Seeking Help Online

Unfortunately, women often face increased risks of abuse when seeking help. And while the internet allows women to find the information they might need, it must be done carefully or it can put your personal safety at risk. Online exploitation is occurring increasingly more often, especially amongst the youth population. Individuals are groomed and lured online for sexual purposes. Online grooming often takes place over an extended period of time, through the establishment of  what appears to be a relationship. A trafficker or groomer will often use gifts, flattery, and promises to appeal to the victim. Youth are exceptionally vulnerable because of the impact social media has on their judgement, making the lure of travel, interesting people and popularity even more enticing.

Sextortion is a form of cyber bullying involving sexual coercion of a non-physical nature. The sextorter will often coerce the victim into providing an increased number of sexually explicit photos or videos in exchange for not releasing the previously sent images to the public, family, or friends.

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that takes place using technology any form of technology and a paired social media site for communication to send derogatory, cruel, or inappropriate messages about or to the intended person or group. This form of bullying may involve one or more of the following: sending derogatory texts, emails, or messages; sending inappropriate/embarrassing photos or videos of a sexual or non-sexual nature; and/or, posting rumors on social networking sites.

Be sure to set the privacy settings on social media sites and apps to protect your safety by limiting the number of people that have access to shared photos and videos. To learn more about online safety:

Email

Someone that has access to your computer might be able to access your email and read your messages. Even messages that you thought were deleted can sometimes be found. It is safer to use a password protected email account and to access this account from a public computer or from a friend’s house. Always remember to log out of your email account before leaving the computer.

Web Browsing History

This website has a Quick Exit button at the very top left of the site. This button allows you to attempt to change websites quickly should you need to. However, this button cannot clear your browsing history and your browser is probably storing a record of what websites you’ve been visiting. This history is accessible if someone knows what to look for. Clearing the browser history can, unfortunately, raise suspicion as well if another user relies on the history to remember websites or online chores.

Options for safer internet browsing include:

  • using a public computer at a library or internet café
  • using a computer at a trusted friend’s house

There are ways to clear your browser of it’s history (and cache and cookies).

For Information and Help Clearing Your Cache