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Sexual Violence and Consent in the Digital Age

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Abstract

This chapter reviews the existing theoretical and empirical literature on sexual consent and its (mis)communication and provides a theoretical exploration of the ways in which contemporary digital spaces might shift, challenge, and/or reconfigure current understandings of sexual consent. This chapter draws from examples of digital sexual violence to highlight how current discussions of sexual consent do not fully apply to digital consent violations. Two of these cases involving Rehtaeh Parsons and the Steubenville Jane Doe involve young women being sexually assaulted, having their assaults photographed, and then these images widely distributed. The women did not consent to the original event, nor did they consent to have their images shared. The violence is not enacted in a singular moment; the women instead experience violence with each iteration: the assault, the witnessing, the photographing, the sharing, and the re-sharing. Because the digital is so iterative in this way, the body of literature on in-person, single-event consent does not adequately address all of the additionally complex issues at play relating to consent.

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Correspondence to Alexandra S. Marcotte .

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Marcotte, A.S., Hille, J.J. (2021). Sexual Violence and Consent in the Digital Age. In: Powell, A., Flynn, A., Sugiura, L. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Gendered Violence and Technology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-83734-1_16

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-83734-1_16

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