Gender differences in videoed accounts of victim blaming for revenge porn for self-taken and stealth-taken sexually explicit images and videos

Abstract

Using video recounts from revenge porn victims, this study explores whether levels of victim blaming differs for the sharing of self- and stealth-taken sexually explicit images and videos. Building on previous work which has demonstrated victim blame for both self- and stealth generated images in occurrences of revenge porn (Zvi & Schechory-Bitton, 2020), the reported study presents an original and ecologically valid methodological approach whereby 342 (76 male, 266 female) participants (Mage = 39.27, SD = 11.70) from the UK watched videoed accounts of real experiences of falling victim to revenge porn, rather than using text based, often fictional, vignettes to attribute blame which dominate studies in this area. All data was collected in 2019. The results demonstrated that significantly more blame was assigned to victims when participants were indirectly rather than directly asked who was to blame for the occurrence of revenge porn, supporting the notion of an unconscious processing bias in attributing blame. More blame was also assigned to those victims who themselves generated the material compared to when it had been acquired without their awareness by a perpetrator, suggesting the cognitive bias to be in line with a just world hypothesis. Male participants were more likely to blame a victim than were female participants, although sex of victim and mode of shared sexually-explicit material (video or image) did not appear to affect levels of victim-blame. Findings are considered in terms of extant research and the need for future work in the area of victim blame and revenge pornography.

Bibliographic citation

Attrill-Smith, A., Wesson, C. J., Chater, M. L., & Weekes, L. (2021). Gender differences in videoed accounts of victim blaming for revenge porn for self-taken and stealth-taken sexually explicit images and videos. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 15(4), Article 3. doi:https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2021-4-3

Keywords

Revenge porn; victim blaming; sexting, sex shaming; online victim; technologically mediated sexual violence; real life; victimisation; online abuse

Full Text:

HTML

References

Show references Hide references

Back, S., & Lips, H. M. (1998). Child sexual abuse: victim age, victim gender, and observer gender as factors contributing to attributions of responsibility. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22(12), 1239–1252. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0145-2134(98)00098-2

Banet-Weiser, S. (2021). ‘Ruined’ lives: Mediated white male victimhood. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 24(1), 60–80. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367549420985840

Bates, S. (2017). Revenge porn and mental health: A qualitative analysis of the mental health effects of revenge porn on female survivors. Feminist Criminology, 12(1), 22–42. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557085116654565

BBC. (2018, June 14). Revenge porn: One in three allegations dropped. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-44411754

Bothamley, S. & Tully, R. J. (2017). Understanding revenge pornography: Public perceptions of revenge pornography and victim blaming. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 10(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-09-2016-0253

Branch, K., Hilinski-Rosick, C. M., Johnson, E., & Solano, G. (2017). Revenge porn victimization of college students in the United States: An exploratory analysis. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 11(1), 128–142. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.495777

Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38(2), 217–230. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.38.2.217

Burt, D. L., & DeMello, L. R. (2003). Attribution of rape blame as a function of victim gender and sexuality, and perceived similarity to the victim. Journal of Homosexuality, 43(2), 39–57. https://doi.org/10.1300/J082v43n02_03

Buss, D. M. (2018). Sexual and emotional infidelity: Evolved gender differences in jealousy prove robust and replicable. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13(2), 155–160. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691617698225

Calvert, C. (2013). Revenge porn and freedom of expression: Legislative pushback to an online weapon of emotional and reputational destruction. Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal, 24(3), 673–701. https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/iplj/vol24/iss3/2

Campbell, R. & Raja, S. (1999). Secondary victimization of rape victims: Insights from mental health professionals who treat survivors of violence. Violence and Victims, 14(3), 261–275. https://doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.14.3.261

Citron, D. K., & Franks, M. A. (2014). Criminalizing revenge porn. Wake Forest Law Review, 49, 345–392. https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/643

Crown Prosecution Services. (2016). Violence against women and girls: Crime report 2015-2016. https://www.cps.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/publications/cps_vawg_report_2016.pdf

Crown Prosecution Service. (2019). Violence against women and girls report 2018–2019. https://www.cps.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/publications/cps-vawg-report-2019.pdf

Dalbert, C. (2009). Belief in a just world. In M. R. Leary & R. H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior (pp. 288–297). The Guilford Press.

Daswani, Y. & Pearson, H. (2014). Preventing revenge porn. Keep Calm and Talk Law. http://www.keepcalmtalklaw.co.uk/preventing-revenge-porn/

Davies, M. & Rogers, P. (2009). Perceptions of blame and credibility toward victims of childhood sexual abuse: Differences across victim age, victim-perpetrator relationship, and respondent gender in a depicted case. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 18(1) 78–92. https://doi.org/10.1080/10538710802584668

Davies, M., Rogers, P. & Whitelegg, L. (2009). Effects of victim gender, victim sexual orientation, victim response and respondent gender on judgements of blame in a hypothetical adolescent rape. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 14(2), 331–338. https://doi.org/10.1348/978185408X386030

Eaton, A. A., & McGlynn, C. (2020). The psychology of nonconsensual porn: Understanding and addressing a growing form of sexual violence. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7(2), 190–197. https://doi.org/10.1177/2372732220941534

Flood, M. (2009). The harms of pornography exposure among children and young people. Child Abuse Review, 18(6), 384–400. https://doi.org/10.1002/car.1092

Furnham, A. (2003). Belief in a just world: Research progress over the past decade. Personality and Individual Differences, 34(5), 795–817. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00072-7

Gavin, J., & Scott, A. J. (2019). Attributions of victim responsibility in revenge pornography. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 11(4), 263–272. https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-03-2019-0408

Gov.uk. (2016). Revenge porn: The facts. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/405286/revenge-porn-factsheet.pdf

Gracia, E. (2014). Intimate partner violence against women and victim-blaming attitudes among Europeans. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 92, 380–381. https://doi.org/10.2471/BLT.13.131391

Grubb, A., & Turner, E. (2012). Attribution of blame in rape cases: A review of the impact of rape myth acceptance, gender role conformity and substance use on victim blaming. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17(5), 443–452. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2012.06.002

Hearn, J., & Hall, M. (2019). ‘This is my cheating ex’: Gender and sexuality in revenge porn. Sexualities, 22(5–6), 860–882. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460718779965

Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1037/10628-000

Henry, N., Flynn, A. & Powell, A. (2020). Technology facilitated domestic and sexual violence: A review. Violence Against Women, 26(15–16), 1828–1854. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801219875821

Henry, N., & Powell, A. (2015). Beyond the ‘sext’: Technology-facilitated sexual violence and harassment against adult women. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 48(1), 104–118. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004865814524218

Henry, N., & Powell, A. (2016). Sexual violence in the digital age: The scope and limits of criminal law. Social & Legal Studies, 25(4), 397–418. https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663915624273

Henry, N., Powell, A. & Flynn, A. (2017). Not just ‘revenge pornography’: Australians’ experiences of image-based abuse. A summary report. RMIT University. https://research.monash.edu/en/publications/not-just-revenge-pornography-australians-experiences-of-image-bas. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-58047-4_5

Kleeman, J. (2018, January 18). The YouTube star who fought back against revenge porn – and won. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jan/18/chrissy-chambers-youtube-revenge-porn-legal-victory

Larkin, P. J. (2014). Revenge porn, state law, and free speech. Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, 48(1), 57–117. https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/llr/vol48/iss1/2. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2385620

Lenhart, A. (2009). Teens and sexting. Pew Internet and American Life Project, 1, 1–26. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2009/12/15/teens-and-sexting/

Lerner, M. J. (1980). The belief in a just world: A fundamental delusion. Plenum. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-0448-5

Livingstone, S. & Görzig, A. (2012). Sexting: The exchange of sexual messages online among European youth. In S. Livingstone, L. Haddon, & A. Görzig, (Eds.), Children, risk and safety online: Research and policy challenges in comparative perspective (pp. 149–162). The Policy Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt9qgt5z

McCaul, K. D., Veltum, L. G., Boyechko, V., & Crawford, J. J. (1990). Understanding attributions of victim blame for rape: Sex, violence, and foreseeability. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20(1), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1990.tb00375.x

McDaniel, B. T. & Drouin, M. (2015). Sexting among married couples: Who is doing it, and are they more satisfied? Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(11), 628–634. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2015.0334

McGlynn, C., Rackley, E. & Houghton, R. (2017). Beyond ‘revenge porn’: The continuum of image-based sexual abuse. Feminist Legal Studies, 25(1), 25–46. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10691-017-9343-2

McGlynn, C., Rackley, E., Johnson, K., Henry, N., Flynn, A., Powell, A., Gavey, N., & Scott, A. (2019). Shattering lives and myths: A report on image-based sexual abuse [Project Report]. Durham University; University of Kent.

McGlynn, C., Johnson, K., Rackley, E., Henry, N., Gavey, N., Flynn, A., & Powell, A. (2021). ‘It’s torture for the soul’: The harms of image-based sexual abuse. Social & Legal Studies, 30(4), 541–562. https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663920947791

MetHq. (2020). Reports and changes of revenge porn from March to May 2017–2020. https://www.met.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/foi-media/metropolitan-police/disclosure_2020/june_2020/information-rights-unit---reports-and-charges-of-revenge-porn-from-march-to-may-2017-to-2020

Ministry of Justice. (2015). Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/428204/cjc-act-circular.pdf

Parker, T. S., Blackburn, K. M., Perry, M. S. & Hawks, J. M. (2013). Sexting as an intervention: Relationship satisfaction and motivation considerations. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 41(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2011.635134

Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2016). Bullying today: Bullet points and best practices. Sage Publications. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781506335957

Patella-Rey, P. J. (2018). Beyond privacy: Bodily integrity as an alternative framework for understanding non-consensual pornography. Information, Communication & Society, 21(5), 786–791. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2018.1428653

Petherick, W. (2017). Victim precipitation: Why we need to expand upon the theory. Forensic Research and Criminology International Journal, 5(2), Article 00148. https://doi.org/10.15406/frcij.2017.05.00148

Pina, A., Holland, J., & James, M. (2017). The malevolent side of revenge porn proclivity: Dark personality traits and sexist ideology. International Journal of Technoethics, 8(1), Article 3. https://doi.org/10.4018/IJT.2017010103

Pinciotti, C. M., & Orcutt, H. K. (2021). Understanding gender differences in rape victim blaming: The power of social influence and just world beliefs. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(1–2), 255–275. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517725736

Powell, A. & Henry, N. (2018). Policing technology-facilitated sexual violence against adult victims: Police and service sector perspectives. Policing and Society, 28(3), 291–307. https://doi.org/10.1080/10439463.2016.1154964

Powell, A. & Henry, N. (2019). Technology-facilitated sexual violence victimization: Results from an online survey of Australian adults. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34(17), 3637–3665. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260516672055

Project deSHAME. (2017). Young people’s experiences of online sexual harassment. https://www.childnet.com/ufiles/Project_deSHAME_Dec_2017_Report.pdf

Ringrose, J., Harvey, L., Gill, R., & Livingstone, S. (2013). Teen girls, sexual double standards and ‘sexting’: Gendered value in digital image exchange. Feminist Theory, 14(3), 305–323. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464700113499853

Salter, M., Crofts, T., & Lee, M. (2013). Beyond criminalisation and responsibilisation: Sexting, gender and young people. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 24(3), 301–316. https://doi.org/10.1080/10345329.2013.12035963

Schafer, S. (1968). Victimology: The victim and his criminal. Reston Publishing Company.

Schneider, L. J, Soh-Chiew Ee, J., & Aronson, H. (1994). Effects of victim gender and physical vs. psychological trauma/injury on observers' perceptions of sexual assault and its aftereffects. Sex Roles, 30(11–12), 793–808. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01544232

Scott, A. J. & Gavin, J. (2017). Revenge pornography: The influence of perpetrator-victim sex, observer sex and observer sexting experience on perceptions of seriousness and responsibility. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 8(2), 162–172. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-05-2017-0024

Shaver, K. G. (1970). Defensive attribution: Effects of severity and relevance on the responsibility assigned for an accident. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 14(2), 101–113. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0028777

Sleath, E., & Bull, R. (2010). Male rape victim and perpetrator blaming. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(6), 969–988. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260509340534

Sleed, M., Durrheim, K., Kriel, A., Solomon, V., & Baxter, V. (2002). The effectiveness of the vignette methodology: A comparison of written and video vignettes in eliciting responses about date rape. South African Journal of Psychology, 32(3), 21–28. https://doi.org/10.1177/008124630203200304

Starr, T. S., & Lavis, T. (2018). Perceptions of revenge pornography and victim blame. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 12(2), 427–438. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3366179

Strömwall, L. A., Alfredsson, H., & Landström, S. (2013). Rape victim and perpetrator blame and the just world hypothesis: The influence of victim gender and age. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 19(2), 207–217. https://doi.org/10.1080/13552600.2012.683455

Stroud, S. R. (2014). The dark side of the online self: A pragmatist critique of the growing plague of revenge porn. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 29(3), 168–183. https://doi.org/10.1080/08900523.2014.917976

Stubbs-Richardson, M., Rader, N. E., & Cosby, A. G. (2018). Tweeting rape culture: Examining portrayals of victim blaming in discussions of sexual assault cases on Twitter. Feminism & Psychology, 28(1), 90–108. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353517715874

Suarez, E., & Gadalla, T. M. (2010). Stop blaming the victim: A meta-analysis on rape myths. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(11), 2010–2035. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260509354503

SWGfl. (2020, September 17). Revenge Porn Helpline: The busiest year on record! https://swgfl.org.uk/magazine/revenge-porn-helpline-the-busiest-year-yet/

Uhl, C. A., Rhyner, K. J., Terrance, C. A., & Lugo, N. R. (2018). An examination of nonconsensual pornography websites. Feminism & Psychology, 28(1), 50–68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353517720225

Van Den Eekhout, K., & Attrill-Smith, A. (2018). Personality markers in attitudes towards the revenge porn of previously shared and unshared images [Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wolverhampton].

Van der Bruggen, M., & Grubb, A. (2014). A review of the literature relating to rape victim blaming: An analysis of the impact of observer and victim characteristics on attribution of blame in rape cases. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 19(5), 523–531. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2014.07.008

Vonderhaar, R. L., & Carmody, D. C. (2015). There are no “innocent victims”: The influence of just world beliefs and prior victimization on rape myth acceptance. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(10), 1615–1632. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260514549196

Weekes, L. & Wesson, C. (2017). Attributions of blame in revenge porn: A thematic analysis [Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wolverhampton].

Zvi, L. & Schechory-Bitton, M. (2020). Police officer perceptions of non-consensual dissemination of intimate images. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, Article 2148. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02148

https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2021-4-3



Copyright (c) 2021 Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.