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



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.

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

Alison Attrill-Smith

University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Alison Attrill-Smith, PhD, Senior Fellow HEA, is a Senior Lecturer in Cyberpsychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wolverhampton. Her research interests revolve around self-presentation online with criminal intent and digital sexual misconduct.

Caroline J. Wesson

University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Caroline J. Wesson, PhD is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wolverhampton. Her research interests combine social, cyber and forensic psychology with a current focus on online behaviours and victim-blaming.

Michelle L. Chater

University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Michelle L. Chater is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology's Cyberpsychology Research Group. She is investigating victim blaming in incidents of online sexual misconduct.

Lucy Weekes

University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Lucy Weekes, at the time of this research, was a postgraduate student on the MSc Cyberpsychology within the School of Psychology who contributed to this research as part of a work experience placement.


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