Image-based abuse is more common than you might think. Around 20% of Australians have experienced an intimate, nude or sexual image being shared without their consent. It doesn’t matter whether the person in the image agreed to the image being taken in the first place. If the image is shared without the consent of the person depicted, it is image-based abuse.
Examples of image-based abuse include:
- A current or ex-partner sharing an intimate image on social media without your consent.
- An image being shared with a friend or acquaintance, passed on and posted online without your consent.
- A work colleague Photoshopping an image of you with an explicit image and sharing it broadly via email.
- A violent or abusive partner posting explicit images online to further hurt or humiliate you.
- Threats to share an image if you don’t give the perpetrator money, perform a sexual act, or provide more images.
The following real-life stories show how far-reaching image-based abuse is in Australia, the trauma it can cause, and the steps that victims have taken to deal with it.
All names and other personal information in these stories have been changed to protect the person who was abused.
Emily was a 17 year old student when she shared three nude photos with a boy she knew through a friend.
I was 15 when my naked photo was shared without my consent.
I was in my 20s when I met my dream man. I had come out of a long relationship and was happy to find someone who cared for me again.
I am originally from Thailand. When I was 21, I started an online relationship with an Australian man.
Growing up in regional Victoria, I didn’t know any openly gay guys in my town. It was pretty isolating.
I never thought of myself as someone who would send nude photos. I’m a professional in my early 40s, and I understand the power of images.
Michael was in his 40s when he first tried online dating. He was amazed at how many interesting women he could meet online.
Min-jun recently moved to Australia as part of his university degree. He liked his studies, but it was definitely hard getting used to a new city, a new country and a language he was still learning.