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Beyond ‘Revenge Pornography’

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


In recent years there has been growing attention to an increasing number of cases where rapes have been recorded and shared via digital devices, including the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio, incident, where the rape of an unconscious 16-year-old girl by two high school football players was recorded on digital devices and shared on social media, and the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in Rio de Janeiro in mid-2016 that was photographed and videoed and then shared on social media, leading to mass protests in the Brazilian nation. These cases point to a troubling trend, where digital technologies are being used not only as a form of control, abuse and harassment but also as a further expression and consolidation of masculine entitlement and privilege. These examples also point to the woeful inadequacy of the term ‘revenge pornography’ for describing the creation or distribution of sexually explicit, nude or intimate images (including sexual assault images) since such images were not created or distributed as a way to seek revenge or to fulfil the purposes of pornography. This chapter focuses on the growing problem of ‘image-based sexual abuse’. This issue represents a significant contemporary challenge due to the ease in which images—videos and photographs—are created, uploaded and downloaded, the difficulties in removing these images once they are online, and the variety of platforms that both popularise and support the trade of intimate non-consensual images.


  • Revenge Pornography
  • Intimate Images
  • High School Football Players
  • Masculine Entitlement
  • Sexual Abuse Images

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  • DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-58047-4_5
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Powell, A., Henry, N. (2017). Beyond ‘Revenge Pornography’. 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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