As with many other forms of communication, the social media platform is being misused to bully and abuse people. Digital abuse is similar to verbal abuse, but it can be more damaging and far-reaching than verbal abuse. This type of abuse uses technology to bully, stalk and intimidate. The victims of these crimes come from all walks of life. In this article, the types of digital abuse and how you can identify them will be explored. I will be sharing more from the standpoint of when it happens in a marriage.
If your husband tells you who you can or cannot be in contact with on any social media platform, then he is a cyber bully. This is especially true if he restricts you from contacting your family and close friends. If he posts negative comments, sends you insulting or threatening messages or emails, then you are being abused. You may start feeling afraid of what your spouse may say to or about you on social media. This is a means for him to control your actions.
Does your husband use digital tools to keep a track of where you are or what you are doing? Does he insist on knowing your passwords or has he hacked any of your accounts? Does he constantly text or message you so that you are afraid to be away from your phone? Does he insist on looking through your phone to check who you have called or sent messages to? These are the actions of a stalker. You should not feel as if you are being monitored by your spouse. The world is crazy enough as it is without living in the same house with someone stalking you. If he does not trust you, then you both may want to consider seeing a therapist to work out this issue. You should be aware that stalkers may become violent. So be careful in the way you approach him about his problem.
Threats via Cyber
This may be the least known type of cyber abuse but it is very common. The biggest issue with this type of crime is proving that it was a genuine threat, especially if you said it’s from your spouse. The malicious words can be hidden in the form of sarcasm, a joke or tongue-in-cheek jest, etc. It’s easy for a spouse to convince the world that it’s normal household banter. However, if you feel frightened, intimidated or anxious about what could happen based on what was written, said or in any other way shared online then that is a threat. Another big issue is that domestic abuse victims will, on many occasions, prefer to keep it to themselves due to shame or trying to protect your marriage. It then becomes difficult for the authorities to look more closely to determine whether it is illegal or not. Even when a threat has been carried out, wholly or to a certain extent, victims at times will prefer to keep it to themselves.
If your husband pressures you to send him explicit pictures or videos of yourself to him, then he may be a cyber pervert. You should always have a choice of what you want to share because you do not know what he is doing with it. Yes, he is your husband, but you can never be too careful about your privacy. There are many cases of couples breaking up and explicit pictures or videos being sent out on social media. It is very hard to recover from a situation like this. It is best to try to prevent this from happening. Your husband should be sensitive and protective of your body. A phone can be lost or stolen and the information released. If he already has these explicit materials for you, you may want to consider asking that he delete them. Regardless of his intentions for them, you do not want to be in an unnecessarily vulnerable position.
Emotional Cyber Abuser
Does your husband make unkind references about you when he updates his online status on social media? Does he make unkind tags of you in photos? Does he parade your personal life and conflicts on social media for all to see? These are not the actions of someone who loves you and is mature. No, it’s emotional abuse in another form. If this happens once, then you may choose to forgive it. But if it happens again, then this is a pattern of abuse. It is one thing to make a mistake and tell a relative or friend about your marital problems and quite another to make it known to the world. This is what happens when something is posted on social media. Be aware that neither he nor you have any control over anything that is posted online. Even if he makes a post and then removes it, someone could have copied this information and sent it to others. Anything put online is to be considered permanent because you have no control over what is done with it.
If you think that you are a victim of digital abuse, please do not treat it lightly. Respect yourself, the rights to your privacy and be in control of your life. You can find more information about digital abuse in the book, “Time to Go“. Please feel free to comment your thoughts below. You can also feel free to get in touch if you are in need of marital support; be it as an individual or for both you and your spouse together.