Image-Based Sexual Abuse Initiative

A new initiative designed to elevate, accelerate, and unify the global response to the nonconsensual creation and distribution of intimate imagery.

We envision a world where everyone may be freely and safely online without the threat of image-based abuse.

As image-based sexual abuse continues to harm more people each year, there is an urgent need for coordinated, cross-sector solutions on a global scale. Just as image-based abuse encompasses a complex web of issues, so too must the solutions be wide-ranging and interconnected, including stronger laws, global cooperation, government action, media education, technology innovation, prevention strategies, and more.  

What role does this initiative play?

The Image-Based Sexual Abuse Initiative supports a platform for coordination, collaboration, and convening amongst lived experience experts, direct service providers, advocates, non-governmental organizations, academics, tech companies, law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders working to combat the nonconsensual creation and distribution of intimate imagery.

Key activities of the initiative include:

What is image-based sexual abuse?

Image-based sexual abuse is a technology-enabled form of gender-based violence – primarily but not solely impacting women and girls – that occurs when someone shares, or threatens to share, intimate or explicit images without someone’s consent. 

When nonconsensual imagery is shared over text message, in online forums, or posted on social media platforms, it can quickly reach a global audience via uploads to pornographic websites that do not, or cannot, reliably verify consent and/or ages of people depicted. Those who are impacted, whether they are adults or children, frequently experience high levels of psychological distress and trauma, including extreme, prolonged anxiety and suicidal ideation.

Image-based abuse and other mechanisms of online harm have increased at an alarming rate in recent years, especially as reliance on digital tools such as social media and other online platforms has become a new norm.

How can you contribute?

If you’re represented by any of the groups above and are interested in exploring how we can collaborate, please fill out our contact form.

Informed by lived experience experts

In our work, we have chosen to refer to individuals with firsthand knowledge of image-based abuse and online harm as “lived experience experts.” Put quite simply, we use this term because we recognize that everyone is more, and has more to offer, than the trauma they have experienced.

While in law enforcement and regulatory contexts the term “victim” may apply for legal reasons, and in other settings the term “survivor” is often used to shift focus onto the resiliency and agency of those who have experienced traumatic events, in the context of our work to drive global action, our advisors offer not only their lived experience of the issue, but their expertise – in pursuing accountability, remediation, healing, and justice. Lived experience experts are leaders in their own right, and we are proud to center our work around their insights and ideas.
"This was not our fault, and it should not be up to us to rebuild our reputation, image, and identity that was destroyed at the hands of others. The sad reality is that is has fallen on us to pick up all these pieces and figure out a path forward. As a society, we must do better. We must shift the narrative and implement change."
— a U.S. based lived experience expert, advocate and educator

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