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What is Image-based Sexual Abuse and Nonconsensual Porn?

Image-based sexual abuse and nonconsensual porn are forms of sexual abuse that largely refer to incidents in which intimate images are taken or shared.

Image-based sexual abuse & nonconsensual pornography (aka “revenge porn”)

Image-based sexual abuse and nonconsensual pornography are forms of sexual abuse that largely refer to incidents in which intimate images are taken or shared—or threatened to be shared—without consent.

Nonconsensual pornography can also include incidents of individuals being coerced into producing explicit content.

Disturbingly, an estimated 1 in 12 U.S. adults report that they have been victims of image-based sexual abuse, and even more disturbingly, 1 in 20 report that they have been perpetrators of image-based sexual abuse.Ruvalcaba, Y., & Eaton, A. A. (2020). Nonconsensual pornography among U.S. adults: A sexual scripts framework on victimization, perpetration, and health correlates for women and men. Psychology of Violence, 10(1), 68–78. https://doi.org/10.1037/vio0000233COPY 

Related: 7 Things You Can Do If You’re a Victim of Deepfakes or Revenge Porn

According to one report, approximately 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys aged 13-17 report sharing their own nudes, and 1 in 3 underage teens report having seen nonconsensually shared nudes of other minors.Thorn. (2020). Thorn research: Understanding sexually explicit images, self-produced by children. Retrieved from https://www.thorn.org/blog/thorn-research-understanding-sexually-explicit-images-self-produced-by-children/COPY 

Longitudinal research shows that porn consumers report a greater willingness to share sexts without consent.van Oosten, Johanna M. F., & Vandenbosch, L. (2020). Predicting the willingness to engage in non-consensual forwarding of sexts: The role of pornography and instrumental notions of sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 49(4), 1121-1132. doi:10.1007/s10508-019-01580-2COPY 

Unfortunately, image-based sexual abuse and nonconsensual pornography are increasingly common issues on porn sites. Most porn sites do not verify age or consent, meaning virtually anyone can post anything—including image-based sexual abuse.

In fact, there have been many documented instances of verified accounts posting nonconsensual content or even child sexual abuse material on porn sites.BBC News. (2020). GirlsDoPorn: Young women win legal battle over video con. BBC. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50982051COPY  ParlVu. (2021). Meeting no. 20 ETHI— Standing committee on access to information, privacy and ethics. Retrieved from https://parlvu.parl.gc.ca/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20210219/-1/34789?Language=English&Stream=VideoCOPY 

Related: A Terrifying New Deepfake Site Can “Nudify” Images of Women with One Click

As one victim of image-based sexual abuse said, “The videos of me being on Pornhub has affected my life to the point where I don’t leave my house anymore. I stopped being able to work just because I was too scared to be out in public around other people. And I feel like everyone who looks at me has looked at those videos.”

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Many victims of image-based sexual abuse feel powerless, helpless, or even suicidal. Research indicates that victims of image-based abuse often experience severe and disruptive mental health effects including PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Bates, S. (2017). Revenge Porn and Mental Health: A Qualitative Analysis of the Mental Health Effects of Revenge Porn on Female Survivors. Feminist Criminology, 12(1), 22–42. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557085116654565COPY 

If you have experienced image-based sexual abuse, please know that you’re not alone, and that there are resources available to help you.

For more information about how to combat image-based sexual abuse, read this.

 

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