Consequences of online sextortion on victims: Findings from open-access data and an online survey

Rachel Fletcher, Calli Tzani, Maria Ioannou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sextortion is currently the highest reported form of image-based sexual abuse, a form of online blackmail which has been growing in prevalence since 2021. Research highlights sextortion to have severe psychological consequences, with over a dozen cases of suicide among victims. This paper used two transcripts from the media of victims’ experiences, as well as qualitative survey responses from an additional 99 victims, to explore in detail how sextortion affects victims psychologically. A main theme was low self-esteem leading to depression, within which feelings of hopelessness and negative thinking of oneself were prominent. Another main theme was paranoia causing anxiety, which was characterised by a loss of trust and feeling of not being able to escape.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAssessment and Development Matters
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Apr 2024

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