Victim Blaming and Non-Consensual Forwarding of Sexts Among Late Adolescents and Young Adults

Chelly Maes, Joris Van Ouytsel, Laura Vandenbosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study explored late adolescents’ and young adults’ willingness to engage in non-consensual forwarding of sexts (NCFS) and its relation to victim blaming beliefs toward female and male victims. The study further examined important determinants in the development of victim blaming beliefs (e.g., perceived victim blaming of peers). An online survey was conducted among 1343 Belgian respondents of which 78.4% were female (Mage = 21.62 years, SD = 3.57 years). Structural equation modeling showed that victim blaming beliefs (i.e., responsibility-based and characteristic-based) were related to willingness to engage in NCFS, which was related to NCFS, regardless of the victim’s sex. Further, victim blaming beliefs in the context of NCFS were shaped by parents’ and peers’ perceived victim blaming, and respondents’ high levels of narcissism and low levels of empathy. Surprisingly, pornography use was negatively correlated with characteristic-based victim blaming beliefs. Additionally, males and late adolescents appeared to hold more victim blaming beliefs toward female and male victims in comparison with females and young adults. Lastly, the willingness to engage in NCFS was more strongly related to responsibility-based victim blaming (not characteristic-based victim blaming) if the victim was male. The findings demonstrate how victim blaming encourages NCFS and emphasize that educational programs should avoid victim-focused strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1767-1783
Number of pages17
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Pornography
  • Sex
  • Sexting
  • Victim blaming
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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