Attributions of victim responsibility in revenge pornography

Gavin, Jeff and Scott, Adrian J.. 2019. Attributions of victim responsibility in revenge pornography. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 11(4), pp. 263-272. ISSN 1759-6599 [Article]

2019 Gavin & Scott (JACPR).pdf - Accepted Version
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Abstract or Description

Purpose: Revenge pornography is a growing risk among adolescents and young adults. Often stemming from sexting, some victims of revenge pornography report experiencing victim-blame similar to that accompanying the reporting of rape. This study explores the assumptions that underlie attributions of victim-blame, with a focus on perpetrator and victim responsibility, as well as gendered assumptions surrounding sexting.

Design: 222 UK university students (111 male, 111 females) read one of two versions of a hypothetical revenge pornography scenario, one involving a male victim of a female perpetrator, the other a female victim of a male perpetrator. They then responded to an open ended question regarding responsibility.

Findings: Qualitative content analysis of these responses identified three inter-related themes: the victim’s behaviour, mitigating victim responsibility, and minimising the behaviour.

Social implications: The majority of participants in this study attributed at least some responsibility to the victims of revenge porn depicted in the scenarios. Sex of the victim played a less important role than assumptions around sexting.

Originality/value: The study suggests that victim-blame is linked to the consent implied by sharing intimate images with a partner, but is also mitigated by the normative nature of this relationship practice. There was some evidence that the experience of male victims of revenge pornography is trivialised. These findings have implications for e-safety and victim support.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


revenge pornography, image-based sexual abuse, victim-blame, victim responsibility, qualitative content analysis, technologically-facilitated sexual violence

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Forensic Psychology Unit


9 July 2019Accepted
3 October 2019Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2019 09:20

Last Modified:

14 May 2022 03:55

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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