Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Cheryl Terrance


The sharing of sexually explicit messages or photographs, known as sexting, is on the rise. As a result, nonconsensual pornography, commonly referred to as revenge porn, is also increasing. Victims of nonconsensual pornography suffer a variety of negative consequences following the distribution of their photographs. Various case and victim characteristics of nonconsensual pornography cases may alter observer perceptions of these situations. This study utilized a mock police report describing a case in which a former romantic partner distributed nude photographs of the victim online without the victim’s consent. The police reports were identical, apart from manipulations of victim gender, victim weight, and the photo’s origination. Participants (n = 692) found the scenario to be more believable when the victim was female. Participants attributed more blame to the female victim, as opposed to the male victim, when a former partner took the nude photograph. Additionally, there was a significant interaction between victim gender and the victim’s responsibility for creating the nude photograph. This interaction revealed that the situation was perceived as more serious when the female victim took a nude photograph of herself than when the male victim took a nude photograph of himself. Women attributed a greater level of blame to the perpetrator, attributed less blame to the victim, and reported more sympathy for the victim than did men. Men were also more likely to endorse beliefs consistent with sexual double standards. Results suggest that extralegal factors, such as how the photograph originated, influence observers’ perceptions and decisions in cases of nonconsensual pornography, even though the law does not specify or discriminate based on these extra-legal factors. Implications are discussed.