Nonconsensual Sharing of Private Sexually Explicit Media Among University Students

Kate Walker, Emma Sleath, Ruth Hatcher, Benjamin Hine, Rebecca Crookes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


This research was the first in the United Kingdom to examine the prevalence and nature of nonconsensual sharing of sexually explicit messages, pictures, and videos and to examine whether this varies according to gender and by role (i.e., perpetrator, victim, or as dual role of perpetrator/victim). In a sample of 391 young adults (aged 18-25 years), questionnaire data on subjective norms, consensual and nonconsensual sharing, and their motivations for these behaviors were collected. Perpetration of and victimization through nonconsensual sharing was experienced by a substantial number of individuals. There was an association between reporting perpetration of nonconsensual sharing and experiencing victimization. An association was also found between reporting being pressured (i.e., coerced) to send sexually explicit material and experiencing victimization of nonconsensual sharing, which suggests that these behaviors may form part of a continuum of violence and abuse, potentially within intimate relationships. No association was found between gender and (a) perpetration or (b) victimization. However, from a gendered perspective, females perceived there was greater social pressure to post messages, pictures, and videos, compared with males. Motivations for nonconsensual sharing were commonly explained as for fun/a joke, and generally not thought of as problematic, although some victims perceived motivations to be more negative and/or related to revenge/causing distress. Given that this research examined nonconsensual sharing across messages, pictures, and videos for both victimization and perpetration and found it was both perpetrated and experienced by females and males, this does not support the common perception that this is a male perpetrated behavior against women. This has implications for education, policy, intervention, and prevention, with approaches needing to be inclusive of both males and females when addressing perpetration and victimization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP9078-NP9108
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number17-18
Early online date13 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: The authors received pump prime funding from Coventry University to undertake the research.


  • consent
  • image-based sexual abuse
  • revenge pornography
  • sexting
  • technology-facilitated sexual violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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