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BWP is a support and advice charity for women, children and young people affected by Domestic Abuse, supporting survivors of current and historic abuse at any stage in their journey. Click here to find out more.
BWP strive to raise the issue of Domestic Abuse so that people can understand the many forms it can take, can understand if they, or someone they know, may be experiencing it. Click here to find out more.
If you need our help, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01773 719111
Worrying developments in Domestic Abusers’ tactics
Domestic Abuse of women by men has been perpetuated for centuries. The reason has always remained the same – men’s drive to hold power and control over women.
Despite this, the nature of Domestic Abuse has changed with technological advances and the widespread use of technology, particularly smartphones and the internet. Stalking, harassment and sexual abuse are forms of abuse where new technology has introduced relatively new and worrying trends.
‘Revenge porn’ is a relatively recent and very disturbing development riding on the back of smart technology.
Private sexual photographs or videos are shared without consent, causing distress to the subject of the photograph. This form of abuse is now frighteningly common and is a gendered crime with women constituting 90% of all victims.
Abusive men will sometimes deliberately take images of their intimate partner early in the relationship, so they have material to manipulate and threaten her as and when he decides. Obtaining a naked or next-to-naked picture of another person gives you power over them.
Educating women about the risks of making themselves vulnerable by allowing the images to be taken is not always helpful – plus it would constitute victim blaming!. These images are often taken covertly in the bedroom or bathroom with hidden cameras. Smart technology is a powerful weapon in the abusive man’s arsenal.
“I stayed in the relationship for a year longer because of his threats of revenge porn if I left. In the end, I couldn’t take it any longer and told him to do his worst – he didn’t do it, but for the year, he controlled me with the fear of it.” – Survivor
Smart technology makes stalking easier
Developments in technology have given stalkers many more means of monitoring their partners. Spyware apps can easily be installed onto phones, laptops and tablets so that the abuser can access all data and traffic on the device. Mobile phones can be cloned easily, so there is no privacy for the survivor.
Cyberstalking also includes sending harassing or threatening electronic or online communication. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are used to unnerve, threaten, harass, and embarrass. This type of communication may also be used to disclose intimate or embarrassing information, or to carry out revenge porn. Stalkers often use a combination of physical (in person) and electronic monitoring, tracking and harassment.
“I’d been in a relationship with Gavin for only two months when I decided to end it.
“He was too intense, obsessive, and what started off feeling good ended up freaking me out.
“The real problems began when he wouldn’t accept I’d finished with him – he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He bumped into me when I was out with friends and joined our group and acted as if we were still together.
“I was embarrassed and angry too. This happened a couple more times, in different settings and I couldn’t understand how he always seemed to know where I’d be.
“Gavin started posting pictures of us together on Facebook with love heart emojis. This made me scared for the first time because I realised he was obsessed with me.
“I tried to ignore what was happening and get on with my life, but this proved difficult. He messaged me several times a day telling me he still loved me and wanted to re-start our relationship. He pleaded with me; it was awful. I ignored his texts and then blocked him. Following this he started ringing me from various different numbers. I blocked them too when I realised, but I became scared not knowing which calls were safe to answer. I considered reporting him to the police, but I feared this might make him angry.
“Three months after the end of the relationship, I went away for the weekend, driving two-hours to Norfolk. I felt relaxed and less anxious. I’d switch my phone off or leave it in the hotel room. I felt safe. The second day there, I saw Gavin’s car in the car park – not him, just his car. I was terrified. It was then I realised he must be electronically monitoring me, it suddenly made sense. I headed straight home; the holiday was wrecked.
“I reported his abuse and the police took it seriously, I wondered why when they were clearly so busy. I now know Gavin was well known to them and had a lifelong Restraining Order relating to a former girlfriend. He was arrested and the police investigated his phone. They had to seize mine for evidence too. What they found horrified me but no longer surprised me. They confirmed he had cloned my phone so had access to all data on it – my text messages, emails, everything! They also discovered he had intimate pictures of me that he’d taken covertly using a camera hidden in my bathroom.
“That was five years ago and technology still scares me. I often leave my phone at home because I have a fear of being watched and tracked.”
Blog written by Sandra Reddish
If you have found this blog useful, and would like to support BWP in our work supporting survivors of Domestic Abuse, you can donate to us today through our Just Giving page. You can also comment or share this blog on social pages – tagging us in. www.twitter.com/broxtowewomen or Facebook.
You may also want to read these further blogs from Sandra.
- When he uses the child to abuse you.
- Stalking, harassment, electronic monitoring and Domestic Abuse – and how to stay safe.
- Sexual Abuse in Intimate Relationships.
- From historic patriarchy to toxic shame. Why do men become domestic abusers?
- Abusive Persuasion – guilt tripping, persuasive and manipulative tactics seen in Domestic Abuse.
- It’s not your fault. Self-blame and domestic abuse.
- Trauma bonding – why you can’t stop loving the narcissist.
- Is narcissism making you suffer? Discover the key signs of this manipulative abuse.
- What does financial abuse look like?