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Someone You Know May Be a Victim of Sextortion
A new organization, Thorn, has been launched to help victims of a new crime called "sexploitation" in which abusers extort victims over the publication of intimate images.
One of the most precious things two people can share is trust. In new relationships, though, it’s often the case that the person we see isn’t the actual person in front of us, but a construction of our hopeful imagination. We’re eager to trust, and everyone has had the experience of doing so with someone who turns out, in the end, to be unworthy. When this happens, secrets we’ve shared, including our bodies, feel misspent. And if those secrets include intimate photos given to a romantic partner or anyone else, we feel especially exposed. And we should: An increasing number of people, from teenagers through millennials, are finding themselves victimized by others threatening to publish compromising photos unless they get what they want: typically money, sex, or more photos. It’s called “sextortion,” and 45% of its perpetrators do carry out their threats. It can ruin lives, and it happens in-person, and increasingly, online.
One of the most tragic aspects of sextortion is that the victim is often too ashamed to reach out for help, so new non-profit has been co-founded by Ashton Kutcher to help. It’s called Thorn.
It’s Thorn's hope that the more aware people become of sexpolitation, the less likely it is that they’ll fall victim to it, and if they do, they’ll be better equipped to escape.
Much of the power the perpetrator of sexploitation has is that this is a crime that often occurs in the shadows — in fact, they're counting on it. Thorn advises first and foremost breaking that hold, no matter how afraid one may be to ask for help. As one teen responded to a survey Thorn conducted:
“Reaching out is the best thing you can do. The people around you want what is best for you. They may be angry at first, but in the end, they will not love you any less…They might even gain some respect for your courage.”
Thorn also offers online guidance for victims and tips for worried friends and families. And if there’s no one safe available, Thorn itself keeps a crisis counselor available at all times via text — victims can text “thorn” to 741741.
"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.
- The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
- It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
- Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"We had to be really careful," Schmidt told St. Louis Public Radio. "We couldn't disturb anything at all, because at that point, it was under law enforcement investigation. They were telling us, 'Don't even make footprints,' and I was thinking, 'How are we supposed to do that?'"</p><p>Another difficulty was the mammoth size of the skull: about 7 feet long and more than 3,000 pounds. (For context, the largest triceratops skull ever unearthed was about <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02724634.2010.483632" target="_blank">8.2 feet long</a>.) The skull of Schmidt's dinosaur was likely a <em>Triceratops prorsus, </em>one of two species of triceratops that roamed what's now North America about 66 million years ago.</p>
Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College<p>The triceratops was an herbivore, but it was also a favorite meal of the T<em>yrannosaurus rex</em>. That probably explains why the Dakotas contain many scattered triceratops bone fragments, and, less commonly, complete bones and skulls. In summer 2019, for example, a separate team on a dig in North Dakota made <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/science/triceratops-skull-65-million-years-old.html" target="_blank">headlines</a> after unearthing a complete triceratops skull that measured five feet in length.</p><p>Michael Kjelland, a biology professor who participated in that excavation, said digging up the dinosaur was like completing a "multi-piece, 3-D jigsaw puzzle" that required "engineering that rivaled SpaceX," he jokingly told the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/science/triceratops-skull-65-million-years-old.html" target="_blank">New York Times</a>.</p>
Morrison Formation in Colorado
James St. John via Flickr
|Credit: Nobu Tamura/Wikimedia Commons|
The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.
- Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
- That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
- Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
- Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
- Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.
- One especially mysterious thing about the asteroid impact, which killed the dinosaurs, is how it transformed Earth's tropical rainforests.
- A recent study analyzed ancient fossils collected in modern-day Colombia to determine how tropical rainforests changed after the bolide impact.
- The results highlight how nature is able to recover from cataclysmic events, though it may take millions of years.