This is my story. The events happened between February 2015 and June 2016. I will try to be as coherent as possible relating what happened.

When I was at the age of 13, I started going on the internet very often and I talked to many people from all around the world. It felt good to talk to so many people without being concerned about what they would think of me, I was a very shy girl. Online chatting led me to improve my English reading comprehension and writing a lot. One day, I was playing a multiplayer avatar game when I met Mark0034. Mark was nice to me; he always found a way to make me smile and drowned me in compliments. I had never had a relationship with a boy before, so it was really my first intimate “relationship”. We started talking very often. He was a teenage model in Columbia, and due to his busy lifestyle, didn’t really have time to make friends, so he went online, just like me, to meet new people. We had a ton of interests in common, which was something about him that really pleased me. He was very handsome, brown hair, bright eyes and warm smile. I used to have Spanish classes at that time, so he helped me with Spanish, and it really made me feel happy, nobody had ever put that much effort in me. I remember always asking him to video call with me, so I could see him face to face. He kept giving me excuses, like “Oh I don’t have enough space on my phone” or “I have a shooting today” etc. It was kind of hard to tell him how I felt since my English wasn’t as good as it is now. As we were talking on the phone one day, he started asking very intimate questions. I was a little shy to share that sort of information with him at first, but he made me feel comfortable. I really grew attached to him, to his voice and to the attention he was giving me. As we became more and more comfortable with each other, we started exchanging nude pictures. He never showed his face, but I remember him asking for my face to be included in mine. At the time, I thought that this was completely normal, but deep down I knew that it was wrong. If my parents discovered what I was doing, they would take away my phone forever. That’s why I locked my bedroom door every night, so they wouldn’t catch me. I felt somewhat content with the effect I had on him, I started acknowledging that I could be desirable, that I could make him do whatever I wanted (I thought). At first, we agreed to have a “special time” only once a week, but as the months passed, it went from once a week to almost every day. I started feeling uncomfortable with the situation. I told him that I wanted to stop, but he replied that it was what I had to do in order to make him happy, and his happiness was the only thing I wanted. Gradually, the nude pictures became videos, where I would tease him and touch myself. After a few months, I started getting suspicious about not seeing his face often. He replied with another excuse “My camera is broken”. I got mad and told him I wanted to stop everything. I wanted him to tell me the truth. He got mad at me and ignored me for a few days. I was desperate, I was crying every day and putting the blame on myself, I kept apologizing to him and he left my apologies unread. The minute he texted me back, I called him and promised not to make him mad again. He forgave me, and things continued as they were before. I was young and naive. Eventually, I demanded the answers to my questions, and finally, after some arguing, he gave me what I wanted.

Even today, I don’t know if all the information he gave me is true. It probably isn’t. From what he told me, he was a 23-year-old man living in Bogota, Columbia. He was going to the gym a lot and doing weightlifting competitions. He worked in a garage with his father. He showed me his face briefly when we video chatted, but it was dark and I couldn’t really distinguish his traits. I was mad he’d lied to me, and I blocked him from the social media we were talking on.

After maybe three months, I receive a message from an unknown person on Facebook. I didn’t open it since I didn’t know who it was. This person kept bugging me, begging me to answer them. By curiosity, I browsed their profile and the account had little to no personal information. The name of that person was John Smith, literally the most common name in the U.S. I didn’t really pay attention to that individual until the day they sent me a nude picture of myself. I was in shock. He said: “You know who I am now right?” It was Mark. I politely asked him to leave me alone. “I know where you live, I know where you attend school, I know who your family is and who your friends are.” At first, I wasn’t impressed. Anyone could menace anyone like that. He then started listing the names of people I attended school with, personal information about my mother and the city I lived in. I got really scared, noticing he could obtain my personal information easily just by reading my Facebook profile, like an open book. I didn’t reply to him. It didn’t take long until he added “Do as I say, or I will publish your pictures.” If you are reading this, you could think that I was dumb not to have blocked him at the exact moment he messaged me, but I never experienced something like this before. I didn’t really know what to do. I was at school when he told me this. I wanted to cry but I didn’t want anyone to notice what was going on. Once the day was over, I headed home and hid from my parents. My mom came to my room that night, she was worried about me. She noticed something was wrong. I simply told her that I was tired because of school. She compassionately smiled and left. During the week, he kept pressuring me to send him more pictures, which I did. It felt like Damocles’ sword was hanging above my head. If I didn’t send him pictures, everyone would discover how I acted like a -sorry for the expression- slut. Looking back at what happened, I realized that I was only giving him even more power over me by sending him more pictures.

One day, I told him that I was over this; that I wanted to live my life without being in fear; that I wanted to breathe freely without any weight on my shoulders. He agreed to leave me alone, but I would have to go on video call with him and strip. I have never felt so disgusted in my whole life. I felt my whole body crushing, but I agreed. I believed it was the only way I could get rid of him.

Once my parents went to sleep, I locked myself in the bathroom. I sat down on the cold ceramic floor and told him I was ready. Once he sent me a video call invite, I almost turned it down. I asked myself “Is this really how much you’re worth?” I ignored my bad thoughts and answered. I saw him sitting on a chair, in the same dark room I had seen him before. He had this really cocky attitude, asking me how my day was even though he knew he was harming me mentally… I tried to avoid any eye contact, I was ashamed. I took off my clothes very slowly, I was shivering. He told me to relax, that I would “enjoy the experience.” I tried to keep my face out of the frame. You never know, he might be recording me. Once he noticed what I was trying to do, he assured me that he wasn’t recording, that he had no cameras near him and that he couldn’t screen record with his tablet. I didn’t really trust him, but I was so scared of him that I obeyed. He asked me to touch my chest, to play with my breasts. I kept looking away from the camera. He then asked me to bend over, so I got on my knees and did so. I felt exposed, that I didn’t have any dignity anymore. My legs were falling asleep, I was biting my lip so hard that it started bleeding. My face was laying against the cold ceramic. I could hear him pleasure himself. I had never felt so humiliated in my whole life. After what seemed to be two hours, he asked me to face the camera again. I was trembling. He then asked to touch myself down there. I did it, without any enjoyment. “You do like it, put a smile on that face.” I started tearing up. What did I put myself into? “Stop crying, at least pretend you enjoy it. Keep looking at me while you do it.” Once he came, he told me that I was safe with him and that nothing would happen. I didn’t reply. He then said that he only recorded some parts for himself, for his own satisfaction, and that if I tried to block him I could expect a surprise in a few weeks. Shortly after, he hung up. It was a Sunday.

That night, I really had a hard time falling asleep. I was laying in my bed naked. I was crying and cold. I felt worthless. I was ashamed of myself. What did my parents do to deserve a child like me? A slut, a dishonorable child? Learning what I just did would disappoint them so much. I felt like trash, and I was disgusted by my own self.

The following days were rough. My self-esteem was lower than ever. My mood was the worst. My eyes were constantly irritated. My parents were worried about me. When they started asking questions about my behavior, I told them that I had a crush on someone and got rejected. Mark tried to contact me a few times, but I kept ignoring him. He threatened to expose me, but I didn’t really care anymore. My existence became pointless, I had already been reduced to the status of an object.

I had finally managed to block him from everywhere. I felt relieved to have finally him removed from my life. Slowly, I reconstructed myself piece by piece. This experience made me grow a lot. I deleted, with regret, many of my social media accounts and turned private the ones I was using the most. I took a break from the internet. I was in grief. In grief for the young and naive girl I was.

I recovered slowly over time. The hardest thing was keeping everything that happened to myself. I couldn’t talk about it to anyone. It felt like it was “real” sexual abuse, though I’d convinced myself (?) that something that happened online wasn’t as relevant as in real life. I didn’t want my friends to think about me in a different way, nor to disappoint them. I didn’t want people to have pity for me. Mark and my relationship has influenced my recent relationships. It is hard for me to get involved with someone because I am always scared of them not liking me much, or worried that they only have pity for me. It is hard for me to trust any guy: Mark has left his mark. Recently, I met someone that I really like, but something is preventing me from getting fully involved with them. I am insecure. I know he really likes me, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to know what real love feels like. This is the first time I am openly talking about the story. Forcing myself to remember these events was a really hard thing to do, but it has made me feel strong.