Just an hour ago, I had the unfortunate experience of having someone I once “dated” threaten to post year-old pictures of me I once sent him in confidence. This morning, I had made the mistake of contacting him to tell him he was in one of my dreams. He apparently took this information as me “wanting him.” I told him I could offer him friendship and nothing more. He was angered by this, so I just said, “Girl, bye” and thought that it would be the end of everything. A few minutes later I received a picture of myself along with, “Guess I’ll have fun with these now… Thanks for showing me how much of a c*** you can be.”
I was, of course, in complete shock. I knew he was awful, but never thought he would stoop so low. I thought a great deal on how to respond and replied with the following:
“See, it’s people like you that undermine feminism. You think that just because a woman doesn’t want a relationship with you, you have the right to shame her. You think it will make you more powerful. Yes, I sent you pictures when I wanted something more than a friendship with you; that was clearly a mistake. It’s people like you that make women not trust any men. I’m tired of the sexism and ‘slut shaming.’ It’s ridiculous that I cannot do what I want with my body because of this fear. It’s sickening. So, before you go ahead and try to post or whatever you do with those pictures, just remember that you should be the one that’s ashamed of yourself for even thinking of doing such a thing.”
His arguments continued with more BS that doesn’t really matter anymore. I don’t think he’ll actually post the images, but if he does I think I’ll be prepared. I will, of course, be embarrassed at first. However, I will not back down from arguing that it is not my fault someone abused me. I sent those pictures in confidence and if he chooses to share them, it’s his conscience that will suffer.
I’m not crying because some guy may or may not share private photos of me. I’m crying because I’m ashamed to live in a world where people think it’s okay to do these things. I refuse to let people control me in this way. I am a 21-year-old female. I am a college student. I am an aunt. I am a friend. I am a feminist. I will not let others define who I am based on pictures and social media. I will not let these pictures get to me or slow me down. I am proud of who I am and I accept all the mistakes I have made. I want to teach the world that this is not okay. No one deserves to be publicly shamed for old “mistakes.” It’s my body and I’m allowed to do what I want with it.
Name withheld by request.