In the advanced and highly interconnected digital world of today, the wealth of opportunities available for online communication, entertainment, and learning is awe-inspiring. However, the advent of the internet has also brought with it a number of cyber threats and dangers that can extend beyond the internet and into the real world. One such danger that has only recently become more preventable and punishable is online sexual abuse.
With the internet being such a vast and complicated space to interact with and exist in, anyone of any age or background can become a target—which means knowing how to protect yourself and your loved ones is of the utmost importance.
Recognize the Signs—Both Subtle and Explicit
Online sexual abuse can present itself as explicit sexual harassment and invasions of your privacy. However, malicious actors online may also use more subtle means of disguising their intent to abuse.
Red flags to watch out for in order to protect yourself and your loved ones from online sexual abuse include:
- Boundary testing in order to gauge one’s comfort levels
- Overly flattering and charming behavior intended to gain trust quickly and exploit it
- Attempts at isolation by sewing distrust amongst loved friends and family
- “Gaslighting” and emotional manipulation to gain control over another’s behavior
- Pressure for and an excessive curiosity in one’s personal information
Of course, online abusers may not attempt subtle means of gaining access to you. Explicit online sexual abuse includes:
- Persistent sexual advances through explicit material or online communications
- Pressuring for explicit content, whether through persistence or extortion
- Unsolicited sexual messages or material sent to you without your consent
- Threats of sexual violence in any form
Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones in Online Spaces
The threat of online sexual abuse is real and has real-world consequences. As such, it’s essential to protect yourself and those that you care about by:
- Using available privacy and safety settings on all online platforms, mediums, and apps
- Being selective with those you decide to communicate with
- Thinking twice before sharing personal information and materials, especially explicit ones
- Reporting abuse whenever and wherever you see it to both the platform owners and law enforcement if necessary
- Communicating with those you trust about any unwanted communications or harassment you have experienced online
Take Action With The Cifarelli Law Firm in Irvine, CA
Remember: sexual abuse, both online and in the real world, is never the survivor’s fault. If you or someone you love has been harmed by online sexual abuse, you have the right to seek justice—reach out to The Cifarelli Law Firm at 949-502-8600 today. Located in Irvine, CA, their experienced sexual abuse lawyers may be able to help you solidify your case.