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RMIT experts available for comment ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women


RMIT experts available for comment ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW)

Experts are available to talk to the media about a range of topics about gender equality and violence against women ahead of IDEVAW on 25 November.

Dr Nicola Henry (0400 190 054 or

(Note: available from 2pm Thursday 21 November)

“’Revenge porn’ is a colloquial term used to describe the non-consensual sharing of nude or sexual images by vengeful ex-lovers.


“We prefer the term ‘image-based abuse’ because it covers a much wider range of abusive behaviours involving the creating, sharing, or threats to share, intimate photographs or videos without a person’s consent, including as a tool of abuse or control in the context of domestic violence.


“Our national survey of more than 4,000 adults showed one in five participants reported at least one experience of image-based abuse.


“In the 75 victim interviews we conducted in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, we found there were significant harms that could result from image-based abuse including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.


“In response to these significant impacts, all state governments, except Tasmania, have introduced new criminal offences to tackle image-based abuse.


“Perpetrators can also face court-imposed fines, injunctions and formal warnings under a federal civil penalty scheme introduced last year to support victims.


“While law reform is a step in the right direction, much more needs to be done to respond to and prevent image-based abuse including more concerted action from digital platforms and services to better detect the circulation of material, respond more efficiently and take action against offenders.


“We need better information and support for victims and better education on digital ethics, consent and respect to prevent image-based abuse from happening in the first place.”

Dr Nicola Henry is an Associate Professor and Vice-Chancellor’s Principal Research Fellow in the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University. Her current research investigates the prevalence, nature and impacts of image-based abuse, as well as legal and non-legal response in Australian and international contexts.

Dr Meagan Tyler (0408 341 909 or

Topics: violence against women in the sex industry, and gender equality

“We analysed hundreds of online reviews by men who buy sexual access to women in legal brothels across Australia and found that discussions of sexual violence and violation were common.

“Many men reported pressuring women into unsafe sexual practices, and in some reviews, men even explicitly reported carrying out sexual assault or rape.

“In several instances, men framed these assaults as ‘poor service’ on the part of the woman.

“These accounts call into question the success of the ‘harm minimisation’ approach to prostitution along Australia’s eastern seaboard.

“Discussions of the sex industry often focus on the experiences of people, particularly women, in prostitution, but it is also important to consider the role of men who purchase sexual access to others.

“We need to better understand the role of the sex industry in contributing to and reflecting norms of men’s sexual entitlement, sexual violence, and broader issues of women’s inequality.

“We should be asking ourselves what men’s own accounts of enjoying sexual violation in brothels mean for our public discussions about violence against women and sexual coercion in a post #metoo era.”

Dr Meagan Tyler is a senior lecturer in the School of Management and the Gender, Equality and Diversity research theme leader in the Centre for People, Organisation and Work (CPOW) at RMIT. Her work focuses on sexuality, violence against women, and gender inequality and she is a regular media commentator on these topics. 

Dr Kate Farhall (+61 3 9925 1666 forwarded to mobile or

Topics: domestic and family violence in the workplace, particularly in regional and rural areas

“Domestic violence is a workplace issue, with around two thirds of the women who experience domestic violence engaged in paid employment.

“Domestic and family violence significantly impact a victim’s career opportunities, income and retirement savings.

“Abuse traps victims, primarily women, in poverty and binds them to abusive relationships.

“In regional and rural areas, distance makes it difficult for victims to maintain paid employment, while simultaneously attempting to manage or leave an abusive relationship.

“Distance also makes it difficult for workplaces in these areas to respond effectively to domestic and family violence.

“The lack of anonymity within these communities further complicates workplace responses, as everyone knows everyone, and a victim may hesitate to go to their manager when the manager knows the perpetrator socially.

“Rural and regional employers face added challenges when family members, including both perpetrators and victims, work together.”

Dr Kate Farhall is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for People, Organisation and Work (CPOW) at RMIT. Farhall’s research addresses gender inequality and violence against women in a range of contexts. She is currently working on a project examining the relationship between domestic/family violence and work in rural areas, and what workplaces can do to respond.


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