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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate: Okay. You had suggested support groups, and my

Customer Question

Kate: Okay. You had suggested support groups, and my therapist recently did as well. I had already been looking online for a few weeks and registered for one, because I was very curious to see whether others have the same issues as me, what they are doing about it, etc. It's like a forum thing, and there are all sorts of subjects. One ofthe first things is a place to "share your sotry" and get input from other people who have experienced stuff. I cut and paste what I had written you earlier this week (or last week - I don't remember). What people said was kind of interesting. HOWEVER - I got a personal message from someone saying that my ordeal seemed very similar to hers and she wanted to talk. I was kind of shocked but also very curious. I said sure, and gave her my aol IM screen name. We IMed yesterday evening, and she told me her incident involved a number of men over a 48 hour period. She was asking me all these strange questions, and I asked her why, and she said she was trying to figure out if we went to the same college. I said that is doubtful (all I said in the post was that it was a small liberal arts college in the midwest). She then told me where she went - and it is the same college. Then she said she was in a sorority and she said that if the house hadn't moved, we were in the same one -- and she told me what it was. I don't know how she got that from my post.
She is 15 years younger than me, and she said this happened her sophomore year, which would make it about 7-8 years after mine. She didn't know the people. I asked her their ages, and she said they were all older than her, but their ages varied. She said some were in their mid to late 30's. I was just so shocked -- I thought, of course, could this have involved the same people? I told her that if it was the same people, then I was so, so sorry. I don't know what to say.
Then she asked me all sorts of strange questions: what I looked like back then, and a bunch of sexual details (like how many times the guys climaxed, etc.). I got really uncomfortable. I wsa at work and told her i had to go, and she said "please don't - I want to talk some more" and continued with the weird stuff, and told me "I won't be here later."
I don't know why, but this all made the hairs on my neck stand up. It totally freaked me out. I reread my post, and I don't see how in the world anyone -- even someone who went to that school - could guess where it was or what sorority I was in (there are 3 sorority houses on that street). Plus -- this school has like 2500 students at one time, and is one of hundreds of small schools i nthat state alone. The sorority only probably has 60-75 members at any one time. What are the chances that she makes this connection when I'm on there a week or less? Now she has sent me 2 more messages, basically really pissed because I never came back on and spoke to her.
I don't know what to think. If this is legit and it involved the same guys, I feel absolutely terrible. But I still don't see how she could have figured out where I was talking about. The only way anyone would know, I think, is if they knew it was me from the details of the story - but hardly anybody knows. And the stuff they did to me was not like what she said was done to her, from what she said, so it'd not like she could have seen similarities there. It really frightened me. Do you have any clue what might be going on? I don't want to be mean to this girl if it is legit -- especially if this happened to her because I didn't report mine. But I feel like something is wrong with this whole thing. And the way she was commenting and asking these questions, it seemed like more something a guy would ask - like she was getting off on it almost (or wanted to) -- Could that be just because she has issues with sex, maybe different? Or could this not be a girl?? I went in and erased my post, and blocked her on my IM, but I am not sure what to think.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

If you are feeling that this is not legitimate and you are getting a gut feeling that it's bad, it's a good idea to back off. You did the right thing blocking this person.

When you mentioned that she was asking you details like if they guys climaxed, that is a sign that this was not someone who was attacked themselves. This person was looking for a way to get sexually excited by the details of your attack. I doubt any of the information they gave you was legitimate. Someone who was attacked is not going to be concerned about those kinds of details of your attack. That kind of information is not important and no one needs to know that. If this person was attacked themselves, they would know that too.

This person is also being manipulative. They are trying to get you to feel sorry for them on the one hand by saying they won't be available later and they need to talk now, and they are also becoming angry with you when you won't communicate with them. Those are both signs of someone who is unstable. They probably go on these sites so they can use them for their own gratification.

People who are legitimate are going to be supportive and helpful, and not drill you for the details of your trauma. A person that has been through something similar would understand exactly how you feel about your attack. They would know that discussing details like this person was asking you to do would be painful. You did the right thing by blocking this person. You may also want to consider reporting them if the site allows it.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
but how could this person possibly pick out the name of my very small college and my sorority? Isn't that concerning?
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

That is very odd and concerning. I know you told me what state you were in at the time of the attack and where you are now. Could that have been included by accident?

Other than that, there would be no way they could know. But even if there were legitimate and were attacked at the same place, their behavior is strange enough to warrant cutting off contact. Any issues they have are not your concern. You are on there for yourself and not to support them by providing traumatizing details of your attack. And the person's behavior is odd enough to say they could not be help to you anyway even if they were attacked by the same people.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No -- I purposely took out the name of the state and just said the "midwest." In my initial messaging with this person, I did tell them what state I lived in now, and my first name, which I obviously regret now. But there are dozens of similar colleges in that state. I just told my therapist about it, because I was supposed to call her anyway. Her initial reaction was that this is an unstable person with issues she's projecting on me. But then when I told her exactly what I said, she said she doesn't think there's any way someone could tell where it was. She said from the description of dorms, sorority house, road ... she said it fit her college campus as well. She said that those sites were probably very attractive to sexual sadist-type people/people who have been attackers/are attackers themselves, because they get the gratification of seeing how damaging their actions can be and also to "get off" on the terrible stories.

You don't think there is any possibility in the world that this person online could be one of the guys, do you? I don't feel that's very likely, but I am so disturbed by the whole thing. I rarely get such feelings. However, as you know, my emotions are already out of control this week, so maybe I am really overreacting and being paranoid.

I feel like if this person/her experences are legit, and there is a possibility it involved the same person(s), then I really owe her. But I am scared to have any communication now, and I agree (and my therapist just agreed, too) that these are not words that someone who has had this kind of experience would use, and that it's hard to imagine why anyone with a similar experience would ask those kinds of questions. It would never even dawn on me to ask those things.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

The chance that this person was one of your attackers is extremely remote. How would they know it was you and when you would share your story? If it was right after the attack maybe, but not after so many years. That would be too much of a coincidence.

If this person had been attacked, they would not be asking you those things. If you wouldn't ask those things of another trauma survivor, then this person should not be asking them either.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I agree. It all just seemed too coincidental, so it scared me. It really really bugs me, though, that somebody would be getting sexually excited over the worst thing that ever happened to me. That's kind of sick. However, it's my own fault for putting it out there. Lesson learned .... think I'll stay off those kinds of sites. Thanks :)
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

It is disturbing to think that someone could get sexually excited over something so horrible. But there are a lot of mentally ill people who do. This person needs help and it's too bad they probably won't get it.

Sorry this happened to you.