Rebel Well: for those suffering harassment online, at school or at work
This piece is part of Rebel Well: a Starter Survival Guide to a Trumped America for Teens and Emerging Adults.
Just like with family or intimate partner violence, political leaders who enable, support or themselves engage in harassment embolden citizens to do the same. In addition, it is likely that some legislative and judicial gains to fight harassment will be rolled back in coming years, leaving you with less ground to stand on when you are harassed. Even if you are secure now, things might not always be that way.
- Create a support team, ideally in advance. Sit down and make a list of people you know absolutely have your back should you suffer any harassment, and who you can ask for practical help, emotional support, or both. Then talk to those people and verify they’d do that for you (you can also offer to do the same for them). Save their contact information somewhere you can easily access it. You can also use the crisis team mentioned here.
- At school or work, find out about your existing policies when it comes to any kind of harassment, or kinds of harassment you might suffer as the unique person you are, like policies about workplace discrimination of disabled people or sexual harassment, or bullying of LGBQT students at school. Figure out who you’d go to for help in the case any of these happened to you. That might be a boss or school principal, or, if you know those people can’t be counted on or just don’t feel safe with them, another person or group with power or influence, like a teacher or manager, GSA or union. At work, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may be able to help you — though some protections may be weakened in coming years, local offices are often filled with dedicated staffers who are employees, not appointees, and they care about your rights.
- If your school or job doesn’t have a strong anti-harassment policy, pressure them to write one. www.projectinclude.org has detailed guides on drafting such documents, and while they focus on the tech industry, much of their information is broadly universal.
- Online harassment is a growing reality, not least because at least one prominent member of the incoming administration engages in it on a weekly basis. Take advantage of reporting systems to report and block harassers and ask for support from your online community if you’re struggling with a troll storm or persistent harasser. If this is a person you know from school or work, you may also be able to leverage anti-harassment policies to seek assistance. Read and use these in-depth guides to help decrease your vulnerability to online harassment: https://onlinesafety.feministfrequency.com/ and http://tiny.cc/trollstorms
all of rebel well: front page • why we made this guide • for everyone • healthcare • relationships & sex • conflict resolution • for those suffering harassment online, at school or at work • for those in abusive/controlling relationships, or who are homeless, transient or in the foster system • for those who are trans or LGBQ • for those who are of color • for those who experience religious intolerance or who are undocumented citizens • for those who are disabled • for those interacting with the justice system • for those engaging in active protest • when everything seems terrible or nowhere feels safe • how to help each other & improve this godawful mess • resources and helplines