MARTHE GOUDSMIT

     Photo by Caecilia Rasch.

I am doing doctoral research in law at the University of Oxford. My research interests are in philosophy, criminal law, and legal theory. I am currently working on research related to image-based sexual abuse, criminalisation theory, sexual offences and domestic abuse.

My doctoral research is on image-based sexual abuse, more commonly known as ‘revenge porn’ or ‘non-consensual porn’. The term ‘revenge porn’ is less than ideal: it suggests that the images are meant to be public (as pornography usually is). Additionally, the use of the word ‘revenge’ suggests that the victim has somehow wronged the offender, and that a retaliation in the form of image-based sexual abuse was somehow to be expected or the victim’s fault. Those suggestions are inappropriate and out of order. In my research I consider the concept of image-based sexual abuse in relation to the criminal law. I discuss the ways in which the offender wrongs the victim, by infringing the victim’s rights – which ought to be protected by the state. I aim to clarify which elements of image-based sexual abuse should be the focus of a criminalisation in order for that criminalisation to cover the intended ground. Current legislation usually fails at achieving this goal (the 2015 UK law is currently under review for this reason).

I began my doctoral research in 2018 at the University of Oxford, where I am affiliated to the Law Faculty and Exeter College (click here for an external link to the University of Oxford website). I also teach law at several colleges in Oxford.

Before I came to Oxford, I was based in Leiden. This is where I first began my research into image-based sexual abuse. In 2015 I wrote a Master Thesis on the criminalisation of ‘revenge pornography’ in the Netherlands. After I had finished this Master’s in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law (LL.M) I started teaching law in the Jurisprudence department of the Leiden Law Faculty (click here for an external link to the Leiden University website).

In 2016 I wrote my second Master Thesis on online sexual violence, this time in Oxford. I wrote this thesis in partial fulfilment of a Master’s in Philosophy of Law (MA). Finally, in 2017 I finished my third Master’s (in Public International Law) upon which I also started teaching in the Public International Law department of the Leiden University Law Faculty.