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'It’s torture for the soul': the harms of image-based sexual abuse

McGlynn, Clare and Johnson, Kelly and Rackley, Erika and Henry, Nicola and Gavey, Nicola and Flynn, Asher and Powell, Anastasia (2021) ''It’s torture for the soul': the harms of image-based sexual abuse.', Social and legal studies., 30 (4). pp. 541-562.

Abstract

Beyond ‘scandals’ and the public testimonies of victim-survivors, surprisingly little is known about the nature and extent of the harms of ‘image-based sexual abuse’, a term that includes all non-consensual taking and/or sharing of nude or sexual images. Accordingly, this article examines the findings from the first cross-national qualitative study on this issue, drawing on interviews with 75 victim-survivors of image-based sexual abuse in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. We adopt a feminist phenomenological approach that permits more nuanced and holistic understandings of victim-survivors’ experiences, moving beyond medicalised, trauma-based accounts of harm. Our analysis develops five interconnected accounts of the harms experienced, that we have termed social rupture, constancy, existential threat, isolation and constrained liberty. Our findings shed new light on the nature and significance of the harms of image-based sexual abuse that emphasises the need for more comprehensive and effective responses to these abuses.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663920947791
Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Date accepted:14 July 2020
Date deposited:21 July 2020
Date of first online publication:19 August 2020
Date first made open access:04 August 2020

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