ECU researcher looking for victims of revenge porn for study


ECU student Brienna Webb is researching image-based sexual abuse. Picture: Martin Kennealey
ECU student Brienna Webb is researching image-based sexual abuse. Picture: Martin Kennealey

AN ECU student is looking for women who have been victims of image-based sexual abuse or revenge porn to take part in a research project.

“Image-based sexual abuse is distributing a person’s naked image to third parties, without consent,” student Brienna Webb said.

“Sexting is a common form of sexual engagement in contemporary society.

“With respect to technology and sex however, community members are unclear about consent and what constitutes acceptable, unethical and criminal behaviour.”

Ms Webb said her research would help inform support services and psychological interventions for sufferers.

“It will assist in breaking detrimental victim-blaming attitudes and potentially aid in law reform,” she said.

“More than one in five (23 per cent) of Australians have reported being targets of image-based sexual abuse, also known as revenge pornography.

“There is limited understanding among social science researchers about the nature, extent, perpetration and consequences of the phenomenon, so I hope my research will help to start to fill this gap.”

Ms Webb said it was important to differentiate between image-based sexual abuse and sexting, or the consensual sharing of intimate images.

“It is well past time that we discarded the notion that if you don’t want an image shared you shouldn’t have taken it in the first place,” she said.

“More than 50 per cent of Australian adults report taking part in sexting, or sharing of intimate images with someone.

“There is nothing new or necessarily wrong with sharing an intimate picture with someone you are in a casual or long-term relationship with.

“It is this sharing of intimate images without consent that is the problem.”

Criteria for research participants include being female and aged over 18 at the time of the event, fluent in English, not receiving psychological therapy in relation to the incident, which took place at least 12 months ago.

Interviews will be conducted either face-to-face or via Skype and involvement in the study will remain confidential.

To participate, call Brienna Webb on 6245 0493 or email ecuresearchproject2018@gmail.com .