Defying shame

shame-relations in digital sexual assault


  • Signe Uldbjerg Mortensen Aarhus Universitet



Digital sexual assault, Shame, image based sexual abuse, Creative writing, revenge porn


This article gives voice to Mathilde, Karen and Amalie: Three young women who had intimate images of themselves shared non-consensually online. Their experi- ences help build a framework for categorising digital sexual assault (DSA), as
well as giving insight into how shame, in cases of DSA, connects to social media affordances. The empirical data was produced during four creative writing work- shops. The participants described their experiences during these workshops and they collectively developed strategies for defying shame. This article analyses their experiences of shame, their shame-defying strategies, and the role that social media played in forming types of aggressors and assault experiences. I present what I call the onlooker as a digitally augmented aggressor and I show how this aggressor inflicts shame through the look, as described by Sartre. This results in a discussion of imaginary, progressive contra-shaming, which is one of the four coping strategies that showed empowering potential in relation to DSA.


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How to Cite

Mortensen, S. U. (2020). Defying shame: shame-relations in digital sexual assault. MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research, 36(67), 100–120.