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Sexual abuse of power: Implications of focusing on corrupt aspects of sexual harassment and violence
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, The Department of Gender Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5895-1840
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many acts of sexual harassment, violence and abuse include quid pro quo elements: A teacher who demands ‘sex for grades’. A civil servant who offers a job candidate an internship in exchange for sex. A border official who asks women migrants to pay with their bodies to be able to cross a border. A manager who offers a promotion in exchange for a sexual favour. These are all examples of ‘sextortion’. 

 

Sextortion occurs when a person with entrusted authority abuses this authority to obtain a sexual favour in exchange for a service or a benefit that is within their power to grant or withhold. Thus, sextortion is an abuse of power and it is simultaneously an act of sexual violence and of corruption: sexual conduct involving coerced quid pro quo (this for that) and a corrupt conduct in which the currency is sex.

The paper theorizes and conceptualizes sextortion as an abuse of power which has elements of both corruption and gender-based violence, and which cannot be analysed without incorporating both. We ask how the fact that the currency is sex changes the dynamics of the transaction and our understanding of corruption. We also argue that the fact that sextortion is an exchange involving a sexual transaction is key to understanding its consequences and invisibility. In cases of sextortion, the perpetrator can often rely on the coerced sexual transactional aspect to imply consent.  From the point of view of the victim, shame, stigma and fear make it unlikely that sextortion will be reported. Sextortion thus goes beyond corruption and cannot be fully understood, or tackled, without also seeing it as a form of gender-based violence. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad, 2023.
National Category
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-195444OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-195444DiVA, id: diva2:1771344
Conference
g22: Shaping Hopeful Futures in Times of Uncertainty: The Challenges and Possibilities of Gender Studies
Available from: 2023-06-20 Created: 2023-06-20 Last updated: 2023-06-20

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Lundgren, Silje

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf