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Rape Culture Unveiled

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


It is perhaps unsurprising, though nonetheless problematic, that communications technologies are being used to facilitate sexual violence against women and girls. In particular, smartphone applications, dating websites, social media platforms and intimate digital images are all being used to facilitate sexual assaults as well as to shame, humiliate and blackmail victim-survivors. Behaviours include sending of sexually explicit material via a mobile phone, email or the Internet without the consent of the subject; the distribution of rape jokes, rape memes and promotion of rape-supportive attitudes; threats of sexual violence, including publicly posting the names and addresses of women who ‘deserve to be raped’; and the use of online dating and other sites to procure a sexual assault. What such behaviours reveal is the nature and extent of rape culture—the widely held societal norms and attitudes that condone, normalise or minimise sexual violence against women in our communities. This chapter considers recent disturbing trends in technology-facilitated sexual violence and the prominence of rape culture in the digital age. More than the violation of individual women’s sexual autonomy, we argue that such practices shine a light on a collective societal tolerance, and even acceptance, of sexual violence against women.

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Powell, A., Henry, N. (2017). Rape Culture Unveiled. In: Sexual Violence in a Digital Age. Palgrave Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-137-58046-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-58047-4

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