Tech professors featured in new book on technology and domestic abuse

Jordana Navarro

COOKEVILLE – Two Tennessee Tech University sociology professors will be published in a forthcoming book examining the use of technology in domestic abuse.

Jordana Navarro and Steven Seiler, both assistant professors, contributed a chapter each to “The Intersection between Intimate Partner Abuse, Technology, and Cybercrime: Examining the Virtual Enemy,” set to be released in November. The book contains chapters from scholars at institutions like Illinois State University and Appalachian State University.

Navarro is also an editor for the collection.

The book covers topics from domestic abuse legislative policy to sociological theory. Navarro’s chapter examines how perpetrators of domestic abuse use technology to control their victims. Seiler’s chapter focuses on the way relationships form, are maintained and dissolve online.

“Technological advancements like the Internet, social networking sites and online gaming have dramatically changed the structure of the traditional relationship,” Seiler said. “With no physical presence required for a relationship, this frees individuals to construct their own identities.”

As stories of predators using cell phones and social media to control and manipulate victims become more common, researchers are beginning to better understand the intersection between technology and communication.

“The rise of technology as an everyday tool has in many ways eroded the concept of safety,” Navarro said. “The way that a loved one can feel right next to you through communication technology is the same way that someone can use technology to control or track you.”

In some cases, significant others are using communication technology like texting and Twitter to stalk, threaten and harass those closest to them.

“There are a lot of news articles out there about advances in technology,” Navarro said. “But the discussion about how victims of intimate partner violence are affected by technology is limited. We’re trying to drive the discussion.”

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