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WHAT IS SEXTORTION? (A brief intro…)

Sextortion is not a commonly known expression. It is a fairly new terminology used to describe a conduct which is not only sexually abusive, but also incorporates the element of corruption.

The sexual component need not be sexual intercourse or even physical touching. It could be any form of unwanted sexual activity, such as exposing ones private body parts, posing for sexually suggestive photos, participating in phone sex or submitting to inappropriate touching.

As for the corruption element, the perpetrator must be a person in authority who abuses that authority by indulging in the activity of demanding or accepting sexual favors in exchange for the exercise of that authority. In other words sextortion is a form of corruption in which sex and not money is the currency for the bribe.

For example:cartoon_12

  • An immigration officer who is required to issue a visa demands sex instead of compliance with established rules that govern issuance of visas.
  • A teacher’s authority to grade a student is dependent on sexual favors obtained from the student rather than the academic performance of the student.

 

 

Not all sexually abusive, exploitative, discriminatory or criminal conduct constitutes of sextortion.

Sextortion requires that the abuser have some form of executive authority over the victim. Where that authority is lacking, the sexual abuse is not sextortion

For example:

  • A stranger who jumps from the bushes with a weapon and forces a woman to have sex is guilty of rape and not sextortion.
  • A husband who blackens his wife’s eye because of her refusal of sexual intercourse is guilty of domestic violence and not sextortion
  • A man who impersonates a senior civil servant and tells a woman that he will help her acquire a government built apartment if she will sleep with him may be guilty of fraud and deception and not sextortion as he cannot abuse authority he does not possess.

Sextortion also requires an exchange or quid pro quo — a benefit in exchange for a sexual favor. Where that exchange is missing, the sexually discriminatory conduct is not sextortion:

  • A hostile work environment in which sexual innuendo is used and pornography displayed may constitute sexual harassment but not sextortion.

 

 

Info courtesy of The Sextortion Toolkit by Tanzania Women Judges Association