Respect privacy. End image-based sexual abuse.
Research how image-based sexual abuse can be criminalised. This is an essential step, that oddly enough is surpassed by legislators. This has led to laws that are unsuitable for the criminalisation of image-based sexual abuse. Victims are blamed, perpetrators are protected: if a victim consented to taking private images, most laws consider the publication of those images consensual as well. Many laws protect the perpetrator by only criminalising non-consensual publications of private images if the intention of the perpetrator of the victim was to harm the victim. The harm done to victims is the same regardless of intention, and exclusions like these have no place in an effective law. From October 2018 Marthe Goudsmit will research the criminalisation of image-based sexual abuse. More information on this research can be found here. The research proposal can be found here.
Inform law enforcement, judiciaries and legislators. Secondary victimisation by those who need to help victims is a serious problem. If someone who is a victim of image-based sexual abuse is not taken seriously by those who should be there to help, the harm done to the victim is increased. If the police tell you that it is your own fault for having taken these images in the first place, or seem to be amused by your predicament, it is much more likely that you will feel ashamed and start blaming yourself. You shouldn’t. A victim is not at fault – the perpetrator is. Informing officials of what image-based sexual abuse is should make them take it more serious, and might prevent stories like Annmarie Chiarini’s.
Develop clear guidelines for legislators. The research that will be undertaken at the University of Oxford aims to develop guidelines for the criminalisation and prosecution of image-based sexual abuse. This way, newly enacted laws can better suit the problematic content of image-based sexual abuse. These guidelines aren’t limited to a single jurisdiction, they will be applicable worldwide. This way, a crime that crosses borders can be criminalised in all countries.
End image-based sexual abuse
The ultimate goal is to end image-based sexual abuse. This won’t happen over night. Laws need to be put in place, perpetrators need to be prosecuted, victims need to be acknowledged, and awareness of the public regarding the harm done to victims needs to be increased. It will take a while, but we can get it done.