In this briefing, we explain why the term ‘image-based sexual abuse’ is better than others such as ‘revenge porn’ and why the terminology we use matters to our public and political debate. We outline the different forms of image-based sexual abuse and suggest legal reforms. This briefing is based on our academic research published in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies and Feminist Legal Studies.
Huffington Post Blog: ‘Revenge Porn’ Is A Form Of Sexual Assault.
“So, revenge porn’ – or rather image-based sexual abuse – is a sexual offence. The harm comes from the fact that it is sexual images that are shared without consent; the images go viral because they are sexual. Sharing private sexual images without consent exploits an individuals’ sexual identity and infringes their sexual autonomy. The online abuse which accompanies distribution of private sexual images includes sexual threats (rape threats), as well as abusive comments about the victim’s appearance, body, sexuality and sexual agency. New research has shown how all different forms of image-based sexual abuse – including ‘revenge porn’, ‘upskirting’, sexual extortion, sexualised photoshopping – share common characteristics with other forms of sexual offending.”
This briefing explains why image-based sexual abuse is a form of sexual offending and should be treated as such, as well as outlining why all complainants and victim-survivors require automatic anonymity when reporting a potential offence.
I gave evidence before the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee when they were debating the introduction of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016.
Further Blog Posts and Comment Pieces
- Clare McGlynn, ‘We Need A New Law to Combat “Upskirting” and “Downblousing”‘, Inherently Human 15 April 2015
- Erika Rackley and Clare McGlynn, The new law against ‘revenge porn’ is welcome, but no guarantee of success, The Conversation February 16, 2015
- Erika Rackley and Clare McGlynn, The law must focus on consent when it tackles revenge porn, The Conversation July 23, 2014