SEP 21, 2022

Four Common Questions About Sextortion

How teens and parents can stop sextortion and recover from it

By Joseph Pratt
Gabb Family Resources

Sextortion is a form of sexual abuse. It is defined as an instance where someone threatens to distribute sexual images or video of you unless you provide them more nude content of yourself, perform sexual acts, or send them money [1].

Where Does Sextortion Begin?

The FBI describes where this crime takes place. “Sextortion can start on any site, app, or game where people meet and communicate” [1].

Sextortion is a crime—a serious one that is growing quickly. Many young people and their parents have questions about it, and we want to provide some answers.

An Article for Parents and Kids to Read Together

This article is meant to be read as a family—by kids and parents alike. Doing so will not only provide support for victimized kids, but opportunities for great conversations.

How to Stop Sextortion: Do’s and Don’ts

Being the victim of sextortion is a scary experience. Unfortunately, when we are scared, worried, or anxious, it’s hard to make a plan to get to a safe place. Tell an adult or call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or report it to their tip line here.

Being a victim of sextorion is not your fault. The abuser is completely responsible. We all make poor judgment calls. In this instance, sending sexually explicit images or videos of yourself put you at risk. But making a mistake like this does not mean you deserve to be threatened.

If you find yourself in this situation, take a few deep breaths and read the table below to know how to respond in ways that will make things better.

These suggestions come from Thorn, a national organization dedicated to defending children against sexual abuse in any form. 

How to Recover From Sextortion

Sextortion can be a traumatizing experience. Even years after the fact, sextortion survivors can experience negative effects. 

The most important source is often the trusted adults in your life. They love you and are eager to support you. Turning to them for help is a key part of the healing process. 

The way you feel right now will not be permanent. There is hope and healing ahead. Consider using the following professional resources available to you. 

Organization Contact Information Resource
Without My Consent https://withoutmyconsent.org Empowers victims of egregious online privacy violations by providing help in removing posted images, procuring physical safety, and finding criminal and civil remedies for victims free of charge.
Cyber Civil Rights Initiative https://cybercivilrights.org Protects victims of online abuse through a 24-hour hotline and one-on-one victim support.
Crisis Text Hotline Text “HOME” to 741741 Connects teens to trained crisis counselors 24/7.
National Domestic Violence Hotline https://www.thehotline.org
Phone: 1-800-799-7233
Helps victims of intimate partner violence (including teen dating violence) find helpful resources in their community.
Love is Respect https://www.loveisrespect.org Educates teens and their parents about teen relationships, including LGBTQ+ relationship violence, setting boundaries, ending negative relationships, and much more.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) www.rainn.org
Phone: 1-800-HOPE
Supports victims nationwide of a wide range of sexual abuse and assaults.
MaleSurvivor https://malesurvivor.org Provides information on therapists, support groups, and other resources for male sexual abuse survivors.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children https://www.missingkids.org/home
Tipline: https://report.cybertip.org
Phone: 1-800-843-5678
Reports child sexual exploitation, including sextortion, to law enforcement agencies and provides excellent resources for abuse survivors.
Thorn https://www.thorn.org Helps children abused by sexual predators stop sextortion and recover.

Always remember, you are not alone and things will get better. Even if it feels like no one cares, there are people in your life who love you and want to help. 

Don’t hesitate to talk to your family, your parents, a favorite teacher, a coach, or a neighbor. They can provide the support you need to stop sextortion and help you heal.

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