Over the last few years, reports of discrimination, harassment, abuse and misconduct have repeatedly emerged from across the industry, most recently brought to the fore by the Activision Blizzard lawsuit.
Every time such a story emerges, victims come forward and share their own stories, sometimes for the first time.
Knowing where to find proper support as a victim of sexual harassment, especially when your company is not providing the appropriate response, can be immensely difficult. So below is a list of resources that hopefully can give victims the tools they need to get mental health support, seek help, and seek action should they want to.
This guide is published today alongside an interview with Jae Lin, hotline director at the Games and Online Harassment Hotline. When asked about how victims can seek support, they acknowledge that everyone's needs are going to be different.
"If you don't want to report, that's okay. You get to define what justice means to you"
Jae Lin, Games and Online Harassment Hotline
"If you don't want to report, that's okay," they say. "You get to define what justice means to you. Maybe it's that you want to talk to your co-workers, but don't want to file a formal complaint with HR. Maybe you want to talk to someone anonymously about it, like reaching out to a hotline, to find a safe space where you can share what happened without fear of that being connected to any communities, industries or companies that you might be a part of. It's fully contained, and you can speak openly to someone who listens and believes you.
"Other survivors can do a lot to hold each other. Tap into your innate resilience. By that I don't mean, 'Get tougher skin, have some grit, get through it, be tough' -- I mean beyond that, connecting with that innate sense of feeling alive and feeling resilient. That's something we all have within us, resilience is not something external, it's not armour we put on. Everyone's healing path looks different, whether it's therapy or art or something else. That's another journey to go on."
You can read our full interview with Jae Lin right here, which includes a wealth of advice about stamping out toxicity in the workplace.
This page will continually be updated as more resources are brought to our attention. If you'd like to recommend something to include in this list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(The following resources are presented in alphabetical order)
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is a UK public body that offers advice on "workplace rights, rules and best practices." It has a page dedicated to sexual harassment, and a helpline you can call Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm on 0300 123 1100. For legal advice specifically, ACAS advises to get in touch with LawWorks, a charity aiming to provide free legal advice. LawWorks itself also has resources related to sexual harassment and workplace issues.
Bectu is a UK-based trade union for workers in the creative and entertainment industries. Its website offers a few resources about sexual harassment, as well as confidential support for victims.
Citizens Advice is a UK-based network of independent charities providing confidential advice on a wide variety of topics, including workplace issues. Its website is full of in-depth resources, including pages on discrimination because of sex or sexual orientation, sexual harassment and what to do if you're being harassed or bullied at work.
If you're a victim of discrimination, Citizens Advice suggests calling the Equality Advisory Support Service, on 0808 800 0082, from Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm, and Saturday from 10am to 2pm.
To find your nearest Citizens Advice and other contact options, you can go on this page.
Crash Override is a crisis helpline that was created in 2015 by Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz. It mainly focuses on online harassment, but its resources center offers a wealth of helpful links, including on how to talk to law enforcement and a guide to removing non-consensual intimate images from the internet.
This service gives access to a crisis counselor via text message. It's available from a variety of countries. All you need to do is text the word HOME to one of the following numbers:
- 741741 for the US and Canada
- 741741 for Canada
- 50808 for Ireland
For the UK, text SHOUT to 85258 (Shout is an affiliate of Crisis Text Line in the UK).
Created by games critic Anita Sarkeesian, the Games and Online Harassment Hotline is a free, text-based, confidential support hotline, which was specifically created for harassment victims in games. It's a US-only service operating from Monday to Friday from 4pm to 7pm PT. Anyone who needs support can reach out by texting SUPPORT to 23368.
Read our interview with hotline director Jae Lin right here if you need more guidance on stamping out toxicity in the workplace.
Game Workers Unite is a labour rights group that seeks to organise the games industry. Its resources page includes a section dedicated to harassment and discrimination, which also outlines steps employees can take.
Members of the Toronto branch of Game Workers Unite have put together a page on the topic of fighting harassment in games work. The page includes emergency contacts and links to know your rights and understand the law when it comes to abuse in the workplace, among other essential information.
In the US, Game Workers Unite joined forces with Communication Workers of America to call for video games employees to unionise with the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees.
This Washington-based non-profit organisation offers legal help on a variety of topics, including sexual harassment in the workplace. It contributed to the creation of the Legal Network for Gender Equity and the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, which connects people facing sexual harassment and/or sex-based discrimination with attorneys. You can learn more about how it works on this page.
Pixall was launched earlier this year with the aim to list organisations, articles, videos and conference talks that offer advice on diversity, inclusivity and accessibility.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the largest anti-sexual assault organisation in the US. The non-profit organisation offers many resources to victims, and has a page dedicated to sexual harassment and what it looks like. To learn more about the law and workers' rights, RAINN invites people to visit the website of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673 to speak with someone who can help.
Non-profit organisation Rights of Women gives free legal advice to women experiencing sexual harassment at work, in England and Wales. You can call 020 7490 0152, with the service open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 3-5pm and 6-8pm.
Feminist Frequency's Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment is an excellent resource to understand online abuse and how to defend yourself against it. It was created by Jaclyn Friedman, Anita Sarkeesian, and Renee Bracey Sherman.
- Suicide prevention services
There are a number of suicide prevention services available depending on the country you live in, available 24/7. Here we are focusing on English-speaking markets our readers come from, but for more countries, Wikipedia has a list of suicide crisis lines that is being kept up to date regularly.
In the US, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255. In the UK and Ireland, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123. In Canada, you can call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service on 1-833-456-4566. In Australia, you can call Lifeline by dialing 13 11 14. In New Zealand, Lifeline Aotearoa's helpline can be contacted on 0800 543 354. In Singapore, the Samaritans of Singapore can be reached on 1-767.
Advocacy organisation Take This specialises in supporting mental health in the games community and industry. Its resources page is an absolute gold mine -- you will find advice, guidance, and support on a variety of topics as well as helpline and therapist directories.
Support and educational resource Uplift was created in 2014 and aims at "addressing the complexities that our virtual world adds to instances of sexual and emotional abuse, especially within highly networked online communities." Its resources page includes a wealth of guides on the topics of consent and supporting victims, among others.
Uplift also has a 27-episode video series called Engage by Uplift, which addresses important topics. Episode #1 addressed how to get help physically, emotionally and legally, for instance. Engage by Uplift also publishes discussion panels on the same themes -- it currently has 24 episodes.
You can read more on the topic in our interview with Games and Online Harassment Hotline director Jae Lin, who shares advice on how games professionals on any level can help stop discrimination and harassment