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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sexting - Part 2

[Readers:  The following letter is part of a series we're running Saturday's this month from a reader dealing with a problem with Sexting.  This is part 2 of 4. - Bro Jo]

Bro Jo,

Yeah, having the Sacrament brought in is pretty cool but I am the only active member in my family so my father nor my brother (who is 12) holds that kind of authority.

I honestly would rather not be involving any authority in this matter including my parents because my dad has a lot of stress in his life and my mom isn’t around to be able to do anything about it. Me and my step mom do not get along what so ever, so she is also out of the picture. I finally have proved to my dad that I am getting better with choosing the right people to be around and choosing the right things to do.

I have made over a million extremely stupid mistakes in my life and my family situations aren’t the best. My family is more or less torn apart at the seams. We look happy but we aren’t really.

Going back to the turning this boy in part, I have had a past with sexual abuse.

My Uncle came in my room one night and touched me where he shouldn't have a few years ago and I turned him in for that. More or less for the most bizarre reason I regret that, And at one point in my life I sent pornographic photos to a boy in school and it got around to the whole football team. What I am trying to say is I have a feeling if I turn this boy in to the authorities (school, church, or otherwise) may believe that it is me doing something to encourage this type of behavior. Yes I have had many issues sexually in my past but I have finally worked through them and repented for them and I have a feeling that if this gets to the police or my parents that it will be thrown back to my face.

I told the boy if it does happen again or if he even text's talks or looks at me again I will call the police and that I was more then serious. If he does do anything in any manner to emotionally harm me any then I will resort to getting others involved. But like I mentioned in the last paragraph I would really rather that not be the issue.

Once again I do understand that others may be going through the same thing as I am but this is an extremely sensitive situation for me and I prefer that it not be shared with anyone else.

Sorry for being so uncooporative in this situation.

- Name Withheld

Dear NW -

My least concern at this point is your being uncooperative.

My number one concern is that you're safe.

It seems as though you are, so let's take the next step.

First and foremost is documentation, as I mentioned before. You need a written account of everything that happened, including dates and times if possible. If that's not done, do it now. I can't stress enough how valuable this will be should anything ever happen again. It will also go a long way towards increasing your credibility.

Secondly, you need a plan. You've drawn the line with this particular boy, and that's a good start. You also need to know what you'll actually do should he, or anyone else, send you something similar (even if it's just text). Think of this plan as your own Emergency Food Storage; you may never need it, but when the crisis arises you'll be better able to deal with things if you've already got a plan. What will you do? (Keep the text / image as evidence and immediately show it to the authorities.) Whom will you tell? (Cops? Bishop? Friend? Leader?)

Third, we need to deal with some things going on in your head. You didn't get specific about turning him in, but I can think of no reason what-so-ever that you should have any regrets about shedding light on what happened with your Uncle. Anyone or anything that leads you towards feeling guilty about that is out of line. No exceptions.

The fear of having things turned around on them is what keeps most rape victims silent. It takes a lot of courage to speak up because of that. I can understand not wanting to deal with that, but it's your silence that threatens not only your credibility but also threatens you and other young women just like you. Please consider that.

Also consider that Loneliness is one of Satan's most powerful tools. Life is lonely enough without choosing to keep things bottled up. You've got to put SOMEONE else in this loop, for your own sanity and protection if nothing else. Given your family situation (which I kind of suspected) I think that leaves us with a YW leader and / or your Bishop. What do you think?

I think the decision to get "someone else involved" was due the FIRST time he Sexted you. He's crossed a line. Anything you've done in the past does not justify someone else hurting you. If my son hits his little brother, that's wrong, and it certainly doesn't mean that if his older brother starts punching him that's OK because he "had it coming" based on his previous actions.


And if you think this boy's action isn't harmful (it's over, it's behind you, maybe it was no big deal), with respect, you're wrong.

And I need to be upfront with you. I've already put Sister Jo in the loop. Nothing comes across my desk that she doesn't hear about. I hope that's OK; she's pretty trustworthy.

And, for the record, she agrees that you need to tell an adult Right A Way (as in NOW), preferably your parents, but if not them then your Bishop. Honest, that's what she said.

A Bishop's not just for repentance, you know, but also for help and protection.

Always here,

- Bro Jo

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