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

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

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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:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded by an Australian Research Council grant (DP170101433) with Nicola Henry as the lead investigator. Erika Rackley also gratefully acknowledges the support of the Philip Leverhulme Trust (PLP-2014-193).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johnson, Dr Kelly
Authors: McGlynn, C., Johnson, K., Rackley, E., Henry, N., Gavey, N., Flynn, A., and Powell, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Social and Legal Studies
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1461-7390
Published Online:19 August 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) 2020
First Published:First published in Social and Legal Studies 30(4): 541-562
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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