourself as well. What your feelings are valid and know it is okay how you feel. Please share with us anytime you want to share anything. We are all here for you!

  34. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    I am glad you found us and felt comfortable sharing your story. I know how difficult it can be, especially when sharing details for the first time. I hope sharing was helpful to you. It’s absolutely understandable that you were being groomed and did not realize it. You were so young! What he did was not okay, and you did not deserve that. It was not your fault and there’s no reason to expect you to be able to identify and stop that type of harmful behavior. Emotional abuse and mental trauma are very serious and harmful, but even though it feels like others have been through worse that does not make your experiences any less real. Your feelings about what you went through are valid. I know it’s tough to fight off the feelings of shame, blame, and embarrassment but you have nothing to be ashamed of. You should be proud of yourself for surviving this harm, and at such a young age. Please feel free to share with us anytime! Also check out the Find Help tab if you need some other support like counseling.

    KatherineL

  35. snandi2 Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you for trusting your story with us. I’m so sorry that you were groomed by this individual online. None of it was your fault at all, you were just a child on a brand new and unknown platform. There’s nothing you should be ashamed of. If you check out our “Find Help” tab, there’s some resources that could be useful to you. Additionally, if you feel like you need to talk to someone about what you’re going through, don’t hesitate to text VOICE to 741-741, where a trained counselor will listen to what you have to say. Please feel free to share with us again, and know that all of us here at AVFTI are here to help you in any way we can.

  36. karinakalke Volunteer

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. That takes a lot of courage. I’m sorry you experienced these traumas. None of it was your fault. We have some resources under the “Find Help” tab that I think could be helpful. Please feel free to share again at any time. We are always here for you.

    Sending love and support,
    Karina

  37. kelly Day Captain

    Hi, obscurerose. I’m so sorry that happened to you when you were so young. I’m glad you know it’s not your fault—it definitely isn’t—but I understand the guilt you still feel. Try to be gentle with yourself, you did nothing wrong. You were a child. I definitely had similar experiences on the internet at that age/time—it really was the wild west then! Hopefully he ghosted because he was put in jail. What he did was not okay and I’m so sorry it happened to you. I hope you can find a way to relieve some of the shame you feel. Sometimes it helps me to visualize myself as a child, and then me as an adult hugging and comforting that child. Talking to other survivors also helps me to feel less alone and have more compassion for myself. We’re here for you and if you need anything please let us know.

  38. ZJC9753 Volunteer

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, it takes an incredible amount of strength to talk about what happened. We are here for you in any way that you need. I want you to know that none of what happened to you was your fault and the only one to blame is him. You did nothing wrong, you were a child and this man took advantage. You were too young to understand what this man was doing or to be responsible for the harm that he caused you. It is okay that you are hurting and that this experience is causing you some pain, it is completely valid to feel this way, and you telling your story matters so much. Please share with us again if you ever want to or need to, we are here for you.

  39. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming and sharing what happened. You didn’t deserve this, and it wasn’t your fault, even if you feel like it is. You have nothing you need to feel ashamed of. And it’s okay that this was a painful experience and this hurt you-it sounds extremely violating, and there is no hierarchy of pain. What happened to you shouldn’t happen to anyone, and I’m sorry this person hurt you like this. Is there anything more we can do to be supportive? Let us know-we are here for you.

    Erin

  40. amilne9 Volunteer

    Dear obscurerose,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I know it must be hard to open up about this, but I am so proud of you for having the strength to allow yourself to seek support and begin the healing process. Please know that none of these experiences were your fault. Pretty much every single teenager/child does silly things on the internet at some point when they are growing up, you just happened to be one of the unlucky ones who fell into the hands of a predator. You were too young to know the full extent of what was happening, and I am sure that anyone else would have done the same thing as a young child who didn’t know anything about the world and was seeking attention and being manipulated by this man, who acted as a trusted mentor or loved one. This was definitely abuse, this was sexual and emotional abuse and I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I want you to know that you should never blame yourself for this, you were the victim in this situation and I wish with all my heart that this would have never happened to you. I understand how guarded and uncomfortable you must feel in your relationships now, and I think that is a completely valid way to process this trauma. It is going to take a lot of time and healing to be able to trust someone again, and it will not be easy. But I believe that you are strong and you will be able to trust and feel at peace in your relationships again one day. Also, I am sorry for the passing of your father, and I hate that you had to go through that on top of everything else. You are such a strong, beautiful, kind person, and I am sending you all the healing and comfort in the world.

    Much Love,
    Ari <3

  41. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi obscurerose,

    It’s awful that this happened to you. I promise you, this wasn’t your fault, and you couldn’t have known better. You were in a formative period of your life, meaning that you were still learning how to navigate the real world. Being naive is normal at that age, and it’s awful that this person took advantage of that. You did absolutely nothing wrong in this situation. However, he was the adult, and he should have known better. He should be the one carrying shame. I understand how it feels to know it’s not your fault, but not fully believe it. You are not alone in that.

    It makes sense that you’re guarded and worried. I think the point Meg made about the Internet is such a good thing to keep in mind, and I hope it brings you some peace. Your story matters, and it’s important. What you have been through is painful and traumatic, and the trauma of others does not take away from your trauma.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It takes strength and courage to share. Please write back whenever you like; we’re always here to listen, believe, and validate your feelings. We believe you, and we care about you.

  42. Breanna Volunteer

    Hey there obscurerose,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I’m so sorry you experienced this growing up. It was not your fault. You were just a kid and you couldn’t have known better, especially with the internet being so new. And you’re not alone — other children have experienced similar predatory behavior growing up too. It might be helpful to think, what would I tell a 12-15 year old who went through this? I’m sure you’d say that it wasn’t their fault. I know it can be really difficult to have that conflict between knowing logically that it’s not your fault but also feeling that self-blame. And all of the doubts and unknowns can feel jarring. I hope you can find some ways to be kind to yourself. You deserve to feel safe and secure. Is there anything that we can do to support you? You can check out our Find Help tab for some resources that might benefit you. We care about you. Stay strong and keep your chin up.

    Sending love and support,
    Bre

  43. zelda Day Captain

    Welcome to the AVFTI family, rose.

    Before I type anything else, I want to let you know how courageous you are for coming forward with your story. Whether you are sharing your truth to a room full of loved ones or online to a group full of volunteers, you are so incredibly brave. Talking about our trauma is no small feat, no matter where you are or who you’re with.

    It is hard.
    It is difficult.
    It is heartbreaking.

    But it can also be so freeing, knowing that you are shedding light on this darkness, and to people who will accept you fully. We welcome you with open arms, rose. You don’t have to be obscure anymore.

    Personally, your story hit me like a ton of bricks. I have experienced something very similar, and I understand the fear of not only being exploited, but having that exploitation spread via video.

    I’m so sorry.

    However, just know that what this grown, grown man did is considered not just abuse, but solicitation and exploitation of a minor child.

    You were harmed in one of the worst ways imaginable, but it is NOT your fault. Not then, not now, not ever! You are the victim of a disgusting and evil crime.

    No matter how many years have passed, this man will always be a predator and a pedophile.

    You have nothing to be ashamed of.
    He has everything to be ashamed of.

    So please do not blame yourself.

    By telling your story, you unleash your power. And by telling your story, you touch the lives of so many people. I hope you realize how incredibly strong and resilient you are.

    Always remember: You are not your trauma; you are not your past, and you are not what happened to you.

    Thank you for coming onto the platform to share your story.

    Rose, you are always welcome to come back, and I hope you do. Stay safe, and stay strong. 💪

  44. meg Day Captain

    Hi obscurerose,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and feelings with us. I am so sorry you have experienced this… I’d like to echo what you said at the end of your post, it’s not your fault. It is not your fault at all. As a child, you cannot blame yourself for the decisions you make when it comes to feelings of attention, love, lust, feeling adult; any associated feelings. Legitimately, our brains don’t fully mature until our late twenties in the part of the brain that controls our behavior and impulse control. We are wired to act emotionally and impulsive as children. Please remind yourself that you are not at fault. That man did something horrible. I have found myself in a similar situation with content online without my consent and the best way I could keep myself from worrying constantly is to keep reminding myself that the internet is vast and if it’s out there, there is a good chance it’ll never even be seen. Your voice is important. Your story and experience is important. You are important. You are deserving of trust and love. You are deserving of feeling safe and secure. If you need help navigating these feelings, check out our Find Help tab and we have some excellent local resources listed that might be helpful for you. We are here for you.
    -Meg

  45. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi obscurerose,
    I’m so sorry that this happened to you. This isn’t your fault. This guy was older and he knows right from wrong. He took advantage of you when you didn’t know any better. Again this is not your fault and you shouldn’t blame yourself for any of this. Don’t compare your story to others because your story is just as important as everyone else’s. If you need help with anything we are here for you. You can also use our resource tab on the top right of this page. Continue to stay strong. We are always here for you. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI.
    -Alyssa