Beyond ‘Revenge Porn’: The Continuum of Image-Based Sexual Abuse
Posted: 11 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 8, 2017
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.
Keywords: revenge pornography; non-consensual pornography; continuum of sexual violence; image-based sexual abuse
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