Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Honours
School of Arts and Humanities
Dr Eyal Gringart
Dr Madalena Grobbelaar
Being a highly convoluted and contemporaneous issue, defining and conceptualising image based sexual abuse has proved difficult for scholars. Although research on image-based sexual abuse is limited, previous inquiries have identified serious consequences and accumulative harms for affected individuals. I aimed to explore the lived experience and consequences of image-based sexual abuse as identified by women, in an attempt to taper the research dearth on this phenomenon. An in-depth qualitative phenomenological exploration of seven women’s experiences of image-based sexual abuse saw five overarching themes emerge from participants’ discourse. The themes comprised mental health impacts; perceptions of self; loss of control; mistrust; and experiences of abuse. Along with depressed mood, shame, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress, which have been identified outcomes in previous literature, participants experienced eating issues and body dysmorphic related consequences as an antecedent to self-objectification. As new findings, my study has identified that participants revealed experiences of sexual re-victimisation, polyvictimisation, chronic abuse, and presented with significant and enduring inter-relational disturbances. In addition, image-based sexual abuse may be a precursor to domestic violence vulnerability. Experiences of victim blaming presented a barrier to support seeking subsequent to the abuse, producing secondary victimisation and contributing to isolation, feelings of loneliness, and a lack of support. Managing this diverse, multifaceted, and complex social issue may benefit from a multidisciplinary approach that considers the interpersonal and societal factors implicated in image-based sexual abuse. Clinical implications such as working within a trauma informed approach are discussed and future directions are explicated.
Webb, B. L. (2019). Image-based sexual abuse: A qualitative exploration of the lived experience and perceived consequences for women. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses_hons/1534
Available for download on Monday, July 29, 2024