The helpline is open from 10:00 to 16:00 Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)

Exit the site

16 Days of Activism: Day 15 - Because it's abuse

Tragically 17 year old Jayden Parkinson was murdered by her ex-partner in December 2013. At the recent Advocacy after Fatal Domestic Abuse conference Samantha Shrewsbury shared her powerful story of the abuse suffered by her 17 year old daughter Jayden. It was impossible not be moved as Samantha described the catalogue of violence and missed opportunities that may have prevented Jayden’s murder. One of the last crimes reported by Jayden prior to her murder were threats by her ex-boyfriend to publish private intimate images of her on social media.
This year, Craig Savage murdered his wife Michelle Savage and his mother in law Heather Whitbread. He had tried to force Michelle into having sex with him “one last time” and had threatened to “destroy her life” with the disclosure of sexually explicit images if she did not agree. When she refused, he uploaded around 1,000 pictures of her naked and in underwear to pornographic websites, naming her and inviting others to download them.

Violence takes many forms, including domestic violence and sexual violence, intimate image abuse and child maltreatment. These forms of violence are interconnected and often share the same root causes. The use of intimate images as a means to exert control on their victims can clearly be seen in the timeline of events leading to the murders of Jayden and Michelle. 

At the UK helpline for victims of intimate image abuse we often listen to victim’s where the disclosure or threat to disclose images is one element in a pattern of deliberate behaviour to exert power, control or coercion over another. Where this type of abuse is present there are often reports of violence, sexual violence or stalking.

For many years an overly ‘siloed’ response has hampered efforts to prevent violence and abuse. Too often reports of violence or abuse are dealt with in isolation. It is important that we talk about intimate image abuse and begin to understand the links with other forms of coercive control or violence.

If we are going to make progress in preventing murders, like those of Jayden and Michelle, there is an urgent need to ‘connect the dots’. 

“Not only is coercive control the most common context in which [women] are abused, it is also the most dangerous.” Evan Stark (2007). Coercive Control. How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life. New York: Oxford University Press.

Back to Blog

Related Articles