By Soraya Grant
The following article contains adult subject matter and is intended for our readers aged 18 and older.
Cybersex, also called "sexting" can include trading explicit written descriptions of sexual acts you would like to perform with the other person via text message, chat room conversation, IM, or email, sending or accepting nude or revealing photos or videos of the other person, or stripping and engaging in intimate acts via a webcam.
Many people engage in some or all of these acts during the course of their scam, and memories of these acts are often a source of embarrassment, worry, shame, and guilt. These feelings are often difficult to cope with, because they are so difficult to talk about, or even to think about or write out in your journal. Regardless of the amount of detail you decide to reveal to others or ponder in private, there are some things to keep in mind.
You Did Not Have Cybersex or "Sext" with Anyone
In order to have any type of sex, everyone involved in the sexual act must consent to the activity. If an individual did not consent, that person didn't have sex, that person was the victim of sexual assault. Unfortunately, unless you have absolute proof that the scammer was an adult and the victim was underage, a scammer cannot be prosecuted for online sexual coercion. But if you engaged in any type of online sexual activity with the scammer, what happened to you was not the online version of sex. It was the online version of sexual assault. During the acts, you believed you were engaging in sexual activity with the character the scammer created. In reality, someone else was sitting behind that computer screen. You never consented to any form of sexual activity with that person.
Consider the offline version of the scammer's behavior:
Suppose you are at a fairly wild weekend party, at which it is known that people slip off to private areas of the building to hook up. There is someone at the party you want to have sex with. At some point in the evening, you feel a bit worn down, and decide to use one of these areas to hide out by yourself for a bit. Someone else enters the room without turning on the light and initiates sexual activity. You believe it to be the man or woman you want to have sex with and the acts occur. You wake alone the next morning and overhear an entirely different person bragging about how they tricked you last night. Would you recognize this as sexual assault and not sex? Of course. What the scammer did was the same thing, just carried out online. Just as if it were offline, being tricked or forced into sexual activity you would not truly want is never your fault.
We Cannot Guarantee any Private Materials Won't Be Shared, but the Chance is Miniscule
Once the scammer realizes you know the situation is a scam, they might threaten to post any private materials they tricked you into sending them on to pornographic web sites as revenge. As hard as this may be to hear, this is a possibility. There are numerous pornographic web sites online, and not all of them are respectful enough to require signatures or other forms of consent from anyone featured in a video, photo, or dialogue. At the same time, the possibility is very remote. It is simply not in the scammer's best interest to share your intimate materials for revenge. By doing so, they expose themselves, and they don't need the extra attention!
If your scam was a Nigerian scam or an American copycat of a Nigerian scam, the scammers are in it for the money. Time spent sorting out which explicit photo or video was taken from which victim, making an account on the site, and uploading the material is time taken away from manipulating other victims who are still willing to send money.
American scammers who are out to manipulate anyone they can for revenge over perceived past injustices are also not likely to bother sharing your intimate videos, photos, or dialogue. These people get their "payout" in the thrill of knowing they are making someone fall in love with a character they created and messing with the person's head. Like the money scammer, it is in their personal interest to move right along to the next target.
Personal revenge scammers, those who target a specific person for a scam in order to torment that individual, are not likely to post items on pornographic web sites because it increases their likelihood of getting into trouble. If you just found out the guy across town has been scamming you because he's jealous of you, and intimate videos you sent to a girlfriend that turned out to be a character created by him show up online, you're going to know he did it.
Many scam victims fear their private materials will be used in future scams. Again, nobody can promise you they won't, but regardless of the type of scam, the scammers are in it for the scammers, and they are going to use the easiest path possible. With all the pornographic web sites, nude and boudoir photography sites, lingerie modeling sites, etc out there, it is very unlikely that your materials will be selected.
You Did Not Give the Scammer or Scammers a Thrill
Scammers want "cybersex" materials because it makes the situation seem real, it make you think you've become close to their created character, and it serves as an easy thing to threaten you over, even if those threats are too much trouble for them to carry out. They aren't doing it for sexual gratification, and were likely watching porn during sexual chats or copying and pasting dialogue from written porn sites. The only pleasure they got was knowing they tricked you into doing it.
We Are Here for You
Scams of the Heart members will not judge you for any activity, sexual or otherwise, that you engaged in under the manipulation and control of the scammer.