Technology-enabled abuse is when someone uses technology to bully, harass, stalk, intimidate or gain control over others. Preventing this kind of abuse starts with the ability to recognize it. During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Information Technology Services and the Office of Equity Assurance offer these tips to understand what constitutes technology-enabled abuse.
Bullying and harassment. It’s not just threatening messages. Insulting or humiliating posts, including unflattering photos or videos shared without your consent, are examples of online bullying.
Coercion. Asking or pressuring you to send explicit photos and videos, or sexual and compromising messages, is an abusive and controlling act. So is sending you similar, unwanted content.
Intimidation. Abuse is about power and control. Abusers may steal or demand your account passwords, tell you who you can and can’t friend/follow on social media, or look through the photos, videos, text and calls on your phone.
Monitoring and stalking. Using GPS in a car or phone, social media, smart home devices and security cameras are among the common tools abusers use to track your movements and monitor your activities.
Doxing. To isolate or embarrass you, abusers may create fake social media profiles in your name and image or use your phone or email to impersonate you and reveal private information.
If you or someone you know is experiencing technology-enabled abuse or harassment, first ensure your own safety and the safety of others. Call 911 in emergency situations.
Abuse or harassment that is a crime can be reported to the University Police Department at 304-293-3136 or to other law enforcement agencies.
Students, faculty and staff can also report abuse and harassment to the University by calling the Equity Assurance and Title IX office at 304-293-5600 or by filing a report online at: https://diversity.wvu.edu/equity-assurance/resources-and-reporting-options.
The Office of Equity Assurance and the legal system work independently, but in coordination. You may file a report with the University, law enforcement, with both or with neither. The standards for determining a violation of criminal law are different than the standard in WVU’s grievance procedures. Neither the results of a criminal investigation nor the decision of law enforcement on whether to investigate determines whether a violation of the University’s policy has occurred.
© 2021 West Virginia University. WVU is an EEO/Affirmative Action employer — Minority/Female/Disability/Veteran. Last updated on October 19, 2021.