Skip to main content

Sexual Violence: A Feminist Criminological Analysis

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity book series (PSCYBER)

Abstract

Sexual violence in the digital age is not something fundamentally ‘new’. Rather than representing a break with the practices of the past, we argue that technology-facilitated sexual violence is better understood simultaneously as a continuation, an elaboration and an immersion of diverse forms of sexual violence and harassment in women’s everyday lives. The violence presents in both familiar and unfamiliar ways, and may differ in form, such as the nature and extent to which harms are embodied and disembodied while effecting the same function, that is, as both an expression and re-institution of gendered power relations and women’s differential positioning as primarily ‘sexed’ subjects. As such the starting point for our discussion on technology-facilitated sexual violence cannot lie with the changes and role of the technologies involved in these harms but rather with the underlying structural conditions that make such violence possible in the first place. In this chapter we commence with an understanding of the power relations of sex and gender that underlie sexual violence more generally, and analyse the ways in which sex, gender and power both shape, and are in turn shaped by, digital technologies.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-58047-4_2
  • Chapter length: 25 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   29.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-137-58047-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   37.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References

  • Adkins, L. (2003). Reflexivity, freedom or habit of gender? Theory Culture & Society, 20(6), 21–42.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Barak, A. (2005). Sexual harassment on the Internet. Social Science Computer Review, 23(1), 77–92.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bartow, A. (2009). Internet defamation as profit center: The monetization of online harassment. Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, 32(2), 383–429.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bates, L. (2014). Everyday sexism. London: Simon & Schuster.

    Google Scholar 

  • Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J., & Lassila, O. (2001). The semantic web. Scientific American, 284(5), 28–37.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Berry, S., (2013, November 13). Anti-rape underwear: It’s not a joke. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/antirape-underwear-its-not-a-joke-20131113-2xgpp.html

  • Bimber, B. (2000). Measuring the gender gap on the Internet. Social Science Quarterly, 81(3), 868–876.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against our will: Men, women and rape. New York: Simon Schuster.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burkett, M., & Hamilton, K. (2012). Postfeminist sexual agency: Young women’s negotiations of sexual consent. Sexualities, 15(7), 815–833.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chan, J., & Moses, L. B. (2016). Is Big Data challenging criminology? Theoretical Criminology, 20(1), 21–39.

    Google Scholar 

  • Citron, D. K. (2014). Hate crimes in cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cockburn, C. (1985). Machinery of dominance: Women, men, and technical know-how. London: Pluto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cockburn, C. (1992). The circuit of technology: Gender, identity and power. In R. Silverstone & E. Hirsch (Eds.), Consuming technologies: Media and information in domestic spaces (pp. 32–47). London: Routledge.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cockburn, C. (1997). Domestic technologies: Cinderella and the engineers. Women’s Studies International Forum, 20(3), 361–371.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cockburn, C., & Ormrod, S. (1993). Gender and technology in the making. London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohen, L. E., & Felson, M. (1979). Social change and crime rate trends: A routine activity approach. American Sociological Review, 44(4), 588–608.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Connell, R. W. (1987). Gender and power: Society, the person and sexual politics. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Connell, R. W. (2002). Gender. Polity short introductions. Malden: Polity/Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Currey, A. (2015, August 14). A new kind of digital crime: Cyber flashing. Social Media Today. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/technology-data/aag/2015-08-14/new-kind-digital-crime-cyber-flashing

  • Dragiewicz, M., & Burgess, J. (2016). Domestic violence on #qanda: The ‘Man’ question in live Twitter discussion on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Q&A. Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 28(1), 211–229.

    Google Scholar 

  • Faulkner, W. (2001). The technology question in feminism: A view from feminist technology Studies. Women’s Studies International Forum, 24(1), 79–95.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Finn, J., & Banach, M. (2000). Victimization online: The downside of seeking human services for women on the Internet. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 3(5), 785–796.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge. London: Tavistock Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fraser, N. (2009). Scales of justice: Reimagining political space in a globalizing world. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garland, D. (2011). Criminology’s place in the academic field. In M. Bosworth & C. Hoyle (Eds.), What is criminology? (pp. 298–317). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gavey, N. (2005). Just sex? The cultural scaffolding of rape. London and New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grabosky, P. N. (2001). Virtual criminality: Old wine in new bottles? Social & Legal Studies, 10(2), 243–249.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Greer, G. (1971). The female eunuch. London: Paladin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Halder, D., & Jaishankar, K. (2011). Online social networking and women victims. In K. Jaishankar (Ed.), Cyber criminology: Exploring Internet crimes and criminal behavior (pp. 299–316). Hoboken: CRC Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Halder, D., & Karuppannan, J. (2009). Cyber socializing and victimization of women. The Journal on Victimization, 12(3), 5–26.

    Google Scholar 

  • Haraway, D. (1987). A manifesto for cyborgs: Science, technology, and socialist feminism in the 1980s. Australian Feminist Studies, 2(4), 1–42.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Harding, S. (1986). The science question in feminism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holland, J., Ramazanoglu, C., Sharpe, S., & Thomson, R. (2004). The male in the head: Young people, heterosexuality and power. London: Tufnell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ito, M., & Okabe, D. (2005). Technosocial situations: Emergent structurings of mobile email use. In M. Ito, D. Okabe, & M. Matsude (Eds.), Personal, portable, pedestrian: Mobile phones in Japanese life (pp. 257–273). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jackson, S. (1978). The social context of rape: Sexual scripts and motivation. Women’s Studies International Quarterly, 1(1), 27–38.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kay, M., Matuszek, C., & Munson, S. (2015). Unequal representation and gender stereotypes in image search results for occupations. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2015. AMC. Retrieved from https://dub.washington.edu/djangosite/media/papers/unequalrepresentation.pdf

  • Kelly, L. (1987). The continuum of sexual violence. In J. Hanmer & M. Maynard (Eds.), Women, violence and social control: Essays in social theory (pp. 46–60). Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kelly, L. (2010). The everyday/everynightness of rape: Is it different in war? In L. Sjoberg & S. Via (Eds.), Gender, war, and militarism: Feminist perspectives (pp. 114–123). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

    Google Scholar 

  • Larcombe, W. (2005). Compelling engagements: Feminism, rape law and romance fiction. Sydney: Federation Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Larkin, A. (2015). New lads or ladettes? A critique of current theoretical explanations for young women’s violence proliferated over social media. Proceedings of the 3rd International Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Conference 2015 (pp. 85–90). Crime and Justice Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology.

    Google Scholar 

  • Larkin, A., & Dwyer, A. (2015). Fighting like a girl or a boy: An analysis of videos of violence between young girls posted on online fight websites. Current Issues Criminal Justice, 27(3), 269–284.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leiner, B. M., Cerf, V. G., Clark, D. D., Kahn, R. E., Kleinrock, L., Lynch, D. C., Postel, J., Roberts, L. G., & Wolff, S. (2009). A brief history of the Internet. ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, 39(5), 22–31.

    Google Scholar 

  • Martin, M. (1991). ‘Hello, Central?’: Gender, technology, and culture in the formation of telephone systems. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miceli, S. L., Santana, S. A., & Fisher, B. S. (2001). Cyberaggression: Safety and security issues for women worldwide. Security Journal, 14(2), 11–27.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Milivojevic, S., & McGovern, A. (2014). The death of Jill Meagher: Crime and punishment on social media. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 3(3), 22–39.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Millett, K. (1970). Sexual politics. London: Abacus.

    Google Scholar 

  • O’Neill, M. (2014). The Internet of things: Do more devices mean more risks? Computer Fraud & Security, 2014(1), 16–17.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Penny, L. (2013). Cybersexism: Sex, gender and power on the Internet. London: A&C Black.

    Google Scholar 

  • Plant, S. (1997). Zeros + ones: Digital women + the new technoculture. New York: Doubleday.

    Google Scholar 

  • Powell, A. (2010). Sex, power and consent: Youth culture and the unwritten rules. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Powell, A. (2015a). Seeking rape justice: Formal and informal responses to sexual violence through technosocial counter-publics. Theoretical Criminology, 19(4), 125–131.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Powell, A. (2015b). Seeking informal justice online. In A. Powell, N. Henry, & A. Flynn (Eds.), Rape justice: Beyond the criminal law (pp. 218–237). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Powell, A., & Henry, N. (2016). Policing technology-facilitated sexual violence against adult victims: Police and service sector perspectives. Policing & Society. doi:10.1080/10439463.2016.1154964.

  • Powell, A., Cameron, R., & Stratton, G. (2017). Digital criminology: Crime and justice in digital society. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Quadara, A. (2014). The everydayness of rape. In N. Henry & A. Powell (Eds.), Preventing sexual violence: Interdisciplinary approaches to overcoming a rape culture (pp. 41–63). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reyns, B. W., Burek, M. W., Henson, B., & Fisher, B. S. (2013). The unintended consequences of digital technology: Exploring the relationship between sexting and cybervictimization. Journal of Crime and Justice, 36(1), 1–17.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Spender, D. (1995). Nattering on the net: Women, power and cyberspace. Melbourne, Australia: Spinifex Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stanko, E. (1985). Intimate intrusions: Women’s experience of male violence. London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stanko, E. (1990). Everyday violence: How women and men experience sexual and physical danger. Glasgow and London: Pandora.

    Google Scholar 

  • Starr, M. (2014, April 1). Indiegog allows upskirt photo gadget to remain on site. CNET. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/news/indiegogo-allows-upskirt-photo-gadget-to-remain-on-site/

  • Sutherland, E. H., & Cressey, D. R. (1984). Differential association theory. Deviant behavior, 125–131.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sykes, G. M., & Matza, D. (1957). Techniques of neutralization: A theory of delinquency. American Sociological Review, 22(6), 664–670.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Turkle, S. (1995). Ghosts in the machine. The Sciences, 35(6), 36–39.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wajcman, J. (1991). Feminism confronts technology. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wajcman, J. (2002). Addressing technological change: The challenge to social theory. Current Sociology, 50(3), 347–363.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wajcman, J. (2004). TechnoFeminism. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wajcman, J. (2010). Feminist theories of technology. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34(1), 143–152.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wajcman, J. (2014). Pressed for time: The acceleration of life in digital capitalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender & Society, 1(2), 125–151.

    Google Scholar 

  • Woodlock, D. (2016). The abuse of technology in domestic violence and stalking. Violence Against Women. doi:10.1177/1077801216646277.

  • Youngs, G. (2005). Ethics of access: Globalization, feminism and information society. Journal of Global Ethics, 1(1), 69–84.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Copyright information

© 2017 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Powell, A., Henry, N. (2017). Sexual Violence: A Feminist Criminological Analysis. In: Sexual Violence in a Digital Age. Palgrave Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-58047-4_2

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-58047-4_2

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-137-58046-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-58047-4

  • eBook Packages: Law and CriminologyLaw and Criminology (R0)