Revenge Tragedy but Not Misogyny? The News Representations of Revenge Porn and the Victims in Taiwan


Cases of cyberattacks against women are increasing in Taiwan for the past few years, with the majority of them being revenge pornography. The sexually explicit images of the female victims are posted online and also redistributed through freeware app such as line to the strangers before the victims can get a chance to have the photos removed. The image-based sexual abuse also comes from general public who comments on the revenge porn and the victims. As The Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation(TWRF) has been advocating for 'No victim blaming' and 'No clicking, No downloading, No forwarding' to the public, general public blames victims for taking part in the photo-taking beforehand, and the ones consume the photos justify their sharing and viewing by saying things like teaching sluts a lesson. News representation of the issues and the opinions revolving around the victims reveal the social sentiment around the issues. The consensual sex, the non-consensual breakup, and the rage the male partner experienced so to upload the photos and distribute them highlighted in the press news discourses pave the way for the victim-blaming and slut shaming. The related news discourses go through transformation recently since women's rights groups monitor the related news reports, but the messages posted by the readers along with the news reports online still reveal the general sentiment towards the victims. Revenge porn is slut-shaming on an exponential level in Taiwan and the in-depth analysis of the role news media play is in need. 

The paper addresses the case of online misogyny against women whose personal sexual images revealed. Discourse analysis of the news representation of revenge porn and in-depth interviews with news media editors, reporters, and the NGO TWRF will be conducted in this research to explore the role news media play in portraying the cyberbully and misogyny online.  In the context of a profound misogynistic atmosphere in Taiwan, women who considered sexually active in their personal lives experience abuse and hatred online and hostility in traditional news media.  Misogyny thus prevails by calling into question women's rights to stand up and defend their freedom of expression as they are silenced by the cyberbully and news framing the crimes.  The research is about how misogyny is communicated in communities online and in news representation.  The representations of victims in news contents, photos, and the animations along with the related news reports will be analyzed by stance theory to explore the positions newsroom take in portraying the women and their relationships. The mediatization of misogyny will be analyzed in this paper as how the same media logic rules in virtual communities and news media.