Published on February 17th, 2021 | by Bibhuranjan0
Technological Abuse: A New Form of Domestic Violence
According to a survey taken by 152 anti-domestic-violence advocates and 46 abuse victims, stalking, mental, and physical abuse are accomplished at an increasing rate through modern technology. In fact, all 46 victims suffered at the hand of technology. This was used to create an aura of complete control over the victim. Control is a key element in cases of abuse. If the victim feels powerless, they are less likely to break free.
Abusers used devices such as phones, computers, tablets, and social media platforms to stalk and mentally torture, isolate, and punish their victims, who were often the abuser’s domestic partner. Some abusers even threatened to reveal the victims’ sexual fantasies online to further humiliate them.
It is becoming increasingly common for abusive partners to terrorize their victims using advanced technology. Devices and social media can be used to monitor, stalk, threaten, harass, and humiliate domestic abuse victims by demonstrating the highest level of control.
Technology plays an important role in almost everyone’s life these days, which makes it such an effective instrument of psychological and social destruction. And if someone is particularly tech-savvy, there are a great variety of options available for them. For example, spyware on phones allows abusers to track and impersonate their victims on social media with the ultimate goal of embarrassing them or ruining their lives.
Abusers exert power and control over others, and technological abuse is often only (a small) part of the bigger picture. This is often coupled with domestic abuse.
Cornell University created the Clinic to End Tech Abuse, also known as CETA. The clinic is located on the Cornell Tech Campus in New York City. According to CETA, one-fourth of women and one-sixth of men should expect to experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives.
Cornell’s program offers support to technological abuse victims and provides digital expertise to abuse survivors so that they can remove the offensive monitoring and stalking programs. The Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated all types of abuse because people spend much more time alone without support. However, Cornell’s program functions remotely, so they continue to be there for the victims.
The U.K. has taken matters a step further by making it illegal to spy on partners or ex-partners. The law explicitly mentions technology abuse and gives the police extraordinary powers to investigate and prosecute tech-related abuse cases. No similar laws have been passed in the United States yet. However, all states have some kind of anti-stalking laws, which can serve the same purpose of protecting domestic abuse victims.
As technology continues to evolve at such a rapid rate, it becomes more and more embedded in our daily life. These advances open up a colorful array of new opportunities. However, when misused, they can also inflict harm. People are beginning to ask questions about how to deal with smart homes, where an abuser can control heat, light, and door locks remotely to imprison and torture their partners and kids.
People are already calling abuse hotlines with disturbing experiences that made them think they were going crazy. Turning on the air conditioner might result in a blast of heat. Doors lock themselves, and cameras record the victims’ terror and efforts to set things right.
By working remotely, abusers can use phone apps to control every household appliance and the locks on doors and windows. Sometimes, they just watch the show, but they may also use technology to keep domestic partners and children prisoners. Breaking the house rules results in physical violence when the abuser returns home.
Emergency responders often have difficulty knowing how to regain control of these booby-trapped homes. It is a new and drastic situation that seems to be taken from a sci-fi story. In order to keep their relevance, emergency responders must be trained to handle all kinds of new situations.
Victims often fear for their lives, so they hesitate in reporting domestic violence because of genuine terror about what the abuser might do to them. However, no person should become an abject slave in their own homes.
If faced with technological abuse, call an abuse hotline. Experts will listen to your experience and will be able to guide you to safety. It is best to seek (at least) temporary refuge with friends or family members. Go somewhere you feel safe. Also, be careful with your devices. Contact experts to debug your phone, laptop, or any other device that might have been used against you.
Also, reach out to a qualified attorney to help you sever your ties from the abuser. They can aid you in filing for divorce, legal separation, or custody proceedings. Break free from the cycle of abuse.