The Emerald International Handbook of Technology-Facilitated Violence and Abuse

ISBN: 978-1-83982-849-2, eISBN: 978-1-83982-848-5

Publication date: 4 June 2021


Flynn, A. (2021), "Introduction", Bailey, J., Flynn, A. and Henry, N. (Ed.) The Emerald International Handbook of Technology-Facilitated Violence and Abuse (Emerald Studies In Digital Crime, Technology and Social Harms), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 331-332.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Asher Flynn. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This chapter is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of these chapters (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at


This chapter is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of these chapters (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at

As digital technologies continue to develop, so too does our reliance on them as ways to communicate and connect with each other. This engagement through technology has become central to many of our social and dating lives, providing us with a way to digitally express intimacy to another person through chat and imagery. Within this context, the creation of a range of applications and websites that seek to bring people together have become more common and a socially acceptable way to seek out connection, intimacy, sex, romance, and companionship. As Ari Waldman reflects in his chapter, for more marginalized populations, digital dating applications have also provided an outlet for “expressions of sexual and romantic freedom after decades of marginalization.” However, such services have also been used to perpetrate harm, including image-based sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, among other abusive behaviors.

In this section, we bring together three chapters that examine the lived experiences of those who have been subjected to abusive behaviors on, or facilitated by, dating applications, as well as considering the socio-cultural norms, values, and practices that perpetuate a rape culture within these intimate settings.

In his chapter, Chris Dietzel provides voices to men who have sex with men (MSM), exploring their understandings and experiences of rape culture through the use of dating applications like Grindr. In doing so, he explores how a rape culture manifests in key ways in-application interactions, for example, unwanted sexual messages and imagery, and in-person encounters, for example, sexual assault. Elena Cama similarly considers how socio-cultural and sexual norms that reflect a rape culture underpin dating applications, and her chapter considers the ways in which this may facilitate, normalize, and excuse sexual harms. In particular, Cama reflects on how this may play out in the context of the normalization of male sexual aggression and female passivity, as well as the myths, victim-blaming, and policing of women's behavior that both minimizes and excuses men's violence.

The research on technology-facilitated violence and abuse both within and beyond the dating applications context has largely focused on the experiences of cisgender women perpetrated by cisgender men. As Cama explains in her chapter, this results in the privileging of white, able-bodied, middle class women's experiences, and the erasing and silencing of the violence experiences of those whose victimization “is multilayered on the basis of a combination of factors, including gender, sexuality, race, and/or disability.” In his chapter, Waldman similarly describes how the pressures and norms surrounding digital dating pose unique and risky experiences including “privacy invasions, exploitation, extortion, and harassment” for marginalized populations, particularly for women and sexual minorities.

In this section, we recognize this gap in knowledge and respond to it by seeking to explore the experiences of people with diverse gender and sexual identities in using dating applications and experiencing sexual harms to consider how these may differ from heteronormative experiences. As Cama claims, “by ‘queering’ understandings of dating app usage … we may be able to more meaningfully explore how these discourses feature in and are potentially differently mobilized and navigated in non-heterosexual dating cultures.” This is particularly important as Waldman discusses the evidence of the frequent use of such applications among the sexually and gender diverse communities, comparative to heterosexual users.

The chapters in this section also provide an insight into the ways that gender and sexually diverse people face similar experiences to other marginalized groups, where there are powerful discourses, rape myths, and stereotypes that act to silence and discredit experiences of sexual harm. The impacts of which, Dietzel observes, “reduce people to sexual objects.”

Further to considering the role of rape culture, Waldman explores how dating applications, particularly those that are designed for gay and bisexual men, socially construct and build in norms that create pressures on users both to share intimate and private information, for example, sexual imagery or descriptions, or as Dietzel found, to participate in sexual activity creating a murky or gray interaction, where the acts are unwanted, but are not defined as either consensual or nonconsensual. As Jadyn (32-year-old black, gay, male) a participant in Dietzel's study reflected of the MSM dating application culture, “it's a sort of social obligation gun-being-held-to-my-head and I feel like I'm doing something that I don't actually want to do.”

Technology-Facilitated Violence and Abuse: International Perspectives and Experiences
Section 1 TFVA Across a Spectrum of Behaviors
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Is it Actually Violence? Framing Technology-Facilitated Abuse as Violence
Chapter 3 “Not the Real World”: Exploring Experiences of Online Abuse, Digital Dualism, and Ontological Labor
Chapter 4 Polyvictimization in the Lives of North American Female University/College Students: The Contribution of Technology-Facilitated Abuse
Chapter 5 The Nature of Technology-Facilitated Violence and Abuse among Young Adults in Sub-Saharan Africa
Chapter 6 The Face of Technology-Facilitated Aggression in New Zealand: Exploring Adult Aggressors' Behaviors
Chapter 7 The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis: Technological Dimensions
Chapter 8 Attending to Difference in Indigenous People's Experiences of Cyberbullying: Toward a Research Agenda
Section 2 Text-Based Harms
Chapter 9 Introduction
Chapter 10 “Feminism is Eating Itself”: Women's Experiences and Perceptions of Lateral Violence Online
Chapter 11 Claiming Victimhood: Victims of the “Transgender Agenda”
Chapter 12 Doxxing: A Scoping Review and Typology
Chapter 13 Creating the Other in Online Interaction: Othering Online Discourse Theory
Chapter 14 Text-Based (Sexual) Abuse and Online Violence Against Women: Toward Law Reform?
Section 3 Image-Based Harms
Chapter 15 Introduction
Chapter 16 Violence Trending: How Socially Transmitted Content of Police Misconduct Impacts Reactions toward Police Among American Youth
Chapter 17 Just Fantasy? Online Pornography's Contribution to Experiences of Harm
Chapter 18 Intimate Image Dissemination and Consent in a Digital Age: Perspectives from the Front Line
Section 4 Dating Applications
Chapter 19 Introduction
Chapter 20 Understanding Experiences of Sexual Harms Facilitated through Dating and Hook Up Apps among Women and Girls
Chapter 21 “That's Straight-Up Rape Culture”: Manifestations of Rape Culture on Grindr
Chapter 22 Navigating Privacy on Gay-Oriented Mobile Dating Applications
Section 5 Intimate Partner Violence and Digital Coercive Control
Chapter 23 Introduction
Chapter 24 Digital Coercive Control and Spatiality: Rural, Regional, and Remote Women's Experience
Chapter 25 Technology-Facilitated Violence Against Women in Singapore: Key Considerations
Chapter 26 Technology as Both a Facilitator of and Response to Youth Intimate Partner Violence: Perspectives from Advocates in the Global-South
Chapter 27 Technology-Facilitated Domestic Abuse and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women in Victoria, Australia
Section 6 Legal Responses
Chapter 28 Introduction
Chapter 29 Human Rights, Privacy Rights, and Technology-Facilitated Violence
Chapter 30 Combating Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: An Overview of the Legislative and Policy Reforms in the Arab Region
Chapter 31 Image-Based Sexual Abuse: A Comparative Analysis of Criminal Law Approaches in Scotland and Malawi
Chapter 32 Revenge Pornography and Rape Culture in Canada's Nonconsensual Distribution Case Law
Chapter 33 Reasonable Expectations of Privacy in an Era of Drones and Deepfakes: Expanding the Supreme Court of Canada's Decision in R v Jarvis
Chapter 34 Doxing and the Challenge to Legal Regulation: When Personal Data Become a Weapon
Chapter 35 The Potential of Centralized and Statutorily Empowered Bodies to Advance a Survivor-Centered Approach to Technology-Facilitated Violence Against Women
Section 7 Responses Beyond Law
Chapter 36 Introduction
Chapter 37 Technology-Facilitated Violence Against Women and Girls in Public and Private Spheres: Moving from Enemy to Ally
Chapter 38 As Technology Evolves, so Does Domestic Violence: Modern-Day Tech Abuse and Possible Solutions
Chapter 39 Threat Modeling Intimate Partner Violence: Tech Abuse as a Cybersecurity Challenge in the Internet of Things
Chapter 40 Justice on the Digitized Field: Analyzing Online Responses to Technology-Facilitated Informal Justice through Social Network Analysis
Chapter 41 Bystander Apathy and Intervention in the Era of Social Media
Chapter 42 “I Need You All to Understand How Pervasive This Issue Is”: User Efforts to Regulate Child Sexual Offending on Social Media
Chapter 43 Governing Image-Based Sexual Abuse: Digital Platform Policies, Tools, and Practices
Chapter 44 Calling All Stakeholders: An Intersectoral Dialogue about Collaborating to End Tech-Facilitated Violence and Abuse
Chapter 45 Pandemics and Systemic Discrimination: Technology-Facilitated Violence and Abuse in an Era of COVID-19 and Antiracist Protest