Sizwe and I have been friends forever. Every night we talk on the phone, sometimes for hours. A few weeks ago, he asked me to send him a nude picture. I laughed at first and told him, “No way!” He started sending a ton of messages begging for one. I ignored it, hoping he would get bored of it.
Then, on the way home from school one day, he asked that we race home. He said if I lose, I need to send a naked photo. I haven’t lost yet so I agreed to it. But, somehow – I lost.
I sent him a photo in my bra to shut him up about it. Then he begged me for one without the bra – saying I owed it to him. I gave in and sent him a topless picture.
I regretted it instantly. I asked him to delete it, but he said no. I was so confused, I thought he was my friend.
My mum started to notice I was acting quiet and sad. I was afraid to speak to her about this as I didn't want her to be mad.
I knew from chats we had that she wants me to come to her if I was in danger or someone had hurt me. So I decided that I could trust her and even if she was a bit upset, she was someone who could help me.
I asked her if I could talk to her about something private. I also asked if she could please be kind to me, as I knew I had made a mistake. She agreed. When I told her what had happened she was shocked and very disappointed, but as promised she remained calm and we managed to have a positive conversation.
She said to me, as girls go through puberty, they get a lot of unwanted attention from boys. Even those we think are our friends might pressure us into sexual situations we’re not comfortable with. She told me that talking to people you trust who can support you and give you advice is the best thing to do if I feel pressured. Together we talked through ideas of how to overcome the situation. She was very supportive.
We decided to talk to Sizwe together, and she taught me how to vocalise my feelings of confusion and upset to Sizwe. This really helped Sizwe to understand that his actions hurt me and he was happy to delete the photo. I wish I had talked to my mum sooner – there’s no problem she can’t solve!
Whether it’s your mum, sister, friend or a neighbour – find your person you can turn to when you’re feeling pressured.
Have you ever been in a difficult situation like this? How did you respond?