You’re still naïve, still ignorant to the evils of this world. You meet someone, unknowingly to you, it’s a monster, someone that’s about to ruin your foreseeable future. Be careful, darling. Sadly, by the time you realise you made a mistake, it was too late.
You’re online and one way or the other, you stumble upon a communication app, you feel excited, you’re perhaps going to make your first online friend (supposedly so, since you’d be careful the second time?) You chat for a while, you’ve never felt so thrilled, you believe you’re starting to fall in love. And then things start to get uncomfortable. They asked for nudes. You agree, if only for the fact that you think you love that person and don’t want to upset them. Things are normal for a while and then… then they do the unthinkable. They’re acting so unlike their usual charming selves. You don’t know what’s happening, but you’re scared. They’re blackmailing you now. You can’t tell anyone, everyone will just say it was your fault. Your parents will never allow you near the internet again, and you really don’t want that. You feel helpless, you feel trapped. It’s done. Now darling, now you figure out how to get yourself out of this mess.
This, sadly, is a situation many many kids, and perhaps even some adults have had to deal with, maybe for lack of education? What am I saying? Definitely because of a lack of education and awareness. Maybe by doing exactly that, sextortion could stop? Or is that wishful thinking? I’ve scoured the internet, looking for the best ways to deal with this and here’s what I have come up with.
- No matter what they say, what they threaten you with, do NOT give them what they want.
Online extortionists will most likely want something from you; money and/or services mostly, and they will blackmail you into giving them what they want. They most likely would have coerced you into giving them sensitive information or media that they WILL use against you. As much as it may seem like the better of two evils, giving them what they want is worse. That will only expand to bigger demands and even if the demands were met, they may still use what they have against you.
- Screenshot all you have on them and pool this evidence together.
Even though the information they have on their accounts may be fake, their Skype ID and Facebook URL could be very important. Don’t delete your chats, screenshot them. If they sent you voice notes, record them, if you’ve got video footage, even better. This could be of tremendous help when building a case against them. Which brings me to my next point.
- Tell someone. Tell the authorities or someone responsible for you who could help you with this.
Again, I know this may seem like the end of the world and that there is absolutely no way you could tell your parents or the authorities about this (since all of them seem extremely judgmental), but please, tell someone. Not telling someone is exactly what those people want, they want you to feel weak and helpless and as much as that may seem impossible, you’re brave. You can do it. Don’t shy away from bringing these people to justice. Sextortion is a punishable crime. You’re not the wrongdoer, you’re the victim.
While we’re at it, remember:
- @assaultpolice and the National Council for Women to report! The numbers you can reach the council on are: 15115 + Whatsapp: 01007525600
- Free therapy can be accessed via Serenity Psychology Center (online services available) and signing up via this link to get help for free through Empwr Mag’s network of mental health professionals.
- Lilac and Catcalls are your go-to safe spaces/platforms to tell your stories and be directed to resources for aid.
- It is never your fault.
Please please stay safe and take care of yourself.
We see you, we hear you, we believe you.