Dr. Asia Eaton
Florida International University

The psychology of image-based sexual abuse in the U.S.: Prevalence, frameworks, and predictor

While the widespread use of information and communication technology has brought about many societal benefits, these changes have also enabled online violence in various forms. For example, growing proportions of people are experiencing online harassment, including stalking, sexual harassment, and threats. Included in this is image-based sexual abuse (IBSA), or the creation or distribution of nude or sexual images of someone without their consent (Powell & Henry, 2017). IBSA is a global problem with limited legal solutions, insufficient funding, and potentially very serious and wide-ranging harms. In this presentation I review my research on IBSA in the U.S. from a psychological perspective. In our first study, I describe our early efforts at understanding the prevalence of IBSA among adult U.S. social media users, and the health correlates of victimization (Eaton et al., 2017; Ruvalcaba & Eaton, 2019). Next, I describe psychological frameworks and theories used to situate and define IBSA (Eaton & McGlynn, 2020; Eaton et al., 2020). I then describe our research on IBSA rates and predictors during the COVID-19 pandemic in a large and diverse sample of U.S. adults (Eaton et al., in press). Finally, I outline implications for technology and legal policy and practice to prevent IBSA and related harms.