Digital coercive control and spatiality: Rural, regional, and remote women’s experience

Digital coercive control and spatiality: Rural, regional, and remote women’s experience Book Section

The Emerald International Handbook of Technology-Facilitated Violence and Abuse

  • Author(s): Harris, Bridget, Woodlock, Delanie
  • Secondary Author(s): Baiiley, Jane, Flynn, Asher, Henry, Nicola
  • Published: 2021
  • Publisher: Emerald
  • ISBN: 9781839828492

Abstract: Technology increasingly features in intimate relationships and is used by domestic violence perpetrators to enact harm. In this chapter we propose a theoretical and practical framework for technology-facilitated harms in heterosexual relationships which we characterize as digital coercive control. Here, we include behaviors which can be classified as abuse and stalking and also individualized tactics which are less easy to categorize but evoke fear and restrict the freedoms of a particular woman. Drawing on their knowledge of a victim/survivor’s experiences and, in the context of patterns and dynamics of abuse, digital coercive control strategies are personalized by perpetrators and extend and exacerbate 'real-world' violence. Digital coercive control is unique because of its spacelessness and, the ease, speed and identity-shielding which technology affords. Victim/survivors describe how perpetrator use of technology creates a sense of omnipresence and omnipotence which can deter women from exiting violent relationships and weakens the (already tenuous) notion that abuse can be 'escaped.' We contend that the ways that digital coercive control shifts temporal and geographic boundaries warrant attention. However, spatiality more broadly, cannot be overlooked. The place and shape in which victim/survivors and perpetrators reside will shape both experiences of and response to violence. In this chapter, we explore these ideas, reporting on findings from a study on digital coercive control in regional, rural and remote Australia. We adopt a feminist research methodology in regard to our ethos, research processes, analysis and the outputs and outcomes of our project. Women’s voices are foreground in this approach and the emphasis is on how research can be used to inform, guide and develop responses to domestic violence.

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Suggested Citation
Harris, Bridget, Woodlock, Delanie, 2021, Digital coercive control and spatiality: Rural, regional, and remote women’s experience, Book Section, viewed 22 October 2021, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=24540.

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