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Slutpage Use Among U.S. College Students: The Secret and Social Platforms of Image-Based Sexual Abuse

Abstract

The phenomenon of “slutpages,” tied to high schools, fraternities, and the military, used to post, share, and comment on nude and semi-nude images of women, has emerged in mass media. To our knowledge, this is the first study to empirically investigate slutpage use behaviors including: visiting slutpages, posting nude images/videos online without consent, and using a vault app to store/share nude images. We conducted a survey of undergraduate college students attending a large Midwestern university in the U.S., with 1867 respondents (36.4% cis/transgender men, 63.6% cisgender women; 18–24 years old M = 20.39) to determine who is engaging in slutpage use behaviors. Our results showed that younger participants and men were more likely to engage in slutpage use behaviors than older participants and women, especially if they participated in Greek Life or played a team sport for their university. Men in a fraternity or on a team sport visited slutpages and posted nude images/video online without consent more frequently than men outside these groups, or women in general. Drinking alcohol and using pornography more frequently were also associated with slutpage use behaviors. This study provides a new understanding of slutpages as a social form of image-based sexual abuse and informs researchers, educators, and policy makers to expand their inquiry into online sexual experiences and exploitation to include this phenomenon.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse [L40 DA044702] awarded to the lead author, Megan K. Maas.

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Correspondence to Megan K. Maas.

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

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The Michigan State University Institutional Review Board approved all study protocols and instruments.

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All participants provided informed consent.

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Maas, M.K., Cary, K.M., Clancy, E.M. et al. Slutpage Use Among U.S. College Students: The Secret and Social Platforms of Image-Based Sexual Abuse. Arch Sex Behav 50, 2203–2214 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-01920-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-01920-1

Keywords

  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexting
  • Pornography
  • Masculinity
  • Gender
  • Social media