Monday, January 21, 2013

Ask DrFran: DrFran’s Soapbox

By DrFran Babcock

Dear DrFran: 

This is a bit sensitive, so I hope you will hear me out. I was abused repeatedly as a child, and didn’t have much of a chance to enjoy just being a kid. As a result, I grew into a very serious adult with a strong need to control my surroundings, so I can feel in control of my emotions. That’s pretty good insight, in my opinion, and it’s helped me to survive all these years. The thing that really helped me, though, was coming into Second Life and becoming a child here. As a Second Life child, I can have all of the fun that was denied me when I was growing up. I go to camp, school, participate in Relay for Life activities, build, and a whole bunch of other silly, and out of control things I could never seem to do in First Life. The realism of the role play is impressive. We even have read. I have grown and flourished here, becoming popular with the other kids, and I have even been able to move some of this to my day-to-day life.  

I spend all of my time in Second Life with other child play avatars, and never stray far from my group. We are all friends, and many of us have even met up in First Life. I am telling you all this as background for what I am about to tell you. I have a distrust of grown up avatars, and except for the teachers and camp counselors, I usually stay away from all adults. I can be found usually on General sims, and have avoided events and activities that might place me in proximity with mature sims.

That said, and shaking as I write this, and I am pretty sure you know where this is going. Two weeks ago, after school, one of the adult teachers, whom I will call Mr. Fred, asked me to stay after math class so that he could show me how to solve a homework problem that I really didn’t understand. I was a little nervous, but figured the school could only have trusted teachers.

Within moments of the rest of the class leaving, he rezzed a set of pose balls and asked me to climb on the pink one. He told me: “This is so we can sit and talk about the homework.” I didn’t believe him, but I felt helpless to protest—that’s a problem I have because of the abuse I have suffered. People can boss me around easily. That’s one of the reasons I avoid adult avatars. When I got on the pose ball, I immediately began to gyrate in a sexual way. I was completely freaked out. I hopped off the ball and teleported back home, and logged out. I have not told a soul about this, and it happened about two weeks ago. When my First Life abuse was going on my abuser, a neighbor, used to tell me that if I told anyone what we were doing that he would hurt my parents. I guess I am conditioned to keep silent, but I worry that Mr. Fred will try this with other child play avatars, and most of the ones I know have also suffered from child abuse.

Since that day I have not logged in much, I feel a return of some of the horrid symptoms that used to haunt me before I found Second Life. What can I do?

Sign me: Abused.

Dear Abused: I am so sorry for all of the horrid things that were done to you. Children are not meant to be objects of pleasure for sick people. Pedophiles abound, and this is the topic to which I have the strongest, angriest, and frustrated response. The world has yet to awaken to the epidemic proportions of child abuse, and things will not improve until they do.

I know that you will not be pleased to hear this, but you MUST Abuse Report (AR) this individual. This behavior is bound to continue unless you report him. I am sure this avatar worked a long time on building the trust of the school administration in order to get into the role of a trusted instructor. If he is stopped, he will surely create an alt to continue this behavior, but it will take time for him to establish the relationships he needs to continue with his behavior. Of course, this is conjecture. For all I know he (or she) is operating several avatars already.

It’s been a while (2008) since there has been a lot of talk about child play avatars in Second Life being used for pedophiliac role play. Marianne McCann ( ) and fellow advocates have gone a long way to demonstrate the actual purpose of child play for many individuals, and it is similar to what you expressed. The children of Second Life have a reputation for fun, charity and loyalty to each other that is enviable.

This is Second Life, not First Life, but I am a firm believer that the line between the two is wafer thin. You hurt my avatar, and the First Life DrFran is hurt. You are a pedophile in Second Life, and you probably are a pedophile in real life.

Please, please, please, Abused. Report this guy, because he will continue his behavior, and you will be doing the right thing, not the wrong thing. I appreciate fully how difficult it is to break out of the habit of protecting your perpetrator, that were wired into you as a child, but as a wise person said to me: If nothing changes; nothing changes. I hope you can find the courage to do report this individual, and I hope you can find a way back to your friends and family in Second Life.


Obligatory disclaimer: The column Ask DrFran is the work of DrFran Babcock, and may not reflect the views of SL Newser as a whole. Please direct any correspondence to DrFran Babcock. I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

  1. I've written over a thousand ARs since I came to SL in 2006, but only one has been for sexual ageplay. I conclude that it doesn't happen very often, or I'm not patrolling the places where it happens.

    From the standpoint of an experienced AR person, I would recommend that you keep chat logs and paste the relevant portions into the comments section of the AR form (although sharing chat logs in SL is a violation of the Terms of Service, that does not apply to an Abuse Report). The chat log should clearly show that the adult avatar is trying to initiate a sexual encounter with a child avatar. It should also clearly show that you have informed the adult that you are a child in SL. LL can check their archives (I think they save chat logs for 10 days) and confirm that the adult avatar actually did say the things you reported.

    If you don't give LL some evidence of wrongdoing, they can't take action. It appears to me that in this case, there's no evidence they can look at. He asked you to sit on a poseball, but you logged off without saying anything. You can try again if you're so inclined, and I think you should do that to get this guy off the grid so he doesn't victimize anyone else.

    I will assist in preparing for this and writing the AR if you want. It's in everyone's best interest to get rid of pedophiles.

    - GreenLantern Excelsior