Gabe spent pretty much every weekend at my house hanging out in our basement. We have a pool table and Wii, and when my parents finally went to bed, we’d even get a chance to mess around a little. We never had sex, but we did a lot, and even in the heat of things, we’d take sexy pictures of each other with our phones.
It wasn’t to be weird or dirty, I completely trusted him, and when we were apart, we’d send the pictures to each other and wish we were together.
In April, my family took a trip during spring break to Myrtle Beach. We go every year, and even though my parents really liked Gabe, they didn’t feel comfortable letting him come along. I was mad, but it wasn’t like we couldn’t text and chat the phone the whole time.
Two days after I left, I noticed he was being tagged in a lot of pics on Facebook of him at parties with lots of girls, mostly Junior and Senior girls. I asked him about it, but he said he was just hanging out with buddies, and since he didn’t have a car, he had to go where ever they went for the night.
Then a lot of the girls in the pictures started friend requesting me on Facebook. I thought it was weird, since I didn’t really know them super well, but since they were hanging out with Gabe, I figured it wasn’t a huge deal.
My fourth day in Myrtle beach, Gabe stopped responding to my texts. I started getting really mean posts to my Facebook wall from the girls he’d been hanging out with.
Some of them calling me ugly or fat. Some of them saying they’d seen the naked pictures of me on Gabe’s phone and they were all laughing at how disgusting I looked, and how they were going to post them all over Facebook and send them to all their friends.
It was so embarrassing, and I felt helpless, because I was supposed to be having fun with my family at the beach, and instead, I was in tears trying to text Gabe all day, and he wouldn’t respond at all. Not to mention, my parents are both friends with me on face book,which was like the biggest mistake ever, because I feel like I have no privacy on there, but now they were going to read what these girls were posting all over my wall. I tried to remove the posts and block the girls, but they kept using other people’s accounts.
My parents eventually saw what was happening and my mom was crying and my dad was so upset. They were angry with me about the revealing pictures Gabe had of me, but they were more angry at what was happening to me online.
By the time we returned home, my dad had set up a meeting with the school principal, but I was so afraid it would make things worse. Gabe had changed his Facebook status to single, and removed all the pictures of us together in his photo albums. I tried to talk to him at school, but he was always around his friends, and they just laughed at me and called me names like skank or fat, or told me that I smelled.
I was so confused about what happened. I cried at school and I cried at home. I just wanted it all to end. I hated myself for trusting Gabe so much, and I hated my body because of all the bad things they were saying about it. I even considered killing myself because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t want to be seen as this fat, easy girl because before all this happened, none of those words even crossed my mind when I thought about myself in my head. I wasn’t super pretty or super skinny, but I was OK enough looking, and I played lots of soccer, so I wasn’t really overweight, but my legs were bigger from all the running. And, how could I be a skank if I was still a virgin and Gabe was the first boy I even kissed?
My parents tried to make me get rid of my Facebook page, but we compromised by me making it entirely private and only keeping close friends as contacts, and I also changed my cell phone number.
The principal met with Gabe and the main girls in charge of attacking me online, but they didn’t really get in trouble. They stopped talking to me all together, so I went from being made fun of all the time, to being a social outcast.
I have transferred to a new school for next year. It’s smaller, but I know some of the kids in my grade already from playing soccer, so even though I am going into another year of high school really scared about all this happening again, I’m going to try really hard to control what I put out there about myself, and that includes never, ever taking any revealing pictures of my body, or sexting with guys on my phone.
My dad always says, If you don’t respect yourself, how can you expect anyone else to respect you?
So, that’s my goal. Respecting and loving myself – regardless of what lame ex-boyfriends and their hateful friends have to say about it.
-Grace, 16 years old, Michigan