Anastasia Powell (Senior Research and ARC DECRA Fellow, Justice and Legal Studies, RMIT University) on violence against women and technology. There are some useful stats too, for those who like/ need that sort of thing, and lots and lots of evidence.

Federal MP Tim Watts spoke in parliament on Monday about the ways in which new technologies are being used to stalk, intimidate, threaten and harass women.

This abuse, he suggests, often happens in domestic violence situations. It is also happening in new ways, such as via “revenge pornography”, to which our current laws are unable to respond effectively.

This comes in light of a growing recognition of the ways communications technologies are used to perpetrate violence against women.

But is it the case that the harms of new technologies might outweigh any good?

Growing problem

My colleagues and I have written previously on the harms of “revenge pornography”, when intimate images are shared without consent.

Beyond the regrettable actions of a jilted lover seeking what they perceive as revenge, we identify the ways these images are used to humiliate, harass and threaten victims.

In some instances, private sexual images are used as a tool to control women in already violent relationships, or as a kind of blackmail to coerce them in sexually abusive situations.

In a separate study, we surveyed 3,000 Australian adults aged 18 to 54, and found that threats, sexual harassment and the non-consensual sharing of nude or semi-nude images were extremely common.

Our analysis of Australian state and territory legislation further suggests that the criminal law has yet to catch up with these emerging forms of abuse.

Research is also uncovering the role of social media in domestic violence and cyberstalking.

Social media, mobile phone applications and digital communications are all being used to monitor, track and harass victims of partner violence. This is an issue affecting one in six Australian women and one in 19 men through their lifetime.

In a national survey of domestic and family violence workers, 98% of the 546 participants reported that their clients had experienced technology-facilitated stalking and abuse.

Equally disturbing are rapidly emerging forms of misogynistic cyberhate. Women, it seems, are subjected to threatening, aggressive and violent speech for no other reason that being “women on the internet”.

© and read the rest of this piece: Violence against women: does technology do more harm than good? (theconversation)