“Revenge porn,” by another name

Woman on tablet in armchair

Cyber-exploitation. Non-consensual porn (NCP). The non-consensual sharing of intimate images. Image-based abuse. Or, the most colloquially used term: “Revenge porn.”

Whatever you call it, the act represents the most callous betrayal of trust—an affront to human dignity—and is almost always committed with malicious intent.

The subjects of such “image-based abuse” should not be blamed for this betrayal of trust nor should their experiences be trivialised. In this situation, it is not just the digital sticks and stones that cause damage, but indeed, the names can hurt too.

Combatting image-based abuse is an important new role for the eSafety Office. We are currently mapping out a national complaints portal, set to be available to Australians in the second half of 2017. A second phase of this project will be implemented alongside a new civil penalty regime.

Tasked with providing redress and support for victims of this terrible practice, we thought it was time to change the lexicon internally. As such, we no longer refer to this complaints portal as the “Revenge Porn Tool.” Instead, we refer to it as the “Image-Based Abuse Tool” (IBAT), because it better represents the range of scenarios we are already witnessing from Australians. In fact, we’ve seen a steady increase in image-based abuse, with almost 15 per cent of cyberbullying complaints in six months to December reflecting this alarming trend.

Responding to change is imperative to ensure that we continue to provide our audiences with up-to-date, timely and appropriate content. While we have always acknowledged in our content that “revenge porn” is problematic terminology, we retained this populist phrase for the short-term as a way of ensuring that victims experiencing this would be able to easily find the information they need on our website.

Increasingly, we are hearing from our partners in the domestic violence community, that the term “revenge porn” is seen as minimising what is a serious act of abuse.

Following on from this we have now replaced all references to ‘revenge porn’ on our eSafety Women and eSafety Office websites with ‘image-based abuse’. And we’ll continue to reflect this change in all our work within the space.

For all of us, keeping up with change—as well as being the change—is essential. But never more so than where the safety of our citizens is at stake.

For more information, visit eSafety Women


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