Cybercrime Seminar Series No. 3: Technology facilitated sexual violence

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Cybercrime Seminar Series No. 3: Technology facilitated sexual violence


ICJS Cybercrime Seminar Series

Theme: Technological facilitated sexual violenceThis seminar presents two talks from current feminist interdisciplinary research concerning digital technologies. As digital technologies have increasingly permeated contemporary society that have significantly altered how we live and communicate. Alongside the many benefits of a networked world there are also sinister implications, including the growth of technology facilitated sexual violence, providing new and unprecedented ways to oppress marginalized groups, reinforce patriarchal controls, and disseminate hatred.

Attendance is free of charge, but please register. Refreshments will be available.

Content warning: This seminar will feature graphic and disturbing descriptions of sexualised nature, including violence and abuse.

Keynote: Sex, Power and Consent in a Digital Society

Dr Anastasia Powell

RMIT University

Digital technologies have become ubiquitous both in everyday life – and in everyday crimes. In 2019, barely a day goes by without a news story on yet another incident of Image Based Sexual Abuse (known colloquially as ‘revenge pornography’); of the circulation of images of sexual assault; of rape threats directed towards women in both public and private life; of stalking and harassment by ex-partners; of online abuse directed at victim-survivors of sexual violence; or other forms of online misogyny and sexual harm. Yet as disturbing as such individual cases may be, when we examine them collectively we can see the full nature and extent of the problem: these remarkably common experiences for women online, are a reflection and extension of the sexism, harassment and violations experienced by women everyday. At the same time, these technologies are being mobilised to give voice to victim-survivors of sexual violence, and challenge the gender inequality that underlies women’s experiences of abuse.

In this keynote lecture, Associate Professor Anastasia Powell (RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia) draws on her ten years of research and theorising into multiple forms of Technology Facilitated Sexual Violence (TFSV). Dr Powell will discuss current examples of new, and all-too-familiar, sexual harms in the context of our increasingly digital society – as well as reflect on the opportunities for social change.

Speaker Biography

Dr Anastasia Powell is a Associate Professor in Criminology & Justice Studies at RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia). Her research has specialised in sexual and intimate partner violence, as well as emerging forms of technology-facilitated violence against women. Dr Powell has published widely in these fields, including six books, most recently Digital Criminology (Routledge, 2018) and Sexual Violence in a Digital Age (Palgrave, 2017). Dr Powell is currently a member of the editorial board of the international journals Crime, Media, Culture, and Current Issues in Criminal Justice, and serves on the board of directors of Our Watch, Australia’s national organisation for the prevention of violence against women and their children. Dr Powell is also a recipient of a prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) fellowship (2016-2018) exploring citizen participation in responses to crime and justice via social media, which reflects her recent research at the intersections of gender-based violence, technology, justice and digital culture. From 2013-2015, Dr Powell was lead Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery Project with Dr Henry, titled Technology-facilitated sexual violence and harassment: violence against women in cyberspace and the implications for legislative and policy reform. The project examined the ways in which technologies (including mobile phones, video recordings, online spaces, social media) are being used in connection with sexual violence and harassment against women. Currently, she is a co-Chief Investigator (with Drs Nicola Henry and Asher Flynn) on an ARC funded project examining Image Based Sexual Abuse in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Online misogyny: new media, old attitudes?

Dr Alessia Tranchese and Dr Lisa Sugiura

University of Portsmouth

This talk presents some of the findings of ‘Online misogyny: new media, old attitudes’, a cross collaborative project between linguistics and criminology, at the University of Portsmouth. The project used a big data approach to the study of the language of cybersexism in social media, where the phenomenon is particularly prevalent, to provide insight into its workings and contribute to the fight against it. Focusing on the incel (a blending that stands for ‘involuntary celibates’) community on Reddit, corpus analysis revealed that their discussions revolve around two connected themes: society’s rejection of incels, and men’s entitlement to women’s bodies, and this can be compared with the language of mainstream pornography. We argue that the language of incels does not reveal the ideology of a restricted community of ‘deviant’ men, rather, what drives them is a belief system situated at the extreme end of a continuum of societal misogyny that pre-dates the Web, but online has found fertile ground to flourish, strengthen and reinvent itself by circulating rapidly and vastly through both social networks and mainstream pornography.

Speaker Biographies

Dr Alessia Tranchese is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Applied Linguistics at the University of Portsmouth, where she teaches a range of subjects, including Gender, Language and Sexuality and Analysing Media Discourse. Her research interests focus on the representation of rape in the media. More recently, she has become interested in the language of sexualised violence against women in the digital world. Her work has appeared in Gender and Language, Journal of Corpora and Discourse Studies, and other academic journals.

Dr Lisa Sugiura is Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Cybercrime at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth, Themes Strategic Innovation Fellow (TRIF), and the Deputy Director of the Cybercrime Awareness Clinic. Her research focuses on online deviance, and technology facilitated gender-based abuse and sexual violence. She has published on topics including the online pharmaceutical trade, phishing, online research ethics and rape culture online. Her research projects which includes funding from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Home Office, involve the language of cybersexism, victims of computer misuse, the use of technologies to assist marginalised women into employment, and extremist and misogynistic behaviours in incel communities.

November 06 2019


Date: November 6, 2019
Time: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Website: Visit Event Website


University of Portsmouth

Room 2.08, Angelsea Building Angelsea Road
Portsmouth, PO1 3DJ United Kingdom

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  • Sex, Power and Consent in a Digital Society
  • Online misogyny: new media, old attitudes?


Cybercrime Awareness Clinic
Website: Visit Organizer Website