She could be someone you admire.
Online, she’s picture perfect. At home, she’s never good enough.
You see her long list of followers, but you don’t see him comparing her to other women.
You see her hitting the gym, but you don’t see him driving her there, even when she doesn’t want to go.
You see her healthy-looking meals, but you don’t see him counting her calories.
So she hides, because who would she be without him?
Like many aspects of domestic abuse, there are varying degrees of digital abuse. Digital abuse, on the more extreme end, is the use of technologies, such as texting and social media platforms to harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. It can also include public shaming, ridicule, libel, and character smearing on platforms. On the other side of digital abuse is the extensive monitoring and policing of social media and phone usage by one’s partner.
The prevalence of digital abuse in young relationships is also very high. Canadian youth aged 15-24 are at the highest risk of experiencing violence in their dating relationships and 62% report experiencing emotional and/or physical abuse in their dating relationships. Central Okanagan youth in particular are facing the same complexities in their peer and intimate partner connections and intensifying risks within their interpersonal relationships. When speaking about healthy relationships, youth frequently cannot identify what a healthy connection consists of; and therefore, unhealthy and increasingly violent connections are often normalized. Parents of youth, likewise, report struggling with discussing these issues with their children in an effective manner that changes behaviour.
The increased use of technology in social and personal interaction requires us to be current in our approach and wider understanding of domestic abuse. If we don’t keep up with the times, we only further run the risk of missing it.
And it is Hidden in Plain Sight.
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