There is an organization called Hollaback!, who teamed up Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and reddit to create a safety guide and helpful tips to combat these issues. They consist of how to report harassment on each these platforms, how to arrange and set your settings to best protect yourself.
Their advice is easy to understand and can be broken down into the essentials.
Five of them being:
- Be Direct
You may receive messages that are sexual in nature rather than “explicit”. The best way to combat against this is to directly say “Please stop sending me messages like this. They make me uncomfortable.”
In that type of situation the messager probably doesn’t realize they are making you uncomfortable.
A lot of dudes are looking for ways to open up the possibility of an intimate relationship with women they’re into. Unfortunately, sometimes they do it in ways that miss the mark — hard. Most of the time when you’re polite but firm, they’ll realize that they messed up and they’ll be so mortified that they’ll never contact you again, sexually or otherwise.
However, there are some people that are just gross. If someone persists in talking sexually to you after you’ve already made it clear that you’re not OK with it, utilize the block button on whatever service they’re using. If it gets really bad? Report them.
- Unwanted Dick Pics
This is actually one of the most annoying trend and I wish it would just die out. If someone doesn’t ask for it… Simple, don’t send it.
For those who receive one you have two options. You can either block them or send them a mocking message and then block them.
You can then report them to the site admins, and cause them to take responsibility for their behavior.
- Harassing Messages
This can be quite vexing, especially when you know the person.
For starters it is important to first keep a record of every incident that occurs. That means snapshot it, save the message, put it in a folder etc.
You can keep a record of phone calls by calling your phone company and setting a trap. You can have your phone company track all calls from the harasser’s number. You can use this in case you must go to the police. This will allow you to be able to track down the harasser if necessary too.
Secondly, make it very clear to this person that you consider this behavior as uncomfortable and inappropriate. Do not apologize. Name the specific behavior. Telling this person Do not whistle at me, that is harassment,” or “Do not touch my butt, that is sexual harassment.”
Tell them to stop contacting you. Stick to the point! Do not get into a dialogue with the harasser, or try to reason with them, or answer their questions. You do not need to respond to diversions, questions, threats, blaming, or guilt-tripping. Stay on your own agenda. Stick to your point.
If the harasser is someone you must see frequently – say, someone at school, or someone who works where you do – you can still set new boundaries that make sense for your situation. Tell the person to stop hanging out by your desk or approaching you at lunchtime, for example. Don’t respond to their phone calls, emails, or other messages. Stop all correspondence on your end. You have no obligation to explain yourself, apologize, or keep the relationship going. Delete/Block this person from all social media and from your phone.
Talk to the administration or report the harasser to the admin of the website/workplace. Let others know what is going on. You are not alone. People are around to help you. Most administrations have policies in place to deal with harassment. This usually stops the harassment in it’s tracks.
If they continue let the authorities know. Call the police and make a report on record. If this person is harassing you, things an escalate very quickly and be a danger to your safety. Don’t wait for it to be a danger. And don’t forget to get the badge number of the police officer to whom you speak.
After talking to the police, you can get a restraining order to protect yourself. You’ll need to file a petition for a restraining order, have it served to the person harassing you, and have a court hearing during which a judge will rule on what specific protections the restraining order will provide.
Given that restraining orders are very specific to how the harasser can interact with you, It is with upmost importance to report ALL violations right away. The police will keep a record of all violations. Violating a restraining order is considered a crime. So it is possible to charger the harasser if they violate the terms. Wiki
Aside from the violations – it is a good idea to keep the family and your friends in the loops. Telling people, you trust if you are leaving town or missing work can help you stay safe. Make sure that people know not to talk to the harasser or give him/her any information about you. Along with the fact that there is safety in numbers if you feel like you can’t be home or walk alone.
There is also the fact that you shouldn’t publicize your habits or location online. Twitter and Facebook can be two of the easiest ways to find out where people are and what they do regularly. If you block your harasser, they may still be able to look at your profile through someone else’s account. Don’t mark your location online with FourSquare or post online that you are going out of town.
Lastly change your locks on the doors. Take safety measures around the house. Many security systems recommend getting a bolt-style lock to make it harder to enter your doorways. Other options you can install motion detectors to turn on when someone walks near your home. Or even security cameras. On the more drastic end, you can consider an alarm system that will alert the police when an intruder breaks in.
- Trolling Tweets
Best advice for nasty messages on twitter is to BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK! You can also like the tweet to let them know you’ve been the message. But DO NOT respond. Usually if you ignore them – they end up getting the point. If they bother you again, block them.
- 5. Disrespectful Messages On Dating
Dating apps and websites seem to be a collection or creepy men cat calling. Bombarding women with disrespectful messages and rude comments. If someone is rude to you on an online dating site, don’t feel held back by the social conditioning that tells all of us — but women in particular — that we need to be “nice.” Dish it back out to them and then block them if the site lets you do that. And if they’re violent or overtly sexual? Definitely report them too.