Published September 8, 2019 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Understanding the link between Sextortion and Suicide

  • 1. The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 2. University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom
  • 3. Stockton University, United States of America


Sextortion is an emerging threat, facilitated by the use of online environments where perpetrators gain the trust of vulnerable individuals in order to obtain sexually explicit material and then use it to coerce victims for the purposes of sexual, personal or financial gain. There is presently no research exploring what may lead a victim of sextortion to choose suicide. The present study examined three cases of sextortion and suicide. A thematic analysis of publicly available online material identified common themes in these cases:  fear, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, humiliation, self-blame, general distress, typical antecedents of suicidal behaviour. The implications are discussed.



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