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to VO!CES, the new online magazine for survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse and the commercial sex industry. In our world, one in three women are abused during their lifetime and the average age of entry into commercial sex for girls is 12 years old. Perpetrators and pimps have tried to silence these women. We’re here to prove that they can’t.

Cyberbullying and Sexual Harassment: One Model Shares Her Story

Alexandria’s modeling photos were manipulated and sent to her with disturbing, obscene messages by an anonymous source on her college campus. See the surprising thing that happens when she reports the incident to school authorities. 

By Alexandria Morgan

In the fall of 2012, I was modeling part time and enrolled in my freshman semester at The King’s College. The King’s College is exactly what you would expect from a small, private, Christian college: a lot of neatly ironed khakis and flaming conservatism. While other freshman were doing keg stands and drawing penises on drunk friend’s faces, the students of The King’s College were smoking cigars like they already owned Wall Street and discussing how much better our country would be if Reagan was still president.

About two weeks into that semester I received a particularly alarming email:

From: isthatnipple@tkc.edu

Subject: Can I ask you a question?

Is that….nipple?

                           image

Attached was a picture of me in one of my modeling pictures. I’m lying on the beach in a monokini. Whoever had sent me the email had enlarged the picture, zoomed in onto my breast area, and placed a large, red circle around my hardened nipple that was visible from behind the fabric. 

I sent a reply:

Congratulations…you found a nipple on a breast. Tell me, what other marvels of the world have you discovered?

I checked my email the next morning to find a response to from isthatnipple@tkc.edu:

 Alexandria,

Thank you for the nipple sighting conformation.

To answer your question, we actually have discovered another marvel of the world, the Lighthouse of Alexandria. This maritime structure did indeed provide a merry time. Its purpose was to guide seamen into the port of Alexandria. The docks of Alexandria were renowned throughout history for their spacious harbors, capable of docking dinghies, pinnacles, and motorboats all abreast.

Protecting the Chestity of Women since 2012,

IsThatNipple.INC.

I read it over about five times and felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment.

 Its purpose was to guide seamen into the port of Alexandria.

I felt sick to my stomach. I had gone through my entire high school existence without ever obtaining a date, and now, just weeks into my college life, I was being labeled a slut because of one dot on my breast.

I became hyper aware when I walked into school that day. There was a group of boys sitting on one of the benches, huddled around a laptop. I wondered if they are the ones who sent the email. I wondered what part of my body they are currently zoomed in on.

A few days later, I received another anonymous email informing me of a blog-about me. A lot of what it said blurs together in my mind, but a few phrases stood out: “you’re selling your body,” “you should be ashamed of your pictures,” “sexual immorality.”

Sexual immorality? Did they know I sat reading that line with virgin eyes? That I had collectively in my life got as much action as that first slice of white bread?

The words cut me to the core, and made me feel like, well, shit. But I would not stand by and let this happen. I couldn’t. If they had said these words to me, just for one picture, imagine what they would say to girls who actually were sexually promiscuous.

I set up a meeting with one of the school’s advisors.

“Well, I’m so sorry this has happened. I truly am, Alexandria.”

 “Thank you. I don’t really care if whoever did this gets in trouble, really. It’s not about that. I just want you to know what’s going on and I don’t want this to happen to any other girls.”

“Right. Of course. Well, it is anonymous so I’m afraid there isn’t much we can do to find out who sent it.” 

“Really? You can’t trace the IP address or some other James Bond-y stuff like that? Aren’t people from colleges getting in trouble all the time from doing sketchy stuff online they thought they could get away with, but then in fact, couldn’t?”

“Yes, well it’s a small school and our tech department is so busy.”

“I mean it was my school e-mail, you must be able to do something? Maybe prevent school emails from getting stuff like this that has nothing to do with class work…”

“Alexandria, can I ask you something?” she cuts me off.

 “Sure.”

“Where do you intend to go with your modeling?”

“It’s kind of an on-the-side thing until I figure out what I want to do with life. Why?” 

“No, I mean what direction, what type of modeling do you see yourself doing.”

“I’m mainly commercial, a little too curvy for high fashion. Nothing raunchy though like Playboy.”

“Well if I’m being completely honest…that picture you showed me, the one they sent you, it kind of did look like it could be in Playboy.”

“I’m in a swim suit.” 

“Right. I’m just saying. Maybe you should think about the way you are presenting yourself to young men here.”

“Presenting myself?”

“Yes. As women, we must be respectful for men and not make it difficult for them.” 

“Difficult for them?”

“Yes. By dressing respectful and acting with chaste, so they are not distracted by us. I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today for this meeting, thank you for coming in.”

This incident was one of the main factors in my decision not to return to King’s the following year. I couldn’t be a part of something that had such a twisted and warped view of a woman’s role in society, especially on a college campus. If a women walks by a construction site and gets the token wolf-whistle, is it her fault? Absolutely not. I don’t care if she’s clothed in nothing but a G-string and heels; it was the men who chose to act out on impulses.

Now is the time to end the thought that it’s a woman’s fault when men act or behave like animals towards her. Women deserve to be proud of their bodies; they are beautiful and a house for a soul that God has blessed it with. Women shouldn’t have to live in fear of men and their verbal slander—or slander from other women, for that matter.