‘You have to be really careful’: technology and the abuse of women with intellectual and cognitive disabilities

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Abstract

The use of technology to abuse and control women is an emerging area of domestic violence. However, little is known about how women with disabilities, particularly women with intellectual and cognitive experience this abuse. To address this gap, we conducted interviews and focus groups with six women with intellectual or cognitive disabilities who had been subjected to technology-facilitated abuse and 15 practitioners who work with women with intellectual or cognitive disabilities who had experienced technology-facilitated abuse. We found that technology occupies a key role in the lives of women with cognitive or intellectual disabilities. However, their use of technology is threatened by unknown and known perpetrators who weaponise digital media and devices. Women were frequently advised to change their behaviour and disengage from technology; a ‘solution’ which penalised and restricted them in a myriad of ways. Thus technology-facilitated abuse and responses to it can entrap and negatively impact women.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalDisability and Society
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • abuse
  • cognitive disabilities
  • domestic violence
  • intellectual disabilities
  • Technology

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