Technology Facilitated Sexual Violence and Harassment (TFSV)

Technology facilitated sexual violence and harassment (TFSV) refers to a range of behaviors using or aided by various digital technologies to harm, offend, humiliate, or intimidate women and other individuals. Some examples of TFSV include but are not limited to: sexual voyeurism, “non-consensual sexting” (sending unwanted and sexually explicit content), and “sextortion” (threats and coercion related to non-consensual distribution of nude and intimate images).

Find out more about TFSV in Singapore here.

Live in Singapore and need help? Check out Solid Ground.

Read more about examples of TFSV here.

Find out more about international resources for survivors of TFSV here.

TFSV Cases in Singapore

Watch AWARE’s TFSV panel here.

Read about it here.

Listen to CNA’s podcast here.

Web and Media Articles:

AWARE. 2020. “AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre saw 140 cases of technology-facilitated sexual violence in 2019, the most ever in one year.” Last Modified December 2. 

AWARE 2021. “AWARE saw 36% increase in cases of technology-facilitated sexual violence in 2020; announces launch of Solid Ground website.” Last Modified July 14.

Chai, Amanda. 2020. “Finding strength to deal with online sexual violence.” The Straits Times, March 8. 

Hingorani, Shailey. 2021. “Commentary: Stop asking why she took the nude, start asking why he shared it.” Channel News Asia, May 5. 

Kok, Yufeng. 2020. “Cases of unwanted sex texts, calls at workplace soar in 2016-2019: Aware.” The Straits Times, December 3. 

Lim, Kimberly. 2019. “How young women are using social media to fight back against men behaving badly.” Today, October 12.

Tan, Tam Mei. 2019. “Tech-enabled sexual violence cases almost triple since 2016, says Aware.” The Straits Times, November 25. 

Wong, Pei Ting. 2019. “The Big Read: Singapore’s voyeurism problem – what’s wrong with men, or the world?” Channel News Asia, April 30.

Reports and Academic Studies:

Vitis, Laura, Anisha Joseph, and Divya Mahadevan. 2017. Technology and Sexual Violence: SACC Summary Report Singapore: AWARE.

Vitis, Laura. 2020a. “Media representations of camera sexual voyeurism in Singapore: A medicalised, externalised and community problem.”  Feminist Media Studies. Advance online publication.

Vitis, Laura. 2020b. “Private, Hidden and Obscured: Image-Based Sexual Abuse in Singapore.”  Asian Journal of Criminology 15 (1):24-43.

Vitis, Laura, Laura Naegler, and Ahmad Salehin. 2021. “‘This is not a case of gender inequality. This is a case of injustice’: Perceptions of online resistance to camera sexual voyeurism.”  CrimeMedia Culture. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/17416590211027337.

TFSV in Asia

Watch The Nth Room case: The Making of a Monster here.

Listen to a roundtable on a journalistic project on image-based abuse supported by the Judith Neilson Institute’s Asian Stories project here.

Read the series of stories here.

Web and Media Articles:

Bicker, Laura. 2018. “South Korea’s spy cam porn epidemic.” BBC News, August 3.

Carvalho, Raquel. 2021. “A Chinese woman found a video of herself on Pornhub. Her new app aims to help survivors of image-based abuse.” South China Morning Post, July 18.

South China Morning Post. 2021. “Stolen privacy: The rise of image-based abuse in Asia.”

Reports and Academic Studies:

Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA). 2020. “#HijaAko and what the current data map on online gender-based violence in the Philippines is telling us.” Last Modified July 10, accessed October 5.

Rajan, Benson. 2021. “Materiality and Discursivity of Cyber Violence Against Women in India.”  Journal of Creative Communications. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0973258621992273.

Sambasivan, Nithya, Amna Batool, Nova Ahmed, Tara Matthews, Kurt Thomas, Laura Sanely Gaytán-Lugo, David Nemer, Elie Bursztein, Elizabeth Churchill, and Sunny Consolvo. 2019. “‘They Don’t Leave Us Alone Anywhere We Go’: Gender and Digital Abuse in South Asia.” CHI ’19: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Teshome, Birru Dereje. 2019. “Spy Camera Epidemic in Korea: A Situational Analysis.”  Asian Journal of Sociological Research 2 (1):1-13.

TFSV in a Transnational Context

Watch BBC News’s Cyber-flashing: ‘I get explicit messages every day’ here.

Read about it here.

Watch The Global Herald’s Revenge porn victim: ‘It made me want to not be alive’ here.

Watch BBC Three’s Zara McDermott: Revenge Porn here.

Read “Zara McDermott: ‘Revenge porn still affects me today'” here.

Web and Media Articles:

Flynn, Asher. 2019. “Cyberflashing – old-style sexual harassment for the digital age.” Last Modified September 6. 

Flynn, Asher. 2020. “Examining the extent, nature and impact of tech-facilitated abuse.” Last Modified September 14. 

Gillett, Rosalie, and Nicolas Suzor. 2020. “Tinder fails to protect women from abuse. But when we brush off ‘dick pics’ as a laugh, so do we.” The Conversation, October 13.

O’Shea, Ellen. 2021. “Consent and sexual violence tackled in new report.” EchoLIVE.ie, March 24. 

UN Women. 2020. Online and ICT facilitated violence against women and girls during COVID-19.

Harris, Bridget, and Laura Vitis. 2020. “Harnessing tech: Digital media and devices are used to enact harm, but also to resist violence.” Transforming Society, November 24.

Reports and Academic Studies:

Bailey, Jane, Asher Flynn, and Nicola Henry, eds. 2021. The Emerald International Handbook of Technology Facilitated Violence and Abuse. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited.

Harder, Sidsel Kirstine. 2021. “The emotional bystander – sexting and image-based sexual abuse among young adults.”  Journal of Youth Studies 24 (5):655-669.

Henry, Nicola, Asher Flynn, and Anastasia Powell. 2019. Image-based sexual abuse: Victims and perpetrators. Australian Institute of Criminology.

Maas, Megan K., Kyla M. Cary, Elizabeth M. Clancy, Bianca Klettke, Heather L. McCauley, and Jeff R. Temple. 2021. “Slutpage Use Among U.S. College Students: The Secret and Social Platforms of Image-Based Sexual Abuse.”  Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi: 10.1007/s10508-021-01920-1.

Plan International. 2020. Free to Be Online? Girls’ and Young Women’s Experiences of Online Harassment.

Powell, Anastasia, and Nicola Henry. 2014. “Blurred Lines? Responding to ‘Sexting’ and Gender-based Violence among Young People.”  Children Australia 39 (2):119-124.

Powell, Anastasia, Nicola Henry, Asher Flynn, and Adrian J. Scott. 2019. “Image-based sexual abuse: The extent, nature, and predictors of perpetration in a community sample of Australian residents.”  Computers in Human Behavior 92 :393-402.

Waling, Andrea, and Tinonee Pym. 2019. “‘C’mon, No One Wants a Dick Pic’: exploring the cultural framings of the ‘Dick Pic’ in contemporary online publics.”  Journal of Gender Studies 28 (1):70-85.

TFSV among LGBTQ Individuals and People with Disabilities

Web and Media Articles:

Campanella, Nas, and Celina Edmonds. 2021. “Technology increasingly used to ‘victimise and control’ women with intellectual disability.” ABC News, September 1.

Reports and Academic Studies:

Dietzel, Christopher. 2021. “‘That’s Straight-Up Rape Culture’: Manifestations of Rape Culture on Grindr.” In The Emerald International Handbook of Technology-Facilitated Violence and Abuse, edited by Jane Bailey, Asher Flynn and Nicola Henry, 351-368. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

Ouytsel, Joris Van, Michel Walrave, Lieven De Marez, Bart Vanhaelewyn, and Koen Ponnet. 2021. “Sexting, pressured sexting and image-based sexual abuse among a weighted-sample of heterosexual and LGB-youth.”  Computers in Human Behavior 117:1-11.

Powell, Anastasia, and Adrian J Scott. 2020. “Digital harassment and abuse: Experiences of sexuality and gender minority adults.” European Journal of Criminology 17 (2):199-223.

Technology Safety and Digital Well-being

Digital well-being refers to the “impact of digital technologies on what it means to live a life that is good for a human being in an information society” (Burr et al,  2020, 2313). Some scholars have argued that digital technologies will increase productivity and help reduce social inequality by enabling better access to currently strained services as well as promoting human motivation and engagement.

Web and Media Articles:

HeartMob. “Online Harassment Resources.”

Media Literacy Council. “Positive Internet Behavior.”

Media Literacy Council. “Responsible Sharing of Information.”

SWGfl. “So You Got Naked Online.”

Technology Safety. “Technology & Sexual Assault.” 

Tik Tok and Media Literacy Council. “A Safe and Happy Internet: All You Need to Do is #ThinkB4YouDo.”

VAWnet. “Tech Safety and Privacy for Survivors.” 

WESNET. “Women’s Technology Safety & Privacy Toolkit.”

Reports and Academic Studies:

Burr, Christopher, Mariarosaria Taddeo, and Luciano Floridi. 2020. “The Ethics of Digital Well-Being: A Thematic Review.”  Science and engineering ethics 26 (4):2313-2343. doi: 10.1007/s11948-020-00175-8

Burr, C., & Floridi, L. (Eds.) (2020). Ethics of Digital Well-Being: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Springer.

Digital Dating Abuse

Digital dating abuse is one form of digital harms and can be defined as “a pattern of behaviors that control, pressure, or threaten a dating partner using a cell phone or the Internet” (Reed et al, 2016). It includes but is not limited to: monitoring, surveilling, privy to partners gadgets without permission, demanding nude photos, coercive sexting, messaging with threats and bullying among other actions.

Listen to newstalk’s podcast here.

Reports and Academic Studies:

Branson, Molly, and Evita March. 2021. “Dangerous dating in the digital age: Jealousy, hostility, narcissism, and psychopathy as predictors of Cyber Dating Abuse.”  Computers in human behavior 119. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.106711.

Brown, Cynthia, and Kelsey Hegarty. 2018. “Digital dating abuse measures: A critical review.”  Aggression and Violent Behavior40:44-59.

Phan, Anh, Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, and Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo. 2021. “Threaten me softly: A review of potential dating app risks.” Computers in Human Behavior Reports 3:1-12

Reed, Lauren A., Richard M. Tolman, and Paige Safyer. 2015. “Too close for comfort: Attachment insecurity and electronic intrusion in college students’ dating relationships.”  Computers in human behavior 50:431-438.

Reed, Lauren A., Richard M. Tolman, and L. Monique Ward. 2016. “Snooping and Sexting: Digital Media as a Context for Dating Aggression and Abuse Among College Students.”  Violence Against Women 22 (13):1556-1576.

Reed, Lauren A., Richard M. Tolman, and L. Monique Ward. 2017. “Gender matters: Experiences and consequences of digital dating abuse victimization in adolescent dating relationships.”  Journal of Adolescence 59:79-89.

Weathers, Melinda R., Mollie R. Canzona, and Carla L. Fisher. 2019. “Digital Media as a Context for Dating Abuse: Connecting Adaptive and Maladaptive Coping Strategies to Young Adult Women’s Well-Being.”  Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work 34 (3):325-345.

Weathers, Melinda R., and Mark C. Hopson. 2015. “‘I Define What Hurts Me’: A Co-Cultural Theoretical Analysis of Communication Factors Related to Digital Dating Abuse.”  Howard Journal of Communications 26 (1):95-113.