I felt moved to provide a ‘Right of Reply’ comment addressing the negative responses to a recent guest contributor blog posted on Starts at Sixty. Its re-posted here.
I recently wrote a blog about my scam experience which was posted on the Starts at Sixty website, which I have recently joined. As with previous publications by me or others, there were many comments questioning “how could she be so stupid?”, “hasn’t she seen the warnings?”, “why doesn’t she join a club?”, etc. There were also positive and supportive comments, but I felt moved to provide a ‘Right of Reply’ comment addressing the negative ones. The following is copied from my comment (Comment No 199) on Starts at sixty. I don’t know if it will be read by those who commented on the blog, but thought it was worth reposting here.
Firstly thank you to all of you who were supportive, or understanding of my situation. Sorry for those who have suffered in a similar way, or who have friends/family who have.
Secondly, I don’t appreciate being called stupid. You would not call someone who was burgled as stupid, and we have learnt not to call someone who was raped stupid. Please remember that I was caught by professional fraudsters who emotionally manipulated me into sending money. If you want to know more about how this works, check out my blog, especially the one on Taking the Brain. http://romancescamsurvivor.org/2015/07/taking-the-brain/
How about calling the fraudsters criminals instead.
Many comments were about being lonely, and why not get a pet. I do have a cat, thank you, and he was certainly a god-send through the difficult times after the scam. I did not do this because I was lonely, having been alone for many years. However I did want companionship, and I was certainly vulnerable to someone’s loving attention. These are not the same. I had not seen previous warnings because I had never thought I would need them, never considered going onto a dating site.
All those news programs and warnings you have seen this year most
likely have had me in them. There are not many people willing to speak out about what has happened, but I am, so I have been in the press quite a bit – sorry if its getting a bit tedious for you. The latest figures show that romance scam is still the largest area of money lost to all types of scams, about $27 million across Australia last year. There is still a need to put warnings out there.
How could I give money to someone I had not met? In my mind at the time this was the person I was most intimate with, not a stranger. I was speaking to him many times a day. We had agreed to marry. Would you not help out your life partner if they were in need?
Why do I speak out? Because I will not let the shame of what happened shut me down and not be truthful about what happened. I know those calling me stupid, or sad, want me to do that, feel shame and shut up. I will not. Talking out lets me regain my self respect because I am truthful about what happened. This story is an authentic representation of what happened to me and I now know it is nothing to be ashamed of. Yes I made a mistake and did not see the red flags. I lost a lot of money as a consequence that I could not afford to lose. I still have not recovered from this loss, and maybe never will. I was caught and manipulated by expert and skilled fraudsters.
I will not be put under a rock because of this. I have learned lessons from this that in speaking out I hope to pass on. I have moved from being a victim to a survivor. I will continue to speak out, educate others and stand up for those who have unwittingly become victims of these professional fraudsters
as I did.