Domestic abusers use tech that connects as a weapon during coronavirus lockdowns

By Alison J. Marganski and Lisa Melander: For More Info, Go Here…

The coronavirus pandemic has driven much of daily life – work, school, socializing – online. Unfortunately, perpetrators of violence against women and girls are also increasingly turning to technology in response to the pandemic.

Pre-COVID-19 research shows that approximately 75% of women and girls experience cyber or technology-facilitated violence, which is often misogynistic, hostile or both in nature.

Recipients of online harassment, image-based abuse such as “revenge pornography” and other digital transgressions experience them not only on social media platforms but also in the home. These experiences include text message or online threats of death or rape, harassment, monitoring and stalking by a current or former intimate partner.

Technology-facilitated violence is the most common type of intimate partner victimization, and it accompanies in-person psychological, physical and sexual violence. It’s also linked to physical, psychosocial and behavioral problems.

Since COVID-19, reports of intimate partner violencechild sexual exploitation and other serious crimes suggest a surge in offenses.

Public health officials are asking people to socially distance and stay at home. These policies isolate women and girls from sources of support and place them in contact with abusers for extended periods of time without reprieve, which worsens control and abuse.

Technology-facilitated forms of control and abuse, like disabling phone or internet services and monitoring electronic communications, are particularly damaging during pandemic lockdowns. Many other digital transgressions including livestreaming child sexual abuse, nonconsensual photo sharing and forced pornographic consumption, are exacerbated by the combination of technology, time and isolation.

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