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: https://sacc.aware.org.sg/technology-facilitated-sexual-violence/

Find out more about examples of TFSV here: https://vawnet.org/sc/technology-assisted-abuse.

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. 

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. 

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.

TFSV in a Transnational Context

Web and Media Articles:

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:

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

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.

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:

Media Literacy Council. “Positive Internet Behavior.”

Media Literacy Council. “Responsible Sharing of Information.”

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.

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.

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.