Technology & Domestic Violence
Domestic violence occurs in all kinds of families, and in all kinds of ways. The abuse may be primarily verbal and emotional, or may be physical. For some, the abuse consists of sexual or reproductive coercion or abuse. Others may suffer financial abuse. For many, the abuse spans multiple aspects of life. Modern relationships are more susceptible to yet another type of abuse: technological, or digital abuse.
What is Technological Abuse?
Thanks to modern technology, abusive partners have more power than ever over their victims. They can manage home alarm systems from afar, stalk partners or former partners with multiple tools, and make certain victims know every move they make throughout the day. Digital abuse can occur in multiple ways, many of which victims fail to recognize and label as abuse. When partners or former partners engage in the following, you have a problem on your hands:
- Trying to insist on who you can or cannot follow or befriend on social media;
- Being cruel, threatening, or insulting to you in a digital format;
- Tracking your whereabouts and activities through social media;
- Attempting to humiliate you with unbecoming posts, pictures, or video clips;
- Sending sexual content, or pressuring you to send explicit content;
- Keeping you on a leash by making you feel anxious if you don’t answer texts/calls;
- Going through your phone to check your calls, messages, photos, etc.;
- Monitoring/stalking your activities through things like spyware, GPS, etc.;
- Sending messages as though they are you in order to control relationships or embarrass you.
Taking Back Control
Victims of digital abuse often fail to recognize that they do have the right to stand up for themselves, even if they are under significant pressure to submit to an abuser’s demands:
- You do not have to share your passwords with your abuser;
- You can say no to requests for explicit materials if you are uncomfortable sending them, recognizing that once you send something to an abusive partner, it is out of your hands where it goes from there.
- You can educate yourself about privacy settings and use them to your advantage;
- You can give yourself permission to turn off your phone and delay responses to your partner;
- Avoid posting content that reveals where you are if you are concerned about stalking;
- Ask friends to get your permission before posting anything that has the potential to compromise your privacy;
- Block calls from an abuser you are trying to escape.
If your abuser is relentless, it may seem impossible to escape their digital reach. Be certain to keep copies of everything! Your local domestic violence attorney can use this documentation to get a protective order, to enforce one, or to press charges against someone who violates one.
The Help You Need
At the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our Miami domestic violence attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of victims who suffer at the hands of current or former partners who are obsessed with controlling them. Your safety is our priority. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.