Intimate image abuse can also be referred to as 'revenge porn', non-consensual pornography or image-based sexual abuse. We've answered some common queries about this type of abuse below.
Who are victims of intimate image abuse?
Anyone can be a victim of intimate image abuse, regardless of gender, sexuality or whether you are 18 or 80. The intention is to cause significant embarrassment, harassment and shame and the effects can be devastating for victims, especially on their mental health and wellbeing. To have explicit images that are deeply personal in the public domain is an emotionally traumatic and violating experience. The effect on victims is often pervasive and long-lasting. While they have been the victim of a crime, those affected often internalise feelings of guilt and shame. Depression and anxiety are sadly commonplace. There can be reputational and financial harm from employment loss. Some feel so isolated and overwhelmed that they consider suicide. If you are feeling like this, you are not alone, please seek help. People are waiting to listen.
Why is it shared?
In some cases, the content is shared to embarrass, humiliate or cause distress to a person after the breakdown of a relationship. But it’s not always about REVENGE: content can be shared as a way of financial extortion, or blackmail, sometimes known as ‘sextortion’, to expose someone who has a high profile status or to ‘out’ someone. We often see it as an element in wider cases of stalking, harassment or domestic abuse.
Where can it be shared?
As we know, the internet is a massive space for platforms to share content. We see most content shared on social media platforms or general porn websites. In some cases, links to the content are emailed or sent to family, friends or employers. Some cases have stemmed from hacked devices or cloud storage (for example the high profile iCloud hack where hundreds of images were accessed, including those of celebrities).