2018 Winner of the Capstone Editing Carer’s Travel Grant for Academic Women

We are proud to announce that Dr Asher Flynn is the 2018 recipient of the Capstone Editing Carer’s Travel Grant for Academic Women. This award will provide the opportunity for Dr Flynn and her two-year old son Henry, who was born nine weeks prematurely and with a need for specialist care, to travel with the help of a carer to Oñati, Spain. She will be presenting an informative paper on the inaction of bystanders in cases involving image-based sexual abuse at the Youth Online: De-escalation Strategies and Socio-Legal Responses workshop.

Dr Flynn is the Director of the Social and Political Sciences Graduate Research Program at Monash University, where she also serves as a senior lecturer in criminology. She completed her PhD in Criminology and has had her work published extensively (in 15 books and book chapters to over 20 journal articles), with a foundation in the areas of law, justice and image-based abuse (IBA).

The non-consensual creation and distribution of nude or sexual images, including threats to distribute them, is a growing global problem. Dr Flynn’s paper provides a ground-breaking analysis of the platforms that facilitate and host such IBA material, discovering that each category of platform retains their own distinct properties for factors such as purpose, culture and audience reach. Her paper also discusses the gendered nature of IBA in regard to the cultural attitudes that condone objectification of and violence against women.

By providing financial assistance for Dr Flynn and her son Henry, Capstone Editing supports her intention to not only use this opportunity for presenting her valuable findings, but also for highlighting the importance of travelling for network development, for collaborating for career enhancement and for ultimately seizing the chances to do so, which are less available for primary carers, among whom women continue to be under-represented.

The overviews of the researches she will be presenting are provided below.

Dr Flynn’s Research Papers

Bystander (in)action in cases involving image-based sexual abuse: Findings from an Australian survey.

The non-consensual creation or distribution of nude or sexual images, including threats to distribute, is a growing global problem. While research has begun to examine the prevalence and impacts of ‘image-based sexual abuse’ (IBSA), very little research has considered bystander attitudes or responses when witnessing IBSA. This paper presents survey findings from a nationally representative online sample of Australian adults (N= 4,122) on IBSA, with a specific focus on bystanders. Overall, we found that 19% of respondents reported being a bystander to IBSA, with just under half (44%) of these reporting doing nothing in response, and 7% reporting they did not know what to say or do. Hypothesized responses to witnessing IBSA were decidedly more prosocial than reported reactions to receiving such material, with half of respondents (47%) saying they would say something to the person who distributed the photo/video (47%) or tell the person depicted in the photo or video (44%). Only one in ten (11%) indicated they would not say or do anything in response. Using Darley and Latané’s (1970) model for bystander action, this article considers demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal correlates of bystander intentions and actions in IBSA situations. We further consider how bystander education could provide support for victims, challenge perpetrators, and address the culture of victim-blaming that both excuses perpetrator behavior and prevents victims from seeking assistance.

The non-consensual creation or distribution of nude or sexual images, including threats to distribute images, is a growing problem globally. While research has begun to examine the prevalence and impacts of image-based abuse (IBA), few studies have investigated the platforms that facilitate and host IBA material. This paper describes an ethnographic study on the nature and scope of IBA material appearing on 77 high-volume online sites. It presents ground-breaking analysis of the six main categories of sites containing IBA material. While sometimes overlapping, this paper argues that each category is distinct in its purpose, culture, user interaction, marketing strategies and audience reach. Overall, the study found there is a growing demand for non-consensual imagery, including stylized representations of non-consensual acts, including rape, covert filming of intimate/sexual acts, and the sharing of nude and sexual images of another person without their knowledge and/or consent. While some perpetrators may be motivated by a desire for revenge, this is not the users’ primary motivations, rather they are seeking sexual gratification or proving their status to a sexually deviant peer network. Finally, the paper discusses the gendered phenomenon of IBA based on the content uncovered, which reflects cultural attitudes that condone, support and legitimate the objectification of, and violence against, women.

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