Bumble Initiative to Address Image-Based Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Bumble Partners to Fight Against Sexual Abuse Online

Many users of online dating apps have increasingly called on companies to be more transparent in their efforts to promote online safety. This has led many companies to unveil new features and initiatives aimed at helping users. A new partnership between Bumble and Panorama seeks to help promote safety by addressing the problem of image-based sexual abuse. 

What Is Image-Based Sexual Abuse?

The term image-based sexual abuse may seem unfamiliar to many people. However, you may better know it as what is often called “revenge porn.” However, image-based sexual abuse is a more all-encompassing term that refers to any time someone’s nude photos are distributed without their permission. 

Image-based sexual abuse is a form of harassment and exploitation that most frequently occurs as violence against women. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to be affected by this type of harassment. Meanwhile, LGBT individuals are nearly four times as likely to become victims of image-based sexual abuse as heterosexuals. 

Sexual Abuse

It may surprise you to learn the frequency with which this type of sexual abuse occurs. Roughly one in eight Americans and one in seven Britons become victims of nonconsensual photography during their lives, illustrating the depth of the problem at hand. Research has found over 3,000 different websites where these images can be distributed and viewed. 

Negative Impacts of Image-Based Sexual Abuse

When pornographic images of someone are shared without their permission, the results can have significant negative impacts on the victims. In many cases, the images are seen by people in the victim’s lives including parents, friends, coworkers, or supervisors. This can lead to wide-ranging effects. 

In fact, research into image-based sexual abuse has found that victims often experience a variety of negative effects including job loss, relationship problems, social isolation, and mental health issues. In total, 51% of victims of image-based sexual abuse find themselves contemplating suicide as a result of this form of harassment. 

How Bumble Is Addressing Image-Based Sexual Abuse

Online dating app Bumble is seeking to address this type of harassment and sexual abuse through a recently announced partnership with think tank Panorama Global. This partnership was made possible through seed funding provided by Bumble and a series of other organizations concerned about the issue. 

There are a number of things that Panorama is doing in order to help address the issue. They have spent time conducting research by bringing together survivors from eight different countries to discuss the issue in order to inform efforts at future policy change. They have also began creating partnerships with various governmental agencies to address this form of sexual violence against women. 

Sexual Abuse

Specifically, they have partnered with regulatory commissions in Australia, South Korea, South Africa, and Taiwan to help inform on policies aimed at reducing this practice and protecting victims. The organization has also made connections with the United States’ White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse, providing recommendations from survivors to help inform policy changes. Efforts to date have focused on informing global policy, funding, and legal responses. 

Future Efforts for Addressing Image-Based Sexual Abuse

While the collaboration between Bumble and Panorama has already involved quite a bit of work, there are many plans to be unveiled in the future as this initiative continues. In addition to releasing a number of reports and white papers, the project will involve another global summit this year. This summit will focus on bringing together government leaders, academic experts, and survivors in an effort to create a cross-sector plan to address the issue. 

Later in the spring, Panorama anticipates releasing a Global Action Plan which will outline specific efforts for addressing image-based sexual abuse and harassment. This plan will include actions to be taken locally, nationally, and on a global scale. The goal is to create a multifaceted plan that can be adapted to different areas and organizations. 

Where Can Victims of Image-Based Sexual Abuse Turn?

Laws related to image-based sexual abuse vary from nation to nation and even within countries such as from state to state in the United States. Thus, it can be confusing to find the necessary resources. If you or someone you know is a victim of image-based sexual abuse, Panorama has noted several places that you can turn. 

Within the United States, victims should contact the Cyber Civil Right Initiative which will provide support including efforts at image removal. People in the United Kingdom can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline. Those outside these nations can view the “Global Resources” section of the Revenge Porn Helpline’s website.