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To Sam

Explicit Images

I'm a year 9 now. Basically before the summer, this guy (year 10 at the time) used me. He got close to me then asked for photos of me. I was reluctant but I thought it would make him leave me alone. I sent them. He thought it would be funny to send them around my school. Now over 1000 people have seen it, and that's not an exaggration. I struggle to walk from class to class because I get so many people run up to me and tease me about it. Their comments really hurt. I can't even get a reationship because now everyone judges me and have given me their own label. I started a relationship with this boy and after a week, he told me he was ashamed to be with me because of the pictures. All my friends seem to have turned away from me and I feel like I am alone in this world.

When my mum found out about the pictures, I could tell she was ashamed too. She was disappointed in her daughter for making a naive mistake. But she told the police, and they had a chat with this boy. They let him off. But now my family expect me to be 100% fine. How can I be fine when I still get tormented on a daily basis? Whenever I mention incidents to my mum, such as boys making comments to try and make me cry etc, she is so dismissive and simply says she doesn't care. How am I supposed to feel okay when I can't even turn to my own mother? I thought she of all people would be there for me, especially with my past. (I have a painful history of self harm and depression) But now I just dont know what to do anymore. I can't keep putting up with this. Is there any advice you could give me?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. I can hear that this has been a really difficult time for you. It’s wrong for anyone to bully another person for any reason. It was also wrong of that boy to pressurise you into taking pictures of yourself. I can hear how stressful the consequences of this have been for you.

I have been getting a lot of letters from young people who are in similar situations. I understand how hard it can be hard to say “no” when someone is pressuring you. We have even made an app (“ZIPIT”) to make it easier to deal with someone who keeps asking for sexual pics. You could also take a look at the sexting page in the Explore section for more information and advice.

This boy was breaking the law by passing on explicit images of someone under 16, so I’m really glad that your mum took it seriously and went to the police. From what you’ve said, the hardest thing to deal with now is other people’s reactions to what happened. We all make mistakes, or choices that we regret. You don’t deserve to be bullied or ignored because of one decision that you made.

You’ve told me that the bullying has really affected your relationships with other people. I wonder if your school are aware that the bullying is still happening. Your school has a responsibility to tackle any bullying and to try and make it stop. You have a right to feel safe and happy at school and it’s not okay for you to be tormented on a daily basis. You might want to consider starting a bullying diary where you can write down what happens, where it happens, who does it, and how it makes you feel. You could include being deliberately left out by your friends, because it sounds like that really upsets you. If you hand the diary to a teacher that you trust, they can get a clear picture of what’s going on.

It sounds like it can be really hurtful when your mum says she doesn’t care about these incidents at school. I wonder if you have tried to tell her how much you need her at the moment. Something about the way you’ve talked about her suggests she has been supportive for you in the past. What would it be like to write her a letter about what’s in your head right now?

You’ve also told us that you have suffered with depression and self-harm. I want you to know that you’re welcome to talk to a ChildLine counsellor at anytime about everything that’s been happening for you and how it's making you feel.

I hope some of this helps.

Take care,

Sam

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