Cyber Predator – Survivor speaks out for the first time

Cyber Predator – Survivor speaks out for the first time

Since his ordeal at the hands of a paedophile when he was in high school five years ago, the survivor speaks to Terence Pillay about the nightmare for the very first time.

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When people hear the term cyber-bullying, they immediately think about a child or a teenager that faces derogatory remarks or criticism from their peers over a digital device like a cellphone, computer or tablet. And you would be right, but online predators can be far more sinister and not only use the internet to bully their victims, but it’s an ideal platform for paedophiles to groom them.

In September 2015, a drama teacher at a prominent Durban school was convicted of 230 charges relating to the possession and creation of child pornography, sexual exploitation, and grooming of children - and using children to create pornography.

The minor in question was 17 at the time and could not speak to the media, but for the first time since the incident, he opens up to me about his ordeal in an exclusive interview.

*Sean says his school drama teacher made contact with him on WhatsApp when he was just a teenager and solicited naked photos and videos of him. This eventually led to sexual interaction in person – all of which the teacher paid him for.

The teacher pled guilty to all the charges, was convicted and sentenced to a term in prison.

Marc Hardwick from the Guardian worked with Sean and warns parents to be a lot more involved in what their children are doing in the cyber world. He says parenting these days is very different in that children “practically live” online and parents should not bury their heads in the sand about this.

Marc says it’s perfectly acceptable for a parent to know their children’s passwords to their devices and should randomly check whether anything is amiss with their online interactions.

Sean is now 23-years-old and has picked up the pieces of his life and is doing well. He does urge children who have gone or are going through the kind of abuse he has to talk about it to someone they trust. This will go a long way to nipping the problem in the bud and getting help sooner rather than later.

*Sean is not his real name

Do you have an issue or story that you would like Terence Pillay to investigate? You can reach him on [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @terencepillay1or Instagram: @terencepillay, and engage with him there.  

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