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The Intimate Geographies of Technology-Enabled Coercive Control

Authors: Dana Cuomo*, Lafayette College
Topics: Gender, Political Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: feminist geography, tech-abuse, domestic violence, stalking, digital geographies
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

As digital technologies play an increasingly important role in our everyday lives, they have also become an incredibly effective tool for those who engage in stalking, harassment, and abuse. Forms of technology-enabled coercive control (TECC) include cyberstalking, monitoring, location tracking, impersonation, harassment, distribution of intimate images, along with other related patterns of violence that use technology as a tool to abuse, harass, and stalk. In the context of intimate partner violence, those who engage in TECC rely on overlapping tactics and evolving forms of digital technology to instill feelings of fear, isolation, confusion, and terror among those they are targeting. In this paper, I draw on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Seattle – including interviews with survivors, advocates, prosecutors and police - to examine how those who use technology as a tool to abuse benefit from its affordability, accessibility and usability. Using a feminist geographic analytic, I examine how the normalization of technology to surveil in everyday life (i.e.: “Facebook stalking” and surveillance cameras) serves to minimize its perceived effects on survivors. By focusing on the intimate geographies of technology-enabled coercive control, I illustrate how digital technology expands the spaces and sites in which survivors experience the terrorizing impacts of abuse.

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