Over the weekend, my life changed. I went from never looking over my shoulder and trying to be everyone's friend to walking with my head down in the grocery store and changing my number. How did this happen? How did I go from extremely happy to extremely cautious? You. You did this to me.
It probably started as a joke. "Haha, let's see how many people think she's cute." So You created a Plenty of Fish profile with my name and social media accounts. You used an username that was extremely close to my go-to, so it was easy to find. You gave out my Snapchat name and never told me. I can remember that night. I was laying down with my little sister and mom, we were watching Mean Girls. Then my phone started going off with the notification "(So and so) added you!" and I had no idea who the person was, so I ignored it. Ten minutes later I had another notification with a different name. This was weird, so I added one of the users and ask him how he got my Snapchat.
"We matched on Plenty of Fish, you gave it to me?" In that moment, my heart sank. What was Plenty of Fish and what the hell was going on?! Well, the kind gentleman sent me the screenshots...and let's just say that my heart did not just sink to my feet but I'm pretty sure it met with Satan. I was crushed. Was this a joke or was someone trying to purposely hurt me?
Days go by and I keep denying all the users. I leave my mom's to get back to work and as I am pulling into a parking space at my apartment, I start receiving text after texts. "Hey it's Aaron, we matched on POF," "Yo wassup? It's G. You gave me your number on POF." Text after text after text. SIX PEOPLE. Within forty-five minutes I had six people texting me. Do you know what that made me feel like? I've seen this kind of crap happen in movies but never to me.
You took away my privacy.
Was that the goal the whole time? To belittle me and make me feel like there were people all around me just watching me?
The next morning I woke up and it went from six people to ten. Ten strangers had my number. I went to work to talk to a coworker on what to do. She told me to go to the police station and file a report. I have NEVER had to file a police report and was hoping that I never would....but you changed that.
As I'm walking into the Sheriff's office, I'm wiping my eyes so that they could not tell I was crying. I was not going to let you win. My head was high and I was ready to find out who you were.
But to my dismay, the officer at the desk said there was nothing they could do. You see, although there have been MANY cases of cyberbullying and harassment over the years, Alabama is one of SIXTEEN states that does not have laws to protect their citizens from this kind of pain. REALLY?! HOW?! WHY?!
Cyber crimes are just as important. There are people who would kill themselves because of what happens to them on the internet. Every day someone loses their life because of people like YOU. What if I had done that? Would you be satisfied? Well, you won't get that kind of reaction from me. You may have scared me a little at first, but now you have pissed me off. I may have had to change all of my social media and my number, but you did not break me.
If I were a weaker person, someone easily influenced by other people's actions, you might have put me in panic mode, you might have made me feel small, you might have made me give in to the emotions you tried to make me feel. But you didn't, you see, because I am made of tougher stuff than that. I was raised to stand tall, look the world in the face and to not give insignificant people any significance in my life. So, you actually got the opposite response of what you were looking to get. You deepened my resolve. And trust me, I will find you then you will be looking over your shoulder.