Online harassment remains high, but there’s help

“Roughly four-in-ten Americans have experienced online harassment, with half of this group citing politics as the reason they think they were targeted. Growing shares face more severe online abuse such as sexual harassment or stalking.”Pew Research: The State of Online Harassment (Click on the link to read the report.)

Pew Research defines online harassment as:

  • Offensive name-calling
  • Purposeful embarrassment
  • Stalking
  • Physical threats
  • Harassment over a sustained period of time
  • Sexual harassment

Online Harassment Field Manual“Whether you’re experiencing or witnessing online abuse, this Field Manual offers concrete strategies for how to defend yourself and others. We wrote this guidance with and for those disproportionately impacted by online abuse: writers, journalists, artists, and activists who identify as women, BIPOC, and/or LGBTQIA+. Whatever your identity or vocation, anyone active online will find useful tools and resources here for navigating online abuse and tightening digital safety.” – PEN America

Launched in 2018, the field manual offers tips in two general areas, “Safety and Security” and “Community and Counterspeech.”  The manual will teach you how to (a) Prepare for online abuse, (b) Respond to online abuse, (c) Practice Self-Care, (d) Review legal considerations, (e) Request and Provide Support, and (f) Learn about what constitutes online abuse.

PEN provides a list of additional resources here.

PEN considers writers at risk to be a separate focus issue. “PEN America and its Members advocate on behalf of writers at risk globally, rallying to their defense and promoting the freedom to write through direct support, advocacy, and behind-the-scenes assistance. PEN America also tracks detained writers in its annual Freedom to Write Index, and catalogues historic cases in the Writers at Risk Database.” Learn more here.

In an article several years ago on The Conversation “Fighting online abuse shouldn’t be up to the victims,” the author said, “Perhaps the most important element to addressing online harassment is behaving like it is happening in the ‘real world.’ Abuse is abuse. Online spaces are created, shaped and used by real humans, with real bodies and real feelings.”

I agree with that and believe none of us should sit alone at our phones and computers and suffer from online bullying in silence.