Harassment Response Coordinator
Let’s build a low-barrier way for women who have been sexually harassed to coordinate with other women harassed by the same man. The only entry point would be the (mobile-friendly) incident registration form, which would take the accused’s full name, the date(s), location (city), and accuser’s email address (never to be shared). After a disambiguation step (ideally tying the accused name to a social media account), that person will have access to a discussion forum (the “coordination forum”) at a unique URL, and would get emails when additional people accuse the same person. Only accusers would ever have access to a person’s coordination forum.
Q: If I accuse someone, can they track me down?
A: No one can get any information about you, and your email address is never displayed to other users. Never give personally identifying information in the coordination forum.
Q: Could a harasser covertly join the coordination forum?
A: Yes, but the costs would outweigh any gains. They would have to create another incident report against themselves, which would show up in the forum, and thereby make it more likely that action will be taken. Even with access to the forum, they wouldn’t be able to identify their anonymous accusers.
Q: If a pattern of harassment becomes clear, what’s next?
A: There are many options, depending on the severity of the incidents. In some cases, it’s appropriate to confront the person directly, or to use organization-wide mediation (Title 9) services. In other cases, the police should be involved immediately.
Q: Won’t this cause harassment claims to proliferate?
A: Hopefully. No woman should have to put up with harassment, and if we have an edifice that makes it common, we should burn it down. Men and women will learn to live and work together without sexual harassment.
Social Media Campaign
Making the site is easy. The difficult part is raising the profile of the site, so it becomes useful. I propose a 12-month campaign, posting on media forums, tweeting at #metoo tweeters, and generally spreading the word. The site would stay up after that time, but the push would stop.
A simple “level of severity” selection:
- Micro-harassment: uncomfortable looks and comments
- Verbal/situational harassment
- Inappropriate touching
Workplace environment-level coordination
Some workplaces have institutionalized misogyny or implicit penalties for speaking out, rather than (or in addition to) misbehaving individuals. People could mention institutions, rather than people, and get coordination forums for them.