Digital Abuse

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                The age of technology has provided an alternate way for abusers to stalk, bully, or intimidate intimate partners even after relationships have ended.  While this occurs most often in teen relationships it can happen to anyone; young or old, female or male, gay or straight.

                While in a relationship an abusive partner may tell you who you can and cannot be “friends” with and monitor your pages to be certain you are “obeying”. He/she may demand passwords to your online accounts like Facebook or Twitter, or your telephone in order to access text messages, and check your accounts regularly. Often abusers will send threatening text messages, explicit photos or videos and demand you send the same types of photos in return. These photos or videos can be used to intimidate you into remaining in the relationship by threatening to reveal them to friends, family, or employers.

                If the victim decides to end the relationship the abuser may post threatening or insulting messages on your pages, post personal photos or videos of you online, send copies of explicit texts you have shared to other people via text or post them on public sites. Using sites such as Foursquare and Facebook they can monitor where the abused is and who she is with.

                As with all aspects of a relationship, both partners have a right to privacy. It is not necessary to share passwords. It’s okay to turn off a cell phone or even ignore a call or text. It is possible to set privacy controls on your device limiting who can access your information.

                It is important to remember that once you send a text or a photo you lose control of it. Information can be shared in the blink of an eye. No one has the right to demand personal photos. In addition be mindful of sharing photos or information about others without their knowledge or consent. “Checking in” and sending that information publicly could expose you or someone else to danger.

                Posting personal information or sending texts containing explicit photos or conversations can be used by abusers to target you or others with family, friends, and employers.

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