Many of you may remember "gamergate" and the media critic, Anita Sarkeesian, who was at the centre of online gaming's biggest controversy. Sarkeesian, who has been a longtime critic of sexist tropes in video games, received death threats, rape threats, and numerous forms of online harassment as a result of being an outspoken female voice in a male dominated industry.
Now, more than a year after the start of Gamergate, Anita Sarkeesian and some of her friends have published Speak Up & Stay Safe(r), an online guide to protecting yourself from internet harassment.
This guide is for anyone who fears they might be targeted, or who is already under attack, for speaking their mind online, but is especially designed for women, people of color, trans and genderqueer people, and everyone else whose existing oppressions are made worse by digital violence.Speak Up & Stay Safe(r)
The online guide is extensive. It's been translated into three languages (English, Spanish, and Arabic) and covers everything from protecting yourself on social media, online gaming, and physical mail threats.
An online safety guide is hardly revolutionary but, what makes Speak Up & Stay Safe(r) so important is that it was written by women who had to learn how to stay safe online the hard way. Sarkeesian, for example, had to cancel a speaking engagement last year after someone sent an anonymous email which threatened to carry out a mass shooting at the university where she was scheduled to appear.
Although the guide won't stop people from attacking you online, it will help you figure out an online safety strategy that will make it a lot harder for people to carry out their dastardly plans. For instance, there is an entire section on how to prevent doxxing. Doxxing is, of course, the practice of researching, publishing, and often times using a person's work, home, or family information to threaten them.
Even if you've never been harassed online before, I think it's fair to say that we need to make an extra effort to ensure women, people of colour, trans, and genderqueer individuals have a safe space to be rad and creative. It's clear that trolls are always going to troll but everyone has a right to speak their mind without fear of reprisal.
Sarkeesian and co. have done a great job of turning their experiences of misogynistic trolling into a practical guide on how to stay safe. Check out Speak Up & Stay Safe(r) for their full guide to protecting yourself from online harassment.