When pictures go viral...
The stories that young people tell, keeps my training relevant. As technology changes, new sites and apps emerge, it can be hard to keep up at the best of times. Though this has made it difficult to understand new methods that abusers use to target their victims, the themes and trends appear to be the same.
During one of my latest sessions, a young lady informed me that during one of her 'relationships', she was recordeded doing something sexually inappropriate. The recording was sent around her school year. She later realised that she was not the only victim and that a few other girls were also targeted. As she told the story, her disbelief in what happened was very transparent. I could tell that she was not aware of the dangers of doing things infront of a camera and trusting people, especially not someone who that you have known for a few days.
Our session spoke about online safety and briefly touched on sexting and grooming. After explained, things appeared to make much more sense to her and she was fully able to explain the risks associated with such behaviours. She is now more aware of what happened and the effects of taking, receiving and sending pictures.
To teach people is to empower them. We need to continue this journey with our young people as much as we can.