Protect yourself online

Women's Aid is hearing from women using our services about various forms of stalking where technology is being used by abusive boyfriends and ex-boyfriends to monitor and control young women.

Do you feel like you are being stalked, including online?

Stalking by a current or former boyfriend is one of the most common forms of stalking. Stalking is intentional behaviour that is designed to keep women under great duress, controlled and isolated. Young women ringing the National Freephone Helpline have disclosed that their stalker is: constantly following them, turning up at their workplaces, homes and social gatherings; damaging property and breaking into their homes or cars; gathering information on them from family and friends; harassing others close to them and threatening to kill them, their families or threatening to self-harm. It can often include physical and sexual assaults.

More and more, Women's Aid is hearing from women using our services about various forms of digitally assisted stalking where technology is being used by abusive boyfriends and ex-boyfriends to monitor and control women, particularly younger women.

Young women have disclosed abuse such as:

  • Having their mobile phone calls and texts being monitored
  • Being bombarded with texts and calls often telling them, in explicit detail, how they will be attacked or even killed.
  • Being stalked on social media sites by their current or ex-boyfriends.
  • Having their online use tracked and scrutinized.
  • Boyfriends demanding access to their private email and social networking accounts.
  • Boyfriends and ex-boyfriends placing lies about them on internet sites
  • Being photographed and filmed without their consent, sometimes having sex, and having the images uploaded to the internet.

How this makes young women feel:

We have heard from young women who have told us they feel like they are constantly being watched and that their privacy is completely invaded and controlled. Quite often it prevents women from seeking help as they fear their boyfriend will see that they have rung a helpline, looked at a domestic violence support website or spoken of the abuse to their friends, family or colleagues in an email or text. This is a very lonely, isolated and dangerous situation.

Resources to help protect yourself and your friends online

In addition to these sections Women's Aid has made available the Digital Stalking: A Guide to Technology Risks for Victims. (with kind permission from the author, Jennifer Perry, a guide on Digitally Assisted Stalking recently produced in the UK by Women's Aid and the Network for Surviving Stalking).

If you are concerned about your relationship take the 2in2u Relationship Health check, read about the danger signs of dating abuse and read Cara’s Story.

If you would like to talk to someone in confidence please phone the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900, 24 Hours a day, 7 Days a week.

Remember, if it feels wrong, it probably is.

2in2u

Share

Womens Aid

Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline
1800 341 900
24 Hours a day, 7 Days a week