I’ve always known about the dangers of the internet; how on one platform, you can easily experience racism, sexism, abuse, and harassment from the internet, but I never truly experienced the worst of it till recently.
It was the night of July 11th when I received the first text:
thisisaname21: Hey thisisaname21 from aff. What are you up to ?
I didn’t recognize the number or the term “aff,” so I immediately responded, asking:
Me: “Who are you?”
I waited for a reply, but it never came.
I told myself, ‘It’s nothing,’ that the person probably messaged me by mistake, but I was wrong. Within the next few hours, messages from unknown senders flooded my inbox. Some were simple, asking, “What’re you doing” and others were more explicit, saying things like, “You’re fat and ugly but I would still take your free d*ck sucking.”
I was appalled and frightened by the unsolicited messages. I wondered, ‘How did they get my number?’ ‘Do they know what I look like?’ And ‘What’s AFF?’
After doing a quick Google search, I found out that AFF is short for Adult Friend Finder. It’s a website known for having the largest dating, sex, and swinger community. (And before anyone asks, I’ve never created an account with them.)
The day after I received the initial text, I got a message request from a user on Instagram. He said we’ve been talking on AFF and he wanted to meet up with me. When I told him I’ve never been on the site, he sent me my number and asked if it was mine. I wanted to cry. I wanted to throw my phone at the wall in frustration but instead, I typed, “yes” and asked him for the username of the person he spoke to.
He gave it willingly.
This is the person who’s been giving my number to men seeking sex; men who’ve called me a cunt, a gook, a chink; men who do not care for my safety.
I wanted to believe this was one big joke. That maybe I wronged someone in the past, but I can’t name a single person who’d be out to get me. I can’t name a single person who’d have any malicious feeling towards me.
I’m afraid to open new messages. I’m afraid of the possibility of men finding me. But most of all, I’m afraid this Impostor will continue using parts of my identity.
If this is the Impostor is you: know that you haven’t won.
I may be shaken, I may be frightened, but I am not defeated. And I refuse to let you get the best of me.
I’ve called AFF to have your profile taken down and if you continue to use my information, I will call the authorities.
If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout this experience, it’s that I have a right to my privacy, so don’t mess with me.