ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

Image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) involves three key behaviors: the non-consensual taking or creation of nude or sexual images; the non-consensual sharing or distribution of nude or sexual images; and threats made to distribute nude or sexual images. IBSA is becoming increasingly criminalized internationally, representing an important and rapidly developing cybercrime issue. This paper presents findings of the first national online survey of self-reported lifetime IBSA perpetration in Australia (n = 4053), with a focus on the extent, nature, and predictors of perpetration. Overall, 11.1% (n = 411) of participants self-reported having engaged in some form of IBSA perpetration during their lifetime, with men significantly more likely to report IBSA perpetration than women. With regard to the nature of perpetration, participants reported targeting men and women at similar rates, and were more likely to report perpetrating against intimate partners or ex-partners, family members and friends than strangers or acquaintances. Logistic regression analyses identified that males, lesbian, gay or bisexual participants, participants with a self-reported disability, participants who accepted sexual image-based abuse myths, participants who engaged in or experienced sexual self-image behaviors, and participants who had a nude or sexual image of themselves taken, distributed, and/or threatened to be distributed without their consent were more likely to have engaged in some form of IBSA perpetration during their lifetime.
Image-based sexual abuse: The extent, nature, and predictors of perpetration in a
community sample of Australian residents
Anastasia Powell
Justice and Legal Studies, RMIT University
Nicola Henry
Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University
Asher Flynn
School of Social Sciences, Monash University
Adrian J. Scott
Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London; School of Arts and
Humanities, Edith Cowan University
Acknowledgement
The research upon which this article draws has been supported by funding from an Australian
Criminology Research Council Grant (CRG 08/15-16) and an Australian Research Council
Discovery Project Grant (DP170101433).
2
Abstract
Image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) involves three key behaviors: the non-consensual taking or
creation of nude or sexual images; the non-consensual sharing or distribution of nude or
sexual images; and threats made to distribute nude or sexual images. IBSA is becoming
increasingly criminalized internationally, representing an important and rapidly developing
cybercrime issue. This paper presents findings of the first national online survey of self-
reported lifetime IBSA perpetration in Australia (n = 4,053), with a focus on the extent,
nature, and predictors of perpetration. Overall, 11.1% (n = 411) of participants self-reported
having engaged in some form of IBSA perpetration during their lifetime, with men
significantly more likely to report IBSA perpetration than women. With regard to the nature
of perpetration, participants reported targeting men and women at similar rates, and were
more likely to report perpetrating against intimate partners or ex-partners, family members
and friends than strangers or acquaintances. Logistic regression analyses identified that
males, lesbian, gay or bisexual participants, participants with a self-report disability,
participants who accepted sexual image-based abuse myths, participants who engaged in or
experienced sexual self-image behaviors, and participants who had a nude or sexual image of
themselves taken, distributed, or threatened to be distributed without their consent were more
likely to have engaged in some form of IBSA perpetration during their lifetime.
Keywords: Image-Based Sexual Abuse, Cybercrime, Perpetration, Revenge Pornography,
Victimization, Non-consensual Pornography
3
Introduction
Image-Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA) refers to the taking, distributing, and/or making of
threats to distribute, a nude or sexual image without a person’s consent (see e.g. DeKeseredy
& Schwartz 2016; McGlynn & Rackley 2017; McGlynn, Rackley & Houghton 2017; Powell
& Henry 2016; Powell & Henry 2017; Powell, Henry & Flynn, 2018).
1
While some research
has drawn on alternative terms such as ‘revenge pornography’ (e.g. CCRI, 2014; Hall &
Hearn 2017; Salter & Crofts 2015) or ‘non-consensual pornography’ (e.g. Citron & Franks
2014; Poole 2015; Suzor, Seignior & Singleton 2017; Walker & Sleath 2017), such studies
have tended to focus primarily on the non-consensual distribution of nude or sexual images,
without consideration of the related non-consensual taking or creation of such images and/or
threats to distribute them. Furthermore, as Powell, Henry and Flynn (2018) have described,
far beyond the popular understanding of an image shared by a jilted ex-lover, IBSA occurs in
a range of contexts including: (1) relationship retribution, where a perpetrator misuses the
nude or sexual images of a current or former intimate partner in order to seek revenge or
cause distress following a relationship breakdown; (2) sextortion, where the perpetrator
threatens to create or distribute an intimate image of another person in order to obtain further
images, money, or unwanted sexual acts, regardless of whether or not the image exists; (3)
voyeurism, where perpetrators seek to create or distribute images as a form of sexual
gratification or social status building, including (but not limited to) ‘upskirting’ and ‘down-
blousing’
2
; (4) sexploitation, where the primary goal is to obtain monetary benefits through
the trade of non-consensual nude or sexual imagery; and (5) sexual assault, where
perpetrators and/or bystanders record sexual assaults and rapes on mobile phones or other
devices and/or distribute those images via mobile phone or online (see also Powell & Henry
2017).
1
We use the term image to capture both nude or sexual photos and videos.
2
Upskirting refers to the act of someone taking an image up a victim’s skirt or dress. Down-blousing refers to the
act of someone taking a photo down the victim’s shirt and/or of the victim’s cleavage.
4
An emerging body of research has sought to examine the extent and nature of IBSA
victimization. Some studies have found that, similar to other forms of intimate aggression,
women are more commonly the targets of IBSA as compared to men (e.g. Wood et al. 2015),
although other studies have found either similar victimization rates among both men and
women (e.g. Lenhart, Ybarra & Feeney-Price 2016; Powell & Henry 2016; Reed, Tolman &
Ward 2016), or somewhat higher victimization rates among men (e.g. Borrajo, Gámez-
Guadix & Calvete 2015; Priebe & Svedin 2012). In addition to examining the gendered
nature of IBSA, several studies have reported differing rates of IBSA victimization according
to sexuality, with minority participants more likely to report a person having shared a sexual
image of them without permission as compared to heterosexual participants (e.g. Lenhart,
Ybarra & Feeney-Price 2016; Priebe & Svedin 2012). Though research into IBSA
victimization is growing, by comparison there remains a dearth of research that has examined
the perpetration of IBSA with regards to its extent, nature, and potential predictors.
The study described in this article is the first to undertake a comprehensive
investigation that includes all three subsets of IBSA perpetration; that is, the non-consensual
taking or creation of a nude or sexual image; the non-consensual sharing or distribution of a
nude or sexual image; and threats made to distribute a nude or sexual image. Reporting on an
online panel survey of 4,053 Australian residents (aged 16 to 49 years), we examine IBSA as
it is increasingly conceptualized in the international literature, presenting original analyses of
self-reported perpetration behaviors and potential predictors. The article begins by briefly
summarizing the conceptualization of IBSA, before providing a more detailed review of the
(limited) international literature on IBSA perpetration, and subsequent aims of the study
reported here.
5
Literature Review
Prevalence of IBSA Perpetration
The majority of quantitative research in the broader field on technology and intimate
relationships has been on ‘sexting’ (the sending and/or receiving of nude or sexual images or
texts) among adolescents (see e.g. Crofts, Lee, McGovern & Miliovojevic 2015; Patrick,
Heywood, Pitts & Mitchell 2015; Stanley et al. 2018; Villacampa 2017). While most of this
research has focused on consensual forms of sexting, some studies have also sought to
investigate the prevalence of ‘non-consensual sexting’, where images are either taken or
shared without consent. For example, Patrick, Heywood, Pitts and Mitchell (2015) found that
10% of school students had sent ‘a sexually explicit nude or nearly nude photo or video of
someone else.’ Similarly, in a 2014 survey with undergraduate psychology students,
Strohmaier, Murphy and DeMatteo (2014) found that 11% of participants reported that a sext
had been sent on without their consent while they were deemed to be a minor (i.e. under the
age of 18). Crofts, Lee, McGovern and Miliovojevic‘s study (2015) found a slightly lower
rate with 6% of participants aged under 18 years reporting sending an image to another
person without consent. In Crofts et al.’s (2015) study, 20% of adolescents surveyed reported
that they had shown another person an image without the depicted person‘s consent, such as
by displaying the image on their mobile phone screen.
To date, few empirical studies have explored non-consensual behaviors among adult
populations. This is despite some research (e.g. Borrajo & Gámez-Guadix 2015) indicating
that technology-based abuse between partners occurs more often between young adults,
rather than adolescents or pre-adolescents. While it is difficult to synthesize the findings of
the few existing studies, given the different sample sizes, definitions, and instruments used,
collectively these studies indicate an approximate range of between 12% and 30% of
participants who report sharing nude or sexual images without the consent of the person
depicted in the video or photo. In their Australian ‘sexting’ study, Crofts et al. (2015) found
6
that among participants aged over 19 years (n = 422), 16% had shown a sexual image to
another person who was not meant to see it, 4% had shared the image online, and 4% had
forwarded the image via MMS or email. While the authors differentiated between different
forms of ‘sharing,‘ in other studies it is unclear what ‘sharing‘ means. For instance, in an
Italian study on sexting and dating violence among a sample of 13 to 30 year olds (n =
1,334), the authors found that 13% of participants had shared a sexual image without another
person’s consent at least once (Morelli, Bianchi, Baiocco, Pezzuiti & Chirumbolo 2016). In a
study on ‘technology-based coercion’ (n = 795), Thompson and Morrison (2013) found that
16% of men had shared a sexually suggestive message or picture of someone without their
consent (n = 795). Another sexting study of American adults aged between 21 and 75 years
(n = 5,805) by Garcia et al. (2016) found that more than one in five participants (23%)
reported sharing a ‘sexy’ photo with someone else without consent. It is important to note
that the Garcia et al. study focused on sharing photos, whereas the Thompson and Morrison
study did not differentiate between sexual images (videos and/or photos) or text, and in all of
these examples, participants were asked only about sharing or distributing sexual material
without consent, and not about other related image-taking or threat behaviors.
Characteristics of IBSA Perpetrators
Overall, existing studies have rarely reported on gender, sexuality, or other differences
in relation to self-reported perpetration items. An exception is the aforementioned study by
Garcia et al. (2016), which found that more men (25%) than women (20%) had ‘shared a
received sexy photo with someone else.’ This study also found that gay men were twice as
likely as lesbian women to share such images (Garcia et al. 2016). Meanwhile, qualitative
studies on IBSA perpetration have further sought to examine the potential gendered nature of
these behaviors. In one study, Hall and Hearn (2017) examined the online comments that
accompanied the postings of non-consensual nude or sexual images on a popular ‘revenge
7
porn’ website. They found not only that most of the images posted were of women, and were
shared by men, but that the text accompanying many of the images occurred in a context of
homosocial interaction in which men communicated normative masculine identities;
effectively reinstituting themselves as ‘real men’ within the mostly male community of
website users. In a second study, Uhl, Rhyner, Terrance and Lugo (2018) undertook content
analysis of 134 non-consensual photos contained on seven different websites. The researchers
found that 92% of victims depicted in the images were women. Moreover, for over a third of
the images (36%), the text accompanying the image revealed the perpetrator’s stated reason
for sharing the image with the most common being that the woman was an ‘ex’ (22%), the
woman was ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ (22%), or the woman was ‘a slut’ (15%), or unfaithful (6%) (Uhl
et al. 2018). These findings indicate that while some IBSA perpetration may indeed be
motivated by ‘revenge,’ in other instances, it may be more related to other motivations such
as status-seeking among online male-dominated communities.
A small number of studies have begun to explore attitudes towards IBSA perpetration
such as through participant responses to hypothetical scenarios and the potential inclination
of participants to seek revenge through the non-consensual distribution of intimate images
(e.g. Bothamley & Tully 2018; Hudson, Fetro & Ogletree 2014; Pina, Holland & James 2017;
Scott & Gavin 2018). For instance, in a study by Scott and Gavin (2018), when confronted
with two hypothetical scenarios (one in which the perpetrator was a man and the victim a
woman, and the other in which the perpetrator was a woman and the victim a man),
participants perceived IBSA to be more serious when the perpetrator was a man. Meanwhile,
Hudson, Fetro and Ogletree’s (2014) survey (n = 697) of young adults aged between 18 to19
years, recorded a statistically significant difference in attitudes towards the sending and
receiving of explicit images among women and men. They found that male participants held
more favorable attitudes towards sexting, as well as higher intentions to send sexually explicit
images than female participants. Finally, Pina, Holland and James (2017) found an
8
association between higher levels of ambivalent sexism, Machiavellianism, narcissism, and
psychopathy with a greater self-reported proclivity to engage in non-consensual sexual image
sharing. Though low numbers of male participants precluded a gender analysis in the study,
the authors note that the findings reflect those of broader sexual violence research in which
psychological characteristics such as sexism and narcissism are frequently found to be
associated both with perpetration, and to be higher among male participants.
In summary, there is currently only limited research into the extent and nature of IBSA
perpetration, and indeed the characteristics of IBSA perpetrators. Moreover, in all of the
survey studies mentioned here, some of which only included one IBSA perpetration item, the
primary focus is on the non-consensual sharing or distribution of nude or sexual images (or in
some cases, other text-based sexual material), and not on related forms of sexual image-based
perpetration. The limited number of studies conducted to date indicate a potential role of
gender and/or sexuality as predictors of IBSA perpetration. However, it is unclear what role
other factors (such as attitudinal and/or experiential characteristics) might have on the
likelihood of an individual engaging in perpetration behavior, and indeed how such factors
might interact with the key characteristics of interest as identified in the literature.
The Current Study
The current study represents one component of a larger research project into IBSA
victimization and perpetration. The project, funded by an Australian Criminology Research
Council Grant, aimed to examine the extent, nature, and impacts of IBSA, as well as the
effects of existing and proposed legislative reform in Australia. The project draws on a mixed
methods approach, including empirical data on victimization and perpetration, as well as the
experiences of key stakeholders (e.g. police, legal services, women’s information services,
domestic violence services, disability services, and sexual assault services). Here, we report
on findings from the perpetration component of this research project. In particular, this
9
component sought to investigate IBSA perpetration among a community sample of
Australian residents aged 16 to 49 years. This age range was selected for the study because it
represents both those at highest risk for sexual- and family- related violence (ABS 2012), as
well as the majority of mobile and Internet users (ACMA 2011). The current study therefore
aimed to examine: (1) the extent of self-reported IBSA perpetration, (2) the nature of self-
reported IBSA perpetration, and (3) the predictors of self-reported IBSA perpetration.
Method
Recruitment and Participants
Research Now, an online panel provider, invited 113,294 Australian residents to
participate in the research and 4,303 responded, representing a 3.8% response rate.
3
Of these
participants, 221 were excluded from the data analysis because of incomplete responses
regarding self-reported IBSA perpetration items and 29 were excluded because they
identified as transgender or non-binary gender (unfortunately, the number in this category
was insufficient for data analysis). The final sample comprised 4,053 Australian residents,
2,298 females and 1,755 males, with an average age of 34.55 years (SD = 8.95, range 16 to
49 years). The demographic characteristics of the final sample are presented in Table 1.
---Table 1 about here---
Overall, our sample compared favorably with the Australian Census on markers such as
gender (57% vs. 52% female) and indigeneity (97% vs. 97% non-Aboriginal), and languages
spoken other than English (16% vs. 21% other languages) (ABS 2017). However, it was
overrepresented by Australian born participants (88% vs. 74% Australian born), participants
with a high level of education (76% vs. 66% at least one non-school qualification), and
3
The low response rate was the consequence of difficulties recruiting men aged between 16 and 24 years.
10
participants with a lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) sexuality (88% vs. 97% heterosexual). It
was also slightly underrepresented by participants with a self-reported disability (12% vs.
18% assistance required) (ABS 2017).
All participants were informed that the purpose of the research was to examine attitudes
and experiences of sex, technology, and relationships. The research was approved by an
institutional ethics committee and two police ethical committees, following guidelines as
prescribed by the Australian National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.
Measures
In light of the very limited quantitative research into IBSA, a survey instrument was
developed by the research team that comprised a range of items including those pertaining to:
(1) demographic characteristics; (2) sexual image-based abuse myth acceptance; (3) online
dating behaviors; (4) sexual self-image behaviors; (5) IBSA victimization; (6) IBSA
perpetration; and (7) the nature of IBSA perpetration. The measures used for the purpose of
the current study are described below.
Demographic Characteristics
Participants were asked to complete the following items: gender (female, male),
sexuality (heterosexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian), age (in years), nativity (Australian born,
overseas born), languages spoken other than English (English only, other languages),
indigeneity (non-Aboriginal, Aboriginal), education (high school or less, trade certificate,
university/college, postgraduate/advanced degree), and disability (no assistance required,
assistance required). The survey instrument included three items regarding disability, one
relating to assistance with self-care activities, one relating to assistance with body movement
activities, and one relating to assistance with communication activities (no, yes sometimes,
yes always). A composite variable was first created by summing the number of ‘yes’
11
responses (yes sometimes and yes always) to the three original items (M = 0.27, SD = 0.80,
range 0 to 3). This composite variable was then used to create a dichotomous ‘disability’
variable for the purpose of data analysis.
Sexual Image-Based Abuse Myth Acceptance
The sexual image-based abuse myth acceptance (SIAMA) scale was developed by the
research team and modelled on rape myth acceptance (Payne, Lonsway & Fitzgerald 1999;
see also Powell & Webster 2018 for a review). It contains 18 items and asks participants
about their attitudes towards minimizing/excusing the harms and blaming the victims of
IBSA (see Table A1 of the Appendix). All items were rated on the same 7-point Likert scale
where 1 = ‘strongly disagree’ and 7 = ‘strongly agree’ (no labels were provided for points 2,
3, 4, 5, and 6 on the scale). The SIAMA scale has been found to have two components: the
‘minimize/excuse’ component contains 12 items (M = 2.30, SD = 1.33, range 1 to 7, α = .94)
and the ‘blame’ component contains six items (M = 3.70, SD = 1.65, range 1 to 7, α = .86).
The higher the score, the greater the minimizing/excusing of harms and blaming of victims of
IBSA.
Online Dating Behaviors
Participants self-reported whether they had ever engaged in or experienced nine
different online dating behaviors (see Table A2 of the Appendix). All items were rated on the
same 5-point Likert scale where 0 = ‘never,’ 1 = ‘rarely,’ 2 = ‘sometimes,’ 3 = ‘often,’ and 4
= ‘frequently.’ Principal component analysis with varimax rotation was performed to
examine the underlying structure of the nine items and one component was identified that
accounted for 67.55% of variance (α = .94). An average composite variable was first created
for the nine items (M = 0.82, SD = 0.91, range 0 to 4). This average composite variable was
12
then used to create a dichotomous ‘online dating behaviors’ variable for the purpose of data
analysis.
Sexual Self-Image Behaviors
Participants self-reported whether they had ever engaged in or experienced 11 different
sexual self-image behaviors (see Table A2 of the Appendix). Again, all items were rated on
the same 5-point Likert scale where 0 = ‘never,’ 1 = ‘rarely,’ 2 = ‘sometimes,’ 3 = ‘often,’
and 4 = ‘frequently.’ Principal component analysis with varimax rotation was performed and
one component was identified that accounted for 74.37% of variance (α = .97). An average
composite variable was first created for the 11 items (M = 0.52, SD = 0.83, range 0 to 4). This
average composite variable was then used to create a dichotomous ‘sexual self-image
behaviors’ variable for the purpose of data analysis.
IBSA Victimization
Participants self-reported whether they had ever (since 16 years of age) had a nude or
sexual image of themselves taken, distributed, and/or threatened to be distributed without
their consent. Participants responded to nine items relating to the content of the image for
each of the three IBSA victimization contexts (taken, distributed, and threatened), using a
dichotomous (yes, no) question format (see Table A3 of the Appendix). Three composite
variables were first created by summing the number of ‘yes’ responses to the nine content
items in each of the three contexts (IBSA victimization [taken]: M = 0.58, SD = 1.54, range 0
to 9; IBSA victimisation [distributed]: M = 0.34, SD = 1.25, range 0 to 9; IBSA victimization
[threatened]: M = 0.30, SD = 1.20, range 0 to 9). For the purpose of data analysis, these
composite variables were then used to create three dichotomous variables: ‘IBSA
13
victimization (taken)’; ‘IBSA victimization (distributed)’; and ‘IBSA victimization
(threatened).’
IBSA Perpetration
Participants self-reported whether they had ever (since 16 years of age) taken,
distributed, and/or threatened to distribute a nude or sexual image of another person without
their consent. Participants responded to eight items relating to the content of the image for
each of the three IBSA perpetration contexts (taken, distributed, and threatened), using a
dichotomous (yes, no) question format (see Table A3 of the Appendix). Three composite
variables were first created by summing the number of ‘yes’ responses to the eight content
items in each of the three contexts (IBSA perpetration [taken]: M = 0.32, SD = 1.26, range 0
to 8; IBSA victimization [distributed]: M = 0.27, SD = 1.19, range 0 to 8; IBSA victimization
[threatened]: M = 0.21, SD = 1.07, range 0 to 8). For the purpose of the descriptive and chi-
square analyses, these composite variables were then used to create three dichotomous IBSA
perpetration variables: ‘IBSA perpetration (taken)’; ‘IBSA perpetration (distributed)’; and
‘IBSA perpetration (threatened).’ An additional composite variable was created by summing
the number of ‘yes’ responses to all 24 content items (M = 0.81, SD = 3.28, range 0 to 24),
and this composite variable was used to create a dichotomous ‘IBSA perpetration’ variable
for the purpose of the logistic regression analyses.
Nature of IBSA Perpetration
Participants who self-reported taking, distributing, and/or threatening to distribute a
nude or sexual image of another person without their consent were asked to complete nature
items regarding their most recent IBSA perpetration experience. These items included victim
gender (i.e. the gender of the person/people in the nude or sexual image: female, male, female
and male, don’t know), and perpetrator-victim relationship (i.e. their relationship to the
14
person/people in the nude or sexual image: intimate partner or ex-partner, family member,
friend [known face to face], friend [known online only], work colleague or ex-work
colleague, acquaintance, stranger, or don’t know).
Data Analysis
Data analyses were conducted on the unweighted sample in three stages using IBM
SPSS Statistics Version 24. First, descriptive and chi-square analyses, with phi as a measure
of effect size, were performed to examine the extent of self-reported IBSA perpetration. Chi-
square analyses were performed to determine whether or not there were differences in IBSA
perpetration (taken, distributed, and threatened) according to participant gender and sexuality.
Additional chi-square analyses using 3-way crosstabulations were performed to determine
whether or not there were any significant interactions for gender and sexuality with regard to
the extent of IBSA perpetration. Second, descriptive and chi-square analyses, with phi and
Cramer’s V as measures of effect size, were performed to examine the nature of self-reported
IBSA perpetration. Chi-square analyses were performed to determine whether or not there
were differences in victim gender and perpetrator-victim relationship according to participant
gender and sexuality. Additional chi-square analyses using 3-way crosstabulations were then
performed to determine whether or not there were any significant interactions for gender and
sexuality with regard to the nature of IBSA perpetration.
Third, logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the predictors of self-
reported IBSA perpetration. Hosmer, Lemeshow, and Studivant’s (2013) seven step
‘purposeful selection’ model building process was used to examine the relationship between
15 participant characteristics and the dichotomous IBSA perpetration variable. The 15
participant characteristics comprised eight demographic characteristics (gender, sexuality,
age, nativity, languages spoken other than English, indigeneity, education, and disability),
two attitudinal characteristics (minimize/excuse and blame), and five experiential
15
characteristics (online dating behaviors, sexual self-image behaviors, IBSA victimization
[taken], IBSA victimization [distributed], and IBSA victimization [threatened]). The seven
steps comprised: 1) performing univariable analyses to identify participant characteristics
with p-values less than 0.25; 2) entering these participant characteristics into an initial model
and removing any characteristics with p-values less than 0.05; 3) determining whether any
removed participant characteristics should be re-entered into the model; 4) entering
participant characteristics originally excluded into the model to determine whether any have
p-values less than 0.05; 5) creating a main effects model; 6) identifying any significant
interaction terms and creating the final model; and 7) testing the adequacy and fit of the final
model (Hosmer et al 2013). A p-value of 0.25 was used during Step 1 because research
suggests use of a more traditional significance level (e.g. a p-value of 0.05) may fail to
identify important predictor variables (Bendel & Afifi 1977; Mickey & Greenland 1989).
Assumption testing was performed prior to assessment of the initial and final models. This
testing revealed that the sample size and multicolinearity assumptions were not violated.
With regard to outliers and influential cases, although there were outliers in the initial and
final models, assessment using Cook’s distance revealed that these outliers did not have an
undue influence on the models (Tabachnick & Fidell 2013).
Results
Extent of IBSA Perpetration
Overall, 11.1% of participants self-reported engaging in one or more of the 24 IBSA
perpetration behaviors during their lifetime. Behaviors involving the taking of a nude or
sexual image (8.7%) were the most common, followed by behaviors involving the
distribution of a nude or sexual image (6.4%), and behaviors involving threats to distribute a
16
nude or sexual image (4.9%). Table 2 presents the lifetime prevalence of self-reported IBSA
perpetration behaviors.
---Table 2 about here---
A series of chi-square analyses were performed to examine whether or not there were
significant differences in the lifetime prevalence of self-reported IBSA perpetration by
participant gender and sexuality. These analyses revealed that male participants were more
likely than female participants to self-report ever taking (12.0% vs. 6.2%), distributing (9.1%
vs. 4.4%), and/or threatening to distribute (7.0% vs. 3.3%) a nude or sexual image of another
person without their consent: χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 42.01, p < .001, φ = .10, χ2(1, n = 4,053) =
36.87, p < .001, φ = .10, and χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 28.44, p < .001, φ = .08 respectively. They
also revealed that LGB participants were more likely than heterosexual participants to self-
report ever taking (17.2% vs. 7.5%), distributing (13.7% vs. 5.4%) and/or threatening to
distribute (9.5% vs. 4.3%) a nude or sexual image of another person without their consent:
χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 49.62, p < .001, φ = .11, χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 47.59, p < .001, φ = .11, and
χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 24.23, p < .001, φ = .08 respectively. Additional chi-square analyses
confirmed that the significant findings for participant gender were consistent across the
categories of sexuality (heterosexual, LGB); that the significant findings for participant
sexuality were consistent across the categories of gender (female, male); and that there were
no significant interaction effects for participant gender and sexuality for the three IBSA
perpetration variables (taken, distributed, and threatened).
Nature of IBSA Perpetration
Of the 352 participants who self-reported ever taking a nude or sexual image, 43.5%
targeted females and 37.2% targeted males. Similarly, of the 259 participants who self-
17
reported ever distributing a nude or sexual image, 36.7% targeted females and 35.5% targeted
males. Finally, of the 198 participants who self-reported ever threatening to distribute a nude
or sexual image, 38.9% targeted females and 28.3% targeted males. The remaining
participants targeted both females and males, or did not know the gender of their victim.
Table 3 presents the lifetime prevalence of self-reported IBSA perpetration by victim gender
and perpetrator-victim relationship.
---Table 3 about here---
With regard to perpetrator-victim relationship, most participants who self-reported ever
taking a nude or sexual image targeted an intimate partner or ex-partner, a family member, or
a friend. For IBSA perpetration (taken), 40.1% of participants targeted an intimate partner or
ex-partner, 20.5% targeted a friend, and 20.2% targeted a family member. For IBSA
perpetration (distributed), 29.8% of participants targeted a friend, 22.8% targeted an intimate
partner or ex-partner, and 20.1% targeted a family member. Finally, for IBSA perpetration
(threatened), 34.8% of participants targeted a friend, 24.7% targeted a family member, and
22.2% targeted an intimate partner or ex-partner. The remaining participants targeted a work
colleague or ex-work colleague, an acquaintance, a stranger, or did not know the nature of
their relationship with the victim.
A series of chi-square analyses were performed to examine whether or not there were
significant differences with regard to the nature of self-reported perpetration (i.e., victim
gender and perpetrator-victim relationship) by participant gender and sexuality. These
analyses revealed that LGB participants were more likely than heterosexual participants to
take, distribute, and threaten to distribute a nude or sexual image of a male and less likely
than heterosexual participants to take, distribute, and threaten to distribute a nude or sexual
image of a female, χ2(3, n = 352) = 18.74, p < .001, φv = .23, χ2(3, n = 259) = 11.86, p = .008,
18
φv = .21, and χ2(3, n = 198) = 10.87, p = .012, φv = .23 respectively. There were no
significant differences for participant gender with regard to victim gender or perpetrator-
victim relationship, and no significant differences for participant sexuality with regard to
perpetrator-victim relationship. Additional chi-square analyses confirmed that the non-
significant findings for participant gender with regard to perpetrator-victim relationship were
consistent across the categories of sexuality (heterosexual, LGB), and that the non-significant
findings for participant sexuality with regard to perpetrator-victim relationship were
consistent across the categories of gender (female, male). However, these additional analyses
also revealed significant interaction effects for participant gender and sexuality with regard to
the three IBSA perpetration variables. This included that there were significant differences
for participant sexuality with regard to victim gender for male participants, but there were no
significant differences for participant sexuality with regard to victim gender for female
participants. LGB males were more likely to take a nude or sexual image of a male (73.7%
vs. 25.5%) and less likely to do the same of a female (14.0% vs. 50.3%) than heterosexual
males, χ2(3, n = 210) = 41.98, p < .001, φv = .45. LGB males were also more likely to
distribute a nude or sexual image of a male (63.8% vs. 28.6%) and less likely to do the same
of a female (14.9% vs. 42.9%) than heterosexual males, χ2(3, n = 159) = 19.48, p < .001, φv =
.35. Finally, LGB males were more likely to threaten to distribute a nude or sexual image of a
male (61.3% vs. 24.2%) and less likely than heterosexual males to do the same of a female
(16.1% vs. 41.8%) than heterosexual males, χ2(3, n = 122) = 14.86, p = .002, φv = .35.
Predictors of IBSA Perpetration
Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the relationship between 15
participant characteristics and the lifetime prevalence of self-reported IBSA perpetration.
Eight participant characteristics were demographic and included: gender, sexuality, age,
nativity, languages spoken other than English, indigeneity, education, and disability. Two
19
participant characteristics were attitudinal: minimize/excuse and blame. The remaining five
were experiential: online dating behaviors, sexual self-image behaviors, IBSA victimization
(taken), IBSA victimization (distributed), and IBSA victimization (threatened).
Univariable Analyses
A series of chi-square and t-test analyses were performed to identify which of the 15
participant characteristics to include in the initial model, and 12 characteristics were
identified. Five participant characteristics were demographic: gender, χ2(1, n = 4,053) =
42.44, p < .001, φ = .10, sexuality, χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 54.63, p < .001, φ = .12; age, t(527) = -
4.82, p < .001, d = .24; indigeneity, χ2(1, n = 4,046) = 82.78, p < .001, φ = .14; and disability,
χ2(1, n = 4,049) = 502.78, p < .001, φ = .35. Two participant characteristics were attitudinal:
minimize/excuse, t(458) = 15.76, p < .001, d = .92; and blame, t(533) = 8.52, p < .001, d =
.43. Five were experiential: online dating behaviors, χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 107.44, p < .001, φ =
.16; sexual self-image behaviors, χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 230.34, p < .001, φ = .24; IBSA
victimization (taken), χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 640.31, p < .001, φ = .40; IBSA victimization
(distributed), χ2(1, n =4,053) = 941.22, p < .001, φ = .48; and IBSA victimization
(threatened), χ2(1, n = 4,053) = 1133.20, p < .001, φ = .53. Three participant characteristics,
all demographic, did not reach the 0.25 level of significance and were therefore excluded
from the initial model: nativity, χ2(1, n = 4,047) = 0.59, p = .444, φ = .01; languages spoken
other than English, χ2(1, n = 4,051) = 0.06, p = .815, φ = .00; and education, χ2(3, n = 4,051)
= 0.49, p = .920, φv = .01. Table 4 presents frequencies and descriptives for the 15 participant
characteristics by lifetime prevalence of self-reported IBSA perpetration.
---Table 4 about here---
20
Logistic Regression Analyses
The initial model contained 12 participant characteristics and was statistically
significant, χ2(12, n = 4,042) = 944.14, p < .001. It correctly classified 93.4% of cases (98.8%
with no self-reported IBSA perpetration, 45.9% with self-reported IBSA perpetration) and
explained between 20.8% (Cox & Snell R square) and 43.3% (Nagelkerke R square) of
variance in the lifetime prevalence of self-reported IBSA perpetration. Four non-contributing
participant characteristics were removed from the model during Step 2, and no additional
characteristics or interaction effects were found to contribute to the creation of a
parsimonious model during Steps 3 to 7. The final model therefore contained eight participant
characteristics and was statistically significant, χ2 (8, n = 4,049) = 935.29, p < .001. It
correctly classified 93.4% of cases (98.7% with no self-reported IBSA perpetration, 46.1%
with self-reported IBSA perpetration) and explained between 20.6% (Cox & Snell R square)
and 42.9% (Nagelkerke R square) of variance in the lifetime prevalence of self-reported
IBSA perpetration. A summary of the initial and final models is presented in Table 5.
---Table 5 about here---
Overall three demographic characteristics were significant predictors of self-reported
IBSA perpetration. Male participants had 78% greater odds than female participants, and
LGB participants had 54% greater odds than heterosexual participants, to self-report having
engaged in IBSA perpetration (OR = 1.78, 95% CI = 1.37 to 2.31 and OR = 1.54, 95% CI =
1.11 to 2.13 respectively), controlling for other participant characteristics in the model.
Furthermore, participants with a self-reported disability had 106% greater odds than
participants without a self-reported disability to self-report having engaged in IBSA
perpetration (OR = 2.06, 95% CI = 1.49 to 2.86), controlling for other participant
characteristics in the model. One attitudinal characteristic was a significant predictor of self-
21
reported IBSA perpetration. A one-point increase in participants’ blame scores was
associated with 15% greater odds of self-reporting having engaged in IBSA perpetration (OR
= 1.15, 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.25), controlling for other participant characteristics in the model.
Finally, four experiential characteristics were significant predictors of self-reported
IBSA perpetration. Participants who had engaged in or experienced sexual self-image
behaviors had 210% greater odds than participants who had not engaged in or experienced
sexual self-image behaviors to self-report having engaged in IBSA perpetration (OR = 310,
95% CI = 2.19 to 4.38), controlling for other participant characteristics in the model.
Furthermore, participants who had a nude or sexual image of themselves taken without their
consent had 178% greater odds than participants who had not experienced this subtype of
victimization to self-report having engaged in IBSA perpetration (OR = 2.78, 95% CI = 2.05
to 3.77), controlling for other participant characteristics in the model. Similarly, participants
who had a nude or sexual image of themselves distributed without their consent had 135%
greater odds than participants who had not experienced this subtype of victimization to self-
report having engaged in IBSA perpetration, and participants who had a nude or sexual image
of themselves threatened to be distributed without their consent had 367% greater odds than
participants who had not experienced this subtype of victimization to self-report having
engaged in IBSA perpetration (OR = 2.35, 95% CI = 1.60 to 3.44 and OR = 4.67, 95% CI =
3.17 to 6.87 respectively), controlling for other participant characteristics in the model.
Discussion and Implications
This article has presented data on the first international study that specifically
investigates the extent and nature of IBSA perpetration in a community sample of Australian
residents (aged 16 to 49 years). With regard to the extent and nature of IBSA perpetration, we
found that 1 in 10 participants self-reported having engaged in at least one of the 24 IBSA
behaviors surveyed. Males were significantly more likely than females to self-disclose
22
engaging in IBSA perpetration behaviors. Perpetrators were similarly likely to report that
their victim was female as male, which is broadly consistent with the limited available
research into IBSA victimization by gender (Gámez-Guadix et al. 2015; Lenhart, Ybarra &
Price-Feeney 2016; Reed, Tolman & Ward 2016; Henry, Powell & Flynn, 2017). Sexuality
was a significant finding in relation to perpetration, with LGB participants more likely than
heterosexual participants to self-report perpetration of any IBSA perpetration behavior. These
findings suggest that as in other forms of intimate aggression, gender and sexuality are
particularly relevant in understanding the extent and nature of IBSA experiences.
Male and female perpetrators were also more likely to report that the victim was an
intimate partner or ex-partner, family member or friend, than a stranger or acquaintance. In
practical terms, the vast majority of victims were known to the perpetrator in some way, and
a substantial proportion of these (approximately half) were intimate partners or ex-partners.
What this suggests is that IBSA perpetration represents both a method of harassment or abuse
in the context of intimate relationships, and of harassment or abuse in non-partner contexts of
family relationships and friendships. Importantly, such a finding may indicate that multiple
strategies for responding to and preventing IBSA in these different relational contexts may be
needed.
With regard to potential predictors of IBSA perpetration, 8 of the original 15 participant
characteristics were found to relate to the lifetime prevalence of self-reported IBSA
perpetration. Demographic characteristics included gender, sexuality and disability, whereby
males, LGB participants and participants with a self-reported disability were more likely to
have engaged in some form of IBSA perpetration during their lifetime. Attitudinally,
participants who accepted sexual image-based abuse myths and blamed victims of IBSA for
the harms they experience were more likely to have engaged in IBSA perpetration. This
finding is broadly consistent with the much more developed field of attitudinal research as
related to other forms of sexual aggression, including rape myths, as discussed at the outset of
23
this paper (see Payne, Lonsway & Fitzgerald 1999; Pina et al. 2017; Powell & Webster
2018).
The most noteworthy finding reported in this study is the strength of the relationship
between participants having experienced IBSA victimization and reporting engaging in IBSA
perpetration themselves. Experiential characteristics included sexual self-image behaviors
and three measures of IBSA victimization, whereby participants who engaged in or
experienced sexual self-image behaviors, as well as participants who had a nude or sexual
image of themselves taken, distributed, and/or threatened to be distributed without their
consent were more likely to have engaged in some form of IBSA perpetration during their
lifetime. Care should be taken, however, to avoid inferring a causal relationship between
these characteristics. Rather, this study adds substantially to related findings on IBSA
victimization, which suggest that both of these experiences occur within a broader context of
sexual image-taking and/or sharing. It is vital to note that self-reported rates of both IBSA
perpetration (1 in 10 reported here), and victimization (1 in 5, see Henry, Powell & Flynn,
2017) are much lower than participation in sexual selfie behaviors overall. In other words,
although engaging in sexual self-imagery behaviors, perhaps unsurprisingly, increases the
odds of either perpetration or victimization experiences (as might be anticipated through the
increased potential for misuse of a nude or sexual image), a majority of participants engage in
sexual self-imagery behaviors and do not engage in IBSA perpetration, nor do they
experience IBSA victimization. Such findings have important implications for policy
responses and particularly prevention of IBSA.
Specifically, in seeking to prevent IBSA perpetration, the findings reported here
suggest that sexual self-image taking and exchanging is common among the 16 to 49 year-
olds surveyed. As such, prevention education which is foremost directed at abstaining from
sexual self-image taking and exchanging is at odds with the majority of participants’ lived
experiences. Rather, prevention may be better directed at, for example, education regarding
24
safer sexual self-image practices as well as the unethical (and indeed increasingly criminal)
nature of sharing nude or sexual images without another person’s consent. Importantly, such
education would appear to be relevant for the broader general community of young and
middle-aged adults, at least in the Australian context.
Despite the advances represented by the present study, there are some limitations that
should be mentioned to guide future research efforts. First, this study involved a non-
generalizable community sample recruited via an online panel. While online panel providers
make efforts at recruiting a diverse population, some research suggests that online panel
samples may under-represent some subgroups compared with others (AAPOR 2010). Indeed,
as acknowledged in this article, our sample was overrepresented by Australian born
participants, participants with a high level of education, and participants with a LGB
sexuality (according to Census data from the ABS 2017). Future research should thus seek to
validate these findings among a more representative sample of the general population and
further examine the experiences of different subgroups.
Second, in light of the approximately 1 in 10 IBSA perpetration rate reported here, even
our relatively large sample of over 4,000 participants precluded robust comparative analyses
of perpetrator subgroups (such as between genders within specific age groups, or by
sexuality), in which participant numbers became too low. As such, future research should
consider sampling strategies that provide sufficient participant numbers of self-reported IBSA
perpetrators so as to allow for such subgroup comparative analyses.
Third, while this survey has provided unique insights into the possible extent, as well as
the nature of IBSA perpetration, there are limitations to understanding the experiences,
perspectives, and motivations of IBSA perpetrators. In particular, if community education
and prevention initiatives are to be developed, an in-depth understanding of the contexts and
rationalizations of IBSA perpetration would be highly valuable to policy and program
development.
25
A fourth area for future research might thus comprise qualitative fieldwork with those
engaged in IBSA perpetration behaviors. Though, it should be noted, such research is
difficult to operationalize in practice and studies in other areas of sexual offending are often
limited to forensic samples due in part to the challenges in recruiting perpetrators. Given the
rate of disclosure in this anonymous online survey method, it is possible that an anonymous
online or digital interview method might be better suited than traditional face-to-face
interviews for addressing this important research gap. There is also a potentially important
role of those who may be sent a sexual or nude image of another person without their
consent, that has not been explored in detail in this study and represents a valuable area for
future research, particularly given the possible prevention opportunities of improving
‘bystander’ interventions in IBSA.
Finally, attitudes minimizing or excusing IBSA, and blaming the victim, were
significant in the overall model predicting IBSA perpetration, and as such, are worthy of
further investigation. In particular, it may be that attitudes towards IBSA share patterns in
common with other forms of sexual aggression (see e.g. Pina et al. 2017). Future research
might further examine the nature of potential inter-relationships between gender, IBSA
supportive attitudes, sexist ideology, proclivity, and self-reported perpetration behaviors.
Conclusion
The findings of this study suggest several important directions for policy, and indeed
prevention, in order to address IBSA perpetration. While much prevention education material
to date has been focused on school-age young people, this study suggests that prevention and
legal education may well benefit from being tailored for the specific contexts of different
perpetrator subgroups, with particular patterns of IBSA perpetration emerging according to
demographic characteristics, such as gender, sexuality, disability, and indigeneity. However,
given the overlap between IBSA perpetration and victimization reported here, it is important
26
to address referral and support information in ways that take care not to blame or minimize
the harms experienced by victims, while at the same time not excusing the behaviors of
perpetrators. Rather, both of these groups within the community may benefit from referral,
support, and legal information pathways. While no direction can be attributed to the
relationship between IBSA perpetration and victimization found here, it is possible that one
may be a response or reaction to the other. In the Australian legal context in which
recognition and/or redress options for IBSA are variable across jurisdictions, and either not
effectively utilized or their effectiveness remains somewhat unknown, it may well be the case
that neither victims nor perpetrators of IBSA are fully aware of the potential legal
consequences of the non-consensual taking, distributing, and/or making of threats to
distribute nude or sexual images.
There is a clear need to continue to examine and understand the varied contexts and
subgroups engaged in, and affected by, IBSA. As countries globally continue to grapple with
the extent, nature, impacts, and legal ramifications of IBSA, it is crucial that policy,
prevention, as well as legal and other supports, are targeted appropriately to those who need
them most.
27
References
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2012. Personal Safety Survey. Canberra: Australian
Bureau of Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017. 2016 Census. Canberra: Australian Bureau of
Statistics. Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/Census
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) 2011. Communications Report
2010–11 Series: The emerging mobile telecommunications service market in Australia.
Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) 2010. Research synthesis
AAPOR report on online panels. Public Opinion Quarterly 74(4): 711-781.
Bendel, RB & Afifi AA 1977). Comparison of stopping rules in forward regression. Journal
of the American Statistical Association 72: 46-53.
Bothamley S & Tully R J 2018. Understanding revenge pornography: Public perceptions of
revenge pornography and victim blaming. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace
Research, 10, 1-10.
Citron DK & Franks MA 2014. Criminalizing revenge porn. Wake Forest Law Review 49(2):
345–391.
Crofts T, Lee M, McGovern A & Milivojevic S 2015. Sexting and young people. London,
UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) 2014. End revenge porn: A campaign of the Cyber Civil
Rights Initiative. https://www.cybercivilrights.org/wp-
content/uploads/2014/12/RPStatistics.pdf
DeKeseredy WS, Schwartz MD 2016. Thinking sociologically about image-based sexual
abuse: The contribution of male peer support theory. Sexualization, Media, & Society
2(4): 2374623816684692.
28
Gámez-Guadix M, Almendros C, Borrajo E & Calvete E 2015. Prevalence and association of
sexting and online sexual victimization among Spanish adults. Sexuality Research and
Social Policy 12(2): 145-154.
Garcia, JR, Gesselman AN, Siliman SA, Perry B. L, Coe K & Fisher HE 2016. Sexting
among singles in the USA: Prevalence of sending, receiving, and sharing sexual
messages and images. Sexual Health 13(5): 428-435.
Hall M & Hearn J 2017. Revenge pornography and manhood acts: a discourse analysis of
perpetrators’ accounts. Journal of Gender Studies, OnlineFirst, 1-13.
Henry N, Powell A & Flynn A 2017. Not just ‘revenge pornography’: Australians’
experiences of image-based abuse. A summary Report. Melbourne: RMIT University.
Hosmer, DW, Jr Lemeshow S & Sturdivant RX 2013. Applied logistic regression (3rd ed).
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Hudson H, Fetro J & Ogletree R 2014. Behaviorial indicators and behaviors related to sexting
among undergraduate students. American Journal of Health Education 45(3): 183-195.
Lenhart A, Ybarra M & Price-Feeney M 2016. Online harassment, digital abuse and
cyberstalking in America.
https://www.datasociety.net/pubs/oh/Online_Harassment_2016.pdf
Payne DL, Lonsway KA & Fitzgerald LF 1999. Rape myth acceptance: Exploration of its
structure and its measurement using the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. Journal
of Research in Personality 33(1): 27-68.
McGlynn C & Rackley E 2017. Image-based sexual abuse. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies
37(3): 534-561.
McGlynn C, Rackley E & Houghton R 2017. Beyond ‘revenge porn’: The continuum of
image-based sexual abuse. Feminist Legal Studies 25(1): 25-46.
Mickey J & Greenland S 1989. A study of the impact of confounder-selection criteria on
effect estimation. American Journal of Epidemiology 129: 125-137.
29
Morelli M, Bianchi D, Baiocco R, Pezzuti L & Chirumbolo A 2016. Sexting, psychological
distress and dating violence among adolescents and young adults. Psicothema 28(2):
137-142.
Patrick K, Heywood W, Pitts M & Mitchell A 2015. Demographic and behavioural correlates
of six sexting behaviours among Australian secondary school students. Sexual Health
12(6): 480-487.
Pina A, Holland JE & James M 2017. The malevolent side of revenge porn proclivity: Dark
personality traits and sexist ideology. International Journal of Technoethics 8(1): 30-
43.
Poole E 2015. Fighting back against non-consensual pornography. University of San
Fransisco Law Review, 49, 181-214.
Powell A & Henry N 2017. Sexual violence in a digital age. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave
Macmillan.
Powell A & Henry, N 2016. Technology-facilitated sexual violence victimization: Results
from an online survey of Australian adults. Journal of interpersonal violence
(OnlineFirst).
Powell A, Henry, N & Flynn A 2018. Image-based sexual abuse, in DeKeseredy WS,
Rennison CM & Hall-Sanchez AK (eds), The Routledge international handbook of
violence studies. New York: Routledge: 305-315.
Powell A & Webster K 2018. Cultures of gendered violence: An integrative review of
measures of attitudinal support for violence against women. Australian & New Zealand
Journal of Criminology 51(1): 40-57.
Priebe G & Svedin CG 2012. Online or off-line victimization and psychological well-being: a
comparison of sexual-minority and heterosexual youth. European Child & Adolescent
Psychiatry 21(10): 569-582.
30
Reed L, Tolman R & Ward M 2016. Snooping and sexting: Digital media as a context for
dating aggression and abuse among college students. Violence Against Women 22(13):
1556-1576.
Salter M & Crofts T 2015. Responding to revenge porn: Challenges to online immunity, in
Comella L & Tarrant S (eds), New views on pornography: Sexuality, politics and the
law. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishers: 233–253.
Scott AJ & Gavin J 2018. Revenge pornography: The influence of perpetrator-victim sex,
observer sex and observer sexting experience on perceptions of seriousness and
responsibility. Journal of Criminal Psychology 8(2): 162-172.
Stanley N, Barter C, Wood M, Aghtaie N, Larkins C, Lanau A & Överlien C 2018.
Pornography, sexual coercion and abuse and sexting in young people’s intimate
relationships: a European study. Journal of interpersonal violence, 33(19): 2919-2944.
Strohmaier H, Murphy M & DeMatteo D 2014. Youth sexting: Prevalence rates, driving
motivations, and the deterrent effect of legal consequences. Sexuality Research and
Social Policy 11: 245-255.
Suzor NP, Seignior B & Singleton J 2017. Non-consensual porn and the responsibilities of
online intermediaries. Melbourne University Law Review 40(3): 1057-1097.
Tabachnick BG & Fidell LS 2013. Using multivariate statistics (6th ed). Sydney: Pearson.
Thompson MP & Morrison DJ 2013. Prospective predictors of technology-based sexual
coercion by college males. Psychology of Violence 3(3): 233-246.
Uhl CA, Rhyner KJ, Terrance CA & Lugo NR 2018. An examination of nonconsensual
pornography websites. Feminism & Psychology 28(1): 50-68.
Villacampa C 2017. Teen sexting: Prevalence, characteristics and legal treatment.
International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 49, 10-21.
31
Walker K & Sleath E 2017. A systematic review of the current knowledge regarding revenge
pornography and non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit media. Aggression and
Violent Behavior 36: 9-24.
Wood M, Barter C, Stanley N, Aghtaie N & Larkins C 2015. Images across Europe: The
sending and receiving of sexual images and associations with interpersonal violence in
young people’s relationships. Children and Youth Services Review 59: 149-160.
32
Table 1
Demographic characteristics
%
n
56.7
2298
43.3
1755
88.3
3577
11.7
476
76.7
3105
23.3
942
83.5
3384
16.5
667
97.5
3943
2.5
103
24.0
973
25.9
1050
32.8
1330
17.2
698
87.9
3559
12.1
490
Note. Six participants did not respond to the nativity item, two participants did not respond to the languages
other than English item, seven participants did not respond to the indigeneity item, two participants did not
respond to the education item, and four participants did not respond to the disability item.
33
Table 2
Lifetime Prevalence of Self-Reported IBSA Perpetration Behaviors
Taken
% (n)
Distributed
% (n)
Threatened
% (n)
IBSA perpetration
Where they were partially clothed or semi-nude
6.5 (263)
5.1 (208)
3.8 (152)
Where the persons breasts, including their nipples, were visible
4.6 (186)
3.4 (139)
3.1 (125)
Where they were completely nude
4.4 (180)
3.6 (146)
2.6 (107)
Where the persons genitals were visible
3.8 (155)
3.4 (138)
2.5 (101)
Where they were engaged in a sex act
3.6 (145)
3.2 (128)
2.5 (101)
Where they were showering, bathing or toileting
3.8 (152)
2.9 (116)
2.4 (99)
Which was up their skirt (e.g. up-skirting)
3.1 (125)
2.7 (108)
2.1 (85)
Which was of their cleavage (e.g. down-blousing)
2.7 (111)
2.6 (104)
2.2 (89)
Any nude/sexual images taken
8.7 (352)
6.4 (259)
4.9 (198)
34
Table 3
Lifetime Prevalence of Self-Reported IBSA Perpetration by Participant Gender and Perpetrator-Victim
Relationship
Taken
% (n)
Distributed
% (n)
Threatened
% (n)
Victim gender
Female
43.5 (153)
36.7 (95)
38.9 (77)
Male
37.2 (131)
35.5 (92)
28.3 (56)
Female and male
10.8 (38)
17.4 (45)
21.7 (43)
Dont know
8.5 (30)
10.4 (27)
11.1 (22)
Perpetrator-victim relationship
Intimate partner or ex-partner
40.1 (141)
22.8 (59)
22.2 (44)
Family member
20.2 (71)
20.1 (52)
24.7 (49)
Friend (known face-to-face)
19.0 (67)
17.4 (45)
22.7 (45)
Friend (known online only)
6.0 (21)
12.4 (32)
12.1 (24)
Work colleague or ex-work colleague
4.0 (14)
5.4 (14)
5.1 (10)
Acquaintance
2.3 (8)
5.4 (14)
7.1 (14)
Stranger or dont know
8.5 (30)
16.6 (43)
6.1 (12)
35
Table 4
Frequencies and Descriptives for the 15 Participant Characteristics by Lifetime Prevalence of Self-Reported
IBSA Perpetration
Yes
No
Total
%
n
%
n
%
n
Demographic characteristics
Gender
Female
7.4
171
92.6
2127
100.0
2298
Male
13.7
240
86.3
1515
100.0
1755
Sexuality
Heterosexual
8.9
317
91.1
3260
100.0
3577
LGB
19.7
94
80.3
382
100.0
476
Nativity
Australian born
10.3
320
89.7
2785
100.0
3105
Overseas born
9.4
89
90.6
853
100.0
942
Languages spoken other than English
English only
10.2
345
89.8
3039
100.0
3384
Other languages
9.9
66
90.1
601
100.0
667
Indigeneity
Non-Aboriginal
9.5
373
90.5
3570
100.0
3943
Aboriginal
36.9
38
63.1
65
100.0
103
Education
High school or less
9.8
95
90.2
878
100.0
973
Trade certificate
10.0
105
90.0
945
100.0
1050
University/college
10.6
141
89.4
1189
100.0
1330
Postgraduate/advanced degree
10.0
70
90.0
628
100.0
698
Disability
No assistance required
6.2
220
93.8
3339
100.0
3559
Assistance required
38.8
190
61.2
300
100.0
490
36
Experiential characteristics
Online dating behaviors
No
2.0
21
98.0
1053
100.0
1074
Yes, one or more
13.1
390
86.9
2589
100.0
2979
Sexual self-image behaviors
No
2.4
45
97.6
1833
100.0
1878
Yes, one or more
16.8
366
83.2
1809
100.0
2175
IBSA victimization (taken)
No
4.3
140
95.7
3132
100.0
3272
Yes
34.7
271
65.3
510
100.0
781
IBSA victimization (distributed)
No
5.3
194
94.7
3457
100.0
3651
Yes
54.0
217
46.0
185
100.0
402
IBSA victimization (threatened)
No
5.4
202
94.6
3525
100.0
3727
Yes
64.1
209
35.9
117
100.0
326
Yes
No
Total
M
SD
M
SD
M
SD
Demographic characteristics
Age
32.68
8.23
34.76
9.01
34.55
8.95
Attitudinal characteristics
Minimize/excuse
3.51
1.69
2.16
1.20
2.30
1.33
Blame
4.30
1.48
3.63
1.66
3.70
1.65
37
Table 5
Summary of the Initial and Final Logistic Regression Models Predicting Lifetime Prevalence of Self-Reported IBSA Perpetration
B
SE
p
OR
95% CI
B
SE
p
OR
95% CI
Demographic characteristics
Gender
0.53
.14
<.001
1.71
[1.31, 2.23]
0.57
.13
<.001
1.78
[1.37, 2.31]
Sexuality
0.42
.17
.012
1.52
[1.10, 2.11]
0.43
.17
.010
1.54
[1.11, 2.13]
Age
0.01
.01
.462
1.01
[0.99, 1.02]
-
-
-
-
-
Indigeneity
0.49
.32
.120
1.64
[0.88, 3.06]
-
-
-
-
-
Disability
0.60
.18
.001
1.83
[1.29, 2.59]
0.72
0.17
<.001
2.06
[1.49, 2.86]
Attitudinal characteristics
Minimize/excuse
0.10
.06
.102
1.10
[0.98, 1.24]
-
-
-
-
-
Blame
0.09
.05
.071
1.10
[0.99, 1.21]
0.14
.04
.001
1.15
[1.06, 1.25]
Experiential characteristics
Online dating behaviors
0.49
.27
.072
1.63
[0.96, 2.78]
-
-
-
-
-
Sexual self-image behaviors
0.89
.20
<.001
2.44
[1.64, 3.62]
1.13
.18
<.001
3.10
[2.19, 4.38]
IBSA victimization (taken)
1.03
.16
<.001
2.79
[2.05, 3.78]
1.02
.16
<.001
2.78
[2.05, 3.77]
IBSA victimization (distributed)
1.50
.20
<.001
4.47
[3.02, 6.61]
0.83
.20
<.001
2.35
[1.60, 3.44]
IBSA victimization (threatened)
0.80
.20
<.001
2.23
[1.51, 3.29]
1.54
.20
<.001
4.67
[3.17, 6.87]
38
Note. Reference categories: gender = female, sexuality = heterosexual, indigeneity = non-Aboriginal, disability = no assistance required, online dating behaviors = no, sexual
self-image behaviors = no, IBSA victimization (taken) = no, IBSA victimization (distributed) = no, IBSA victimization (threatened) = no.
39
Appendix
Table A1
Sexual Image-Based Abuse Myth Acceptance (SIAMA) Scale Items
Minimize/excuse
1. Women should be flattered if a partner or ex-partner shows nude pics of her to some close friends
2. A woman should share a nude image of herself with her partner, even if she doesnt really want to, for
the good of the relationship
3. If a guy shares a nude or sexual pic of his partner with his friends when hes drunk, he cant really be
held responsible
4. A man shouldnt get upset if his partner sends nude pics of him to others
5. Although most women wouldnt admit it, they generally find it a turn-on for a guy to share nude pics of
her with his mates
6. A woman shouldnt get upset if her partner sends nude pics of her to others
7. If a woman shows her friends a nude or sexual image of her partner, it just shows how proud she is of
him
8. Its only natural for a guy to brag to his mates by showing them a nude or sexual image of his partner
9. If a woman is willing to send a nude or sexual image to a man she just met, then its no big deal if he
goes a little further by showing it to his mates
10. Women tend to exaggerate how much it affects them if a nude or sexual image of them gets out online
11. A mans reputation is boosted among his mates if he shares nude pics of a sexual partner
12. Men dont usually mean to pressure a partner into sending nude pics, but sometimes they get too sexually
carried away
Blame
1. If a person sends a nude or sexual image to someone else, then they are at least partly responsible if the
image ends up online
2. A woman who sends a nude or sexual image to her partner, should not be surprised if the image ends up
online
3. If a man sends a nude or sexual image to someone he just met, he should not be surprised if the image
ends up online
40
4. Celebrities and well-known media personalities who take sexy images of themselves should not expect
that those images will remain private
5. People should know better than to take nude selfies in the first place, even if they never send them to
anyone
6. If a man sends a nude or sexual image to a partner, he cant expect it will remain private
41
Table A2
Online Dating and Sexual Self-Image Behavior items
Online dating behaviors
1. Flirted with someone online
2. Asked someone out online for a first date
3. Asked someone out by sending them a text message or email
4. Used the internet or email to maintain a long-distance romantic relationship
5. Used an online dating website
6. Used a dating or hook-up app on your mobile phone
7. Asked someone you first met online to meet-up for sex
8. Went on a date with someone you met through an online dating website or app
9. Sent someone a flirty or sexy text or chat message
Sexual self-image behaviors
1. Sent a nude or sexual photo or video of yourself to a current sexual partner
2. Sent a nude or sexual photo or video of yourself to a person you only knew online
3. Sent someone you just met a nude or sexual photo or video to flirt with them
4. Let a sexual partner or date take a nude or sexual photo or video of you
5. Asked someone to send you a nude or sexual photo or video
6. Made a nude or sexy video with a sexual partner
7. Sent someone a nude or sexual photo or video when you didnt really want to
8. Felt pressured to send a nude or sexual photo or video when you really didnt want to
9. Received a nude or sexual photo or video of another person when you hadnt requested it (not including
spam)
10. Received a photo or video of someones genitals when you hadnt requested it (not including spam)
11. Discovered that an image was drawn, photoshoppedor manipulated to represent you in a sexual way
42
Table A3
The Nine IBSA Victimization and Eight Perpetration Items relating to the Content of the Nude or Sexual Image
Nine IBSA victimization items
1. Where you are partially clothed
2. Where your breasts, including your nipples, are visible
3. Where you are completely nude
4. Where your genitals are visible
5. Where you are engaged in a sex act
6. Where you are showering, bathing or toileting
7. Which is of a sex act that you did not agree to
8. Which is up your skirt (e.g., up-skirting’)
9. Which is of your cleavage (e.g., down-blousing’)
Eight IBSA perpetration items
1. Where they were partially clothed or semi-nude
2. Where the persons breasts, including their nipples, were visible
3. Where they were completely nude
4. Where the persons genitals were visible
5. Where they were engaged in a sex act
6. Where they were showing bathing or toileting
7. Which was up their skirt (e.g., up-skirting’)
8. Which was of their cleavage (e.g., down-blousing’)
Note. Only those participants who identified as female (or non-binary gender) were provided IBSA
victimization items 2, 8 and 9.
... With a variety of social media sites and texting/dating applications (Apps), young individuals use these mediums to find romantic partners and manage conflict within the intimate relationship (Burke et al., 2011). Indeed, cyberspace is a newer avenue to control and abuse intimate partners, with studies exploring the use of technology to maintain coercive control over an intimate partner when there are no physical interactions (digital coercive control; Woodlock, 2017) or produce and share sexual images without the partner's permission (imagebased sexual abuse; Powell et al., 2019). Yet, studies on the use of technology to perpetrate violence against an intimate partner are mostly focused on individuals that self-identify as non-Hispanic White (Caridade & Braga, 2020), and to a lesser extent on ethnically diverse populations, such as Hispanics (Cantu & Charak, 2022), or LGBTQ+ (Charak et al., 2019;Trujillo et al., 2020). ...
... In the present study, cyber IPV has been defined as a range of acts committed using technology, such as phones, e-mail, or social media (e.g., Facebook, What-sApp) that are intended to cause harm or to control a partner (Watkins et al., 2018). Cyber IPV is a multidimensional phenomenon that includes different types of behaviors, such as psychological aggression (i.e., sending information to emotionally hurt an intimate partner; Leisring & Giumetti, 2014), sexual aggression (i.e., pressure to send sexual material; Powell et al., 2019), and stalking behaviors (i.e., tracking location without the partner's permission; Woodlock, 2017). Considering that the use of technology is especially salient among young individuals, it is not surprising that emerging adults exhibit high rates of cyber victimization (ranging from 18.0% to 73.0%; Marganski & Melander, 2018;Watkins et al., 2018) and cyber perpetration (ranging from 10.8% to 80%, Watkins et al., 2018). ...
... Latent classes were divided into five types with different probabilities of bidirectional cyber IPV. This finding indicated the multidimensional nature of cyber IPV, in line with studies that explore the use of technology for stalking/control (Woodlock, 2017), psychological abuse (Leisring, & Giumetti, 2014), and sexual coercion (Powell et al., 2019). Furthermore, cyber sexual IPV was present only in the class with higher probabilities of cyber psychological and stalking IPV, indicating that this type of behavior may not occur in isolation and is a part of a more complex dynamic representing an escalation of violence (Eaton et al., 2021). ...
Full-text available
Article
PurposeTechnology and social media provide new opportunities to commit violence against an intimate partner (IPV). The present study aimed to investigate the patterns of exposure to cyber IPV perpetration and victimization types, related risk factors (i.e., adverse experiences during childhood) and mental health correlates among Hispanic emerging adults.MethodA three-step latent class analysis was performed in a sample of 1,113 Hispanic emerging adults in the age range 18 to 29 years (M = 20.53 years, SD = 2.47).ResultsA five-class solution was found to be optimal, and the latent classes were labeled as low cyber, cyberstalking IPV, cyber psychological IPV, cyberstalking and psychological IPV, and high cyber IPV victimization and perpetration. Individuals with higher mean scores on childhood maltreatment and witnessing parental violence were more likely to be in the class with higher probabilities of cyber IPV victimization and perpetration. Furthermore, those in the cyber IPV victimization and perpetration class had higher means on symptoms of depression and alcohol use.Conclusions Latent classes showed bidirectional cyber IPV with varying probabilities of exposure to victimization and perpetration. Findings are in line with the cumulative risk hypothesis as results showed that exposure to multiple traumatic childhood experiences and cyber IPV accumulate and have a detrimental effect on the mental health correlates. Intervention and preventative strategies should address the impact of hazardous use of technology on intimate relationships and mental health correlates.
... Approximately 53% of their participants reported that they had experienced online sexual harassment, with the number increasing to 68.1% when only focusing on females (Snaychuk & O'Neill, 2020). In a study by Powell et al. (2018), where 11.1% (n = 411) of the participants reported having been involved in some form of perpetration of IBSA during their lifetime, men significantly assumed more IBSA perpetration, when compared to women. Data were collected with the use of a national online survey of self-reported lifetime IBSA perpetration in Australia (n = 4,053). ...
... During this pandemic, violence against women has intensified (UN Women, 2020a; UN Women, Quilt.AI & UNFPA, 2021), and risks of hate crimes against LGBT+ and gender-diverse persons, such as harmful exposure on social media, have increased (Council of Europe, 2020;OHCHR, 2020). In addition, and as supported by Powell et al. (2018), the results of this study show that gender and sexuality are particularly relevant variables for understanding the extent and nature of TFSV experiences. ...
Article
Despite the growing attention to Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence (TFSV) experienced by adults, this is still an underexplored topic. This study involved a sample of 289 adults (aged 18 to 56), focusing on reported indicators of TFSV in a year dominated by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Reports of TFSV victimization were analyzed using an existing 21-item scale that encompassed four TFSV dimensions: i) digital sexual harassment; ii) image-based sexual abuse (IBSA); iii) sexual aggression and/or coercion; and iv) gender and/or sexuality-based harassment. While examining the experience of one or more TFSV behaviors by independent socio-demographic variables (e.g., gender, age, or sexuality), the results showed that women were significantly more likely than men to report several forms of sexual harassment victimization. LGB+-identifying adults were significantly more likely than heterosexual-identifying respondents to report 11 behaviors from the used TFSV victimization scale. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many types of violence against women and the LGBT+ community have been intensified, and this study indicates TFSV as no exception to that. The results show gendered patterns in online sexual victimization, as well as in the nature of TFSV. These findings indicate the importance of considering additional institutional measures to prevent this phenomenon.
... Consistent among these studies is a higher rate among people who are gender and sexuality diverse, mirroring the victimisation experiences of other forms of sexual violence. Research has also Method Survey Informed by our previous research (Henry et al., 2017;Henry et al., 2019b;Powell et al., 2019), a survey was conducted in mid-2019 with 6109 general population respondents aged 16 to 64 years from the UK (n = 2028), Australia (n = 2054) and ANZ (n = 2027). Respondents were recruited by a non-probability online sample provider (Qualtrics Panels). ...
Article
Image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) is a growing, global problem. This article reports on a mixed-methods, multi-jurisdictional study of IBSA across the United Kingdom, Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Attitudes of blame and minimisation of harms among a sample of the general population ( n = 6109) were analysed using two multiple regression analyses that assessed the ability of three demographic and three experiential characteristics to predict attitudes. Interviews were also conducted with 43 stakeholders and analysed thematically. Survey respondents who attributed more blame and minimised harms to a greater extent tended to be men, heterosexual, and had experienced or perpetrated more IBSA behaviours. Those who reported greater engagement in sexual self-image behaviours were also more likely to minimise harms. Interview participants suggested attitudes of blame and minimisation may be linked to broader problematic attitudes around sexual violence and sexual double standards, with women more likely to experience blame for IBSA. Our findings are of international relevance and highlight the need for multifaceted policies, education campaigns and training that challenge these attitudes.
Article
Importance: Sexual abuse is increasingly facilitated by technology, but the prevalence and dynamics of such offenses have not been well delineated, making it difficult to design prevention strategies. Objective: To examine the frequency and characteristics of online and technology-facilitated sexual abuse against children and youth. Design, setting, and participants: In this nationally representative online survey study performed from November 19 to December 29, 2021, young adults aged 18 to 28 years were asked retrospectively about their childhood (<18 years) experiences of online and technology-facilitated abuse. The 2639 participants were sampled from an online panel. Main outcomes and measures: Participants were asked questions about 11 different kinds of online and technology-facilitated sexual abuse with follow-up questions about their dynamics and offenders. Prevalence rates were calculated for several cross-cutting concepts (online child sexual abuse, image-based sexual abuse, self-produced child sexual abuse images, nonconsensual sexting, online grooming by adults, revenge pornography, sextortion, and online commercial sexual exploitation). Survey weights were applied to obtain population prevalence estimates. Results: A total of 2639 individuals (48.5% male, 49.8% female, and 1.8% other gender; 23.7% Hispanic, 12.6% non-Hispanic Black, 53.9% non-Hispanic White, 4.8% other race, and 5.0% ≥2 races) were surveyed. Childhood (before 18 years of age) prevalence rates were as follows: online child sexual abuse, 15.6% (SE, 1.0%); image-based sexual abuse, 11.0% (SE, 0.9%); self-produced child sexual abuse images, 7.2% (SE, 0.7%); nonconsensual sexting, 7.2% (SE, 0.7%); online grooming by adults, 5.4% (SE, 0.5%); revenge pornography, 3.1% (SE, 0.5%); sextortion, 3.5% (SE, 0.6%); and online commercial sexual exploitation, 1.7% (SE, 0.3%). The prime age of vulnerability across all categories was 13 to 17 years. Perpetrators in most categories were predominantly dating partners, friends, and acquaintances, not online strangers. Conclusions and relevance: The results of this national survey study suggest that a considerable portion of youth have experienced online child sexual abuse. Professionals planning prevention and intervention strategies for online sexual abuse should understand that dynamics include diverse episodes that are often extensions of dating abuse, sexual bullying, and sexual harassment, not only events perpetrated by adult internet predators.
Full-text available
Article
IntroductionIBSA has been defined as taking, distributing, and/or making threats to distribute, a sexual image without a person's consent, and up to date there is still limited research on IBSA perpetration and characteristics of IBSA perpetrators. Thus, the aim of this study was to identify characteristics of IBSA perpetrators, in order to guide future intervention and prevention programs.Methods An online survey was conducted regarding IBSA related behaviors and psychopathology. The original sample comprised 1,370 Spanish college students (74% females).ResultsThe IBSA perpetrator subsample comprised 284 participants (49.5% females). Our findings indicate that perpetrators are more commonly males, with higher psychopathology scores, especially in hostility scales, with previous IBSA victimization experiences, and who usually target friends, to have fun or as a joke, or partners, to flirt. Furthermore, when examining intragroup differences regarding perpetration level of severity, results showed that those who reported engaging in the most severe forms of IBSA reported higher rates of psychopathology and hostility. Yet, to intervene in those who present more severe behaviors, we must also pay attention to depression, somatization and sleep disturbances.ConclusionsIBSA perpetrators share key factors that could be targeted in forensic and clinical interventions, and that should be taken into account when designing effective offender intervention programs. Intervention programs should focus on anger-management issues that help reduce perpetrators' hostility and anxiety symptoms, and should also be aimed at modifying attitudes that justify perpetration behaviors and contribute to harmful interactions with their friends or to intimate partner violent dynamics.
Article
In the last 10 years, following widespread outcry among legal scholars and activists, 48 states passed legislation explicitly criminalizing the nonconsensual distribution of intimate images (NCDII) or what is colloquially known as “revenge porn.” This increased authority granted to criminal justice agencies, coupled with greater media attention to NCDII incidents, may have influenced patterns of victimization and perpetration. Using a survey recently distributed to a sample of young adults ( N = 713), we find that NCDII perpetration is strongly related to previous victimization, risky online behaviors, and receipt of unsolicited images. Perceptions of police efficacy in addressing NCDII issues is the strongest predictor of attitudes toward both reporting victimization and the belief that perpetrators will experience some punitive consequence. We also conducted an experiment using vignettes with gender varying victim-offender dyads to explore how gender bias influences attitudes toward punishment for NCDII perpetrators as well as perceptions of “revenge porn” in incidents involving same-sex and mixed-sex couples; we find that respondents are less likely to attribute “revenge porn” or to suggest punitive responses when the perpetrator is female regardless of the gender of the victim. Importantly, we find initial evidence of a new typology of NCDII perpetrator that counters existing research on victim–perpetrator gender dyads: women who nonconsensually disseminate unsolicited intimate images sent by men. Collectively, our findings challenge the efficacy of existing criminal statutes, identify new challenges in effectively legislating against NCDII, and contribute to the body of work on gender-based violence, perceptions of police efficacy, and punitive attitudes.
Article
This study examined image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) victimisation in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand (n = 6,109). Findings showed that 37.7% (n = 2,306) of respondents had at least one IBSA victimisation experience since 16 years of age. Logistic regression analyses further identified that demographic characteristics (age, sexuality, disability/assistance), attitudes towards IBSA, and experiential variables (online dating and sexual self-image behaviours, IBSA perpetration) were each predictors of IBSA victimisation. Though gender did not predict the overall extent of IBSA victimisation, the relational contexts and impacts of IBSA remained gendered in particular ways. Implications of the study are discussed with respect to conceptualising gendered violence and future research.
Full-text available
Technical Report
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand's submission makes 45 recommendations to the Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence undertaken by the Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs. Of particular note is the emphasis on the need to unify the experience of family, domestic and sexual violence with the current design and implementation of the systems response. Including, the recognition that violence occurs along a continuum whereby multiple forms of violence ranging from non-physical, coercive control, physical violence 'seep into one another'.
Full-text available
Article
Revenge pornography (hereafter, revenge porn) is the online, sometimes offline, non-consensual distribution or sharing, of explicit images of someone else by ex-partners, partners, others or hackers seeking revenge or entertainment – also referred to as non-consensual pornography. The vast majority of revenge porn is committed by men on women ex-partners. In this paper, we discursively analyse men’s electronic texts accompanying their posting of explicit images on arguably the most popular revenge porn-specific website MyEx.com. Situating our analysis as a contemporary form of online gendered violence and abuse, we show the complex ways in which manhood acts are invoked by men to account for their practices. The impacts on victims/survivors and possible interventions are also discussed.
Full-text available
Article
Drawing on gender-role stereotypes and defensive attribution theory, this study investigates the influence of perpetrator-victim sex, observer sex and observer sexting experience on perceptions of seriousness and responsibility in the context of revenge pornography. Two-hundred and thirty-nine university students read one of two versions of a hypothetical scenario, responded to items concerning their perceptions of the situation described, and responded to items concerning their sexting experience. Men were more likely to believe the situation was serious when it involved a male perpetrator and a female victim rather than vice versa. However, perpetrator-victim sex did not influence women’s perceptions. Participants without sexting experience were more likely than participants with sexting experience to believe the situation was serious, and to hold the victim responsible. Whilst there is a growing body of literature regarding revenge pornography from a legal perspective, there is little or no research on perceptions of revenge pornography situations. As the use of intimate images in relationships continues to rise, it is important to understand people’s attitudes and the extra-legal factors that shape them.
Full-text available
Article
The aim of this review was to synthesize the current literature regarding revenge pornography and the non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit media. A systematic search was made of five databases using relevant search terms. From these searches, 82 articles were retained for inclusion within the systematic review. The literature spanned areas of research including legal, theory, as well as psychology related empirical papers. The findings show that particularly in the U.S., but in other countries as well, there are significant concerns regarding the implementation of revenge pornography legislation, despite this being recognized as an important endeavor. Non-consensual sharing perpetration and victimization rates can vary considerably according to how the behavior is defined and measured, however, these behaviors were evident for a considerable number of individuals across both genders.
Full-text available
Article
In the last few years, many countries have introduced laws combating the phenomenon colloquially known as ‘revenge porn’. While new laws criminalising this practice represent a positive step forwards, the legislative response has been piecemeal and typically focuses only on the practices of vengeful ex-partners. Drawing on Liz Kelly’s (1988) pioneering work, we suggest that ‘revenge porn’ should be understood as just one form of a range of gendered, sexualised forms of abuse which have common characteristics, forming what we are conceptualising as the ‘continuum of image-based sexual abuse’. Further, we argue that image-based sexual abuse is on a continuum with other forms of sexual violence. We suggest that this twin approach may enable a more comprehensive legislative and policy response that, in turn, will better reflect the harms to victim-survivors and leads to more appropriate and effective educative and preventative strategies.
Book
The infusion of digital technology into contemporary society has had significant effects for everyday life and for everyday crimes. Digital Criminology: Crime and Justice in Digital Society is the first interdisciplinary scholarly investigation extending beyond traditional topics of cybercrime, policing and the law to consider the implications of digital society for public engagement with crime and justice movements. This book seeks to connect the disparate fields of criminology, sociology, legal studies, politics, media and cultural studies in the study of crime and justice. Drawing together intersecting conceptual frameworks, Digital Criminology examines conceptual, legal, political and cultural framings of crime, formal justice responses and informal citizen-led justice movements in our increasingly connected global and digital society. Building on case study examples from across Australia, Canada, Europe, China, the UK and the United States, Digital Criminology explores key questions including: What are the implications of an increasingly digital society for crime and justice? What effects will emergent technologies have for how we respond to crime and participate in crime debates? What will be the foundational shifts in criminological research and frameworks for understanding crime and justice in this technologically mediated context? What does it mean to be a ‘just’ digital citizen? How will digital communications and social networks enable new forms of justice and justice movements? Ultimately, the book advances the case for an emerging digital criminology: extending the practical and conceptual analyses of ‘cyber’ or ‘e’ crime beyond a focus foremost on the novelty, pathology and illegality of technology-enabled crimes, to understandings of online crime as inherently social.
Article
Nonconsensual pornography, sometimes referred to as “revenge porn,” refers to the distribution of sexually explicit photographs or videos without the consent of the individual in the image. These images, along with accompanying personal information, are often disseminated by a former romantic or sexual partner with the intent to harm. Websites exist that have a reputation for hosting and promoting revenge porn. However, it is unclear to what extent these websites function for the purpose of explicitly harming victims by providing a victim's personal information. To address this question, a content analysis was performed on 134 photographs from seven different websites that originated within the United States. Descriptions of photos posted, content of victims' personal information included within the post, victim and distributor demographics, and viewers' comments were coded and analyzed. Website layouts and policies were also documented. Key findings were that nearly 92% of victims featured on included websites were women. Moreover, when a reason was given for posting the photo, it was correlated with having a greater number of views, being more likely to allow commenting on photos, and being more likely to include a victim's name. Implications are discussed.
Article
This book examines how digital communications technologies have transformed modern societies, with profound effects both for everyday life, and for everyday crimes. Sexual violence, which is recognized globally as a significant human rights problem, has likewise changed in the digital age. Through an investigation into our increasingly and ever-normalised digital lives, this study analyses the rise of technology-facilitated sexual assault, ‘revenge pornography’, online sexual harassment and gender-based hate speech. Drawing on ground-breaking research into the nature and extent of technology-facilitated forms of sexual violence and harassment, the authors explore the reach of these harms, the experiences of victims, the views of service providers and law enforcement bodies, as well as the implications for law, justice and resistance. Sexual Violence in a Digital Age is compelling reading for scholars, activists, and policymakers who seek to understand how technology is implicated in sexual violence, and what needs to be done to address sexual violence in a digital age.
Article
This article considers the legal options for the victims of non-consensual distribution of sexually explicit media-sometimes known as 'revenge porn'. The Australian Law Reform Commission has called for Australia to introduce a new tort for serious invasions of privacy, and the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee has recently reinforced the need for stronger penalties. A private members' Bill was introduced in the last federal Parliament, but has since lapsed. Each of these proposals focuses primarily on the wrongful acts of the perpetrator. As a deterrent and a strong signal of social opprobrium, they may be partially effective. They do not, however, consider in detail how victims may be able to seek some relief once material has already been posted online. In this article, we consider explicitly what role internet intermediaries should play in responding to abuse online. The challenge in developing effective policy is not only to provide a remedy against the primary wrongdoer, but to impose some obligations on the platforms that host or enable access to harmful material. This is a difficult and complex issue, but only by engaging with these processes are we likely to develop regulatory regimes that are likely to be reasonably effective.
Article
This paper presents a novel study, exploring a form of technology facilitated sexual aggression (TFSV) known as revenge porn. Despite its emerging prevalence, little is known about the characteristics of revenge porn perpetrators. In the current study, a revenge porn proclivity scale was devised to examine participants’ behavioural propensity to engage in revenge porn. One hundred adults, aged 18-54, were recruited online from a community sample. The correlational relationship between revenge porn proclivity and the self-reported endorsement of the Dark Triad, sadism and ambivalent sexism was examined. Additional proclivity subscales of revenge porn enjoyment and revenge porn approval were also created. The study’s main findings revealed a positive correlation between a greater behavioural propensity to engage in revenge porn and higher levels of the Dark Triad and ambivalent sexism. Moreover, endorsement of psychopathy was found to be the only Dark Triad trait that independently predicted revenge porn proclivity. The results suggest that perpetrators of revenge porn may have distinct personality profiles. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Article
Purpose: The disclosure of private images with the intent of causing distress is often described as ‘revenge pornography’. In the UK, this newly legislated crime has received a high level of media attention following several high profile cases, however there is a paucity of research in this area. Methods: 168 adults (UK general public) completed an online survey using a vignette approach. Views of the influence of perpetrator-victim relationship length and reason for termination were considered alongside perception of an offence, the necessity of police intervention, what extent revenge pornography creates psychological harm in victims, and victim blaming. Findings: Perpetrator-victim relationship length and reason for relationship breakdown did not influence perceptions of victim blame. Participants believed that the situation described in the vignettes was likely to be an offence, and that police intervention is somewhat necessary. Participants believed that the scenario was ‘very likely’ to create fear, and ‘moderately likely’ to create psychological/mental harm in victims. In line with the literature relating to stalking and sexual assault, men blamed the victim significantly more than women. Furthermore, women rated police intervention significantly more necessary than men. Implications: The public are recognising that revenge pornography is an offence, with consequences being fear and psychological harm, showing an awareness of the impact on victims. However, there are sex differences in the perceptions of revenge pornography and victim blame and this could be addressed by raising awareness of this crime. This research, which highlights that the public are aware of some of the harm caused, may encourage victims in coming forward to report such a crime. Originality: There is a paucity of research into revenge pornography, and this study is one of the first in this area.