Officials reveal the 15-year-old girl who allegedly had sex with multiple boys in a school bathroom is a sex-trafficking victim.
“She was only 13 when she was trafficked,” said Megan Estrem, the founder and CEO of Be The Light, an advocacy group for victims of sex slavery. The girl’s mother brought her daughter to Estrem after she was saved from a human trafficker who had enslaved her for two years.
“She did get some help, but it wasn’t specific for what she needed,” said Estrem, adding that the relatively recent sexual abuse had traumatized her.
“I had heard a lot about the incident through the news. I heard it, and thought there’re some red flags,” Estrem added. “What’s upsetting about this is this behavior is not uncommon for human trafficking victims.”
Mental health professionals reveal sexual abuse can dramatically distort a person’s relationship with their sexuality, steering some towards behaviors ranging from promiscuity to frigidity.
“It has been suggested that women exposed to child sexual abuse may in early adult life respond by heightened anxiety about sexual contact (with avoidance of relationships), or a paradoxical promiscuity (in which the victim devalues herself and her sexuality),” the American Academy of Experts In Traumatic Stress writes.
The girl had only been a student at Florida’s South Fort Myers High School for two weeks when the incident occurred. Since then, a video of the incident was released and captured national attention, with many criticizing the teenager.
She had initially gone to the bathroom to talk to a boy she had a crush on. When he requested sex, she complied.
“She was not equipped to make a stable, rational decision in that situation,” said Estrem.
Estrem also set the record straight on what actually happened.
“She did not sleep with 25 boys in the bathroom. There was only a handful that she did sleep with. In this case, it was more of a spectator sport,” said Estrem.
The girl’s mother has since pulled the teenager out of school to shield her from further trauma as a result of the incident having gone viral.
“What happens is not to go straight to shaming and sharing this, but find out there all facts, what happened, why did she do this, who else was involved and what was their role. She needs to be prayed for and encouraged, not degraded and discouraged,” said Estrem.