By Thomas Whitfield
Sextortion is the act of blackmailing in which sexual information or images are used to extort favors, money, or sexual acts from another person. A recent survey from Cyber Civil Rights revealed that about 13% of smartphone users had experienced someone threatening to distribute their sexual materials online or to their friends and family. Sure, taking naked photos is common, but what happens to them after?
I work in a small office of maybe 40 people, and someone I work with found images from a couple porn films I did years ago. They’ve been showing them off to other people around work, and I hate it. I’m not ashamed about doing porn, it’s just not who I am anymore. I also just don’t want all of my co-workers seeing me naked. I haven’t talked to my boss—IDK if he knows—and I don’t want to draw more attention to it. What should I do? – Male, Gay, 27
This is not OK and clearly a form of workplace harassment. Since you’ve said you want to keep it as quiet as possible, I’d recommend you go directly to the person you know is doing it. Be open and honest about how you’re feeling; it’s upsetting and you want it to stop. I would refrain from yelling, screaming or threatening the person, because those things might end up getting YOU in trouble. If they don’t stop, go to HR and then your boss. Document EVERYTHING. If you haven’t already, start a collection of Word docs that are dated and detail what has happened.
My “ex” has tons of videos/photos of us together, and he’s threatening to share them online if I don’t get back with him. I’ve been hanging out and having sex with him, because I don’t want the photos to get out. I’ve been telling myself that he’ll stop or just get bored and break it off with me again, but that hasn’t happened. I thought about deleting everything from his phone, but I’m guessing it’s backed up. This feels like a worst-case scenario, and I don’t know how to get out of it. – Male, Gay, 24
Look, f* this dude. This is insane, and you shouldn’t be putting up with it. I know you don’t want the materials to get out, but it might happen. This sounds like the type of guy who’s going to release them during a fight or because he’s mad. In New York state there are no laws stopping revenge porn specifically, but there are laws against extortion and coercion. First, let him know what he’s doing is wrong and how it’s illegal. Second, get ahead of this. Let the people you’re closest with know that he is trying to use this against you, and they should ignore any messages or emails from him. And again, document everything. A few years ago, someone broke into my Facebook and email; they posted messages and pics between an ex and I all over my wall. It was pretty bad, but I got over it. Worst-case scenario, you can get through this.