Of Online Sexual Harassment and Money Scams

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Cases of scorned lovers spreading incriminating photos and videos on the Internet are nothing new. Neither are money scams, as is evident from the recent spate of busted ‘investment’ schemes. To avoid being victims really boils down to making wiser choices in life.

The Star today reported on the case of a woman, whose ex-boyfriend spread nude photos of her and accused her of being a money cheat because he couldn’t get over the break-up of their seven-year relationship. Apparently, the jilted man resorted to every stunt to shame her, including harassing her with numerous phone calls nightly.

The 42-year-old woman claimed she had broken off the relationship because she could no longer tolerate the man’s controlling ways. The man, who is also in his 40s and a secondary school friend, took the rejection badly. Besides humiliating his ex-lover, he also harassed her family.

Hailing from Johor, the single mother with two teenage daughters lodged a police report and sought the assistance of MCA Public Affairs and Complaints Department chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong.

Chong, who is no stranger to such cases, advised women to never agree to pose nude or record themselves in compromising situations.

“Tell them off and never be afraid to lodge a police report against them,” he advised.

Sound advice that most people know, yet many do not heed.

Allow me to detract for a bit.

Why there were so many victims of dubious investment schemes that went bust recently was because of greed and recklessness, rather than gullibility.

The majority knew such get-rich-quick and too-good-to-be-true schemes would eventually collapse – it was only a matter of time – yet they willfully chose to go in and take a gamble.

And with the business of gambling – for indeed it is a business, a shady but lucrative one – the odds are always in favour of the operators, never the gamblers. So, it is very high risk to ‘invest’ in such schemes and chances are, you come away a loser.

Getting back to online harassment, as in the case of the Johor victim, the perpetrator humiliated the woman out of vengeance for love spurned. It is an instance of how misplaced trust can come back and haunt you.

The more common purpose is to extort money and the Internet is crowded with unscrupulous people who prey mainly on women.

With ‘sextortion’, the main reasons why most women became victims were because of loneliness and the false sense of anonymity that lulled them into discarding their inhibitions because virtual predators seem less real. Ask a woman to strip naked or carry out a lewd act in the physical presence of a stranger or a friend who is not a lover and she will cringe in embarrassment or resent the very suggestion.

Remember that once you allow sexually incriminating materials to get into the hands of strangers befriended online or even a lover, you are vulnerable to having them used against you.

Here’s to making wiser choices in life!