Powell, A., Flynn, A & Henry, N (2017) 'The picture of who is affected by revenge porn is more complex than we first thought', The Conversation, 8 May.

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Powell, A., Flynn, A & Henry, N (2017) 'The picture of who is affected by "revenge porn" is more complex than we first thought', The Conversation, 8 May.
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   Authors  Anastasia Powell Senior Research and ARC DECRA Fellow,Justice and Legal Studies, RMIT University  Asher Flynn Senior Lecturer in Criminology, MonashUniversity Academic rigour, journalistic flair “Revenge porn” – the sharing of nude or sexual images without consent – has beenwidely understood as the spiteful actions of a  jilted ex-lover. As the term has gained popularity , however, so too have understandings grown about the use of nude orsexual images as a tool of abuse and control by perpetrators of domestic violence.But according to our new research, image-based abuse affects many Australiansfrom across diverse communities and in different types of relationships. The pictureis more complex than has previously been identified. Key findings Our recent survey of 4,274 Australians aged 16 to 45 found that 23% reportedhaving been a victim of image-based abuse.Most common were sexual or nude images being taken of them without their Tackling the harms of image-based abuse will require a combination of e ! orts. shutterstockMay 8, 2017 10.31am AEST The picture of who is a ! ected by ‘revenge porn’ is morecomplex than we first thought  Nicola Henry   Associate Professor & Vice-Chancellor'sPrincipal Research Fellow, RMIT University consent. 20% of those surveyed reported these experiences.Also common was sexual or nude images being sent onto others or distributedwithout consent. 11% of those surveyed reported these experiences.Finally, 9% of survey respondents had experienced threats that a sexual or nudeimage would be sent onto others or distributed without their consent.Some groups in Australia were more likely than others to report having been a victim. One in twoIndigenous Australians, one in two Australians with a disability, and one in three lesbian, gay andbisexual Australians reported having suffered image-based abuse victimisation.Also, 30.9% of those aged 16 to 19, and 27% of those aged 20 to 29, reported having been a victim. Impacts of image-based abuse Our survey found victims were almost twice as likely as non-victims to report experiencing high levels of psychological distress.These impacts were highest for those who had experienced threats to distribute an image. 80% of thesepeople reported high levels of psychological distress, consistent with a diagnosis of moderate to severedepression and/or anxiety disorder. This is a very important finding: it demonstrates the severity of theharm associated with image-based abuse victimisation.Many victims also reported they were “very” or “extremely” fearful for their safety as a result.Feeling afraid for your safety is an important indicator of potential stalking and/or domestic violenceperpetration. Many legal definitions of stalking and abuse, such as for the purposes of an intervention orprotection order, require victims to fear for their safety.et there were also important differences in fear experienced by women compared to men. Gendered nature Overall, our survey found both men and women were equally likely to report being a victim of image-based abuse. This shows such abuse is not exclusively a form of gender-based violence.However, there do appear to be some very important differences in the nature and impacts of such abuseaccording to gender.For example, the majority (54%) of victims reported the perpetrator was male. 33% of perpetrators werefemale. 13% were either unknown or a mixed group of both male and female perpetrators.Both men and women experienced the majority of abuse from known persons such as an acquaintance,friend, or family member. Women (39%) were more likely than men (30%) to be victimised by an inti-  Social mediaInternetGenderDomestic violenceAbuseLaw reformRevenge porn mate partner or ex-partner.These gendered patterns are similar to other forms of violence and abuse, where both men and womenare most likely to experience abuse from male perpetrators, and where women are more likely than mento experience abuse from an intimate partner or ex-partner.Women victims were also more likely than men to report feeling afraid for their safety.For example, for images taken without consent, 32% of women victims reported fear for their safety, ascompared to 23% of men. For images distributed without consent, 40% of women and 36% of men saidthey felt afraid. For images threatened, 50% of women and 42% of men reported they felt fearful fortheir safety.Our survey has a key limitation: victims can only self-report their victimisation if they have becomeaware that a sexual or nude image of them was either taken or distributed without their consent. Oneonly has to scratch the surface of content shared online to see there are many more sites and platformsdedicated to sharing  women’s nude or sexual images without their consent than men’s.Identifying these sites and the ways in which they operate is an important avenue for future research. Itmay shed further light on the gendered nature of image-based abuse. Where to from here? Tackling the harms of image-based abuse will require a combination of efforts.Working alongside social media and website providers to better detect and remove material is vital toimproving responses. Improving legal protections and providing information and support services for victims are also key priorities for reform. Information and support will need to cater to the differentexperiences of the diverse Australian community.But whether nude or sexual images are being taken or shared by an intimate partner or ex-partner, afriend, family member or stranger, consent is crucial. That is what lies at the heart of this problem. Itwill take a long-term prevention plan to promote a culture of consent and respect in the digital age. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. Help combat alt-facts and fake news and donate to independent journalism. Tax deductible. Make a donation ! "
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