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September 20, 2017
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We need to do more to stop harassment

by Javier Degirolmo on 10/13/14 02:11:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Now another game developer (a woman, of course) got death threats and her personal information tracked down (and from what I've seen, released publicly as well). She was forced to report it to the police and to move away from her home. Ugh. And we know it's not the first time something like this happens.

I got tired and decided to do a wake up call for once.

Everybody insists that to stop this problem we need to speak out aloud about it, and indeed a lot of people in the industry have done it, but is that enough? It doesn't seem to be working. The problem is that in my opinion we aren't attacking the core of the problem. The people doing this stuff know that they can get away with what they're doing, even in the most extreme cases. We need to show them that there can be consequences for what they do if we intend them to stop.

What kind of consequences? Well, consider this. Let's ignore for a moment those that just do defamation. There are a few that go as far as actively harassing, stalking and even issuing death threats, like in this case. That stuff is blatantly illegal, and we can report it. If the people doing this end up under investigation, and the rest see what can happen if they take it too far, they will eventually start to backpedal on their attacks.

Harassment usually goes unreported - the victims usually don't even think they can do it. Death threats usually go reported by the victims, but I wonder how effective they are, given the people affected aren't "privileged" people (you know, men). For example, when Anita Sarkeesian did it, the cops told her to stop what she was doing, implying she was deserving it and that they weren't taking it seriously.

So what can we do? Consider taking a more active role. If you see harassment (and not just defamation, but blatant harassment that even outsiders can tell it's harassment), report it, or try to get it reported. Not to the social network or the site, but to the authorities. Make sure to tell them on where and which account, so they can proceed to start getting the information they need. (and yes, you can report harassment to others, if they tell you otherwise they're trying to avoid doing their job)

That's all I'm going to say for now. Keep speaking out against it, but if you are seeing people being directly attacked (or if you're starting to get harassment against yourself), remember you can do more. It's the only way we're ever going to see this stop.


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