This story was submitted by a Spoilt Modern Indian Woman reader who wishes to remain anonymous.
I’m a woman who lives in Delhi. My name isn’t important to this story, but my gender is, or so I would like to think.
I had cyber sex with a man, who I didn’t know was a man at the time, because his OkCupid profile said he was a bi-sexual woman (I’m bi-curious myself). I had been naked in front of this person on webcam, and was careless enough not to conceal my face. A few weeks later, he messaged me saying that he’s recorded our video chat and is thinking what he should do with it.
When I read this, two things became very clear – that he was a man; because he was now using masculine verbs like “karoonga” instead of “karoongi” and, that I was at the receiving end of blackmail. I was enraged and panicked – I asked him to delete everything he’s recorded but he said he would only do so on one condition – that I meet him personally, and have sex with him.
I tried to plead and reason with him. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if that footage was made public. Maybe my family and I would have to move to a different city? Maybe my friends would tell me it was my fault for getting into this and I deserved what happened? Maybe a senior police officer would say to a press conference that I have a history of being promiscuous? These were all things that had happened to young women who were at receiving ends of voyeurism related sexual crimes.
But no matter how much I tried to reason, my blackmailer didn’t budge. He started threatening me to meet him and have sex with him, because he was “addicted to my body” and that he thought he “deserves a reward” for not exposing my personal videos and pictures to the world. He told me that he really likes me and would not like to harm me. But also, that he’ll have to “punish me for what I have done” if I didn’t end things with him on a “pleasant note”. I wonder what I had done. Dared to have sexual desires? Dared to seek sexual pleasure on the internet? I guess men never do that, because I’ve never heard of a man being publicly shamed for exposing himself to someone in a consensual sexual encounter.
A feminist Facebook page called The Spoilt Modern Indian Woman – which I often read – made a post that said:
“Thinking you are owed something for not being an asshole makes you an asshole.”
When I read that, I felt like I couldn’t go any longer without talking to someone about what I was going through. So, I sent the page a message and decided to pour my heart out to them. I didn’t know who they were, whether they identify as a woman or man, of if they are someone I already know. But from what I had read on the page, it seemed like they were someone I could talk to. So I did.
The page was extremely supportive and encouraged me to seek legal recourse, if possible. But more than advice, I was looking for a sounding board, which they became. I wanted to share this experience because somewhere, I felt ashamed of myself. I felt I shouldn’t have let this happen. That I was stupid for not having taken precautions, and that enjoying sexual experiences safely is probably not for me.
I also told them that if the page admin is someone I know personally (for all I know, my mom could be running this page), please know that I’m very sorry and won’t let this happen again. Please don’t hate me.
The blackmailing became too much. I decided that I had to tell someone in my family about it. I could no longer keep blaming myself for something that was out of my control. Yes, I was careless. But that doesn’t give someone the right to blackmail me and threaten to use my photos without my consent. It doesn’t give anyone else the right to judge me and my character either.
So, after a lot of thought and self-doubt, I finally decided to bring my brother into confidence. To my relief, he was understanding and supportive! He told me he will help me get out of this mess no matter what it took. I was overcome with emotion! Maybe there was a way out of it yet!
With my brother on my side now, I decided to do what my blackmailer wanted me to – to meet him in person.
It was all part of a plan.
I met the guy on the pretext of getting coffee, and he was under the impression that we will proceed to a place of his choice to get sexually intimate. However, what he didn’t know was that I had already called the cops, and they arrived on the scene almost immediately. I watched the poor bastard get the shock of his life as he was apprehended by a bunch of police officers!
This whole incident took place at a market near Saket in Delhi, and it was so heartening to see so many people come out in my support. Everyone, from my brother’s friends to the nearby shopkeepers and rickshaw wallahs, said that they stand by us and will help us deal with this issue the moment they heard that I was being harassed or blackmailed. They didn’t ask any unnecessary questions about how I knew the guy or what I had done with him. It was the most exhilarating and relieving moment of my life!
The whole thing ended on a happy note for me, but I wonder if every woman who is blackmailed like this gets a happy ending. I wonder if all men would support a woman who was filmed naked without her consent during cyber sex. I wonder if all brothers are as supportive and amazing like mine was this entire time. I’ve also realized that the fight is not against men! It is against the mindset that demonises and vilifies women wanting to be sexually liberated. It is against the patriarchal system which dictates that women should give in and men should expect to be rewarded just for not being rapists and criminals.
The victory lies in women and men joining hands to destroy the oppressive societal framework that gives birth to such sexual predators like my blackmailer.
Story by: Anonymous