How to deal with online harassment
Working with media to promote your scholarship can sometimes bring unwanted attention.
If you are a woman, an Indigenous person, a racialized person, an LGBTQIA2S+ person or a disabled person, unfortunately you are more likely than others to be targeted by trolling and other forms of online harassment.
This is completely unfair. We mention it here so that you are aware of the possibility and can be prepared. Your voice is particularly important to the public conversation. We hope you’ll continue sharing it despite this sad reality, but we will understand and respect your decision if you choose to disengage.
Resources that can help
Every online conflict is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with them. However, we have curated a number of resources that provide helpful advice on handling these situations. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with them.
- Managing Harassment
- Documenting Online Harassment
- Twitter Rules
- Facebook Safety Guide
- Internet Harassment or Cyberbullying
- Online Harassment Field Manual
- UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provides access to confidential counselling services to address stress, anxiety, workplace harassment and other issues.
- Staff and faculty mental health resources
- Bullying and Harassment Prevention at UBC
Equity & Inclusion Office
- UBC’s Equity & Inclusion Office can provide advice and support with respect to accessing human rights processes and options outside of the university. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information Technology can investigate reports of online harassment reported to email@example.com. Depending on the type and form of harassment, they may involve University Counsel, Campus Security or law enforcement agencies as required. They may also be able to advise on ways to minimize the impacts.
Campus Security can assist if you feel harassed or threatened, or if you think the message contains a threat to the campus community, specific individual(s) or groups. Document it for them. They can create a report, conduct a threat assessment and create a safety plan if necessary. They can also support you in reporting the incident to appropriate authorities and connect you to supports on campus. Campus Security’s 24-hour phone number is 604-822- 2222.
If the activity is criminal or an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.
You are not alone
Other academics have also experienced this type of harassment, and several have written about it. You may feel less isolated and learn some strategies by connecting with others who have had similar experiences.
If you describe the situation to your media relations specialist, they can provide support and advice.