Whisper: The Photograph

Author: Catherine Holt

I have had photo hidden like a dirty secret since I was 13. It’s only since I cleared my mum’s house that I found it again.

It was taken in 1990. I was 14 at the time. The photographer was a young man, who at the time was much older than me, maybe 22 or 23.

I was on holiday in Cornwall. I hardly spoke to him the evening I met him. I didn’t even kiss him. I was very naive at the time and completely innocent. I met him at the disco. He asked me to meet him the following day for a walk, and then he asked me to take my clothes off for this shot…..I didn’t.

Please take care of young women/daughters whilst on holiday this year: they may not be as well equipped as may think.

Whispers: The Photograph | Betty Herbert

(Adapted from a Facebook post).

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2 Responses to Whisper: The Photograph

  1. Betty Herbert 24/07/2013 at 17:15 #

    When I was that age, I remember chatting to an older man on a park bench one day. He seemed perfectly pleasant, until, about an hour in, he suddenly said, ‘So, do you fuck?’

    I was devastated, humiliated, scared…never thought of blaming him.

  2. Melissa 24/07/2013 at 18:14 #

    You’re very brave sharing this, I don’t think we truly understand at that age the implications and possible consequences of being involved with an ‘older man’.
    At 13 years old, a friend of mine fancies a guy who worked at the gold club her Dad was a member of. He was 19, his colleague was 28.
    They were handsome guys, and honestly we didn’t think there was anything sinister.
    The 28 year old offered to take me for a drive to be alone, which my friend was encouraging. Luckily I didn’t go.
    Had he tried anything I would have been terrified.

    At that age, girls are getting used to hormones and their own bodies. Whilst they may and often are- attracted to much older guys, it is wholly unacceptable for guys to do anything about that. Girls just don’t understand the consequences or whats appropriate in terms of attention from older guys.

    As you say, it’s about equipping young people with more than just the fear of rape and getting into cars with strangers. Conversations about older guys they fancy, and what that can entail is a huge, gaping void in our history…..

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