BLACKMAILED

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*Maria is a pseudonym.

Dear Love Guru,

Please, I need guidance. I’ve been in a long distance relationship for about a year and a half. We’ve never met physically, however we have a cyber relationship. I want to leave the relationship because even from a distance and online, he is possessive. He threatens to spread nude photos of me if I ever try to leave him. I’ve lost myself because of him. I’ve stopped school and left home a couple of times to see him, yet he never shows up. Please help me.

 

Dear Maria*,

I can absolutely see why you’re troubled. You’re obviously in a destructive and unhealthy relationship. No one who really cares for you – in truth, no one who had any sort of ethics – would ever threaten someone the way you’re being threatened. That being said, sending nude photos is quite a risky activity within any relationship. No one knows what the future might bring, and it’s always safer not to send such things, especially online, since nothing we send into cyberspace is ever totally safe or secure.

Had the situation been taking place in Malta, where such cases have already been reported, I would have suggested that you inform the police about the threats and tell them who this person is, in order for them to follow it up and take care of the situation. However in this case, the problem is more serious since this person is not living in the country, and there is nothing, at present, preventing him from doing just as he says, as soon as he wants to. The situation is basically like a ticking bomb. He is informing you that you have given him a weapon which he can use against you, and that he will use it if you don’t do as he wants. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear cut solution out of this one.

You could try contacting the local police, even though he lives abroad, in the hope that they could contact him or his country’s authorities, or that at least, they could offer you some advice. You could also consult a lawyer in order to be aware of the legal aspect of the situation as well. I’m sure that if this person ever published your photos online, you could take legal action against him. Save the emails and chat logs where he threatens you as proof, and after consulting with a lawyer, tell him that if those photos ever surface online, you will know it would be his fault, and act accordingly by taking him to court. A lawyer will certainly know more about this, however I’m sure that there are already previous cases where this has happened, which may act as guidelines.

If there aren’t, I’m guessing you’ll have to choose whether to remain this person’s slave, doing whatever he tells you and wants you to do, in order for those photos not to appear online, or else tell him that you don’t care, and face the consequences. However, I am sure there are legal actions you may quote which would scare him off into not doing this, so don’t lose heart and immediately seek legal consultation before acting.

Good Luck!