We are in the digital age, with access to high-speed internet, mobile phones and other tech devices. However, with all these technological advancements, comes a daunting reality that it’s infamously popular for someone to share or threaten to share a nude image or video of you when you don’t want them to, this is called image-based abuse.
Reports have stated that several apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, dating apps like Tinder/Badoo and even Twitter are being used to bully, ‘catfish’, or even blackmail persons. Whatever the reason, it is never OK.
There is an urgent need to address online content before it’s too late, we need to study if the sad rise of non-consensual digital pornography that often amounts to emotional assault can be quelled.
These malicious acts are not only responsible for causing significant emotional harm to the people being imitated. They also sow the seeds of sociopolitical harm by slowing down movements working toward widespread social acceptance of sexual freedom.
And given that so much of our world now happens now, examining what potential checks on unprecedented levels of unchecked sexual behaviour, in particular, may look like must occur.
One type of image-based abuse as sextortion. This is when the person who threatens to share a nude of you is demanding more nudes or money or is trying to make you stay in a relationship with them. It is a form of blackmail.
Here are some examples of sextortion:
- Someone you used to date threatens to share your nude images with other people or post them online unless you get back together with them.
- You accept a friend request from someone and things get flirty. They threaten to share nudes that you’ve sent them unless you send them money or more nudes.
- You receive an email in which someone claims they have hacked into your accounts or devices and have nudes of you. The person threatens to send the nudes to all your contacts unless you pay them money. This is a scam and they are trying to panic or scare you into doing what they say.
A recent Buzzfeed News article reports that Telegram (a messaging app) produced photo-realistic simulated fake nude images of more than 680,000 women without their knowledge or consent across Russia and Eastern Europe.