Cyber Abuse

General Information About Cyber Abuse

Technology-Facilitated Sexual Misconduct
Just as technology is intertwined with most aspects of our daily life, it is also used as another tool for those who engage in sexual misconduct.  Several terms are used to define cyber-abuse (which may or may not be sexual in nature) including cyber-harassment, cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying, digital abuse and technology-enabled abuse. The common factor is the use of technology to establish power and control by causing fear and/or intimidation. As with other forms of harassment and abuse, the content may be sexual in nature and/or can also target other parts of a targets’ identity including race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, ability, or other characteristics.  
Some examples of how technology is misused include: 
  • Social media - Getting passwords, sharing information without permission, impersonating, public humiliation, threats, enlisting others to harass, exposing public information, setting up fake profiles such as on Tinder.
  • Device access - Obtaining access through icloud-type platforms, installing spyware, locking someone out of their accounts, hacking, changing privacy settings or passwords, destroying digital data, compelling someone to provide passwords, overseeing virtual conversations.
  • Location tracking - Commercial-grade location-tracker installed without consent.  
  • Doxxing - Sourcing and collecting someone’s personal/private information and publicly releasing it online.
  • Spoofing - Falsifying phone number (for caller ID), email address, IP address, location/GPS, to confuse source of communication.
  • Non-consensual image sharing - Sharing or threatening to share/distribute nude pictures without someone’s consent.
  • Deep fakes - Videos in which a person’s face/voice can be interposed onto another video, such as pornography, to make them appear as though they participated in certain acts or made certain statements.  
SHARE understands the emotional strain and/or mental health challenges of experiencing cyber-abuse and is here to help you.  The SHARE Center can assist in assessing the situation and obtaining the help needed. The decision of how to proceed is always left up to you, unless the situation involves a serious, imminent safety concern. 

Additional Resources

  • Cyber Civil Rights is an organization dedicated to combat on-line abuse that threatens civil rights and civil liberties.
  •  IPV Tech Research, affiliated with Cornell University, conducts research and provides guides for assessing and addressing use of technology in IPV.  
  • ENDTAB provides information and training on technology enabled abuse.  
  • Love Is Respect has information on digital safety and abusive relationships.