Victim-survivor experiences of image-based sexual abuse
This chapter investigates a spectrum of image-based sexual abuse behaviours as experienced and articulated by victim-survivors. Experiences are narrated through reference to three key behavioural categories: The non-consensual taking of nude or sexual images (including the creation of digitally altered images); the non-consensual sharing of nude or sexual images; and threats made to share nude or sexual images. To further understand and contextualise victim-survivor experiences, the chapter describes key findings of a cross-country survey, demonstrating the pervasiveness of image-based sexual abuse among marginalised groups, including women, sexuality, racial and ethnic minorities. In the second half of the chapter, the authors argue that image-based sexual abuse is part of a “continuum of sexual violence”, which includes other forms of violence, abuse and harassment used to control women and to reinforce gender inequality and legitimate gendered violence. The authors argue that “continuum thinking” should be used to examine systems of power on the basis of gender alongside other identity markers, such as race, ethnicity, age, sexuality and ability. In particular, exploring the relationship between gender and sexuality helps to uncover the underlying drivers of image-based sexual abuse, including perpetrator performances of celebrated forms of masculinity, and culturally specific and heteronormative expectations around gender roles, sexuality and sexual practice.