Social Media Tips for Assault and Domestic Violence Survivors

Social Media Tips for Assault and Domestic Violence Survivors
What 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. Go to your news feed (the Home tab) and click on Settings.

Facebook

On the left column, select Blocking to block the user you don’t want to have any contact with.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 7.45.29 AM

Next, navigate to the settings under Privacy.

Facebook privacy settings

Here, you’ll want to check these sections:

  • Who can see your future posts?
  • Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in.
  • Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends off friends or Public?
  • Who can send you friend requests?
  • Who can look you up using the email address you provided?
  • Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?
  • Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?

You’re going to want to establish strict filtering on these sections. Here’s an example of my settings under these headings:

Facebook

There were times when I had very strict settings due to the fact that a few unsavory types almost ruined Facebook for me. So there may be times when you’ll want to be strict, and other times when you’ll feel safe enough to loosen the settings.

Go with your comfort level and what makes you feel safest.

Now check out the box titled “Who can look you up using the email address you provided?” If the abuser has access to your email address, make sure you filter is as strict as possible.

Remember, 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.

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.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 8.03.14 AM

These are your options under Privacy:

Twitter privacy settings

My settings are fairly strict.

However, instead of protecting your tweets, which will make being on Twitter pointless, your best strategy is to assume a false identity. As an author, this will mean using a pen name.

And instead of using a profile picture of yourself, you’ll have to do something else, which I hate to say but if your safety is at stake, take that added precaution.

There are quite a few domestic violence survivors on Twitter who use false identities and false avatars.

Here 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.

On other social media platforms that you use, go to the settings feature and make your privacy settings as strict as you need to.

Using social media as a survivor isn’t easy, but with the right precautions it can be done.

Social Media Just for Writers is now just $1.99! But the sale price won’t last forever so get your copy now! It includes a chapter on blogging.

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web