Tech Can Be Used for Domestic Violence – But It Can Save Survivors Too


There was a time when domestic violence was only used to mean cases and situations where someone – usually known to the victim – physically attacked the other. In these cases, it was usually between spouses, parents to their kids and such other associations.

However, that explanation of this ugly concept has since been expanded to allow for a better capturing of what could transpire. Today, domestic violence does not stop on the physical plane, making its way onto the psychological, social and other forms of attack.

That is why many abuse perpetrated under the guise of technology can now be considered under this topic – and properly mitigated against.

How Can Technology Contribute to Cases of Abuse?

Improvement in technology has always been geared towards ensuring we, as a people, have a better life at our disposals. It has always been to improve the quality of life, how we interact with the world and other people around us. 

Like any other thing done for good, though, it doesn’t take much for an abuser to engineer tech against their victims.

That said, abusers can also get creative with carrying out their attacks with whatever piece of technology they have at their disposal. Some of the common cases are:

  • Bugging of phones and other digital devices – It is not uncommon to hear of a partner having placed some kind of bugging device or tracking software on the phones of their partners. Most times, they will do so just to listen in on any conversations being had by the abused partner. The interesting part of the whole game is that this is usually a one-sided coin – with the abuser being the only one demanding such transparency when they are not ready to offer theirs up. Even if they were offering theirs, it is never their decision to make for the other party.
  • Tapping of emails – The issue with emails usually involves the abusive partner knowing the password to the email addresses of their victims. It can go beyond that to include the knowledge of security questions, password recovery options and such other information. This is usually the abuser’s safety net to ensure they are never locked out of the account at any time.
  • Connected devices – While the internet of things (IoT) has changed the way we interact with everyday units in the home, they also have a role to play in the case of abuse. Access to networked devices like motion sensors, cameras, microphones, lights and such other sensitive units in the home can be used to monitor and even torment victims in diverse ways.
  • Car bugging – While phones and other digital devices are usually handy enough that you can notice changes in them outright, large units like your car might not enjoy the same level of detection. That makes it easier for an abuser to bug their victim’s cars and almost get away with it. Such bugging techniques could be anything from installing secret cameras and microphones to tapping the GPS feed of the car, among other things.
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Regaining Control of Your Life

No matter what, you do not deserve to be in such shoes. Everyone should get the right to share their data with who they feel comfortable with, and no more. Everyone should also have the choice of what information they want to share, and which they would like to keep back for reasons best known to them.

That is why you should never let an abuser have a field day. While technology surely has a role to play in domestic violence, you can change the narrative so that you stop living in constant fear of your abuser.

Some of the things to do are:

  • Never blame yourself – It is often very easy to blame yourself for everything that has happened. In fact, you might even try to justify the actions of your abuser. We want you to know that this is never the case, and you are surely the one on the receiving end here. 

Never, for once, let the actions of the abuser get to you so much that you blame yourself for their nefarious actions.

  • Check your devices for compromise – You carry your phones, laptops, smartwatches and such other devices with you every day. Thus, they should be the first point of call for you. Check through to make sure they have not been bugged in any way. Look for physical signs of break-ins (missing screws, loose fittings, etc.) and get them checked out. Likewise, run through your apps to ensure you don’t have anyone of them spying on you.
  • Check your car – You also need to know you can trust your car. It might be difficult to determine whether or not your car has been bugged if you don’t know much about them, so bringing in an expert makes sense here.
  • Change your passwords and password information – Change your passwords across all accounts, especially the ones your abuser might have access to. Likewise, change all information regarding the passwords (recovery options, security questions, 2FA details) and so on to make sure they stay out – just where you want them.
  • Keep a clean trail – This is very important if you are still living in the same space with your abuser. You don’t want them to suspect anything is amiss less they tighten the noose. While putting all the above in play, be as inconspicuous as possible. That way, you can get away with a lot while planning an exit strategy.

Seek Professional Help

After all that’s said and done, you should never assume that your abuser will just go away or let you be. 

We recommend reaching out to the police and/ or other relevant authorities who will help protect you better.

If there is anything else you need that was not covered in this piece, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We will appreciate if you did so anonymously, and from a computer where you cannot be tracked (in the library, maybe?).

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