Yes, I was mostly just accused of being a scammer before, but I have to do all I can for this girl.
I have known Vi for a number of months on Atheist. One day, I defended her when some anarchist libertarian troll sitting in a Cali-college university was being abusive to her. I already knew that Vi was an atheist living in a sharia practicing muslim country and had a conservative muslim family, and I couldn’t stand some privileged little twit criticizing her when she was taking more of a risk than he could ever understand for her disbelief. Ever since then, she has looked up to me, shared her story and asked for advice. I don’t think she was too used to people sticking up for her.
So after talking to her and learning more about her story bit by bit over the last few months, Vi forwarded a note to from Atheist member, Deborah Boylandt. Deborah was calling for her friends to come together and help Vi with getting a plane ticket due to a new development of her parents forcing Vi to marry the first cousin who had molested her as a child – and they were no longer taking no for an answer.
Being reasonably skeptical, I thought
okay maybe she has been running a multiple month long scam on me, but I believed her enough and being an admin of the Atheist community – I wanted that community to mean something.
I said to myself , "Well, it is worth it to bring the few people interested in making calls together, making one or two calls a day, and reporting back what I find out." The goal was to get her in touch with an advocate that she could get some guidance from. I told myself, "If she all of a sudden asks me for thousands of dollars – I am going to have to head for the hills."
But then, I kept discovering how much more complicated the situation was with getting her out was becoming. And, all the while, we were adding more and more people who were Vi’s friends and people I had come to know and respect on Atheist. Some people, had known her for months like me – a few more have known her longer. In private conversations with them, away from Vi – all their stories corroborated and synced – That lended me more trust. Her already having $1,000 pledged from an amazing Australian member of the Atheist community, Anthony Pickham, also freed me up from having to worry that I would have to make a decision based on trust and a financial decision I really couldn’t make due to some hardships with a huge vet bill due to finding out my dog has a congenital liver disorder and some other family health issues.
Through this process I have come to know Vi a lot more. I questioned Vi about the details of her abuse and date rape – it was difficult but her answers seemed genuine based on the types of reactions I have observed in others. I used to be a case manager for adults with disabilities, in which position I had to investigate such issues, and also worked in a adolescent shelter where many of the children came from homes of various abuse.
She has been good about sending me every document and picture I have asked for- I received all her receipts from Western Union and for her Visa application fee as well I have provided every record possible to the generous souls who have donated.
Plus, I am now the one with all the money – so it is me that people should worry about being a scammer, but people felt they coud trust me. The fact that I am the one holding and spending the donations has two opposite effects on me. It makes me more willing to trust Vi and others because I am the one people are most putting their trust in to not be the scammer. At the same time – I have the opposite pull of "Shit, if this is a scam, I am the one who did the most organizing, motivating, and I am going to have to deal with how to return all this money." If it is a scam, it makes me, Atheist, and SupportAtheism look bad. All of this makes me want to do all I can to make sure it is real for me and others.
BUT, Even if only one of Vi’s stories were true – it would be worth all this. Through this experience, I have tried to be skeptical and meet a reasonable burden of proof. But, yes, there is a point to which this atheist has to make a leap of faith. But, that faith is in the benevolence of my fellow Atheists, the beautiful heart and suffering of one girl, and that this community is a place where our united voice has the power to change the world or at least one life.
All who donate will receive updates and confirmation of all purchases made with these funds. When donating you have the full right to know and have all funds accounted for. After a donation, You will receive an e-mail with this agreement from my personal E-mail account to serve as a record of this expectation. The primary purpose for these donations will be visa and document fees and airfare. These will lead to safety. Any excess will help with legal fees, clothing this person will not have for colder climates, and residency.