I was tricked into sending a topless selfie then blackmailed
About a third of explicit images of children found online are selfies, according to the Internet Watch Foundation.
It took action over 124,605 images of child abuse found online between January and November 2019, of which 37,112, or 30%, were self-generated.
Now in her 30s, Rhiannon was just 13 and dreaming of becoming a model when she was tricked into sending a topless selfie to a stranger she met online, who went on to sexually abuse her.
This is her story.
When I was 13 I was introduced to somebody online that I didn't know and I was speaking to this person for quite a few hours in the course of one night.
They said that they were a young adult female and that they were a model, and she was just asking me lots of general questions like "who are you?", "where are you from?", "which school do you go to?" and lots of normal stuff.
And over the course of the conversation, she piled on a lot of compliments to me about how pretty I was, and "you're beautiful, you'll be a model, just like me".
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She really befriended me but also built up this really detailed picture of my life in one go, that I didn't realise she was doing.
And it came to a point during the conversation when she asked me for some photos. And she asked me for a topless photo. And she said she did topless modelling and she got more work and she got more pay for it and she thought that I could do the same.
And, I wasn't so keen on that, because you know, it didn't seem like the right thing to do. But she really took the time to reassure me that it's not a big deal, everyone does it. And if you wanted to be a model then this is how you go about it. And this is what you need to do.
So I sent a topless picture and almost immediately her demeanour changed and it went from complimenting me and asking nice questions, to essentially blackmail immediately, where she wanted more pictures and if I wasn't going to send them then she was going to release the picture that she already had.
So I was terrified. I didn't feel like I had much choice but to do what she was telling me. So, more photos were sent.
Later on that evening, she said that she'd spoken to her boss about me and he wanted to come and meet me. He wanted to take some professional photos so that he could build up a portfolio so I could start work. And that's when it all got really real.
She asked me for my address and I really knew that I shouldn't give that out. And I tried to say no but she said that they could get it anyway, that she could trace it through my IP address and that it would be better if I just gave it to her.
And there was also the threat that all the images would be distributed if I didn't go along with it. So, I didn't feel like I had a choice but to give my address out.
The next morning, a man, her boss, came to my house. I didn't know at the time but this man was the same person that I'd been speaking to the night before. But he carried on this pretence that he was her boss and that he'd come to get these professional photos.
He'd brought all these professional photography equipment with him. One of the first things he said was that he'd printed out the photos from the night before and he'd put them on disk, so if I didn't do what he wanted me to do, or if I told anybody, then they'd get sent to other people, and people would see them.
He sexually assaulted me in my bedroom and he took more photos of what was happening. It was terrifying but I didn't feel like I could do anything about it, either physically, you know, I was a small 13-year-old girl, and he was a much older and bigger man. I couldn't have overpowered him. And he had all these photos so I just didn't feel like I could do anything.
I eventually asked him to leave and he said that he would only leave only if I would let him do one further thing to me which, again, I didn't feel like I could say no to.
And then he left, and I got into the shower and… you know.. I felt physically and emotionally just dirty. And I decided there and then that I wasn't going to tell anybody because I was frightened of anybody seeing the images or even just finding out what I had done.
I thought it was my fault, because I'd sent the initial image, I'd sent further images, you know, I'd given my address out, I'd let him do these things.
I thought that I was to blame for what happened. And although I knew it was wrong what he was doing, I thought that… it seems really silly but I thought that if I'd contacted the police that they'd blame me and I'd get in trouble for wasting their time.
But I was just terrified that anybody would find out and I was really ashamed and embarrassed of Read More – Source