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Digital Abuse: Defined

As much as we rely on social media to share information about resources and services for women in abusive relationships, it is equally or more important to find ways to reach our friends who are not on social media. And that begs the question, why might she not be on Facebook or Instagram? Along with physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, there is now a category called digital abuse by the National Domestic Violence Hotline.



Digital abuse can include the following:

Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites.

Sends you negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online.

Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others to keep constant tabs on you.

Puts you down in their status updates.

Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return.

Pressures you to send explicit videos.

Steals or insists on being given your passwords.

Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.

Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.

Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, etc.

Uses any kind of technology (such spyware or GPS in a car or on a phone) to monitor you


Could it be the case that it is just too much work for our friend to constantly defend herself when catching up with old friends on Facebook or Instagram? Could it be the case that she has become so isolated that she doesn’t even have an account anymore? Give her a phone call or invite her to coffee and take the opportunity to really check in.

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