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Author: Bridget Harris

Interpersonal violence persists across all landscapes, yet research and efforts to prevent and regulate such harms have been focused primarily on non-urban locations. As technology infiltrates all spheres of our lives, it is increasingly used to enact interpersonal violence: this lethal and non-lethal violence occurs in both familial and care settings (including child abuse, intimate partner abuse, elder abuse) and community settings (such as bullying, harassment and assault by acquaintances, strangers or persons who may be known, in social environments, schools and workplaces). To advance our understanding of and responses to these dangers, a spatial approach is key – this means recognizing how rurality shapes victimization and perpetration (see Harris, 2018; DeKeseredy, 2021). Additionally, it requires considering how the spacelessness of technology can be weaponized but can also offer opportunities for rural people to seek assistance and support.

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Technologies have transformed self-expression, interactions and relationships. Temporal and geographic boundaries have been tested and overcome by instantaneous and borderless contact, communication and monitoring. Unfortunately, this has provided new channels and opportunities to extend and exacerbate gendered violence and other forms of hate. We contend that the unique features of digital harms warrant attention, but ultimately online harms cannot be divorced from those which occur offline. Drawing on what Kelly (; ; ) conceptualised as a ‘continuum of violence’ (and what , refers to as climates of ‘unsafety’), digital violence is, we suggest, part of the spectrum of harm to which women are exposed throughout their life-worlds. The industries that create technologies do not exist in a vacuum, and we explore how the workforce, design and management of platforms not only reflects but reinforces ‘offline’ inequalities and facilitates violence. There are challenges in harnessing technology but, in closing, we explore ways that women can claim and create digital spaces to resist violence and seek ‘justice’.

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Domestic violence is a pervasive social problem in Australia. Digital media are increasingly integral to its dynamics. Technology-facilitated coercive control (TFCC) is a form of gender-based violence. This article examines domestic violence survivors’ experiences with TFCC, drawing on interviews with 20 Australian women. Study results enhance understanding of how abusers use digital media. We highlight four key contexts for understanding the role of technology in domestic violence: the coercive and controlling relationship, separation abuse, co-parenting and survivors’ safety work. These contexts provide insight into the dynamics of TFCC and illuminate key differences between this and other forms of online abuse.

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