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Unsolicited sexual images: “It’s only a picture, what’s the harm?”

Press, Natasha (2020) Unsolicited sexual images: “It’s only a picture, what’s the harm?”. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Digital exhibitionism in the form of unsolicited sexual images, has become so commonplace that recipients are failing to see them as a category of sexual harassment. The aim of this study is to examine the experience response of receiving an unsolicited sexual image and assess if the action response is sufficient to those experiences. The study targets at-risk groups with the intent to convince policy writers to offer protections with the support of legislative powers. 108 female students from Murdoch University participated in a self-report online survey, using Qualtrics, that included quantitative Likert scales and qualitative answers on the frequency, response, result, reaction, and general feeling about receiving unsolicited sexual images. A scale was developed which resulted in three subscales of amusement, victimisation, and retribution. Qualitative results were analysed using NVivo software. Findings showed that there is a high frequency of the receipt of unsolicited sexual images, that generational responses differ in retributive action, and that overall action responses are inadequate to the harms they cause. The need for policy creation and legislative protections that are equal to current exhibitionist laws was evident, along with the need for public education to create a societal awareness and confidence to report online abusive behaviours.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Law and Criminology
Supervisor(s): Zander, Jaimie and Keatley, David
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