Crowdsourcing Sexual Objectification

26 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2014 Last revised: 19 Jul 2015

See all articles by Carissima Mathen

Carissima Mathen

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: July 1, 2014


This paper analyzes the criminal offence of the non-consensual distribution of intimate images (frequently called “revenge porn”). Focussing on the debate currently underway in Canada surrounding Bill C-13 (Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act), it notes that such an offence would fill a grey area in that country’s criminal law. Arguing, more broadly, that the criminal law has an important expressive function, the paper posits that the offence targets the same general type of wrongdoing — sexual objectification — that undergirds sexual assault. While not all objectification merits criminal sanction, the paper explains why the non-consensual distribution of intimate images does, and why a specific offence is legitimate.

Keywords: criminal law, cyberbullying, revenge porn, Canada, sexual assault, women, sexual objectification, internet

Suggested Citation

Mathen, Carissima, Crowdsourcing Sexual Objectification (July 1, 2014). Laws. 2014; 3(3):529-552., Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2014-23, Available at SSRN: or

Carissima Mathen (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5

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