Sextortion is a growing problem, with multiple online platforms being used to facilitate the crime.
What is sextortion?
Sextortion is a form of sexual exploitation where one individual threatens to reveal sexually explicit images of another person unless that person meets specific demands. The perpetrator may have obtained the images in multiple ways. They may have hacked a device, or recorded an image without consent. In some cases, the image may have been shared consensually. Regardless of how the image was obtained, if the sharing of that image is not consensual, the perpetrator is engaging in an act of abuse by using intimate images to exploit the victim.
What’s being done to combat sextortion?
Technology companies have recently come into the spotlight for taking steps to protect victims of sextortion and revenge porn. At Thorn, we’re looking for ways to help these companies continue to develop high impact strategies and interventions to combat this crime. That is why Thorn has partnered with the Crimes Against Children Research Center to conduct research to better understand how technology is being used to extort sexual images from victims.
Has this happened to you? Please help by taking this survey. Or, if this has happened to someone you know, please share this survey with them. You must be between 18 and 25 to participate.
Along with the Crimes Against Children Research Center, we want to learn more about how individuals are misusing technology to extort or blackmail others by threatening to expose sexual images. We hope to find ways to stop these crimes, catch offenders and help the people they target.
Several websites provide information about how to get legal help and other support in cases of non-consensual distribution of sexual images:
- Without My Consent: withoutmyconsent.org
- Cyber Civil Rights Initiative: cybercivilrights.org. You can also contact their 24-hour Crisis Helpline at 844-878-CCRI.
- End Revenge Porn: endrevengeporn.org
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline will direct callers to resources in their communities when cases involve intimate partners. They can also be reached at 1-800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.
- Referrals to local programs that respond to sexual victimization can be found at the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (rainn.org/get-help), which responds to a wide range of sexual crimes. They also offer a telephone hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.
- Male Survivor is an organization that focuses on male victims of sexual crimes: malesurvivor.org.
To report cases that involve child sexual exploitation (age 17 and younger):
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has an online reporting system: missingkids.com/cybertipline.
- Contact your state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force: https://www.icactaskforce.org/Pages/TaskForceContactInfo.aspx.