Yesterday evening I got a friend request from a guy that I could not remember/didn’t recognize. Now, I don’t usually add strangers onto my Facebook, but I looked over this guy’s profile and saw that there were AA slogans all over it. For example, he had pictures of “One Day at a Time” and his banner said the word “Unity”. So I figured that I might know him or that he might read my blog and decided to add him as a friend.
This was a huge mistake. After I added him he immediately started instant messaging with me. Now, this has happened to me before with guys on Facebook, and is an immediate flag that the guy is hitting on me/seeking out some sort of relationship with me. Whenever this happens, I immediately ask whatever guy it is (Facebook friends or not) “Where do I know you from?”
Most of the time these guys won’t answer this question and will go straight on to trying to talk to me. This tells me that they most likely don’t know me, or if they do they have reason not to tell me how they found me on Facebook. When I asked AA guy this question he completely blew it off and didn’t answer, and continued to try to talk to me.
By this time, I had looked over his profile a little more closely. I could see that although the profile had been around since October, that I was his only friend. It was very creepy. So, when he didn’t tell me how he knew me and was obviously acting shady, I simply told him how creepy he was being and that all of the AA slogans on his profile were creepy as well.
He didn’t respond of course after that. I looked back at his profile and noticed that he had added one of my friends. I deleted and blocked him.
After that, I contacted this friend and let her know that I don’t know this guy, and that I’ve had many problems with men in AA, so it is best to delete and block this guy. She told me that she didn’t know him either, and that he also immediately started to IM her. So, I put up a post on my Facebook to my friends to look out for this guy.
So again, how this guy found me I don’t know. A fear that I have about the situation though is that he may have had some association with the group of people in AA who targeted me and abused me. I know that this group is not just local to Washington State and so it is important for me to be aware of any strange people from AA who try to contact me.
The frustrating part of all of this is that it seems like my previous membership in AA just follows me around like stinky garbage. It seems like if you are or have ever been a member of AA and are a woman (or man too), that men in AA or men who have gone to AA seem to think that they have some kind of free pass to hit on you, harass you, or even worse. This act of hitting on other members in AA, which includes sexually harassing them or sexually assaulting them, is called the “13 step” in AA. And, even though 13 stepping causes all kinds of issues for both men and women in AA, it’s commonly just seen by many members as either a laughing matter or as some kind of necessary evil that you must endure as part of AA membership. Sometimes, though, I have seen male members of the program intervene in a situation where sexual harassment is occurring within their group. The problem is, though, that 13 steppers do not always harass their victims openly in this manner, and much of the time when they do not a lot happens. Some predators in AA have a pattern where they will ask a victim out to coffee or give them a ride to a meeting under the guise that what they want to talk about or do is program related. It is extremely easy for both men and women predators in AA to get away with 13 stepping because they can claim that they were helping someone with their sobriety or just because no one does anything to stop them.
Although everyone in AA knows that 13 stepping occurs, GSO, Areas, and Districts will not do anything about it. Instead, they put the responsibility to stop 13 stepping on members by saying that it is up to each person to keep themselves safe (which is B.S. and not realistic) and/or put the responsibility on the groups. But, as I said, groups don’t commonly intervene, and when they do much of the time the blame falls onto the victim.
I have heard too that things like body brokerage and human trafficking are really beginning to pick up within AA. This doesn’t surprise me because the more that people speak up about rape and abuse in AA and the organization does nothing about it, the more that predators and even human traffickers/body brokers begin to realize that AA members are easy targets. This is not the fault of the people who are speaking up about rape in AA, though; it is entirely the fault of the organization for making it clear even to the public that they will not do anything to prevent predatory behavior within AA. Hopefully AA will eventually do something about this, but I doubt that they will. I personally am just glad that I made it out of there alive.
Yet still, my previous membership continues to be a thorn in my side in terms of safety. And after last night, I realize that I still need to be vigilant about protecting myself from people in the program, no matter who they are.
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