In late May or early June of 2009, while I was in an IRC chatroom with Richard–there only because I could find him there, not from any particular love of the place–two of the admins started sexually harassing and bullying me.  Several of the other members–including a woman!–egged them on.

I did nothing to bring this on, was just sitting in the chat waiting to start talking with Richard.  I had said nothing for some time, and probably wasn’t even watching the screen at first, while doing other things online.  I sat there in silent disbelief when they started doing this.

(As for the woman who egged them on: At an earlier date in that same IRC channel, Richard posted, “Richard is sexing” [her handle], and Tracy posted that she was grabbing popcorn.

(I was amazed because I thought Tracy got insanely jealous and furious over that sort of thing.  So I wrote him privately, asking about it.  He wrote back that Tracy is friends with that person.

(Um…What was I, chopped liver?  I was friends with Tracy, so why was I not allowed to do the same thing?  And how could Tracy know this person from the Internet better than she knew me?–

(–Not that I wanted Richard to post “Richard is sexing Nyssa.”  On the contrary, I directly told him I didn’t want him to joke like that with me.  It was too–weird and icky to say you’re “sexing” someone other than your wife.)

Here’s what happened: I was just sitting there in the channel, which did sometimes amuse me.  I may have been completely silent on the channel, maybe chatting a little with Richard in the channel or privately, because he was the reason I went there in the first place: It was easiest to find him there.

Then the Creep, who was one of the admins, because my handle was a hobbit, began making cracks like, was I hairy all over.  His comments turned to my private parts.

I was just sitting there quietly and in disbelief, not responding at all, when he started going on and on about how awful it is for women to not shave that area, and how his girlfriend shaves.

And then one of the other Creeps, also an admin, started insisting I post pics of that area.  I said nothing to these guys to bring this on; I don’t think I said a word through much of this.

I thought Richard would stick up for me, but he said nothing, at least not publicly so I could see it.

Richard quickly went onto a channel I myself had made recently for personal friends, so I could get away from these people and still talk with him.  (He knew about this channel, which I hoped he would use all the time so I wouldn’t have to go into that nasty IRC channel.  But he rarely used it.)

While this stuff was going on, Tracy came in the main chatroom.  I expected that she had seen everything and was going to give these creeps a piece of her mind, complete with her usual cussing.

But instead, when one of the admins told her I was being a b**ch for refusing to show him a picture of my private parts, she just said, “You know how hobbits are,” and started joking around and chatting with them about having a get-together at her house.

I finally told the main harasser to bite me.  The other admin said that was a stupid thing to say.  Then they kicked me off the channel, and banned me for several days.  I kept checking to see if I could get in, but just for information’s sake: I intended to have nothing more to do with that channel and those jerks.

These filthy creeps were actually friends of Richard and Tracy!  Nearly a year later, I learned that Richard told them they were being jerks.  But he never made them apologize or anything.  And they knew I was his real-life close friend, but did this anyway.

I was shaken and upset for days, trying to watch movies on TV, but this was constantly on my mind.  It was disturbing, made me feel gross. 

For probably at least a year, even making love to my husband would bring it back to mind, because of how gross it made me feel. 

This was no joking around–This was sexual harassment!  And Richard and Tracy did absolutely NOTHING to stick up for me!

On this page, I describe guys who sexually harassed me in high school, not just students but even a teacher!  And here it was happening all over again!

I once mentioned the teacher to Richard.  And as I wrote in an e-mail to Richard on June 5, 2009,

I’m sending this by both e-mail and [online game] because I obviously have no idea which one you’ll check first.

I’ve been feeling this massive boredom and sadness the past few days because of so many things happening at once….Family and friends dealing with problems, and being blindsided with my own issues at the same time….

This strange feeling of not knowing if I want to be around people or just hide away even from my best friends, waiting and waiting to hear that something has changed or been resolved….

I try to be happy and it almost feels like I’m manufacturing it, it’s not really felt.

I try to ignore the [IRC] thing, try to act like it’s not a big deal, but it just isn’t working.

I have to be honest with myself.  I have to put my finger on the problem: Why should I be upset about being banned from a place with people I don’t even like?

If that’s all it is, then I’d feel like an idiot.  So it can’t just be that.  Is it pride because I’m not the sort of person who gets banned from *anywhere*?  It’s part of it, maybe, but not all.

Is it the crying out for justice?  Maybe that’s it.  I want somebody to get chewed out.  I want apologies.  I feel humiliated.

That’s part of it: The humiliation.  I’ve been in flame wars before; I recall once sticking up for my friends and getting ridiculed for it, until finally the sysop put a stop to the whole thing.  I learned how not to feed the trolls.

But in this case I wasn’t even feeding the trolls.  I was just bored and playing a little here and there to pass the time, not being mean or nasty to anybody.

Another part is that I went there in the first place simply so I could find you and play with you on IRC.  We could all play off each other instead of me trying to think up something to do or say with just you….

It was fun to play with you and your friends and now for no fault of my own, I can’t do it anymore, I feel cut off, pushed aside like the kid nobody wants to play with.

I have nowhere else to go; none of my friends seem to want to play on IRC even though it can be like the old BBS’s we miss so much.

The humiliation comes from, mostly, being verbally abused for no reason and the others standing by and letting it happen–heck, some even joining in, saying don’t let the door hit me in the a** etc. etc., even a *girl* playing along like it was funny.

I remember it was [The Creep], [a few others], and possibly one other though I don’t remember now.  You say you were chatting with [The Creep];

I want to hear that you told him to knock it off and that he’s being an a****** to a dear friend of yours and that he’d better be apologizing to me ASAP because his “joke” is not at all funny.

These guys remind me of this “popular” guy my freshman year of high school who spent the whole year sexually harassing me every lunch period. He even exposed himself to me twice.  His “popular” friends just laughed.  

It gave me an ulcer; after lunch I would practically double up in pain.

Actually, come to think of it, he wasn’t the only one: There were also two guys in Biology class who [sexually] harassed me.  Once they even got so loud that the teacher had to stop his lecture and tell them to be quiet.  I never did anything to these guys; I was just minding my own business.

When Tracy came in I thought she’d seen everything and was going to chew out [The Creep], especially after he said I’m being b*****y for not posting obscene pictures of myself, but instead she just says “that’s how hobbits are” and starts joking with him and arranging some get-together….

They start talking about doing it here in [our hometown]….

I don’t want these people anywhere near me if that’s how they treat women.  All I ever did was be nice; I thought being your friend would mean good treatment; in return I got sexually harassed and verbally abused and banned. As far as I’m concerned, these are not good people.  Even as a joke–That just isn’t funny.

Now after I get it all out I finally understand why I’m having trouble getting past this as just some other stupid Internet thing that can vanish simply by not going to that forum/channel/chatroom/newsgroup/mailing list anymore.

And also why I have to tell you how I feel.  I feel sick inside.  I know you were disgusted by the whole thing as well; I’m not blaming you for anything.  I just can’t keep bottling it up.

On June 9, I wrote to Richard,

Oh, look, I’m banned from [the IRC channel] again.  Whatever.  I have no time or energy for [The Creep’s] games.  I only go there for a split second to see if you’re around, anyway.

I just finished watching Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.”  A knight, Antonius Block, returns from the Crusades to a plague-ridden Sweden, only to confront Death in a fateful chess game.  Death is bloodthirsty and begins stalking his traveling companions as well.

There’s also a cool fire-and-brimstone sermon which is made even better by the Swedish language, with its accents and trills.  What Baptist preacher can match that?

What’s up with the baby having no diaper?  The baby is only a year old, yet I never saw a diaper on its butt once.  In fact, I never saw *anything* on its butt.

To think it only got made because another of his movies was successful at Cannes.  The theme seems to be that we can’t know if God, Satan, Heaven or Hell are real until after we die; even Death tells Antonius that he doesn’t know.

We see the fear of various characters that they’re going into emptiness.  The supposed “witch” is full of terror as she faces emptiness at the stake; she says she sees Satan and talks with him, but we can’t tell if she’s crazy or lying, so Antonius still can’t get his answer.

This is why I don’t understand atheists who say it’s a wonderful thing that after death is nothing.  Who wants to go into emptiness?

(The last part shows that spiritual doubt and despair already plagued me, and had for a few years.  Richard’s betrayal of me in 2010 was the last straw plunging me into a spiritual pit of fearing that death truly is the end and nobody is up there helping us.)

I thought he would distance himself from them, stop hanging out with them, because they were so horrible, because they would treat a woman like that, because they were sexual harassers.

But no, he still kept going into that channel, still kept talking to the worst offender on the phone.  He occasionally brought them up in conversation.  I couldn’t understand how he could do this.

But he only mentioned them once or twice over the next year, so I said nothing–until I heard he was going to have them all over to his house in 2010.  More on this below.

And after what I wrote to him about past sexual harassment and how I was adversely affected by what happened in that chatroom–

It still baffles me how nonchalantly he kept associating with these people, especially the Creep.  I can excuse my other Internet friends, who weren’t there, since I never told them about it.  But he was an eyewitness!

Then, as I describe below, he later blew it off as me being too “sensitive” and “ridiculous”!!!!!!!!

This was yet another sign of Richard’s true character, of his false friendship, but I did not want to believe it.

I don’t care if you’re sick of hearing about internet trolls. I’m sick of hearing about them too—but I’m also sick of hearing from them.

I’m sick of women being treated like shit and then being treated like shit for complaining about being treated like shit.

So anyway, don’t shut up. Keep complaining. This is your internet too. –Lindy West, We must not shut up about how women are treated on the Internet

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing