Image-based abuse – sometimes called ‘revenge porn’ – is when someone shares, or threatens to share, an intimate image or video of a person without their consent.
If someone shares or threatens to share an intimate image or video of you, eSafety can help have the content removed or stop the threats.
If you’re being blackmailed, don’t pay or give the blackmailer more money or intimate content. Stop all contact with them.
Image-based abuse is not your fault and you’re not alone. You can get help by reporting image-based abuse, including ‘revenge porn’ and ‘sextortion’.
On this page:
- What is image-based abuse or ‘revenge porn’?
- What is an ‘intimate’ image or video?
- What are some examples of image-based abuse?
- Find out more including how to report, how to manage the impacts and how to help others if they experience image-based abuse.
What is image-based abuse or 'revenge porn'?
Image-based abuse is when someone shares, or threatens to share, an intimate image or video of a person without their consent.
If it happens to you, you’re not alone. Many Australians have experienced image-based abuse – it affects people regardless of their age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, education or bank balance.
It can make you feel scared, anxious, betrayed, angry or humiliated. There can also be an ongoing impact if you have to deal with critical comments or harassment from people who see the intimate image or video. This is why it’s best to report what’s happened, so eSafety can help remove the content or stop the threats.
In some cases, we may be able to take action against the person responsible, if this is something you want. There are also criminal laws that cover image-based abuse, so the police may be able to investigate.
‘Consent’ means someone gives their permission clearly, they fully understand what they’re agreeing to and they have not been pressured into it.
Sharing your intimate image or video with one person doesn’t give them permission to share it with anyone else or let others see it.
Image-based abuse is sometimes called ‘revenge porn’ because some people do it to hurt a person who has ended a relationship with them, or threaten to do it unless they stay together. But this term can be misleading because often image-based abuse is done for other reasons. For example, intimate images or videos can be shared to boast to others, as a very unfunny ‘joke’ or to get the person shown into trouble. Sharing or threatening to share an intimate image of video can also be part of a pattern of controlling and abusive behaviour in a domestic and family violence situation.
As RMIT research explains, ‘images are being used in highly diverse and complex ways as a form of control, abuse, humiliation and gratification that goes well beyond the jilted ex-lover scenario…’
Another type of image-based abuse is sexual extortion or ‘sextortion’. This is when someone tries to blackmail you over a nude or sexual image or video of you. They may demand money, cryptocurrency, gift cards, gaming credits, or more nudes or sexual content.
If you’re being blackmailed, don’t pay or give the blackmailer more money or intimate content. Stop all contact with them. Go to our special advice on how to deal with sexual extortion.
Remember, it’s not your fault if someone shares or threatens to share an intimate image or video of you without your consent. Even if you sent it to them in the first place, or agreed to get sexual with them in a live chat, they have no right to share the content with others.
What is an 'intimate' image or video?
An image or video is ‘intimate’ if it shows, or appears to show:
- you nude or partly naked – such as a naked selfie or a topless photo if you identify as female or non-binary
- your genitals or bottom – even if you have underwear on (this includes upskirt shots)
- you during a private activity – such as using the toilet, showering, having a bath or getting sexual
- you without clothing of religious or cultural significance, if you normally wear it in public (such as a hijab or turban).
The image or video can be:
- altered or faked to look like you
- shared in a way that makes people think it’s you, even when it’s not (such as a nude of someone else tagged with your name).
The image or video can be sent, posted or shared using:
- an online platform or service, such as a social media feed, online game or other app
- a website, such as an image board or porn site
- a direct message, text message, chat service, email or file transfer (such as AirDrop or Nearby Share).
What are some examples of image-based abuse?
- Your ex-partner shares a nude of you on social media.
- A co-worker alters a photo of you to make you look naked and emails it to lots of people.
- Someone you’re trying to break up with threatens to share a photo of you having sex unless you agree to talk to them.
- A blackmailer threatens to send a recording of you getting sexual to all your online contacts – including friends and family – unless you pay them money.
- Someone anonymously posts a naked selfie of you on a porn website.
- Someone tags a nude with your name, even though it’s not you.