We hope that you will not need this section, but if you do- or if you have already experienced in-person harassment- here are some things to consider:
- Safety. Your physical safety takes complete priority in order to ensure you leave the situation physically unharmed. Call 911 immediately if you are worried about your safety.
- It is not your responsibility to respond, rebut, or educate your harasser, especially if you do not feel safe to do so. If you would like to engage, and you feel safe to do so, consider “calling in” strategies versus “calling out”.
- Be compassionate and kind to yourself even if you wish you had acted differently. Remember, we do what we have to to stay safe above all else.
Should I record the incident? Under California law, recording of another person without their consent is generally prohibited. Additionally, recording a harasser may spur increased harassment and compromise your safety.
If you would like to report the incident, see the section below on how to report.
- Remember that you are online. Online, people are much more likely to engage in inappropriate behaviors. They also may be anonymous or private, thus feeling unencumbered to express viewpoints while avoiding the normal empathy, compassion, or cues in an in person interaction.
- Assess your capacity. While finding common ground can be productive in moving debates forward, it may take a lot of emotional and mental labor on your behalf. Assess if you’re able and willing to do so.
- Don’t Feed the Trolls. Do not answer or respond to questions or situations that make you uncomfortable or engage in a “flame war” confrontation. Most bullies are eager to provoke emotional reactions.
- Remember your options. There are lots of choices. Even if you are in an online space you cannot leave such as a Zoom class session, you can report the user or abuse (see below in reporting online harassment), mute or remove the abuser, or place them in a waiting room if you are the host. On other platforms, you can also report abuse. You can also delete comments, unfollow, and block whomever you want. You can also leave a chat, a comments section, app, or online platforms all together to take a break and take care of yourself.
Take care of yourself. Just like in cases of in-person harassment, it's important to be kind to yourself no matter what action you choose to take.
Record or screenshot the incident: depending on the platform you’re using, you may have the option of reporting or flagging the video, file, chat, or user (see reporting section below). Sometimes screenshots and recordings of what happened can help provide evidence especially if people can erase or delete content. Screenshots and recordings can also help you share what happened to you so you don’t have to deal with it alone.
Though these are good points to keep in mind, there is no one or correct way to respond to harassment. Here is a great resource page that gives examples and multiple suggestions in responding to a harasser in person and online.
After the event itself, you may have a lot of lingering physical and emotional feelings from nausea, pain, and numbness to fear, shame, and anger. No matter what you’re feeling, it’s valid: you’ve just been threatened and your body is in response mode. Do what you can to feel safe and seek comfort to bring your body’s response system down, whether it’s doing some deep breathing, looking at pictures of your pet, or connecting to other news stories to remind you you’re not alone in this. Here is a quick list of self-care tips on surviving and resisting hate.
No matter what you decide to do for yourself, seek connection with others. What happened was not your fault, you are not the only one this has happened to, and other people are there to hear about your experience. Whether it's a friend, family member, or mental health clinician, connect with someone so you don’t have to carry this experience alone.
Here is how to get help now:
- Call Stanford’s Counseling & Psychological Services at 650-723-3785 to gain support in a crisis, have a one-time consult, or a discussion on how to find a provider who takes your insurance. If in California, you can also discuss the option of engaging in brief teletherapy.
- National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA): NAAPIMHA’s mission is to promote the mental health and well being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
- National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA): The national victim assistance organization that provides resources, assistance and support for victims harmed by crime and crisis. Call 1-800-TRY-NOVA (879-6682).
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, confidential, 24/7 support for people in distress, as well as provides crisis resources and best practices for professionals. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- Asian American Activities Center at Stanford provides programming, resources, and community space and support for Asian and Asian American students, faculty, staff and alumni with the goal of fostering “greater understanding and awareness of the Asian experience in America”. Though not a clinical resource, connecting to peers and staff within your community may be extremely comforting and helpful.