Image-Based Sexual Abuse: A Feminist Criminological Approach

Nicola Henry, Asher Flynn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Contemporary digital society and culture can be characterized by an obsession with both the visual artifact and object. This is evidenced through contemporary voyeurism trends, such as reality television, live streaming, amateur pornography, as well as an increasing demand for “real” or “authentic” visual representations. In addition and related to these contemporary social trends, there is a continual shifting public/private divide, an ongoing fixation on bodies, particularly feminised bodies, as well as pre-existing structural inequalities on the basis of gender, race, sexuality, class, age, and ability. This complex interplay of social, cultural, and technological factors provides the contextual backdrop to under- standing the prevalence, nature, and perpetration related to the taking and sharing non-consensual nude or sexual imagery – also known as image-based sexual abuse (IBSA). Further to structural factors underlying IBSA, it is also important to address the performativity of gender and subjectivity in understanding this phenomenon and thereby contribute to more informed responses and prevention interventions. In this chapter, we utilize feminist criminological theory for under- standing the complex interplay of individual and structural causes of IBSA.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of International Cybercrime and Cyberdeviance
EditorsThomas J Holt, Adam M Bossler
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783319784403
ISBN (Print)9783319784397
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • image-based sexual abuse
  • image-based abuse
  • revenge pornography
  • feminist theory

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