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Gay and bi people more likely to be perpetrators and victims of revenge porn

Gay and bi people more likely to be perpetrators and victims of revenge porn

A cellphone with a photo of a man's torso

A new Australian study found one in ten people had participated in Image-Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA). This includes secretly taking sexual photos of others, ‘upskirting’ or revenge porn.

The latter term refers to when someone distributes sexual imagery or video of a partner or ex-partner.

Researchers at the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia undertook the study. It surveyed just over 4,000 participants aged 16-49. They were asked if they’d secretly taken photos of someone, distributed the images or threatened to do so.

The study included a range of IBSA behaviours. These ranged from someone receiving a nude or sexual selfie (consensually shared), and then sharing that onto others without consent; or someone secretly photographing or recording another person without their knowledge, or someone threatening to share nude or sexual images of another person.

The survey found that:

  • 11.1% (just over one in ten) reported instigating some form of image-based sexual abuse over their lifetime. This included secretly taking photos of others and/or distributing such images.
  • Men were twice as likely than women to report perpetrating revenge porn or secretly taking photos.
  • Gay, lesbian and bisexual people were more likely take part in image-based sexual abuse. According to the study, ‘LGB participants were more likely than heterosexual participants to self-report ever taking (17.2% vs. 7.5%), distributing (13.7% vs. 5.4%) and/or threatening to distribute (9.5% vs. 4.3%) a nude or sexual image of another person without their consent.’ Again, this was more common among men than women.
  • Most people targeted partners, ex-partners, friends or family rather than strangers.
  • Victims of image-based sexual abuse were significantly more likely to also abuse someone else in the same way.

The researchers said several other studies have looked at how teenagers sharing and swapping nude photos of others.

With this study, they wanted to see how many adults admitted to secretly taking photos of others, threatened to share the images, or did share them.

Victim-blaming excuses for sharing intimate images

The study noted perpetrators often agreed with a number of victim-blaming excuses, including phrases such as ‘It’s only natural for a guy to brag to his mates by showing them a nude or sexual image of his partner.’

Criminologist Anastasia Powell, one of the study’s co-author, told Perth Now: ‘While people do still tend to blame the victims, there is also widespread agreement in the community that perpetration of image-based abuse should be a crime.

‘We need nationally consistent laws, support and information for victims, as well as consistent action by social media and website providers.

‘We also need education that moves away from blaming and shaming the victims, and places the responsibility back onto perpetrators.’

LGB participants might be more likely engage in online dating behaviours’

Associate Professor Nicola Henry, another of the study’s co-authors, told Gay Star News that the specific reasons why gay, bi and lesbian people show a higher incidence of image-based sexual abuse perpetration is difficult to know. Speculating on possible factors, she said:

‘According to our study, LGB participants were more likely engage in online dating and sexual selfie-taking behaviours than heterosexuals.

‘It may be that some LGB individuals have more access to opportunities to engage in IBSA behaviours, especially if nude photos are used in user profiles on online dating sites.

‘However, our study did not find that more online daters engage in IBSA compared to non-online daters so again, it’s difficult to accurately explain the reason for the higher rate of perpetration among LGB participants in our study.

She says further research is needed with a larger sample of people.

See also

Flight attendant suspended over sex tape with gay porn star in plane toilet

Advice for gay and bi men arranging to meet others via dating apps

Gay porn actor and reality TV star found guilty of revenge porn