Several months ago a friend persuaded me to join Facebook. After a few minutes, I was able to locate lost friends and old boyfriends. I hate to admit this, but I am now hooked.
I became competitive with a friend concerning how many people were on our respective "friends list." Okay, I'll be completely honest. She is unaware that we even had a competition. For no particular reason, I actively sought to obtain 100 friends before she did.
She had been on Facebook for several months and already had 37 friends when the competition began. I was behind the eight ball from the start. Undeterred and determined to win my non-existent competition, I set about my friend -finding mission.
In my zeal to "win," I began joining amputee groups. I became inundated with the coveted "friend request." I finished the week with 118 friends. She finished with 74. I relished in my victory although I wasn't really sure the competition was fair since she didn't know about it.
Within hours of reaching my coveted 100 friend goal, my inbox started to become swamped. Identifying myself as an amputee certainly increased my numbers. Unfortunately, it also left me vulnerable to a plethora of devotees.
I became hassled for photos. Others quickly revealed themselves to be a "wannabe." I am revolted by the desires of four-limbed people who want to remove a healthy appendage. I received several emails which started by saying, "Although I am not blessed to be an amputee, I've always dreamed of become one."
The wannabes and perverted devotees are easy to recognize. I instantly delete any emails from anybody who makes reference to "licking my stump," or to rubbing my "beautiful shortened limb with slippery lotion."
I knew about devotees and wannabes. Until Facebook, I was naive about posers. Posers are individuals who pretend to be an amputee in an effort to gain trust so the true amputee will reveal personal details about his/her residual limb.
Due to my ignorance, I fell for the poser's tactics on more than one occasion. I was sympathetic and eager to relay my experiences in an effort to help. I finally caught on to the poser's tactics when the questions morphed from informational to vulgar and repugnant. I have discovered that many of these individuals are actually male, but they have created a female persona in an attempt to solicit personal information and pictures for sexual purposes.
In an attempt to avoid contact with devotees, wannabes and posers, I have taken several steps. Much to my chagrin, I have removed myself from all Facebook Amputee groups. This step has saddened me because I have met some wonderful people through these groups. It has become a case of a few bad apples ruining the bunch.
I have removed all unknown or suspect amputees from my friend list with the exception of three relatively "benign" devotees. Keeping these individuals on my friends list allows me an easy comparison for any unknown friend request. If the request comes from somebody who is friends with one of my "decoy" friends, I know that the intentions are not true and perverted. Only having female amputee women among their friends list is another red flag and cause for immediately denial.
I still receive perverted messages, but they have drastically decreased. If you are a Facebook user, please feel free to drop me an email. If you leave your user name, I'll send you a friend request. It is a shame that these predators are harassing the amputee in the cyber world. It seems that there is no escape from the derelicts of society.