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Published: Wednesday, 10/27/2010

Nude photo goes Viral

BY LAUREN FORCELLA
STRAIGHT TALK FOR TEENS

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: I don't like my stepsister and have to share a room with her when she stays with us. I was so mad at her I secretly took a picture of her when she was naked. It seemed funny at the time even though I knew it was wrong. I sent it to my boyfriend because he doesn't like her either, even though he thinks she has a "hot body." I thought it would be a joke just between us. However, he sent it to some of his friends. Luckily, she goes to a different school so nobody has recognized her, but I'm scared that someone will. I'd give anything to take back what I did. What should I do? Keep quiet and hope she never finds out, or confess? -- Stepsister in Sacramento

Ashley, 23: I would be [ticked] at my boyfriend! I wouldn't tell your stepsister what happened because she probably won't find out and you will end up hurting her more. Now you will think before you act. Next time you are mad at her walk out of the room and take some deep breaths. Things like this can get you arrested.

Matt, 16: You made a huge mistake. What you did is not only immoral and wrong, it's against the law. Sending pictures of juveniles is considered a sex offense and can lead to jail time and classification as a sex offender. You need to apologize immediately to your sister and inform your parents of your stupidity and poor judgment before everything catches up with you. I know somebody that was kicked out of school for a similar violation, one not nearly as mean or vindictive as yours. Sorry to be so harsh, but someone has to level with you.

Katelyn 16: I think you should admit what you've done and have a frank talk with your boyfriend. Tell her you meant it as a joke and didn't mean for it to get out of hand.

Vanessa 22: First, why would you send your boyfriend a picture of a girl he thinks has a hot body? This is hardly a torture tactic; it's letting him look at another girl naked. A girl sent a male friend of mine racy photos that he said he wouldn't show anybody; then he forwarded them to my boyfriend. I don't know why he felt the need to share them, and neither does he. Boys mature slower than women and their way of thinking is different. Regarding your problem, since your stepsister lives and goes to school elsewhere, she may never find out. Thus, I wouldn't tell unless you are caught -- and if that happens, you can truthfully say that you didn't intend your boyfriend to share it. But let's hope she never finds out because if the situation was reversed, I doubt you could forgive and forget.

FROM LAUREN:

DEAR STEPSISTER: The panel has hammered home the crime of trading nude juvenile photos -- which applies to everyone whose phone that photo passed through. Under your circumstances, confessing will surely bring pain to your stepsister and rupture your relationship, whereas if you remain silent, she likely will never know what happened. Without delay, drama, or identifying her, delete the photo from your boyfriend's phone and personally witness it being deleted from the phones of his friends. With luck and grace this may blow over. However, if she does find out, an immediate and truly remorseful apology is in order. Whether this gets exposed or not, start compensating her. Treat her like a sister, not an enemy. If you forge a friendship, there will be a time in the future when a confession will be productive. Right now it will be disastrous -- and probably unnecessary.

Editor's note: I don't normally vote for people hiding what they did wrong, but there is a saying: "He who tells the truth must have one foot in the stirrup." Not only will a confession damage the relationship between the stepsisters, there is nowhere for "Stepsister in Sacramento" to ride off to. On the other hand, by shutting up and allowing luck or grace to have some time with the situation, it likely won't become an issue at all. Of course, if grace fails, one must be ready to offer one's head in true remorse. My hope is that there will be a time in the future when confessing this truth will bring hearts together rather than tearing them asunder. Which brings up a different quote about truth by Mel Brooks: "Bad taste is simply saying the truth before it should be said."



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