I was 16 years old when I started accessing the internet. I had a friend who knew about things. She introduced me to Facebook and helped me create an account. As soon as I logged on I began receiving requests.
I didn’t know the first person who contacted me. I started talking to him on Facebook and via webcam and soon we got very close. We were in contact for around three months and would communicate every day.
I don’t know whether he lied to me about things like how old he was or what he did. I told him the truth about my own personal stuff so I didn’t think he would lie. He would ask personal questions and I’d answer. I thought it was a way for us to get to know each other and feel comfortable with one another.
It went on like that for weeks until he said he wanted to see a picture and asked me to send something so I gave him ones of me wearing clothes. He said I should take the pictures not wearing anything, it would be better that way. I was lured into believing what we were doing was right and it was just this one person that I got close to like that.
I did what he asked and after a week or two I started seeing the photos with a few people, they were being passed around and shown to others. I had never met him face-to-face and I don’t know where he lived but I began to wonder whether he was close by because soon everybody in my school and community knew – my parents, my friends, old or young, everyone.
When I started to see the photos around I felt very sad and depressed. People were always talking about the photos and saying stuff to me, bad stuff, it was very hard. Everybody wanted an explanation and they were always calling to hear from me. I had to pass by people who were talking about it, things got very bad and I was not sleeping.
I went to the police to report what had happened but I received no support. They asked me to show them the pictures and I just couldn’t because I felt like I was the one publicizing them. The police started saying all sorts of things. They were ridiculing and laughing at me. I felt very bad about the way I was treated.
The police obviously don’t know anything about online sexual exploitation. They have no education on the issue and took it lightly. They should have investigated the case and referred it to higher authorities that would be able to handle it better than they did. Instead, the person who did this to me has faced no consequences.
This story was shared as part of our 2021 report, Ending Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Women and Girls: A Call for International Standards.