Dylan’s Story: The Crime of Sextortion
My story begins on the 5th August 2021. A day that regrettably defines who I am.
I woke up that day as I normally do, to a notification on my phone. A girl by the name of Ffion Owens (not her real name) had requested to follow me. She had a Welsh flag in her bio, so I assumed we might have been from around the same area. Once I accepted her request and followed her back, I decided to check who she follows, and multiple people that I grew up with were on that list.
No more than five minutes passed before I received a message from her.
“Hi,” she said. A simple message. One that would seem innocent to even the most cynical of people.
As the conversation continued, we got to know each other better. How old we were, where we were from – that kind of thing. In hindsight, ‘Ffion’ did ask some questions that concerned me. For example, out of the blue she asked me, “Do you like sex?”
At the time I did think it was a bit of an odd question, but I had never had a girl as beautiful as ‘Ffion’ so interested in me. That said, I challenged her on her comment and she responded by using guilt to make me feel bad for doubting that she was who she said she was.
As time passed, we continued to chat, and she suggested we FaceTime to prove she was real. I agreed, but as soon as she showed me her face, she hung up. After that, I started to believe her and almost immediately the topic of having some kind of sexual interaction came up again. She asked if I wanted to, and if not, said she would leave me alone.
That night when I got home, I told my parents that I needed to take a shower – which was partially true. Once I was alone, I called ‘Ffion’ just like she told me to. What happened next, I am pretty sure you can decipher without me needing to explain in too much detail.
The call didn’t last more than two minutes before the screen switched to a recording of me masturbating. I wish I could say I was shocked with what was happening. Honestly though, at that moment I didn’t know what to feel.
I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t scared. I was numb.
After probably fifteen seconds of the video being played, I hung up only to receive a bombardment of messages from ‘Ffion’ saying if I did not pay immediately she would release the video to my friends, family, workplace…everyone.
She even edited the video of me to appear like a YouTube video, and was supposedly ready to release it to the world.
The title of the video read: “Watch this pedophile masturbate over a child.”
I was nervous, but I didn’t respond to any of the threats.
What we now know is that “Ffion’ was never real. It was a group of guys who were messaging me. The girl on the video chat was pre recorded – previously filmed by the gang.
These gangs of criminals are thorough and calculated. They meticulously planned every detail of this crime to gain my trust, then use that against me.
I got myself down to the police station as soon as I could. You may be asking why I didn’t just call 999. For some reason, and it seems silly now looking back on it, I felt as if I would be wasting their time. As if what was happening wasn’t an emergency, and could just be left for a later date.
I don’t remember much from my call with the call handler, but I do remember not wanting to talk about what was happening. I found it humiliating. I’m not the kind of person who cries, but I’m not ashamed to tell you, that night I cried. Talking to the call handler suddenly made it real.
Then things got worse. I received a message from my best friend – a screenshot of a message from ‘Ffion Owens’.
My heart started to race. My best friend had just been sent a picture of me topless, supposedly masturbating to a child. I didn’t know what to do other than beg her to believe me. I explained I was at the police station and waiting for the officers. Luckily, she believed me.
When I speak about this to people, I always tell them I was lucky. For some unknown reason, the gang did not send any other messages to anybody else. To this day I don’t know why; even the police expected it to be a whole lot worse.
As soon as the police officers arrived, we sat down in one of the interview rooms. This was the moment I was dreading: Having to recount everything again, just as I did to the call handler, only this time face-to-face.
The officers were great. They almost instantly reassured me that I was in no trouble at all, and in-fact was the victim. The more we talked, the more I learned about sextortion, and the feelings of terror started to dissipate.
I took the officers’ advice and let my social media followers know that I had been hacked – it seemed easier than explaining the truth.
Telling my parents was a little harder. Even though it was a hard thing to do, and they didn’t immediately understand (probably still don’t understand) why I would do such a thing, I’m glad I did tell them – no matter how embarrassing of a conversation it was.
I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. That’s not why I’m writing this. Simply, I want to raise awareness of the crime of sextortion, and encourage others to educate themselves on the subject.
My story is not like other stories after all. I was one of the lucky ones.