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Protecting Your Email

Abusers will use any means to exert control, including stalking your online activity

  • September 17, 2014
  • By domesticshelters.org
Protecting Your Email

Abusers don’t always resort to just physical violence to intimidate and control their victims. There are other types of ways in which abuse occurs, one of them being isolation, or limiting a survivor’s access to the outside world. An abuser might think that regulating who their partner talks to, interacts with and communicates with will keep their partner under their control. Survivors should know that this is still a component of abuse.

An abuser can monitor their partner’s email use, which can be especially dangerous for the partner if he or she is using email to try and communicate with someone about the situation at home, or planning their escape from the situation. Even if a survivor feels like he or she is being as careful as possible to cover their tracks, there are still ways in which an abuser could access their partner’s email. According to  WomensLaw.org, “It is impossible to completely clear all the data related to your computer activity.”

These tips from WomensLaw.org can help survivors if they suspect their partner is monitoring them when they’re using email.

  • If you’re using a Web-based email program like Gmail or Hotmail, change your password often, at least once a month. Make sure to pick a password your abuser can not guess, such as one that contains your birthday, address, pet’s name, etc. Do not write your password down. When you’re done reading and sending emails, log out of your account—it’s not enough to simply close the browser window.
  • If you use a computer-based email program like Outlook or Apple mail, anyone who has access to your computer can read your email. Switch to a Web-based email program instead.
  • Many computers will have a function called “AutoComplete” that will store information, such as email passwords, that you’ve typed on your computer in the past. This could be a way your abuser logs into your email account, so it’s important to turn this function off in the settings of your computer. Regularly check that it remains to be turned off.
  • If you receive any threatening emails from your abuser, print them out and save them. They may be able to be used later as evidence of abuse in court or with the police. 

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