Social Media Tips for Assault and Domestic Violence Survivors

1-12-15 Privacy and Author Marketing Platforms by Frances CaballoWhat can you do to build your author platform if you’re a survivor of domestic violence or rape?

It’s not an uncommon question. Consider these facts from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • Females who are 20 – 24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.

Last year I met a writer who was being stalked. Recently, a domestic violence survivor contacted me, asking for my advice. While attending a conference, a rape survivor asked me a similar question.

If you or someone you know is also in this situation, call 1-800-799-7233. When an author is a sexual assault or domestic violence survivor who want to build a marketing platform, I have these strategies to consider.

Pen Names

The easiest strategy is to create a pen name. Even authors who don’t have a sexual assault in their backgrounds sometimes use pen names.

Either they want to use their maiden names as their author name or they might be public school teachers who write romance or erotic novels and don’t want their principals to discover their books.

Keep reading more additional strategies.

How to Protect Your Identity on Facebook

If you don’t want an abuser to contact you or see your status updates and you don’t want to use a pen name, then I don’t recommend having a Facebook page. Instead, focus on building your profile and tightening your privacy settings.

Your first step will be to block the abuser. Click on the padlock on your Facebook taskbar and then on See More Settings. Under Blocking, add the name of the person with whom you don’t want to have any contact.

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Next, navigate to the settings under Privacy. Click on Privacy > Who Can Contact Me > Whose messages do I want filtered into my Inbox? Under this setting, you can predetermine who can send you friend requests.

Under the same section, check your setting for “Whose messages do I want filtered into my inbox?” I use the Strict Filtering option because I’ve had some unsavory characters send me weird messages.

Now check out the box titled “Who can look me up?” You’ll need to adjust these filters according to your comfort levels. Sometimes, it’s just not the former abuser who is bothersome but his current wife, girlfriend or buddies. I’m liberal in this section because I want to be found on the Web but if you are avoiding a stalker, I would recommend stringent controls here.

Under “Who can see your future posts,” you’ll again want to determine what your comfort level is. If you don’t want a former abuser to know about your life, I would recommend you allow only your friends to see your status updates.

The next session is Timeline and Tagging. Here you’ll  need to determine your comfort level again. If you’re afraid that someone inappropriate may penetrate your privacy controls, then you’ll want to be the only person who can post on your Timeline.

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As you can see from the image above, I’m fairly strict in this section. I like to review images and posts in which I’ve been tagged before they appear on my timeline. I used to be more lenient, but others have burned me with some pretty disgusting images.

Twitter and Privacy Controls

Twitter is tricky when it comes to privacy. Click on your avatar and then on settings. Then click on “Security and privacy from the menu on the left.”

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These are your options under Privacy:

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 8.04.42 AMHere again, your comfort level will determine how stringent your settings are. Do you want to allow others to tag in your tweets and images? As you can see, I don’t add a location to my tweets because I don’t feel this is a safe setting for women or teens.

I don’t protect my tweets because if I did, my account wouldn’t grow. But if you’re a domestic violence survivor, you might want to select this option.

Google+ and LinkedIn

If you use Google+, navigate to your account and select settings. You will see an entire web page of options.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 8.09.50 AM Here you can:

  • Predetermine who can send you notifications.
  • Who can comment on your public posts?
  • Manage your apps and Activity Log, including who can see your Google and third-party activities.
  • Decide whether you want to turn your geolocation on and enable location sharing.

On LinkedIn, navigate to Manage Account Settings.

Here you’ll find an array of settings with instructions on how to adjust them on your account.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 8.15.43 AMWhat’s of utmost importance is that you feel safe and remain safe from harm. If you’re willing to use social media, I hope this advice is helpful. If you don’t feel safe using social media, then I would suggest using a pen name and publishing your body of work through an agent.

Do you have additional suggestions for how sexual assault and domestic violence survivors can feel safe while promoting their books?

Further Reading

Social Media Just for Writers

Avoid SM Time Suck


Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

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