Amethyst’s Voice

In this episode of Shades of Intimacy, Jason and Jennie are joined by their daughter Amethyst who is telling her side of her experience with an online predator. Already faced with the challenges of starting high school, coupled with relentless bullying from mean girls, AMethyst became vulnerable to a predator. As a culture that has embraced technology, we are ill-prepared for the dangers that are lurking on the other side of the screen. Amethyst sharing her experience is not only brave but a necessary lesson to each of us.

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Topic #1

The Mean Girls

  • To go through something like having an online predator infiltrate your family and not say anything is stupid. Jason and Jennie are joined today by their daughter who is sharing her side of the experience following the two episodes where Jason and Jennie spoke of what they went through as her parents.
  • Thinking she was just a problematic teenager, they had no idea what she was going through. Looking back on those times, Amethyst remembers just being knee deep in everything and feeling not worthy of love and not feeling loved.
  • It’s a hard and complicated story. Amethyst was 14 turning 15 and just started high school. The girls were so mean, and she was just relentlessly bullied. She wasn’t aware that she was posting everything all over social media not realizing that made her vulnerable. Growing up she learned the dangers about predators, but it is so separate in your mind you don’t think it will ever happen within your family.
  • The person initially saw her at her job, and it was suggested that he might have asked her name at work and found her on social media. She was already cutting herself because of the difficulties she was facing at school. Amethyst was in a very dark place. She stopped doing sports and became more and more depressed. Jason remembered watching all of this and was thinking that high school was hard and she was being bullied. Amethyst was suicidal before the predator even approached her.
  • There is a website called Ask.fm which is an anonymous site where you create a profile and people can ask you questions anonymously. She had a link to that from her Instagram. One night she was having a bad night, and someone popped up and asked her if she was okay. She said no, and again it happened six days later. He began to ask for her email and now looking back she is like what the fuck, why did I give that to him. But put into context it was an app that was commonly used by her peers; she would never have imagined it was anything otherwise.

QUOTE
“I was thinking you were just being a difficult teenager. I had no idea what you were actually going through.”- Jason

Topic #2   

The Hook

  • So this person came into her life and showed her caring; This is the dark shit here. In the Warrior Way, they take the men to the pit and when someone can go with you where they can be with you, empathize and lead you out. So here is this person and he is utterly betraying that trust, took that and used it for his purpose. The communication continued, and he kept sympathizing with her. Asked her about everything was wrong and shared with her equally dark stories. He gave her details about his experiences, his family, and his life; he also told her he was only 20.
  • Jason remembers in the middle of all of it that Amethyst told him that this person slipped up and told her the wrong last name. He built up such massive trust that he told her never to Google his name, and she didn’t. This experience lasted a year of him grooming her; it was a month or less when the sympathy friendship phase ended. She trusted him, and he was 20, and she was 15, but he wasn’t 20. He got his hooks into her at a very vulnerable state.
  • It turned from friendship when she sent him a picture of her feet in the tub, and he made some sexual reference. He was coming up with these stories of how she saved him, and he saved her, and no one could love her as he could. Why didn’t she tell her parents? She wasn’t talking to them about anything at that point. It was a relationship where she thought this person loved her and understood her; at some point in this, she feels her brain stopped working because it became something very sick. Amethyst wasn’t eating or sleeping because he would want to see her stomach every day and he could tell if she gained weight; he wanted her thin so she would throw up if he said her she looked heavier. This process continued and got worse and worse; He preyed on her through her insecurities with her body. In our society, we need to raise girls that are very secure in their bodies. That right away wipes out the hook he had.
  • Amethyst was a bright and very expressive being, wearing her heart on her sleeve. As a culture, we need to foster that and own their feelings, so you don’t isolate and feel alone. We need to notice what things this person is preying.

QUOTE
“I wasn’t talking to you about anything. It was a relationship where I thought he loved me and understood me. At some point, I think my brain stopped working because it became something very sick.” – Amethyst

Topic #3

A Sophisticated Predator

  • At that age, girls do become very sexual beings. They want a boy to notice them, to have a boyfriend;  This is the dance of life. Another place he got a wedge in was teenagers have a space that starts between them and their parents. And predators take advantage of that. Amethyst can remember times she was frustrated with her Dad, and he would build on that and tell her Jason didn’t care about her. He kept her in a blender; the minute she started settling into anything he would turn on the blender. Through her sophomore year, she wasn’t in school very often; she would be feeling fine, and he would remind her of some past trauma that would upset her and she would have to leave class.
  • The predator encouraged her to move out of her parent’s house and move into her friend’s house. Her relationship with the predator became more loving and understanding, and his control got more massive, and Amethysts friend didn’t bother her because she had her things going on. At what point did she realize he was the problem? She didn’t; he loved her, and she loved him, and she didn’t see that he was hurting her. She didn’t think that the root of her deterioration had anything to do with him until Jason and Jennie came to her and told her they found her laptop.
  • Amethyst and her predator would fight all the time, and he would turn it on her to make her believe it was her fault. In her mind, it was magical and fucked up all at once. The day she came to Jason and said she wanted to go to the hospital, the predator told her she needed to go to her Dad and get help. What the fuck? The day Amethyst came and said to her parents that she needed help, she went to 2 therapists and never told them about the predator; because she didn’t feel he was the issue. As Amethyst finally started to share with Jason about this person she began to realize that he had so manipulated her.
  • There are so many things that he did, and he kept her from saying out loud the things that he told her. He was slowly creating lenses from which Amethyst saw herself, her friends, her family and the world. To top it all off, he would say not to tell anyone anything or something terrible would happen as a result. When Amethyst started to say it out loud she realized how none of it made sense; hearing herself tell them, made her think what the fuck. The judge that tried the case said he was a sophisticated predator; he was no joke. He was all controlling continually, physically and emotionally.

QUOTE
“He was slowly creating lenses from which Amethyst saw herself, her friends, her family and the world.”- Jennie

Closing Thoughts

  • Amethyst shined a light on this, talking about it to everyone and that is when she began to heal. Through the pain and hurt, and the truth came out when they found the computer; that was when Amethyst said she wanted to know the truth. The first step of her knowing she needed help, coupled with her need to know the truth. Jason and Jennie both had powerful intuitions when they found the computer; it took a little longer for Amethyst.
  • Amethyst gives herself massive fucking credit; when they found the computer, her mind exploded. At first, she thought that she loved this person and he was real, so let’s prove it; Because it was so real for her. Amethyst worked through all the damage in her head with her therapist. Her quest for the truth at the moment with no shame or blame she was caught in the pit. If anyone out there is going through the dark, light it up. Start sharing and communicating; grown ass adults don’t have the courage that she did at 16 to want to know the truth.
  • That is the code, to get real with the facts and to get raw and gets you focused on changing what needs to be changed in your life. There is a force that keeps pushing you forward into the light; Talk about it, the power behind that can change the perspective of anything.
  • Jasons’ heart is filled with gratitude for his daughter and that she would share her story to help someone else that may be stuck in the dark.

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