Technology-facilitated sexual violence: a review of virtual violence against women




Violence against women; Internet; Gender; Intimate partner violence; Sexual harassment.


With the modernization of technology, new virtual forms of violence have emerged and old ways of perpetrating violence against women have been exacerbated with the use of the internet and social networks. This study aimed to investigate the forms of violence against women on the internet. This is an integrative literature review of the electronc databases SciVerse Scopus, Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online and Scientific Electronic Library Online. The inclusion criteria were publications that occurred in the time span from January 2016 to July 2021, with the descriptors "Violence," "Internet," "Woman," "Gender," "Sexual Violence," "Sexual Harassment," "Intimate Partner Violence," and "Internet and Abuse".  As a result of the review, 30 articles were selected. Nine categories of violence against women on the Internet were identified, included in the concept of sexual violence facilitated by technology, in addition to digital dating abuse and cyberbullying. The most commonly addressed categories were digital dating abuse, revenge porn, sexting, and online misogyny. Most of the studies found concluded greater online victimization for women than for men in all categories except cyberbullying.


Agarwal, A. (2021) The case for treating violence against women as a form of sex discrimination in India. International Journal of Discrimination and the Law. 21 (1). 5-25.

Aizenkot, D. & Kashy-Rosenbaum, G. (2021). Cyberbullying Victimization in WhatsApp Classmate Groups among Israeli Elementary, Middle, and High School Students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 36 (15-16).

Andreasen, M. (2020). ‘Rapeable’ and ‘unrapeable’ women: the portrayal of sexual violence in Internet memes about #MeToo. Journal of Gender Studies. 30(1). 102-113.

Blake, K., O´Dean, S., Lian, J, & Delson, T. (2021). Misogynistic tweets correlate with violence against women. Psychological Science. 32 (3). 315-325.

Bonavitta, P., Preman, C., & Becerra, J. 2020. Ciberfeminismo. Viejas luchas, nuevas estrategias: el escrache virtual como herramienta de acción y resistencia. Anagramas: rumbos e sentidos de la comunicacion. 18 (36). 327-333.

Bond, Emma & Tyrrell, K. (2021). Understanding revenge pornography: a national survey of police officers and staff in England and Wales. (2021). Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 36 (5-6). 2166-2181.

Borrajo, E., Gámex-Guadix, M., & Calvete, E. (2015). Justification beliefs of violence, myths about love and cyber dating abuse. Psichotema. 27 (4). 327-333.

Burnay, J., Bushman, B., & Laroi, F. (2019). Effects of sexualized video games on online sexual harassment. Aggressive Behavior, 45 (2). 214-223.

Cárdenas, F., Rojas-Solís, J., & Garcia-Sanchéz, P. (2018). Uso problemático de internet, cyberbullying y ciber-violencia de pareja en jóvenes universitarios. Diversitas: perspectivas em psicología,. 14 (2).

Cava, M., Buelga, S., Carrascosa, L., & Ortega-Barón, J. (2020). Relations among romantic myths, offline dating violence victimization and cyber dating violence victimization in adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 17 (5).

Cerón, M., Eisman, L., & Palomares, F. (2018). Grooming, Cyberbullying and Sexting in Chile according of sex and school management or administrative dependency. Revista Chilena de Pediatria. 89 (3). 352-360.

Chisala-Tempelhoff, S. & Kirya, M. (2016). Gender, law and revenge porn in Sub-Saharan Africa: a review of Malawi and Uganda. Palgrave Communications. 2 (1).

Codin Rights, InternetLab. (2017). Violências Contra Mulher na Internet: Diagnóstico, Soluções e Desafios Contribuição conjunta do Brasil para a relatora especial da ONU sobre violência contra a mulher.

Cornelius, T., Bell, K., Kistler, T., & Drouin, M. (2020). Consensual Sexting among College Students: the interplay of coercion and intimate partner

aggression in perceived consequences of sexting. International journal of environmental research and Public Health. 17. 7141.

Douglass, C. , Wright, C. , Davis, A. , & Lim, M. (2018). Correlates of in-person and technology-facilitated sexual harassment from an online survey among young Australians. Sexual Health. 15(4). 361-365.

Garcia, L. & Silva, G. (2018). Violência por parceiro íntimo: perfil dos atendimentos em serviços de urgência e emergência nas capitais dos estados brasileiros, 2014. Cadernos de Saúde Pública.

Garcia-Díaz, J., Cánovas-Garcia, M., & Colomo-Palacios, R. (2021). Detecting misogyny in spanish tweets. an approach based on linguistics features and word embeddings. Future Generation Computer Systems. 114. 506-518.

Gius, C. (2021). Addressing the Blurred question of ‘responsibility’: insights from online news comments on a case of

nonconsensual pornography. Journal of Gender Studies.

Gracia-Leiva, M., Puente-Martinez, A., Ubillos-Landa, S., González-Castro, J., & Páez-Rovira, D. (2020). Off and online heterosexual dating violence, perceived attachment to parents and peers and suicide risk in young women. International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health. 17 (3174). 506-518.

Hellevik, P. & Øverlien, C. (2016). Teenage intimate partner violence: factors associated with victimization among Norwegian youths. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 44 (7). 702-708.

Henry, N., Flynn, A., & Powell, A. (2020). Technology-Facilitated Domestic and Sexual Violence: A Review. Violence against Women. 26(15-16). 1828-1854.

Henry, N. & Flynn, A. (2019). Image-based sexual abuse: online distribution channels and illicit communities of support. Violence against Women. 25(16). 15-16.

Henry, N. & Powell, A. (2018). Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence: A Literature Review of Empirical Research. Trauma, Violence and Abuse. 19 (2). 195-208.

Henry, N. & Powell, A. (2015). Embodied Harms: Gender, Shame, and Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence. Violence Against Womem. 21 (6). 758-779.

Htun, M. & Jenseniu, F. R. (2020). Fighting violence against women: Laws, norms & challenges ahead. Daedalus. 149 (1). 144-159.

Instituto Andaluz de Administración Pública. (2017). Redes sociales en perspectiva de género: Guía para conocer y contrarrestrar las violencias de género on-line.

Jesus, D. & Milagre, J. A. (2016) Manual de crimes informáticos (1st ed. ). Saraiva.

Law nb. 14.232/2021. (2021).

Marcotte, A., Gesselman, A., Fisher, H., & Garcia, J. (2020). Women’s and men’s reactions to receiving unsolicited genital images from men. Journal of Sex Research. 58 (4). 512-521.

Martinez-Pecino R. & Durán, M. I love you but I cyberbully you: the role of hostile sexism. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 34 (4). 812-825.

Medeiros, A., Lima, A., Bezerra, M., Silva, V., Cardoso, B., Rodrigues, A. & Araújo, T. (2021). Challenge - o silêncio mata: mídias sociais e informação no combate à violência contra a mulher. Research, Society and Development. 10 (49).

Minayo, M. C. S. (2020). Conceitos, teorias e tipologias de violência: a violência faz mal à saúde. In K. Njaine, S. G. Assis, P. Constantino & J. Q. Avanci (Eds.). Impactos da Violência na Saúde (pp. 19-42). Editora FIOCRUZ.

Montesanti, S. R. (2015) The role of structural and interpersonal violence in the lives of women: a conceptual shift in prevention of gender-based violence. BMC Women´s Health. 15.

Naseri, R., Hussin H., Esa M., Aziz, N., & Nordin M. (2021). What is a Population in Online ShoppingResearch? A perspective from Malaysia. Turkish Journal of Computer and Mathematics Education. 12 (4). 654-658.

Powell, A. & Henry, N. (2019). Technology-facilitated sexual violence victimization: results from an online survey of australian adults. Violence against women. 34(17). 3637-3665.

Reed, L., Wart, L., Tolman R., Lipmann, J., & Seabrook, R. (2018). The association between stereotypical gender and dating beliefs and digital dating

abuse perpetration in adolescent dating relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 1-25.

Reed, L. , Tolman R. , & Ward, L. (2017). Gender matters: Experiences and consequences of digital dating abuse victimization in adolescent dating relationships. Journal of Adolescence. 59. 79-89.

Reed, L. A., Tolman R. M., Ward, L. (2016). Snooping and Sexting: digital media as a context for dating aggression and abuse among college students. Violence against women. 22 (13). 1556-1576.

Remón, I. & Medina-Bravo, P. (2019). Ciberviolencia en la red. Nuevas formas de retórica disciplinaria en contra del feminismo. Papéis. 104(1). 47-74.

Rodríguez-Castro, Y., Martinéz-Román, R., Alonso-Ruido, P., Adá-Lameiras, A., & Carreira-Fernandez, M. (2021). Intimate Partner Cyberstalking, Sexism, Pornography, and Sexting in Adolescents: New Challenges for Sex Education. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 18. 2181.

Roichman, C. (2020). Faca, peixeira, canivete: uma análise da lei do feminicídio no Brasil. Katálysis. 23 (2). 357-365.

Ross, J., Drouin, M., & Coupe, A. (2019). Sexting Coercion as a component of intimate partner polyvictimization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 34 (11). 2269-2291.

Rubio-Laborda, J., Almansa-Martínez, P., & Pastor-Bravo, M. (2021). Relaciones sexistas en la generación X y Millennials. Atención Primaria. 53.

Ruiz, J., Valente, M., & Neris, N. Entre el perpetrador y la víctima: el papel de los intermediarios de Internet en las violaciones contra las mujeres. Sociologia y Tecnociencia. 9 (1). 9-27.

Sambasivan, N. , Batool, A., Ahmed, N., Matthews, T., Thomas, K. , Gaytán-Lugo, L., Nemer, D., Bursztein, E., Churchill, E., & Consolvo, S. (2019, May 4-9). “They don’t leave us alone anywhere we go”: gender and digital abuse in South Asia [Paper]. CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019, Nova York, Estados Unidos.

Sánchez, O., Vale, D., Rodrigues, L., & Surita, F. (2020). Violence against women during the COVID‐19 pandemic: an integrative review. International Journal of Ginecology Obstetrics, 151, 180-187.

Selaimen, G. (2013). Mulheres desenvolvedoras de tecnologias – o desafio das histórias invisíveis que moram entre zeros e uns. In Natansohn, G. (Ed.). Internet em código feminino: teorias e práticas (1st ed., pp. 161-179). La Crujía Ediciones.

Silva, M. (2016). A pornografia de vingança e os desafios da proteção da privacidade online. JusBrasil. .

Skinner, T., Hester, M., & Malos, E. (2012) Methodology, feminism and gender violence. In T. Skinner, M. Hester & E. Malos (Eds.), Researching Gender Violence. Feminist methodology in action (pp. 2-3). Routledger.

Soto, C. & Sanchez, K. (2019). Violencia en Internet contra feministas y otras activistas chilenas. Revista Estudos Feministas. 27 (3).

Soto, C. (2018). Discurso de los lectores de medios digitales ante la violencia policial contra la mujer: ¿otra forma de violencia virtual?. Estudios sobre el Mensaje Periodístico. 24(2). 1023-1041.

Stanley, N. , Barter, C. , Wood, M., Aghtaie, N., Larkins, C. ,Lanau, A., & Överlien, C.(2018). . Pornography, sexual coercion and abuse and sexting in young people’s intimate relationships: a european study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 33(19). 2919-2944.

Stonard, K.E., Bowen, E., Walker, K., & Preço, S. (2017). “They’ll always find a way to get to you”: technology use in adolescent romantic relationships and its role in dating violence and abuse in dating violence and abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 32 (14). 2083-2117.

Tetikcok, R., Ozer, E., Cakir, L., Enginyurt O. , Iscanli M. D., Cankaya S., & Ozer F. (2016). Violence towards women is a public health problem. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 44. 150-157.

Toronto, C. , Remington, R. (2020). A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting an Integrative Review. Springer.

UN. United Nations. (1993). Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

White, M. & Satyen, L. (2015). Cross-cultural differences in intimate partner violence and depression: a systematic review. Agression and Violent Behavior. 24. 120-130.

Whitemore, R. & Knalf, K. (2005). The integrative review: update methodology. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 52 (5), 546-553.

Zhong, L. R., Kebell, M. R., & Webster, J. L. (2020). An exploratory study of Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence in online romantic interactions: Can the Internet’s toxic disinhibition exacerbate sexual aggression?. Computer in Human Behavior. 108.

Zúñiga, R. P., Lozano, P. M., García, M. M., Hernández, E. M., & Ibarra, J. Á. P. (2018). La sociedad del conocimiento y la sociedad de la información como la piedra angular en la innovación tecnológica educativa RIDE. Rev. Iberoam. Investig. Desarro. Educ.. 8 (16).




How to Cite

ARAÚJO, A. V. M. de .; BONFIM, C. V. do .; BUSHATSKY, M.; FURTADO, B. M. A. . Technology-facilitated sexual violence: a review of virtual violence against women. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 11, n. 2, p. e57811225757, 2022. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v11i2.25757. Disponível em: Acesso em: 2 mar. 2024.



Review Article