I rarely divulge deeply personal anecdotes, however, Censorship and The Female Body inspired me to share my story and making my voice heard.
I was 14 years old when a selection of my Facebook photos were reposted by one of my so-called “friends” onto an online forum called “4chan”. These images were not unlike the photos that my peers had shared; innocent bikini photos from family vacations and poses in dresses before school dances were commonplace in the photo galleries of my circle of friends. However, my youthful face and prematurely developed body were the perfect combination to attract the closet pedophiles and teen fetishizers that lurked in the underworld of the online chat forums. Overnight, my photos went viral, and I woke up to hundreds of thousands of perverted viewers harshly criticizing my appearance and my supposed lack of self respect, and disclosing the unspeakable sexual acts that they wanted me to perform. All I could think to myself as I sat there, reading the vulgar, hateful comments while shaking and crying was, “Why me?”. Many of my friends had posted similar pictures, yet I was the one enduring the rape threats, brutal name-calling, and ruthless slut shaming from complete strangers.
It took me years to recover from the annihilation of my confidence and pride as a woman that this experience provoked. Many people believed that by posting provocative photos, I was asking for them to be circulated without my consent. However, I now refuse to be censored by the judgemental perverts and misogynists, for they are the ones who should be silenced, not me.