Suicide, drug abuse, eating disorders and self-harm—the consequences of childhood sexual abuse stretch far into adulthood, but the online distribution of abuse imagery is an immediate turn of the screw for survivors.
Re-victimisation is the process by which survivors of abuse re-live their trauma. Many cannot find closure while images of their abuse circulate online. And those images are no longer circulated only among small networks of abusers – digital platforms have turned the phenomenon into a pandemic.
Between 2014 and 2016, the number websites hosting sexualised imagery of children rose by 417%. A third of those images depicted rape or sexual torture. The problem is not isolated to any one nation: in the USA, the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reviews over 25 million images each year. That’s over 480,000 images per week.
The volume of images is only half the problem, however. The other is geographical. Online paedophile …