Guest Blog: How Sexting Ruined My High School Life
First in a series.
“If you want me to get back together with you, send me a pic,” was how the text read. I was sixteen, a sophomore in high school, and mourning the biggest break up of my life; my first one. Impulsively and without thinking I went to the bathroom, took off my shirt, had my friend snap a picture, and pressed send. In the thirty seconds it took to do all of that, I never realized how pressing send would forever change who I was and my life altogether.
Overnight the picture had been forwarded to everyone in my ex-boyfriend’s contact list. Teachers, parents, friends, classmates, and even family members received the picture. I immediately went from “good girl” to the girl with the worst reputation in my school.
The harassment began almost immediately with complete strangers screaming “ho, whore, and slut” at me in the hallways. I received texts from girls who wanted to beat me up because their boyfriends had seen my picture. I was scared to walk the halls alone and would beg my friends to walk with me. One girl even stood on a table and screamed “Allyson Pereira is a slut” in the cafeteria. A group of people vandalized my house by putting paint cans in my pool and rolling a tire into my glass door. At a party one night I was sleeping when four girls and two boys stood over me and began writing on my body and clothes in permanent marker “ho” all the while taunting me to wake up and face them.
Students weren’t the only ones making my life a living hell. I had a teacher who told me that I could only use the hall pass if I “promised not to take anymore pictures in the bathroom.” My best friend’s father invited me over for chocolates and wine because he “liked my picture.” Even my boss told me he was going to find my picture and let me know what he thought about it. The officials in my school, who I went to for help, told me to come back when it got physical. Beyond being mortified, ashamed, and self conscience I felt completely alone and even contemplated suicide.
Luckily, my parents found out about the picture and although they were furious at first, they put me in therapy and helped me heal. It took me a long time to figure out who I was after the picture, and I can’t say that I am completely over what happened to me, because I don’t know if I ever will be.
I realize now that the whole experience helped shape me into who I am but most importantly it helped me find my voice, and as long as bullying is still going on in schools, as long as pictures are still be forwarded, and as long as people are still committing suicide over the abuse they’ve endured I will continue to use it.
Ally Pereira is a twenty two year anti-bullying advocate. Her experience in high school has inspired her to dedicate her life to preventing the abuse of others.