She Feels Guilty for Being Abused

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

When I was 15, I was extremely prude to the whole sex thing in high school and was constantly made fun of for my lack of knowledge about it. In my club at school, we have mentors that are not affiliated with the school system as well as teachers that work with us to build things and teach us about engineering. I became really close to one outside mentor, who is 30,and we became friends on Facebook. He knew that everyone made fun of me at school for not knowing a lot about sex and he told me that he knew how it felt to be made fun of and that he would teach me things about sex, if I wanted.At the time, I thought I was special because he chose me to be friends with and was willing to help me, so I let him “teach” me things about sex. I didn’t realize this at the time, but he manipulated me into doing whatever he wanted me to over Skype, which is a video chat site, including exposing myself to him. I was convinced that i liked him, regaurdless of our age difference, but when my best friend found out about it, she helped me to see that he was using me. She made sure he would never come back to our club or contact me again, which helped a lot, but I cant stop thinking about how stupid I was for letting myself do those things. Its eating me alive inside.
I can’t tell my parents because they will overreact and not let me go to my club anymore, which is my ultimate passion, even though he isnt allowed to come back. And since my parents don’t know, i can’t seek counselling since I’m only 16 and don’t have my own insurance. Is there anything I can do to help ease my mind and forget about him? Please Help Me.

A: I am so very glad you wrote. I suspect that you are speaking for many, many teens in a simlar situation who haven’t been able to bring themselves to write to us. Here’s the thing: What you are describing is typical of predators.

Predators “prey” on young people who are insecure and who are vulnerable to the attentions of someone they respect and admire. Predators do something called “grooming” their victims. They get close to kids. They tell them they are special. They offer them time, attention, and compliments. They manipulate so gradually and artfully that the victims get pulled into doing things they never in a million years would have thought they would do. Most predators are experts at it because they’ve managed to do it a number of times without being caught. (Sometimes these guys have as many as a hundred victims over many years!) You didn’t have a chance. You were innocent and ignorant. He was manipulative and practiced.

I’m so very glad you have a friend who could get through to you and who could somehow stop the abuse. I do think you need to talk to your parents. You need counseling. The guy shouldn’t get off so easy. I don’t think it’s possible for parents to “overreact” to something like this. They should react. I’m trusting that they will understand that the club didn’t make the problem; the mentor did.

I think you probably need the help of another adult to make sure that things go in the right direction. Please talk to your school counselor or the principal or a trusted teacher. Ask for help talking with your parents. Think about whether you want to press legal charges. Ask for help finding a counselor who can help you work through yoru feelings of betrayal and guilt and anger. You need to get past all that so that you can have a healthy and mutually satisfying intimate relationship someday with someone you love.

And, please. Tell your friend I would bring her flowers if I could. She spotted what was going on and had the courage to speak up and do something. That’s a real friend.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Mar 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). She Feels Guilty for Being Abused. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/03/18/she-feels-guilty-for-being-abused/

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