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Tech-Facilitated Sexual Abuse

April 17, 2024 | Return to REACH Hub
Ver la página en Español: El Abuso Sexual Facilitado por la Tecnología

April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time for us to come together to address and bring awareness to sexual violence in all forms. Technology has undeniably revolutionized the way we live our lives, enabling us to connect with others, access information, and streamline everyday tasks with just the tap of a screen. However, with the benefits of technology also come risks. Perpetrators of sexual abuse are using technology as a tool to cause harm ranging from non-consensual sharing of intimate images to online harassment and stalking. Knowing more about the types of tech-facilitated sexual abuse can help you understand what may be going on for you or the survivors you work with and can be a first step to figuring out what to do to address it.


Sexting is a term used to describe the act of sending and receiving sexually explicit text messages, photographs, or videos, mainly through a mobile device. Flirting or hooking up over text can be a normal and healthy part of a relationship. But having your partner pressure, coerce, or threaten you to send something sexual is not okay.

Non-consensual distribution of intimate images

Nonconsensual intimate image sharing, commonly referred to as revenge porn, is the sharing or distribution of sexual, intimate, nude, or semi-nude photographs or videos of you without your permission. Even if you originally consented to share the content with someone, that doesn’t make it okay for that person to share it with others or post it on the internet without your consent. Many states have laws that make it illegal to share or post your intimate photos or videos online without your consent.

Non-consensual sexual deepfakes

Deepfakes are a type of synthetic media where a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness using artificial intelligence technology. This advanced technology allows for the manipulation of audio and video content to create highly realistic but completely fabricated footage. Deepfakes can be sexual in nature and used to threaten or extort.


Cyberstalking involves misusing technology to stalk and harass. Stalkers may contact victims through various online platforms, share personal information, track their location, and monitor online activities. While not all states have specific cyberstalking laws, repeated online harassment is generally considered a crime under stalking or harassment laws.

Online harassment

Online harassment is abusive behavior that happens through email, messaging, social media, dating sites, and other platforms. It may look like sending threatening messages, posting hateful comments, cyber flashing, spreading rumors, sharing someone’s personal information without their consent, or creating fake accounts to impersonate and harm someone. 

What to Do

If you are a victim or survivor of technology-facilitated sexual abuse, or if you have a client or loved one who has been harmed in this way, it is important to remember that this type of abuse is a serious matter and it’s not the victim or survivor’s fault. You are not alone. There are resources and people available to help, such as local crisis centers and domestic violence organizations, which provide information and support. Visit to learn about your state’s laws and the legal options available to address any form of sexual abuse. You can also use WomensLaw’s confidential Email Hotline and Chat to ask an attorney about your situation and get free, personalized legal information and referrals. For additional information regarding image-based sexual abuse, visit the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. This knowledge can empower victims and survivors to make informed decisions and take necessary steps toward seeking justice and healing.