Hello. Howdy? – Please accept my apologies; I never knew how to begin these things. I am a 30-year-old woman who has been happily married to the love of my life for two years. We chose to be one of those no-kids and focus-on-our-careers kind of couple. I was initially on a path toward law, but I soon realized that my true passion lies in photography. The joy of capturing fleeting moments, emotions, and stories through my lens drove me to quit law and embrace photography as my profession. She’s my stay-at-home queen –unemployed-. Our lives were seemingly ordinary, filled with love and ambition. But there’s one aspect that makes our story stand out: we’re both women.
Our descent into the terrifying realm of online extortion began with a simple, albeit unconventional, desire. My wife expressed her interest in exploring a threesome with a man. I consider myself to be open-minded. Yes, I am a lesbian, but she is bisexual, and if she wants to have an experience with a male, like in such a case, I’m in.
To find a willing participant, we opted for Tinder. We agreed on a simple sexual encounter. No love, no romance. After digging for days in the app, we matched with a 25-year-old guy who seemed open-minded and interested. He was younger and graduated from a prestigious college. He had these golden hour photos on yachts or snowboarding. He was educated, modern, and even empathetic.
Things deviated rather quickly from our initial plan for two reasons. Number one, my wife actually liked the guy. She’d spend her days having conversations with him and showing me to provide me some sense of involvement, but I hated the giggles.
Then, he requested explicit photos and videos of us to “turn him on.” Naively trusting his and my wife’s intentions, we did as he asked, unknowingly stepping into a dangerous trap. I’m a perfectionist, alright? This was no nude selfie we sent him. And besides my more-than-obvious jealousy, my wife had chosen him, so we really wanted to sell the experience.
Soon after, we stopped receiving sweet or saucy messages. These were body-aching demands for $25,000. Our intimate content had been weaponized against us. The first threat was not only a censored version of our video – yes, we did a video – posted on adult websites like X-videos and Pornhub but the promise to post it without the blur and send it to a detailed list of people we knew. It had 200 views already and some comments, but the worst part was the audio. It was us. That was my wife moaning on a pixeled video. Now, I said I was open-minded, but this was light-years beyond my limit. I was speechless and shaking. The emotional toll on both of us was immediate and severe. This was going to end us.
My wife took it the hardest. She spiraled into a deep depression, unable to cope with the humiliation and violation of her trust and our privacy. Once filled with love and trust, our relationship was now tainted with fear and uncertainty. Even divorce, a word we never thought would enter our vocabulary, became a looming possibility.
Meanwhile, the extortionist showed no signs of backing down. He returned with increased aggression, continuously demanding large sums of money. We managed to assemble some funds, but the thought of submitting to his demands was unbearable. We needed help, and that’s when we came across a support group of people who had experienced extortion. We joined in our desperate search for help and cried our story out loud. To our surprise, they gave us a number to contact.
The Digital Forensics helpline commanded the gathering of evidence against our tormentor immediately after we called them, securing a video of him apologizing and backing off and even providing a video apology of him deleting the compromising content in a matter of days. Yes, we had to surrender our passwords, but afterward, this meant a much-needed reprieve and a glimmer of hope that we might reclaim control over our lives. We could finally rest.
However, our victory was short-lived. The extortionist returned a third time a month after, more audacious than ever before. This time, we weren’t alone in our fight. The Digital Forensics Company (DFC) took an assertive step called Phase Two. They tracked our perpetrator again and created and published a website exposing every detail about the extortionist. The man hiding behind the screen was revealed to be a Nigerian male, working for what can only be described as a company of sextortionists.
Even though we managed to fight back and expose the man tormenting us, the ordeal left us deeply scarred. He backed off, yes, but I often think that the man’s company is still active, preying on innocent people, exploiting their trust, and causing untold suffering. This harsh reality compelled us to raise our voices, urging everyone to stay vigilant online and prioritize digital safety. No one should have to experience the torment we endured.
Our story is a stark reminder of the threats lurking in the digital world. It’s a call to action for law enforcement agencies to intensify their efforts to curb these illicit activities and for individuals to take proactive steps to protect themselves online.
We decided to share our harrowing experience to raise awareness about sextortion and to let others know that there are resources available to help victims fight back. Remember, you’re not alone in this battle. Don’t let the extortionists win. Stand up, fight back, and take control of your digital life.