“Send me $4,000 or I will publish this sex tape of you”
In the journey that is my life, that was close to rock bottom.
I was roughly 6 months out of hospital by this stage. My battle with Leukemia receding painfully slow in the rearview mirror. Psychologically and physically, I was still torn to shreds.
My skin was too sensitive to handle the sun for more than a few minutes at a time. My muscles had started to atrophy leaving me incredibly self-conscious. And large crowds would push down on the hair trigger that was my anxiety after spending 245 days, more or less, on my own in hospital.
And without the confidence to reintroduce myself to everyday life, I had just masturbated watching a woman on a webcam do the same thing.
I hadn’t paid for it. In my mind it was a consensual sex act. But the moment I finished, this woman vanished from the screen. And in her place a video of me was played back. Every private moment laid bare.
The entire time, I was being recorded, and now it was being used against me like a gun held to my temple.
Frozen in fear, I sat in the dimly lit granny flat beneath my childhood home. It had been built for my grandpa but he spoiled the grand unveiling by moving interstate and subsequently dying.
Both of which made it very difficult for him to move into the granny flat.
Instead, the space was used by the family when someone needed a little extra privacy. Like making an uncomfortable phonecall, finding some much needed peace and quiet, or masturbating in some unnamed chatroom on the wrong side of midnight.
And now it was my prison cell. I felt alone. Surrounded by creeping shadows and kept company only by the whirring noise of my tired laptop. Completely alone.
That was why I’d sought out this message board, truth be told. If you’re hoping for a scandalous reveal, I have nothing for you. I can only describe it as a non-descript chatroom like all the rest.
The type where lost souls were drawn together to escape the harshness of their reality. That’s why I was drawn to these anonymous hubs. Because no one knew the real me. The damaged me. The destroyed me.
Online, I could be strong, confident and full of life. I could be anyone I wanted. In hindsight, she was doing the same thing. Only she was scanning for naive young men who were fueld by intentions from the wrong head, if you know what I mean.
And she was clever too. Or the person running this elaborate scam was. Like a seasoned salesman they didn’t push from the start. Our chat was benign, banal even. But never bawdy.
So by the time the offer came to share the screen in mutual pleasure, I was so far down the rabbit hole that the red flags were nothing but blinking lights in the distance.
And just like that, I’d been hooked.
You have been recorded
The words scrolled across the bottom of our chatroom window, both devoid of tone and still oozing with menace. The video of my self-pleasure relegated out of sight.
Deposit $4,000 into this account now
I didn’t have $4,000 dollars. I didn’t even have $400 dollars. Hell, I’d be lucky to scrape together $40 dollars. But the threat continued…
If I do not receive $4,000 within the next hour I will upload this video to every adult site and send it to your entire Facebook contact list
My eyes prickled with heat, my heart sinking through the floor, and tears filled my eyes. Just 21 years old, fresh out of a cancer fight, and completely humiliated by a nameless, faceless figure.
I knew in that moment I couldn’t let that video surface. I would never be able to endure the shame. The most personal of videos in the inbox of every family member, friend, colleague and acquaintance you’ve had for the past decade.
But I didn’t have $4,000 dollars.
So I thought about running. I thought about leaving my life and starting fresh. But what if the shame came with me? What if I could never escape it?
The 60 minute countdown has begun. If you sign out of this chatroom I will send the video to all
I was stuck. Unable to leave. But desperate to go. Just my blackmailer and I. Sitting in the dark. With the clock ticking…
You might be wondering what happened after that. What I did and how the story ended…
Truthfully, I’m tempted to end the story there. In all honesty, the ending you conjure would likely be more interesting than the truth. And is a great story really about what actually happened? Or what should of happened?
But to leave the ending ambiguous would only empower my blackmailer. And if you take anything away from this story, I want it to be a sense of confidence.
I want you to feel like you’re never truly at the mercy of others. That you control the narrative of your life. And that no one can make you feel anything that you don’t agree to feel.
If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm
I’d heard that expression before. But never truly known how to apply it.
In the darkness, with the threat of lifelong embarrassment hanging over my head, I decided to live by that motto.
If I willingly give you my deepest, darkest secrets then you can never use them against me. Your threats have no power, not if I give you permission to use them first.
I didn’t have the money to pay. There was only one outcome. The video would be released. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t exert some control over the situation.
And so, after what felt like an eternity of shame and visions of how terrible the outcome would be, I told this faceless figure I would sign off.
Then everyone will see who you are and what you have done
The threat was the same. But the power, it was gone.
“If there is no enemy within”
I took a deep breath.
“The enemy outside can do us no harm”
I reached forward, closing the tab and turning my laptop off. But not before typing one last line…
“Send it. And tag me in every single one of them”
You can’t expose my secrets, if I have none.
I don’t know if that video was ever published online. I do know that no one in my Facebook contact list ever received it. And that the blackmailer never received a single cent from me.
Though perhaps the strangest outcome is that this story has become widely known through my own re-telling. Which might seem insane, considering I could have buried it in my mind and never let a soul find out.
But in the past few years there have been a number of high-profile suicides from teenagers and young men who were caught in the same trap, and felt like there was no way to escape the shame other than to end their lives.
That’s a burden I won’t bear.
I would rather carry the responsibility of telling an embarrassing story about being blackmailed for the world’s worst sex tape (party of one) to show that getting caught with your pants down isn’t the end of the world.
You have control over your thoughts and your actions. And even if someone attempts to coerce you into feeling something outside of your sphere of happiness, they can still never control how you feel, no matter what they do.
So if anyone out there has experienced the same thing, or know of someone who has, share this message with them.
Because a fleeting moment of shame will pass.
But no one can use your own dreams, hopes or desires against you; not if you can arrive at a place where you’re truly comfortable with who you are. And that realization can transform your life.
So I’ll admit I was blackmailed.
And just as quickly I was born again.
- A storyteller with no shame.
- An on-camera talent who puts on one hell of a show.
- And if that blackmailer was telling the truth — a published porn star in my own right.
So if anyone comes across that video online, be sure to give it a like and a comment.
But before you close the window, make sure you tag me in it, so I can tell everyone about it too.