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Julia Zauner: Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence: Understanding Experiences of Victimisation, Support Needs and Legal Responses to Technology Inflicted Harm

November 7, 2018 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

The proposed feminist phenomenological study is concerned with exploring experiences of technology-facilitated sexual violence (TFSV) with regard to victimisation, survivor support services, and responses of the criminal justice (CJ) system. The term includes but is not limited to: the distribution of sexual content without consent, online sexual harassment, and virtual rape facilitated by technology. TFSV has neither embodied physicality nor geographical boundaries but nevertheless contains symbolic and emotional implications of violence rooted into society and with international relevance. Using qualitative methods, this research aims to understand the nature and impact of TFSV on survivors, locating these within current academic, policy and practice debates.
TFSV and its challenges are rapidly evolving. However, neither research nor governmental institutions have given much attention to TFSV. Therefore, this study is timely and contemporary. Under consideration of the continued reproduction of male supremacy and asymmetrical power relations, there is strong support to suggest the phenomenon is gendered; this therefore indicates a further need to investigate TSFV as a new means of violence against women.
The data collection proposes qualitative interviews with at least 25 survivors, 10 support practitioners, and 5 CJ representatives. The proposed analysis method is interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore the meanings associated with TFSV. The research is of highest relevance for criminological and sociological research as well as the governmental body and support practitioners as it contributes to the understanding of victimisation experiences and legal responses to a phenomenon which is yet to be explored.
About the Author:  Julia is a researcher in criminology with a specialisation on gender-based violence in the digital age. For her Master’s dissertation she was concerned with the victim-blaming tendencies of the British educational system surrounding campaigns on the sharing and creating of intimate images. Julia is a board member of the Empower Project Scotland – an intersectional feminist charity working with communities to educate on tech abuse. She currently undertakes a traineeship at the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency before starting a PhD in autumn 2019.


November 7, 2018
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm