Last reviewed: 3/25/2022
What is technology-facilitated abuse?
Women’s Media Center defines technology-facilitated abuse as the use of technology to facilitate harassment, control, and abuse. In the context of domestic violence and sexual assault, online harassment and crimes are part of a larger system of abuse. The abuser is seeking power and control through physical control, fear, or isolation and to force someone into doing what the perpetrator wants.
Intersections with other forms of power-based violence
Through technology, perpetrators may:
- Disrupt someone’s use of technology or steal private information, such as hacking into online accounts, locking them out to forbid them from using their technology devices, or stealing personal information or images.
- Impersonate someone by creating accounts on porn, dating sites, or social media and pretending to be someone else in order to defame or harass them or their friends and family.
- Show unwanted attention by sending explicit, unwanted, or harassing messages repeatedly through texts, messaging applications, online gaming platforms/forums, email, or other digital platforms.
- Monitor and track someone’s private life via devices or spying tools, such as monitoring computer or cell phone software, hidden cameras, GPS, etc.
If someone is using technology (whether through the Internet or other electronic means) to stalk or harass an individual, this is known as cyberstalking.
Cyberstalking can include:
- Faking or lying about one’s identity to initiate a romantic or sexual relationship. This is also known as catfishing.
- Cyberbullying, which is the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices to threaten, harass, or humiliate another
- Sharing or threatening to share personal information about someone (including private photographs and private text or email conversations)
- Sharing shaming, embarrassing, sensitive, or otherwise inappropriate content about someone, whether it is true or not
- Pressuring someone to send explicit images of oneself
- Taking sexually explicit pictures or videos of someone without their consent
- Trolling, or deliberately posting upsetting or provocative statements or photos in order to provoke others
- Unsolicited or unwanted sharing of pornography or pornographic images