announcements bullying doxing harassment homophobia misogyny racism sarkeesian! threats transphobia

Staying Safe(r) Online, With Anita Sarkeesian


Online, too.

The We Hunted the Mammoth Pledge Drive is on! If you haven’t already, please consider donating through the PayPal button below. Thanks!

Three women who have survived some pretty nasty (and ongoing) campaigns of online harassment are sharing what they know about how to protect yourself online.

Jaclyn Friedman (writer, anti-rape activist, and founder of Women, Action & the Media), Renee Bracey Sherman (reproductive justice activist) and Anita Sarkeesian (you’ve heard of her, I imagine) have teamed up to create a very handy resource called Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment. 

As the press release explains, the site

details best security practices for social media, email, online gaming, website platforms, and ensuring privacy of personal information online, as well as the documentation and reporting of harassment, and caring for oneself emotionally during an online attack. 

Sadly, the press release goes on to note, Speak Up & Stay Safe(r)

was made necessary by the failure of social media services to adequately prevent and deal with the hateful targeting of their more marginalized users. As this guide details, forcing individual victims or potential targets to shoulder the costs of digital security amounts to a disproportionate tax of in time, money, and emotional labor. It is a tax that is levied disproportionately against women, people of color, queer and trans people and other oppressed groups for daring to express an opinion in public.

While I’m at is, I want to also put in a plug for Crash Override, the online harassment task force set up by Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz, a very useful source of advice and support that’s I’ve turned to more than once.

I’ll be putting both sites in the sidebar for handy reference.


18 replies on “Staying Safe(r) Online, With Anita Sarkeesian”

I’m glad this is out there. Good on these women for turning a very negative experience into something that helps others. Meanwhile the MRAs that do the harassing turn every perceived offence into a reason to hurt and destroy women. Hell, sometimes they have to INVENT offences in order to self-justify what they do.

Now if only we could figure out a way to tax the ones causing the pain?
… Nah, who’m I kidding? That’ll never happen.

I dare social media to prove me wrong. Go on. Do it.

these women are so amazing. I wish this had been there when I got harassed. I look forward to a future where I can speak up for women’s basic safety without fearing for my own!

This is excellent news, although it’s unfortunate it has to be done at all. Hopefully resources like these will convince social media companies they need to take harassment seriously.

I’m noting the sites that David has so kindly stuck in the side panel/bar/whatever thingie in case they might be something a client would like to have handy/use at their discretion. Especially the DV victims whose cases are my pro bono work.

I just want to say thanks for the random post feature. It’s fun to look back at some of the posts from before my time and it’s fun to read the comments too.

Seconding WWTH. I loved the random posts feature too. I really like looking at old posts. I also wanted to thank you for caring for phone viewers, something few bloggers do. Reading the blog from my phone is now much better!
I dont know if Im the only one, but in the future, if possible, I would really like an upvoting system.

Thanks, David, for calling our attention to the new project of these tireless activists. Time and again, they speak up and stand up for women.

Seconding WWTH and Chiomara when they say that the random posts feature is excellent.

Seconding Kat for the entirely justified praise she gives.

I’m glad so many of you are enjoying the random posts thing! I thought it would be an entertaining way to highlight old posts that would otherwise sit there feeling lonely and neglected like the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys.

And I’ve put up links to an assortment of useful antiharassment resources in the sidebar. They’re very useful, and I really respect Zoe and Anita and the rest for taking these projects on.

This is a really good resource. As something of a supposed expert on privacy and security I recommend it wholeheartedly. There’s much that’s missing and some points I’d quibble with but I’ve received only a tiny fraction of the online abuse these women have and I trust their hard-won expertise above my own. I don’t doubt that they’re focusing on the right things and there’s lots of stuff in there that I wouldn’t have thought of. I will now.

I’ve sent the URL to various people I know who are in a support role for people at risk and to some parents understandably confused about how to educate their children about their online lives. When I write about these things (which I do every day) I tend to ramble and be too technical or theoretical, I’m not a great writer.

These people are better at this than I am, it’s nicely done.

David, thank you for posting this, and a big thank you to Jaclyn Friedman, Renee Bracey Sherman and Anita Sarkeesian.

The whole online safety thing really showed yet again how unreasonable the public debate about feminism/MRA/whatever has become. There was this Australian woman in the news about precisely this subject and the shitstorm it ensued in the comments…! I’m not talking about some specific MRA site here but just general news sites. A campaign about how it’s a good idea to not threaten with rape, doxxing or violence, or call people horrible names just because you can’t handle it when someone (in particular a woman) disagrees with you seems like a sensible thing to me. Instead, there was a huge shitload of generic anti-feminism comments and how women just love to be the victim.

Even if you’re not fully with the feminists: any remotely sensible person would, as I’d think, agree that completely flipping out and overreacting like a total petty person and behave in a way that’d put many of the rudest teenagers to shame, is absolutely unacceptable behaviour. Even regardless of the consequences for the woman: who with any sense of self worth does that? It’s hardly an ”agenda” to argue that not behaving like a total freak, with mindless, out of control verbal aggression, is a bad idea.

Because it mainly targets women it’s suddenly a 100% feminist thing all about bullying men?! It’s like people get this weird, angry tunnel vision as soon as something is specifically about women or when the word feminist is dropped. It’s this big fight against windmills, it seems. Where are these feminists that prevent them from posting shitty comments? They’re sure as hell not doing a good job. I see so much vitriolic butthurt about ‘feminism’, but the butthurt and victim mentality of these types seems to be THE aggression here! Looking at the melodrama that a simple thing like ”don’t be a completely fucked up asshole please, don’t threaten with stuff” generates, I’d think that feminists really ARE nazis, but their evils seem to mostly exist in these people’s heads.

And there are so many.

Along these lines, since they mention watching out for doxxing, I’d like to bring up something I’ve mentioned before. If you use the PhotoBucket app to backup your cameraphone, be vigilant. The default settings are for everything to be public, and there is a dedicated Reddit community that just watches for compromising photos that they can snag and share. There are guides online on how to take advantage of PhotoBucket’s horrid privacy. There are probably dozens of women every week having their pictures shared on Reddit because of this. And some people will glean contact information from screenshots in the account and use that to blackmail the account owner. It’s sickening.

So please, if you use PB or something like it, or know somebody who might, lock down those privacy settings. Not just on the library itself, but every album within it. And even then, with PB the way it is, people will still see some of your pictures anyway.

Oh, and this also applies to somebody on the receiving end of any pictures. Partners who don’t watch their settings are a favorite target.

Anita is a very strong woman and I have a lot of respect for her. It is great that she and Zoe are doing this and it will be very helpful to harassment victims. It is a shame that they had to set this up in the first place, though. This is the work that social media providers like Face Book and Twitter should be doing.


I just want to say thanks for the random post feature. It’s fun to look back at some of the posts from before my time and it’s fun to read the comments too.

Oh god, I got one from 2010, the comments of which are some guy named Yohan, some guy named Eoghan, someone named Cold, all of them arguing about what “all” means, and the “unhappiness gap,” against David and DarkSideCat.

I forgot how awful the trolls in the comments used to be.

I suspect Yohan and Eoghan are, oh, I’d say about 11 kilometers apart.

@ Falconer

I was looking at comments sections featuring those trolls recently (My WHTM pre-commenting research!) and I was both laughing a lot and being disappointed that nowadays there doesn’t seem to be trolls that are nearly as prestigious anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.