When we think of domestic abuse we usually think of violent fights, screaming and physical abuse. But as our technology is expanding, domestic violence is changing with it. More and more mental health care professionals are seeing what they call 'digital domestic abuse'.
A woman who would only go by Brittny was a victim. The constant phone calls and texts from her ex-boyfriend were relentless. "I was always in fear of not answer his phone calls or responding to his texts," she said. And she's not alone.
The president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline says they are getting more and more calls from victims of 'digital abuse'. Many callers report their partner's smart phone and social media surveillance are increasing. "Things that range from constantly checking to what they're posting on social media, asking for passwords, to more extreme cases as where partners create fake identifies on Facebook to see if they can get their partner to engage with someone else, and then accusing them of cheating and flirting in appropriately," says Katie Ray-Jones at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Brittny says it's important to know the warning signs, extreme jealousy, monitoring, and isolation. She only wishes now she'd reached out for help sooner. "When I was going through this I felt I was totally alone."
Katie Ray-Jones at the National Domestic Violence Hotline says it's important to recognize the signs of digital abuse, and to set digital boundaries in the relationship. If the boundaries are respected, couples may be able to work through it.