Case Study 1
Zainab is a 24-year-old law student. She grew up in Lakemba in New South Wales and moved to Glebe when she was 18. Zainab began a relationship with a fellow university student, Sam, when she was 19. Zainab and Sam were together for almost 3 years. During their relationship, Zainab and Sam consensually photographed several of their sexual encounters. They considered it a fun way to express their affection for each other, and they enjoyed re-visiting the images when they were apart. Towards the end of their relationship, Sam started acting quite jealous. He threatened to distribute the photographs of Zainab to her family, friends and around the university if she left him for anyone else. Zainab was fearful of the implications of this for her future career prospects as a lawyer and the humiliation it would cause her Muslim family. For these reasons, she stayed in the relationship with Sam for another 6 months, before they eventually broke up. Sam promised Zainab that he had deleted the photos.
One day Zainab was at work when she was approached by two men with cameras who tried to take photographs of her. She had to hide out the back of the café, and her boss suggested they report it to police. She didn’t want to do this. Later that week, a student from her course approached Zainab and told her she had seen sexual images of her on a Tumblr page. She said the image was accompanied by what appeared to be her home and work address, alongside some horrific comments encouraging others to film sexual and physical assaults of her.
The student showed Zainab the site and it contained several of the photographs she had taken with Sam. Zainab was terrified and approached your community service organisation for counselling support and to find out what she can do to empower herself as she feels like this is all her fault and is not sure she can live with the shame that this will bring on her family and the broader community if more people find out. She is concerned that this may impact her employment opportunities in the future. You have been working on a respect campaign to deal with violence in the local community.
Case Study 2
Kevin is a 32 year old Australian community services worker on a project team to set up a scheme for supportive housing for recovering mentally ill people aged 18-25. Kevin and his team have worked closely with their clients and relatives in the area who supported setting up the housing scheme. A wealthy lady who had lived in the area had died and left five units to be used as a part of the scheme in her will. The local area has the majority of people owning their own homes with a small number of rentals and some existing social housing. It is located near the inner city with good public transport and is now a highly sort after location. Kevin is excited because it means his clients will be able to get to appointments easy and strengthens their job prospects.
However, many residents in the area have come together in a campaign to stop the project because they feel it will bring more difficult people to the area. Some are angry because there is currently a housing crisis in the area where good people who work and pay taxes are having trouble accessing rental properties. Your clients and their relatives are upset as the work and pay taxes too. Kevin has noticed that since the rise of the community tension the mental health of some of his clients has started to decline and some are no longer coming to the meetings about the housing project. Two of them have pulled out of the project even though it would mean they would no longer be homeless if they stayed with the project.

Case Study 1: Revenge Porn and Its Consequences

The non-consensual distribution of intimate images, commonly referred to as “revenge porn,” is a concerning issue that can have severe consequences for victims. Zainab’s case highlights the vulnerability individuals face when trusting intimate partners with private content. Sam’s actions, fueled by jealousy and a desire for control, constitute a form of intimate partner violence (Bates, 2017). The threat of disseminating the images coerced Zainab into continuing an unhealthy relationship, exemplifying the emotional manipulation and power dynamics present in such situations.

When the images were eventually shared without consent, Zainab experienced significant distress and fear for her personal safety, career prospects, and familial relationships. The public shaming and exposure of private moments can lead to adverse mental health outcomes, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Khanchandani & Durham, 2018). Furthermore, the potential impact on employment opportunities underscores the far-reaching consequences of non-consensual dissemination.

It is crucial to address the societal factors that contribute to victim-blaming and the normalization of such harmful behavior. Educational campaigns and community support services play a vital role in empowering survivors and fostering a culture of respect and consent (Goldsmith et al., 2020).

Case Study 2: Community Opposition to Supportive Housing

The opposition faced by Kevin’s team in establishing supportive housing for individuals with mental health challenges reflects a broader societal issue – the stigmatization and marginalization of vulnerable populations. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of supportive housing in promoting recovery, reducing homelessness, and improving overall well-being (Aidala et al., 2016; Stefancic & Tsemberis, 2007).

However, the “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) attitude exhibited by some community members stems from misconceptions and prejudices towards individuals with mental health conditions. This resistance not only hinders access to crucial services but also exacerbates the challenges faced by those in need of support (Wahl, 2012).

It is noteworthy that Kevin’s clients, who contribute to society through employment and taxation, are being denied access to housing opportunities due to discriminatory attitudes. This highlights the need for education and awareness campaigns to challenge stereotypes and promote inclusive communities (Corrigan et al., 2018).

The decline in mental health observed among Kevin’s clients as a result of the community tension underscores the detrimental impact of stigma and discrimination on vulnerable individuals. Addressing these issues requires a multifaceted approach, involving stakeholders from various sectors, such as policymakers, healthcare providers, and community organizations (Knaak et al., 2017).


Aidala, A., Gunther-Rosenberg, N., Singer, S., & Grindell, C. (2016). Housing status and the health of persons with HIV/AIDS: A literature review. Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services, 15(1), 2-35.

Bates, S. (2017). Revenge porn and mental health: A qualitative analysis of the mental health effects of revenge porn on female survivors. Feminist Criminology, 12(1), 22-42.

Corrigan, P. W., Michaels, P. J., Vazzano, J., & Gause, J. (2018). Overcoming self-stigma in people with serious mental illness. In: Corrigan P. (eds) The Stigma of Disease and Disability: Understanding Causes and Overcoming Injustices. American Psychological Association.

Goldsmith, T., Rodriguez, C., & Bishop, A. (2020). Understanding revenge pornography: A remediation guide. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 38(5-6), 2180-2198.

Khanchandani, T., & Durham, J. (2018). Revenge porn: A grim reality of celebrating sexuality on social media. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 46(2), 197-202.

Knaak, S., Mantler, E., & Szeto, A. (2017). Mental illness-related stigma in healthcare: Barriers to access and care and evidence-based solutions. Healthcare Management Forum, 30(2), 111-116.

Stefancic, A., & Tsemberis, S. (2007). Housing First for long-term shelter dwellers with psychiatric disabilities in a suburban county: A four-year study of housing access and retention. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 28(3-4), 265-279.

Wahl, O. F. (2012). Stigma as a barrier to recovery from mental illness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(1), 9-10.

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