Monday, October 3, 2016

Love is an Online Battlefield

Picture is taken by Aila Peteri at the 'Sydney Sister's Event, Feb. 2016

For a few months now, I have been traveling around the South East Queensland visiting libraries and giving talks titled: Love in an Online Battlefield. Meeting so many people who have been interested in my book Love on the Line, How to Recover from Romance Scams Gracefully and without Victimisation has truly been an inspiring and an exciting experience. Sharing the story of  my recovery as a victim and a survivor of a romance scam has opened my eyes to a much wider understanding of how our new digital world works in relation to adapting itself to the old and already well established social and cultural though patterns that have already been built into the structures of our society.

The included picture depicts perfectly my surprise and my feelings of devastation after relising that I had been targeted by a fraudster, who not only had used identity theft in obtaining pictures for his already false profile and made up storylines but who also expected me to part from my money in order for him to come and see me face-to-face. Turned out that I was a victim of false promises by a false profile with a false picture to boot. As an after thought, it is quite horrifying to think about how vulnerable and foolish I did feel myself after finally realising that what I had thought to be a wonderful and trusting experience had tuned out to be fake and a huge mistake.

Luckily, I had my elder son to lean on when he told me to concentrate on my positive feelings instead of the negative and hateful ones. That suggestion became my Muse helping me to write my book about the experience. Since my book was published in January 2016, I have learned that my experience and my recovery has been quite a miracle, statistically speaking, as there are so few people who actually recover and this being indifferent to the amount of money they lose as a survivor. It is only the general perception of scamming that equates the money lost to the scammers with the worth of the experienced grief as more valuable that just losing a lover. The victims and survivors themselves, at least those who have since shared their stories with me feel that it is the loss of the relationship that is more important and longer lasting than the loss of the money, however much that may be.
The report card from SCARS (The Society of Citizens against Romance Scams) gives its grim statistic that is only 'the tip of the ice-berg' about the state of the romance fraud in the word today. Some of my QLD Police Fraud Prevention and Support Group's discussions have revealed that up to estimated $7-13 billion has been lost to fraud, including the financial and romance fraud only in 2015 alone. It is huge numbers. And not only that but I have found that my speculations about the connection of scamming with the messages imbedded in the idea of pornography that gave impetus to me starting to write my book have now become even more direct. I have found through the stories that have been shared that there is a true connection with violence and scamming.
This picture says it all. In my experience romance scams are not only violence against women but are thoroughly based on the violent behavior patterns inbuilt in our society in many levels, starting from violence against women and continuing permeating every possible sociocultural paradigm that can be found through the ideas that are implicit in pornography and prostitution as an example. But why not come and listen to my talk, if you happen to be  near Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia or Logan, in the Brisbane area. This week is my SUPER LIBRARY WEEK, seven libraries in four days between Wednesday the 5th  and Saturday the 8th of October, 2016. Go to my Website to learn more.

Next week, starting from Tuesday the 11th of October, at five libraries at Sunshine Coast, you can follow my thirty-five year journey as a researcher and feminist and hear how my career has shaped my desire to make a difference titled: Modern Sexual Exploitation. You find all the information from my Website as well.
But most of all I recommend you to read my book. Ask for it at your library or at your bookstore. Or just order it online through my publisher Xlibris. Mostly, see you at the library talks at the library near you. You can also find out more by visiting my Media page.