Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
For many victims of Domestic Violence, our only way of finding help to get out of the relationship is to do research on the internet before making phone calls. I get requests all the time for information on how to get out, where to find resources, etc. but I try to remember to tell the people who contact me to write to me from an email account they know their abuser will not find out about. Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail are all accounts that are what is called “web-based email”. These are from websites you go to and your emails are not kept on your computer or anywhere on an ISP for your abuser to access. If you use web messengers like Yahoo Messenger, make sure the feature that logs all conversations is TURNED OFF so he can’t use these later against you.
A lot of websites with information for Domestic Violence victims are starting to implement what is called a “quick getaway” function. This is used in case your abuser walks in the room while you are on the website, you can click a link that will take you to an alternative website and erase the cookie and history of the site visit. I recommend not searching for information while your abuser is in the house.
Some abusers may be very computer savvy and will be able to track your internet usage very easily. The easiest way to track someone’s use is by something called a cookie which is placed on your computer by websites. The best example of a cookie being placed is when you go to a website that you have to log into and you click the “Remember my password” or “Remember Me” function. Our forums here at BellaOnline.com have this feature. Your abuser can go into the history of your time of the internet, find BellaOnline.com, go to our forum, automatically be logged into your forum account and browse through everything you have said! I have had this happen several times over the years here and it is not nice to get an email from an angry husband or wife. So not only should you NOT click the “remember me” functions, you should also learn how to clear the cookies and the history from your internet browsers.
To clear your Internet Explorer:
Click on TOOLS in the tool bar, INTERNET OPTIONS from the drop down menu. Go down to HISTORY and click DELETE. You can also reduce the number of DAYS TO KEEP PAGES IN HISTORY here. It is wise to set this to zero. You will still need to come back and double check that everything has been deleted. Also click on TEMPORARY INTERNET FILES click DELETE. This will remove all of the addresses stored in the drop down ADDRESS bar.
To clear Firefox, there is this nice page at their website about managing cookie use.
Now to erase all trace, go to START, click on WINDOWS, click on COOKIES, this will display every site you have ever visited, ever. DELETE anything you don't want him/her to see.