Why don’t more people speak out?

Being a person in the minority and/or challenging the way things have always been comes with a lot of risks. We weigh these risks everytime we speak out: “choose your battles”, “is this really worth it?”, “what will I gain from this?”, “how will this hurt me in the long run?” are all things that regularly go through our minds.

While [naming and shaming] may sound like a great idea in the long run, doing this can expose yourself to even more harassment, especially if the person is a well-respected member of the community. Their voice - and “army” - can quickly overpower yours and you can be punished for daring to shed light on this person’s poor behavior.

The Risk in Speaking Up

How to support someone experiencing harassment

DO: Express your feelings of support. When you see something unjust happen, say that you condemn it. When someone’s the victim of destructive sexist behavior, defend them– not in a brownie points-seeking way, directing your comments at the victim herself or copying women into your Tweets so that they know you’re a good guy — but in your own channels. When you see friends and colleagues passing on destructive opinions, challenge them. By engaging the issue yourself, you take responsibility.

DO: Boost the individual and her work, not her victimhood. No woman who experiences sexism in her profession wants to be known primarily for “being a woman who experiences sexism.” It is right to defend and support women, and it is right to condemn sexism, but sometimes the best way to do that is by supporting their work. Hundreds of hair-tearing tweets protesting all the terrible sexist things that are happening to so-and-so can actually have the same ultimate effect as sexism: In both cases, the woman is reduced simply to “victim of sexism”.

But WHAT CAN BE DONE: Dos and Don’ts To Combat Online Sexism