Technology is more present in our relationships than it ever was before. According to the Women’s Freedom Center, digital dating abuse is “a form of verbal and/or emotional abuse… which can include unwanted, repeated calls or text messages, pressure to send nude or private pictures or videos, and the use of social networking sites such as Facebook to bully, harass, stalk, or intimidate a [partner].” In the 8th annual Truth About Abuse survey, more than 1 in 4 (27%) of young Americans report they experienced digital dating abuse and another 39% know of someone who has gone through this.
The University of Florida has noted the characteristics of digital dating abuse:
- Constantly checking your calls, texts, pictures, location, and who you’re with
- Texting, calling, and emailing excessively to “check in”
- Going through your phone without your permission
- Attempting to track you through location monitoring apps
- Reading private social media accounts without your knowledge/consent
- Posing as you online
- Spreading rumors, saying mean things about you or threatening you online
- Wanting control over who your friends are online and who you talk to
- Making repeated demands for explicit content and/or threatening to share them
Chief Communications Officer Cameka Crawford at loveisrespect.com stated on The Street,
“It is disheartening to see abusive partners leverage technologies that are intended to mobilize our lives and bring us closer to our loved ones as a tool for controlling their partners. As technology changes every day, our strategies to prevent and to end abuse must change and adapt as well.”
We must continue to educate ourselves and others on the importance of privacy, boundaries, and respect. All loving relationships should uphold these values and if they do not, this is a big red flag. If you are experiencing digital dating abuse, first speak with your partner, if you are able, and ask them to stop. If the abuse continues, you may want to speak with someone from the National Domestic Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. They are available 24/7 and can give you advice and support for your situation.
It is never too late to seek help. If you are struggling with a mental illness or addiction either because of or in addition to domestic abuse, reach out and seek help today. You are not alone, and you can get through this.
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment programs. If you are ready to seek help, call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation; we offer several different effective methods of treatment, depending on your needs and interests.