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Sextortion,a new way of milking money

Stolen love is sweet or so it seems until the ‘owner’ catches you red-handed, gets evidence in form of an explicit video and demands money for his silence

Faith Gachobe @wangechigachobe

A sex scandal is one of those issues you would never want to be caught up in. Apart from the embarrassment it causes the individual, there is the undeniable fact that the society begins to look at you differently, especially if you are a public figure or a leader.

However, what if someone is a victim of extortion, as was the alleged case of Kirinyaga Deputy Governor, Peter Ndambiri? The woman in the video has since been identified as the same one in another video that went viral sometime back, this time she had been caught in a compromising situation with an ACK pastor.

Similar to the scenario with the deputy governor, men had stormed in with one of the men claiming to be the woman’s husband. Could it be that the woman who has now been termed a serial extortionist is bringing to the surface a new way people are using to milk money from unsuspecting individuals.

Could it be a case of certain psychological disposition or is it just a matter of moral decadence? Psychologist Anastasia Thiong’o says that it is unlikely that such behaviour has any psychological explanation. According to her, it is either a case of immorality or a severe case of psychiatric problems.

Stolen love is sweet or so it seems until the ‘owner’ catches you red-handed, gets evidence in form of an explicit video and demands money for his silence.

Thiong’o further says that some people tend to have a don’t-care attitude despite the psychological disposition they were brought up. “We have seen children who were brought up by pastors and other religious leaders turn to have queer behaviour.

It is true that some may be running away from the strict up bringing, but some just make a personal and conscious decision to be immoral,” she says.

In some cases, the individual learns to convince her brain to look at certain behaviour as being okay and, therefore, they do not care how their actions impact other people, not even their spouses or children. According to Thing’o, when it comes to making money, some individuals have no boundaries. Sometimes, the influence of the media and social media may result in people turning to odd habits.

“Especially now that people can access whatever information they desire, it becomes easy even for decent people to fall prey to immoral habits. Sometimes it has nothing to do with psychology,” she adds.

For victims of such extortion, Thiong’o says that the shame and fear of stigmatisation associated with sexual offences compound the difficulty of coming forward. When a woman or girl or, in some cases, a boy or man is asked for money in return for deleting the video, more often than not, the victim complies.

“Because of the same kind of shame that rape and other sexual violence victims experience, the victim may fear that revealing what happened will incur the same kind of social stigma. In the kind of society we are in, some victims hold back on reporting to avoid ‘disgracing their families’.

Because such crimes happen in secret, the lack of witnesses makes it even harder to report,” she says. And these predators don’t just target anybody. Most of the time their prey include people who hold high positions and religious leaders who can do anything, so that their reputation remain intact.

Additionally, there is no telling that the criminals will delete the said video or even keep to their word of not making it public. Some may continue using the sex video to blackmail their victims over and over again. “Like in other sex crimes, victims of sexual extortion blame themselves, and that guilt leads to repeated (and successful) attempts by the offender to blackmail,” she adds.

In the case with the deputy governor, the suspects including the woman were arrested. Even if this is not always the case with all victims, Thiong’o advices that looking for red. red flags is key.

“Conduct due diligence. Don’t trust strangers. I know this can be difficult, especially if it is a case of one-night-stand. But if you suspect that the person is not genuine, putting your phone’s voice recorder on standby is also a tip that would help get evidence,” she concludes.

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