Fashion

Image-Based Sexual Abuse: Here Are All The Types You Need To Know About

Earlier this month, Stephen Bear was found guilty of a chilling form of sexual abuse. He shared sexual footage of his ex-girlfriend, Georgia Harrison, without her permission or knowledge, which resulted in the clip appearing on the online subscription site OnlyFans.

The court case that followed – where he was accused of voyeurism and two counts of disclosing private, sexual photographs and films – has shed light on the increasing issues around sharing intimate images, which is a form of abuse if done without the subject’s consent. There’s much more to be aware of than just the phrase “revenge porn”, as this form of abuse can come in numerous forms.

Defined by experts as “non-consensual creation and/or distribution of private, sexual images”, the phrase image-based sexual abuse covers a broader area of behaviour than revenge porn does, because, unfortunately, it can go much further than just one act of abuse.

GLAMOUR asked a legal expert and a manager of a hotline supporting victims what we can do if we encounter one of these forms of abuse – here’s everything you need to know.

Revenge pornography

What is it? The threat by an ex-partner or someone close to you of sharing intimate pictures without your consent – behaviour which is normally part of an abusive relationship pattern. This is a huge issue: there are over 3,000 websites dedicated to revenge porn, currently.

What can I do if this happens to me?
“This is a criminal offence, and the majority of online platforms have robust policies that disallow this content and should have reporting routes for users to follow,” Sophie Mortimer, manager of the Revenge Porn Helpline, says. 

“Alternatively, the Revenge Porn Helpline is always available to support adults in the UK with the removal of this sort of content. We know that it can be deeply distressing for people to try to do this for themselves.”

You have legal options too: “The victim can seek prosecution through the police or private prosecution,” Sophie Campbell-Adams, solicitor and legal expert at Britton and Time Solicitors advises. “The latter is when the victim will issue their own claim against the abuser and seek the criminal sentence that would have been given if the Crown Prosecution Service prosecuted. 

“As a last resort, once the criminal aspect has been thoroughly exhausted, the victim can obtain an injunction (ordering the abuser to remove the images and/or prohibit the abuser from committing the abusive acts) and seek compensation through the civil courts. Anyone breaching an injunction can face prison time, potentially leading to multiple sentences for abusers.”

The act of making revenge pornography is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 2 years.

Nudification 

What is it? A disturbing example of “deepfaking” – where AI is used to add a person’s face or body into a photo or video that didn’t contain them originally, usually for malicious purposes and to spread false information – nudification is defined by the stripping of a subject nude, digitally. It’s chilling, particularly when used to make non-consensual pornography.

What can I do if this happens to me?
“Nudification apps, like deepfakes, are not currently illegal under the legislation around intimate images,” Mortimer explains. “We hope this will change amendments from the Law Commission. Depending on the circumstances (ie if it was targeted) it might be part of a campaign of harassment, but there is really very little support for victims currently.”