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    Here Are Some Things You Might Not Know About Revenge Porn

    Men and women are equally likely to be victims.

    The use of revenge porn has created a "mass scale of victimisation" in Australia, with men and women being subjected to "sextortion", a new study from RMIT and Monash universities has found.

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    One in five Australians say they have had images or videos of a nude or sexual nature taken without their consent; 11% say these images or videos were shared; and 9% said they received threats that the images would be shared.

    The 4200 respondents were aged between 16 and 49.

    "Image-based abuse has emerged so rapidly as an issue that inevitably our laws and policies are struggling to catch up," RMIT University's chief investigator Dr Nicola Henry said in a statement.

    “This isn’t just about ‘revenge porn’ – images are being used to control, abuse and humiliate people in ways that go well beyond the ‘relationship gone sour’ scenario.”

    The study's findings include:

    • Marginalised communities were most likely to be victims: 56% of people with a disability, 50% of Indigenous Australians and 36% of those who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, compared with 21% of heterosexuals.
    • Victims weren't really divided along gender lines: 22% of women and 23% of men said they had been a victim of image-based abuse. The perpetrator was more likely to be male (54%) than female (33%).
    • Women (39%) were more likely than men (30%) to be victimised by an intimate partner or ex-partner
    • Women (12%) were also more likely than men (5%) to have had a stranger take a nude or sexual image of them without permission
    • 80% of people who had experienced "sextortion" – blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favours – reported high levels of psychological distress.

    The research recommended reforms, including a dedicated helpline for victims, and making image-based abuse a crime under federal telecommunications law.

    Monash University's Dr Asher Flynn said social media companies needed to take stronger action.

    “Our survey only captured those victims who had become aware their images had been distributed, whereas some victims may never discover that their images have been taken and distributed, particularly if they are circulated on sites located on the dark web.”

    Gina Rushton is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

    Contact Gina Rushton at gina.rushton@buzzfeed.com.

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