TFSV & Gendered Harm

Examining the Gendered Impacts of Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence: A Mixed Methods Approach – Amanda Champion, Flora Oswald, Devinder Khera, & Cory L. Pedersen

Technology-facilitated sexual violence (TFSV) is defined broadly as unwanted or unwelcome sexual behavior involving the use of technology, including online sexual harassment, online gender or sexuality-based harassment, online image-based abuse (colloquially known as "revenge porn"), and online sexual aggression/coercion (colloquially known as "sextortion"). The purpose of this study was to explore the victim impact of TFSV and to critically examine the positioning of TFSV as a gender-based harm; that is, a harm directed primarily towards women. This study employed a mixed methods approach, integrating quantitative online survey data (N = 333; Mage = 33.91 years; 63% women) with qualitative interview data (N = 10; Agerange = 24–46; 50% women) to gain a more comprehensive understanding of TFSV. We found that victims of TFSV experienced anxiety, stress, depression, loss of control, mistrust, multiple victimizations, poor academic/occupation functioning, problematic alcohol consumption, embarrassment, and online behavior changes (e.g., limiting personal information online) due to TFSV victimization. Individuals who experienced online image-based abuse reported greater distress on items of depression, anxiety, and occupational/academic functioning than did victims of other types of TFSV. The current study provides partial support for the gender similarities hypothesis that TFSV is not exclusively a gender-based harm; our findings suggest that women and men’s TFSV experiences are similar for most TFSV types. Overall, the present study demonstrates the negative impact TFSV has for both women and men and highlights the need for greater awareness and increased support for all victims of this form of sexual violence.

Article published in Archives of Sexual Behavior