I met this guy online once when I was 19. We'd been chatting and hell, I thought he was a good guy. He was sweet, his picture was hot, and we'd been chatting for months before I agreed to meet him....at my house.
I know what you're thinking: "Vic! NO!!!" Alas, yes, I did.
This is something that I know is a big no-no now of course but at 19, I was still full of sunshine, daisies and still trying desperately to be a "girl".
So he came over (and I'll never forget his name-Gordon) and before he got there I wisely hid knives underneath all of the cushions in the living room. Why? Well, in case he tried to rape me or kill me of course!!!
When he got there I noticed a few things almost immediately. He was about a whole foot shorter than he appeared in his picture and about twenty years older. I didn't let that stop me, he'd driven all the way to my house from Orlando. That's almost an hour. So I invited him in and we talked. Slowly I became more and more comfortable, until I finally admitted that I'd hid the knives and then retrieved them all and put them away.
I returned to the living room and, I kid you not, he attacked me within seconds of me walking back into the room and raped me. On my mother's gold couch.
It was violent and vicious and I bled all over my mother's couch. It wasn't the first time I'd been raped, and unfortunately, it wasn't the last time either, but it was the one that I learned the most from. I learned a lot about that little voice of instinct and hesitation. As I lay on my mother's couch, shivering and bleeding, watching as he walked to the bathroom and cleaned up, wiping the blood and semen from his groin and chest, I felt such hatred fill me, but I felt a wisdom infuse my body as well.
You see, I realized then that I gave people the power that they exhibited in my life. I gave them the power to hurt me, the power to heal me, the power to help me, to support and encourage me.
This is something you'd never know about me. The fact that I'd been raped, that I'd been so stupid to put myself into that situation. It's not something that I'd planned on sharing. I was going to share Friday of GRL with you all today, but I had a friend ask me to write a blog post about online relationships and it made me think of this incident, because this is not what I'm going to share with her.
I didn't let that horrible incident or any of the others I had (and I've had LOTS let me tell you!) stop me from forging relationships, stop me from believing in the basic goodness and kindness and decency that everyone has within them. I would have missed out on so many wonderful relationships if I would have looked at everyone as being a liar, everyone as being a fake, everyone as being a figment of someone's imagination. I've experienced all that. I've sent $800 to someone who said that they were about to be homeless or had cancer only to find out that it was a fake. It didn't stop me from doing it again. I've met guys who lied about what they looked like. I've found out that the person I was talking to, wasn't who they said they were, or were in fact characters from a book (imagine my shock to pick up a book and see our conversation within the pages of that book), but NONE of that has ever stopped me from treating the next person as a completely unique individual, because they are.
Not everyone in this world is out to deceive me, to hurt me, to rape me, to attack me, to extort money from me, to lie to me, to use and abuse me. And I can't look at everyone as if they are. It makes for paranoia and fear and misery and I don't like to be paranoid, scared or miserable. I'm not pleasant that way.
So as I prepare to write this blog post about the wonderful people that I've met online. The ones who befriended me and supported me, the ones who saved my life...twice, the ones who encouraged me and pushed me to become a better me, to live my truth, those are the ones that I'll be writing about. I'll talk about the things I learned not to do, but more than anything I'll emphasize trust and the bigger picture and I'll definitely talk about hypocrisy, because I'd never ask them to give me something that I'm not willing to give myself. For every picture requested, there's a picture sent. For every text message asked for, there's a text message given. And for every proof of identity that I need, I given one in return.
Because I can't sit around on my high horse judging others for their online personifications when I've spent years pretending to be something that I'm not and I can't begrudge someone for wanting to keep something private when I know that I'm doing the same thing.
So that's something you'd never know about me unless I shared it and I hope as you all go throughout your day (many of you have sent me emails or comments regarding Thorny-I encouraged him to close his blog and his GR account-but thank you for being concerned for me-LOL) to remember that just like you don't see every black person as being a drug dealer or a drug addict or a gang banger or as being on welfare, just as you don't see every Hispanic as being a drug dealer or an illegal or illiterate or only speaking Spanish, just as you don't see every white person as being racist or thinking that they're superior or being rich and snooty, etc. you shouldn't see every online person as being out to hurt, manipulate, deceive, extort or rape you.
Sometimes you have to have blind faith, sometimes you have to believe even when evidence points to the contrary. Do you know how many men and women have been incarcerated and executed based on evidence only for it to be discovered later on that they were innocent? A good lawyer can get someone off with all the evidence piled against them, just as a good lawyer can get someone found guilty with no evidence at all.
Be cautious, but still believe. You never know what you're missing out on when you're suspicious of everyone.