Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Criminology

Revenge Porn Victimization of College Students in the United States: An Exploratory Analysis

Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Criminology

Revenge Porn Victimization of College Students in the United States: An Exploratory Analysis

Article excerpt

Introduction

Having someone share a sexually suggestive or explicit photo that was intended to be private not only disrupts the life of the victim but can be even worse because the images can be shared and continue to reappear on the internet in multiple places. Many sites now allow a victim to request that the images be taken down, but once the picture has been posted the damage is often done. Anecdotal accounts of victims' experiences suggest that women are more likely to be victims (Halder & Jaishankar, 2013) and that victims experience social and emotional harm similar to experiences of victims of other forms of sexual aggression (e.g., experiencing trust issues, sexual shaming and body shaming, anxiety, humiliation and fear for personal safety) (Bahadur, 2014; Dupont, 2014).

Who posts this information has been getting recent media attention. Specifically, there has been a growing discussion about sharing or posting sexually explicit or sexually suggestive photos of a former lover without their consent in an attempt to humiliate, harass, or punish the victim. This is often referred to as revenge porn (Halder & Jaishankar, 2013). Also, there are specific websites dedicated to posting this type of information. What is not known is the extent to which posting these pictures is actually revenge porn (done by an ex-lover) or whether these pictures are being posted by others as a form of cyber harassment.

Halder and Jaishankar (2013) define Revenge porn as:

an act whereby the perpetrator satisfies his anger and frustration for a broken relationship through publicizing false, sexually provocative portrayal of his / her victim, by misusing the information that he may have known naturally and that he may have stored in his personal computer, or may have been conveyed to his electronic device by the victim herself, or may have been stored in the device with the consent of the victim herself; and which may essentially have been done to publicly defame the victim. (Halder & Jaishankar, 2013, p. 90)

To date, there is limited empirical research on this topic and as a result there is much we do not know. The purpose of the current study is to explore male and female college student experiences with someone sharing or posting a photo that was intended to be private and their perceptions about this behavior in hopes that increased awareness can provide a foundation for research and the development of programs and policies that identify and address victims' specific needs.

Review of Literature

a.Sharing Sexually Explicit Photos or "Sexting"

Today, most individuals have a handheld device that includes a camera and makes it very easy to upload and share digital images. Estimates suggest that over 75% of teens own a cell phone and over 25% own a smartphone, capable of accessing the Internet (Lenhart, 2012). The proliferation of cell phones and smartphones and access to the Internet has contributed to the development of "sexting," which is commonly defined as sending explicit photos, videos, or messages through electronic means, including cell phones, email, or posts on social media sites (e.g., Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, etc.) (see Halder & Jaishankar, 2014; Hilinski-Rosick & Freiburger, 2012; Jaishankar, 2009; Marcum, Higgins, & Ricketts, 2014; Martinez-Prather & Vandiver, 2014; Mitchell, Finkelhor, Jones, & Wolak, 2012; Wolfe, Marcum, Higgins, & Ricketts, 2016). Research suggests that a significant proportion of young adults in the United States share nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves or others. Estimates on the number of teens and young adults engaging in sexting vary, ranging anywhere from a low of 5% (Lenhart, 2012) to a high of 40% (Strassberg, McKinnon, Sustaita, & Rullo, 2013).

Overall, women and girls have been shown to engage in more sexting behaviors than boys and men (Freiburger, Hilinski-Rosick, & Headley, 2012; Hilinski-Rosick & Freiburger, 2012; Martinez-Prather & Vandiver, 2014; Mitchell et al. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.