Last week I was standing before a group of high school students, answering questions about chastity. One brave student raised her hand amidst a room full of her peers.
“This question might be stupid, but, what should I do if a guy friend of mine sends me nudes, but, he’s my friend. How do I address it without ruining our friendship or making things awkward?”
The truth is, sexting – or the sending and receiving of sexually explicit images via social media or text message is a major source of peer pressure for young people. I can’t tell you how many women approach me after speaking about the subject with stories of being asked to send a sext and unsure of how to respond or those who have responded and are currently being blackmailed for the image they sent. We must prepare ourselves with a response if we are passed an image or if we are asked to send one.
If you have been put in this position, first off, I’d like to affirm that this is not a stupid question. I also want to apologize to you! I’m sorry if you’ve been exposed to that. You are made for better – you are made for much more than to be engaged within that way.
- You must remove this image from your device. We are visual in the sense that images stay with us when we take them in. That is why it is so important to be mindful of the media, images, video, and literature we consume. The least amount of time that this explicit image spends on your phone the better. I recommend deleting it immediately.
- You must address this individual. I understand that it is not the most popular thing to do — you could lose friends, a relationship, or your reputation. But, if you lose these things from recognizing your worth, raising your standards, and communicating those standards to your friend or boyfriend and they don’t understand, did they really respect you in the first place? It is so important to know why we must say no to receiving and sending explicit images so we can communicate why we will not tolerate it in our lives. I would let them know, in person, that you are striving for purity in your thoughts, words, and actions and ask them to respect you in that way by not sending an image. You never know how your witness could change someone’s perspective.
- Be confident in your flight for purity. Why is purity important? Why is it something we should be striving for? Purity helps us to love and be loved authentically. Purity helps us to discipline our desire and point them toward love. Continue to surround yourself with those that will encourage you in your fight for purity. Form your mind and heart so that if and when you do come across things that degrade the dignity of the human person, we can speak out with love and use our words. You have great power to make virtuous decisions in your life, be brave!