"The only person you need approval from is you!" / by Elly Mayday

Last night I found a story that happened very close to my home in Vancouver, Canada. I unfortunately didn't look into the event when it happened a few years back but took it for face value. When I arrived home from my 5 day pairing last night, I saw a video regarding the real story. Still buzzing from the ding's and numerous trips up and down the aisle— complete with repetitive questions. I chose to hear what had actually happened. It was filmed by CBC's The Fifth Estate and labeled with a title that grazed my curiosity "Sextortion."

When I say I took it for face value, I meant I thought what most others had. Young girl (only 15) is bullied at school and commits suicide. What I discovered was much more. This girl had been blackmailed and driven to despair. After seeking a bit of attention online, like most people are guilty of, she unknowingly was targeted in a new online crime. It struck a nerve in me, one I can't shake as I feel for this poor girl. 

It reminded me of an encounter I had experienced a few years ago. I was just starting on my path to this new career as a model. I was eager to meet people, make connections and wiggle myself into the industry. I was messaged by what seemed to be a young girl who wanted to do artwork inspired by my image. I was flattered, I agreed and had exchanged a few conversations. When it came time we set up a time. She asked if we could Skype and I could do a few poses for her to get an understanding for her drawing. When we flicked on that switch, ya know, the one allows stranger in your home, I realized something was off. 

I saw the very faint outline of a girl looking my way. The video was dark, like sitting in your basement, with a small light in the back. We chatted for a bit and she had some excuse that satisfied my awkwardness for a few minutes. I began to do a few poses and a minute or 2 into the video session I was asked to take my shirt off. I know some people might think, what a moron.  I would like to think I'm smarter than that and I am but I was caught up in the moment. I figured this is what models do, they show their body as best they can. When asked to take off my lingerie, I knew to get out of the situation. I said "no thanks, I'm done" and closed the window.  

They began to message me on my facebook page, saying they had images they would sell to ruin me. It scared me and I was mad at myself. I began to really think about it and realized I had only gone to my top off, which is basically a bikini with different material. It could have been worse and Im sure the internet has much more appeasing photos to chose from. What would have happened if I didn't trust my instinct? A good reputation is something I don't think we realize the value of until its out the door. 

This is much like Amanda's story except she went just one extra step .The criminal took a screen capture of her doing so, which changed the rest of her life. Movings schools, therapy and depression was a portion of the results from the harassment.

I chose to share this incident in hopes that young women and girls learn by example. Amanda Todd raised awareness for this form of torture that too many girls experience. She filmed the reason for her early departure with the white paper, black marker method and posted to youtube. It was silenced but it spoke volumes. I am sorry for the family and  hope her mother is proud of how her daughter opened up this discussion. 

Please be careful online and teach your children about things that can happen. Make them aware of harm and they can better avoid it. For all the young women out there, The only person you need approval from is you. <3 

 

Love and Light, 

e