According to NST, in Penang, an underaged girl died from suicide when she jumped off her condominium building from the 22nd floor. The reason being that her “boyfriend” threatened to leak her nudes.
Before the incident, the man, who claimed to be her boyfriend, called her phone but her mother answered. During the call, an altercation happened between the man and the girl’s mother, leading the man to yell profanities and repeatedly threaten to expose naked pictures of the girl on his social media platforms.
The mother told him to cease contact with her daughter before the man abruptly ended the call.
When the 17-year-old victim found out, she became extremely afraid of what would happen if her pictures went viral. Before her family could console her, she had already jumped off the building.
The 20-year-old perpetrator was quickly apprehended by police the following day. When authorities confiscated his mobile phone, they found more naked images of other women. It turns out, the suspect would deceive young women online by manipulating their photos to show them in suggestive positions or completely naked.
He would do this in order to get women to have sex with him. While in these forced relationships, the suspect would threaten to leak the manipulated nude images if the women wanted to break things off. He also often asked for money from victims.
His crimes even permeated to different states such as Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor and Perak.
Revenge porn or ‘sextortion’ is unfortunately common in Malaysia. Usually the work of abusive and manipulative men, young women, who at most times were coerced, are at risk of having their private images leaked to the public by jealous or resentful boyfriends.
Most times, this incident is catalysed by a bad break-up, however, perpetrators can also be conmen or scammers who want nothing more than financial gain.
With image and video sharing platforms such as WeChat, Telegram and WhatsApp becoming more prevalent amongst internet users, there is an increase in interest towards this particular genre of explicit content. Since most of the victims are usually teenage girls, the interest is heightened due to the taboo behind it.
Watch a clip of how sexual grooming happens on these platforms below:
Often shared through private groups, in which sometimes users must pay to access, these perpetrators will share images of, either their girlfriend, wife or exes, with other men. Some even require other members to pay them in order to watch the full video of these young women performing sexual acts.
According to Section 4 to 10 of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017, child pornography is categorised as “any representation, whether visual, audio or written or the combination of visual, audio or written, or by any other means—
- of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct;
- of a person appearing to be a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct;
- of realistic images of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct; or
- of realistic images of a person appearing to be a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct;
The Act also makes any sexual touching of a child (defined as under 18 years) punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. If classified as child pornography, the perpetrator faces these punishments for each offence:
- producing child porn – 30 years in prison and at least 6 strokes of the cane
- accessing/watching child porn – imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding ten thousand ringgit or to both.
- distributing child porn – 15 years in prison and at least 3 strokes of the cane
Even if the victim was not underaged, revenge porn is still inexcusable and punishable by law. Under the civil law of invasion of privacy, perpetrators can be sent to jail, fined a significant amount or whipped and victims can be awarded for damages by the court.
If this ever happens to you, do not hesitate to report it to the police. Once that is done, explain your situation to the Malaysia Communication & Multimedia Commission ([email protected]) and include a copy of your police report for further assistance and advice.
These assailants should not be let off unscathed after they have actively tried to tarnish your reputation and dignity. Know your rights and fight against the prevalence of perverted extortionists.