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Cyber Crime

Image-Based Sexual Abuse in a Culturally Conservative Nigerian Society

Image-Based Sexual Abuse in a Culturally Conservative Nigerian Society: Female Victims’ Narratives of Psychosocial CostsFull Article Name: Image-Based Sexual Abuse in a Culturally Conservative Nigerian Society: Female Victims’ Narratives of Psychosocial Costs

Open Access: Yes

Abstract

Background: In the last few years, many countries have introduced laws combating image-based sexual abuse (IBSA), colloquially known as “revenge pornography.” However, the significant growth in the body of literature on the legal perspectives on IBSA, and the media coverage of high profile cases have not been equally met with appreciable victimization studies. Meanwhile, the need for a victim-centered approach in studying IBSA in Nigeria is underscored by the pervasiveness and normalization of sexual violence as a result of societal attitudes about gender and sexuality in the country. Therefore, this study explored the social and psychological implications of IBSA victimization.

Methods: Using qualitative methods, 27 adult women whose sexual images have been non-consensually shared publicly through online channels were purposively selected and interviewed for the study, between September 2019 and April 2020, and a thematic analysis of the participants’ narratives carried out.

Results: Victims of IBSA were found to be subjected to higher social condemnation, stigmatization, and isolation based on greater attribution of blames to them by their social network. Evidences of institutional re-victimization were documented. Victims also reported self-blame, paranoia, anger, guilt, depression, suicidal ideation and attempt in dealing with the abuse, secondary victimization, and social isolation.

Conclusion: IBSA victims are faced with peculiar social and psychological consequences which separate them from victims of other forms of sexual abuse. The study suggests a review of appropriate laws and social policies to prevent IBSA, deploy more victim support services and perpetrator programs, and protect victims from secondary victimization.

    Citation

    Aborisade, R.A. (2022). Image-based sexual abuse in a culturally conservative Nigerian society: Female victims’ narratives of psychosocial costs. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 19, 220–232. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-021-00536-3