Have you ever been harassed on the street?
Got an obscene message in a dating app? Got an inappropriate comment from a work colleague?
You are not alone. Here are the guidelines for the safe use of the internet for women.
Amnesty International has published a sexual harassment movement on the Internet that uses the #MeToo tag on Twitter or Facebook. With its use, women (though not only they) tell stories that they have encountered. It turned out that the persecution and harassment online are actively “developing”.
According to a 2017 study by the Pew Center in the United States, online harassment is most often carried out on social networks. This includes threats, including physical violence, bullying, humiliation and sexual harassment. Although men are also harassed online, women are twice as likely to be victims of sexual harassment.
Also, more than half of women between 18 and 29 years old reported having received explicit sexual images without their consent. This number is growing. Although 70% of women think that online harassment is a serious problem, few people know what can be done about it.
Women are often targeted only because they are women. Persecution often has a sexual connotation, causing physical and emotional damage, while women often prefer to remain silent and not advertise the situation.
However, there are ways to protect oneself.
This guide was written to give women the freedom to use the Internet. We will look at common cases when women are persecuted in everyday life: on social networks, at work, during dating, etc. We will also give tips and advice on how women can take control of a situation.
It is worth noting that some of the above recommendations suggest anonymity. This is better than being the victim of an attack. Although this contradicts the idea of self-expression, we believe that a woman should have the right to protect herself. Our task is to provide you with the necessary tools for this.
We hope that this guide will encourage women to protect themselves and counter sexual harassment, both online and offline.
Stalking on social networks
Most online harassment occurs on social networks. This begs the question: how much time do we spend on these sites? Large social networks create a new reality in which all your posts, all friends and acquaintances create potential grounds for abuse.
Below we will look at the most popular social networks and show how to protect yourself from scum, trolls and stalkers.
Due to its publicity, Twitter is one of the most dangerous networks in terms of online harassment. And this applies not only to celebrities. Many Twitter users have been attacked due to their political activities or their connection with feminism.
By the way, Amnesty International published a report criticizing Twitter for not paying enough attention to the issue of harassment of women. The study cites dozens of women who were threatened and harassed on Twitter and then were unable to get help with technical support for the network.
Often there is an effect of silence when women prefer not to talk about what happened because of fear of persecution. Someone stops using Twitter at all. For some, especially journalists and activists, this can be detrimental to their careers.
They started talking about this problem in October 2017, when the network was flooded with a wave of reports of sexual harassment with the viral hashtag # MeToo, which can be translated as “Me too”. Women began to use it to search for similar cases of sexual harassment. He took control of Twitter in a matter of hours and visually highlighted the scale of the problem.
Shortly afterward, Twitter temporarily blocked the actress Rose McGowan’s account, which accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. The network motivated this by the fact that the tweets contained a personal phone number. This led to a flash of outrage among female Twitter users, and they launched the # WomenBoycottTwitter tag, calling for a boycott of the platform throughout the day.
Now Twitter claims to have improved its prosecution reporting system, but the problem has not been fully resolved. It is still not easy for women to avoid harassment on this network.
5 ways to protect yourself on Twitter
1.Using multiple profiles
If a woman’s career depends on having a public profile, it’s useful to use several accounts.
Unlike some other social networks, Twitter does not prohibit such practices. This is often done by companies to reach different audiences.
You can create a personal and public profile.
A personal profile must have the highest privacy settings. Since Twitter’s default settings are publicly available, they need to be changed.
Usually, all tweets are publicly available. Everyone can see them, and even those who are not registered on Twitter. But if the tweet is “protected”, only a narrow circle of selected subscribers can see it, and retweeting is impossible at all. Verify that approved subscribers only include people you know and trust.
How to change your privacy settings on Twitter :
Click on your profile and go to Settings and privacy> Privacy and security> Restrict access to tweets (checkmark).
This change also automatically protects old tweets. But it’s worth remembering that since Twitter does not control external search engines, older tweets can still be found using them. Therefore, for maximum anonymity, it is better to create a new personal profile and protect tweets with the very first thing.
Likewise, responses to other tweets and mentions will be protected. They can only be seen by your approved subscribers. Of course, this makes it very difficult to participate in public discussions, which Twitter is famous for, so you need to decide whether to start such a “secret” account.
To create an additional account, click on the profile icon. Then click on the inverted icon next to your name. Now you will be allowed to create a new account.
This second profile will be public. If you use Twitter for work, this account will represent you in the professional field, so make sure that tweets on too personal topics do not appear here.
Another option is to make this profile anonymous. This means that you will not use your real name or photos and you will not give out your place of work or home address in any way.
Please note: you cannot open both accounts in the same browser at the same time. If you need to open two accounts at the same time, either use different browsers or install the TweetDeck application to work on Twitter.
2. Block and complain about intruders
If you received an abusive tweet, you can block its author.
How to block someone on Twitter :
Click on the arrow in the upper right corner of the tweet and select “Add to the blacklist”.
One of the problems with blocking is that any user can always create a new account and start over from scratch.
One way to deal with such tactics is the Block Together app. It automatically blocks any account that subscribes to you if it is registered less than 7 days ago, has less than 15 subscribers, or your subscribers have already blocked it. This is very useful for confronting an army of trolls or bots.
In addition to blocking users, insults can be reported to Twitter.
How to report a tweet:
Just click on the arrow in the upper right corner of the tweet or account, select “Report” and follow the instructions.
Unfortunately, although the persecution is contrary to Twitter’s user agreement, the administration of this service is notorious for looking at this behaviour through the fingers.
According to the analysis of the non-profit organization Women and the Media, 67% of women reporting abuse reported to Twitter at least once.
But even so, do not neglect the opportunity to report violations on Twitter, because it is very easy to do.
Twitter does not currently allow you to check the status of abuse messages. But since January 2018, Twitter after processing the complaint notifies you of the result.
3. Do not put geotags
A geotag is when your message contains the location from which it was sent. It is better not to do this, so as not to be a victim of docking and other types of harassment. Fortunately, geotags are disabled by default, and when they are turned on, Twitter displays a notification.
When creating a tweet, there is a location button below the text (similar to a lying pin). By clicking on it, the location will be added to the tweet. Do not do this.
Also remember that you can give out your location yourself, without geotags. Of course, it is always interesting to quickly tell you what a beautiful sky above you or what an interesting picture is in front of you. But it’s better to do this a little later when you are no longer there. Then, sitting at home, you can safely tweet about any interesting places you have visited.
4. Fight against docking
The most extreme form of online harassment is docking. This is the name of the process of collecting personal data of a person, such as an address, phone number, place of work, bank details and even information about relatives, with publication on the Internet and an appeal to other people to pursue him (them).
You might have heard this term for the first time in connection with the GamerGate scandal in 2014. It began when video game developer Zoe Quinn wrote that she slept with a journalist in exchange for a positive review of her game.
Although this review was never published, this post launched a chain reaction in an uncontrollable crowd of mostly white male gamers who saw this as an opportunity to defend their hobby and, at the same time, the right to be courageous. They called themselves “warriors of social justice.”
Result? Not only Quinn but also other women who decided to protect her, including game developer Brianna Wu and journalist Anita Sargsyan, were ruthlessly attacked by trolls. On Twitter, they were hit by a tsunami of daily threats of murder and rape. They also fell victim to docking.
The scandal was so great that these women still take extra precautions when surfing the Internet. For example, Tessa, a specialist in intelligence analysis who has to communicate with gamers at work, knows several women in the gaming industry who have experienced harassment and various forms of disrespect. Since she often communicates on Skype, everyone knows that she is a woman. However, she does her best to hide the fact that she works for a gaming company and does not disclose any personal information about herself, be it her real name or location.
Russian media did not stand aloof from Gamergate. Well-known publications such as Afisha and Meduza have condemned the online harassment of feminist activists.
Of course, the victims of docking are not only workers in the gaming industry. Due to the unstable political climate, many people lost their jobs and were even forced to change their place of residence as a result of docking after participating in rallies and protests.
But to become a victim of docking, you do not need to do this. Some were exposed to him quite by accident. For example, after the terrorist attack at the Boston marathon, a student at Brown University was mistakenly recorded as a criminal, and he was docked. The same thing happened with one engineer at the University of Arkansas after he was mistakenly named among the participants in the riots in Charlottesville.
4 ways to avoid docking
- Look for data about yourself on Google. A simple search will show what information about you is already online. If this information contains sensitive personal data, try to hide or delete it. Social networks have privacy settings. Various databases of addresses and phones directly allow you to remove yourself from them. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to completely delete all personal data from the Internet, but something can be done. A simple search will show what other people can find about you.
- Sign up for a service that will remove you from reseller sites. If your information is in the telephone databases, then it will quickly appear on other sites and directories, which will not be difficult to find. Therefore, if you have reason to fear to dock, you can use paid services such as PrivacyDuck or DeleteMe.
- Verify that your email account has never been compromised or “leaked” to the Internet by cybercriminals. There is such a useful resource for this. It allows you to find your address in the lists of hacked services over the past few years. If you find your address here, we strongly recommend changing your password and adding a 2-step verification if you haven’t done so already. This creates an additional level of security by entering additional information in addition to the password (code from SMS or code generator in the application).
- Using a VPN. Using a virtual private network (VPN), you can encrypt all your online activity and thus protect yourself from hackers. VPN works by tunneling data through a third-party server, which allows you to hide the real IP address (and reallocation). Below are some of the VPN services we recommend.
5. Prevent hacking Twitter account
From former President Obama to Britney Spears, for many years, many celebrities have been hacked into their Twitter accounts by people who want to harm their reputation and cause chaos. However, ordinary people are also hacked into their accounts with alarming regularity.
4 ways to protect your Twitter account from hacking
- Create a strong password. It would seem like a simple thought, but you will be surprised how many people use too simple passwords that are easy to pick up. A strong password should be long, contain large and small letters, as well as numbers and special characters.
- Turn on login verification. This provides an additional level of security at login. Instead of just entering a password, you will also need to enter the code that Twitter sends to your mobile device. To enable this option, click on your profile icon> Settings and Privacy> Account> Login Verification Settings. Here you can select personal information when changing the password.
- Be careful with any third-party application that requires access to your account. If in doubt, just do not install the application. To find out which applications have access to your Twitter account, go to settings and open the “Applications” section. To remove the application, click “Close Access”.
- Be careful with shortened URLs. Since you cannot write more than 280 characters per tweet on Twitter, it’s logical that many people use shortened URLs if they want to insert a link. The problem is that such a link is not clear where it leads. Therefore, for maximum security, do not click on shortened links in tweets.
A good indicator that someone was looking for your account is atypical activity. For example, tweets that you did not write are posted on your behalf. In this case, you need to urgently change the password and report to Twitter.
Also, contact Twitter if you notice another account created on your behalf. Then you will have to go through a simple identification process so that Twitter knows for sure that it was not you who created the other account.
Facebook and VK
Scrolling through the VKontakte news feed, Marina mechanically, without much thought, confirmed that she was interested in the concert of one of her favourite bands. But then she was quite surprised that one of the friends of the group members added her as a friend and began to write her messages.
The conversation began as usual, but then he went about the photo in her profile. The new “friend” said that he liked that she didn’t care that her nipples were visible.
I’m sorry, what?
The nipples were not visible. Or were they? This photograph has been on the profile of Marina for two years, and no one has ever said anything like this. She enlarged the photo and studied it carefully again. Maybe some kind of optical illusion?
She told him that he was mistaken and sees a shadow. But he stood his ground. Moreover, he soon asked for more nude photos.
Today, recalling this, Marina understands that it was necessary to immediately stop the conversation and block the user. But then it seemed to her just a stupid misunderstanding. She tried to translate the conversation to music and a concert, but he resembled a hungry dog, which showed a bone, and continued to ask for new photos. In the end, she stopped responding, but continued to feel awkward about the profile picture and rack her brains about how others had been perceiving her all this time.
The history of Marina cannot be called out of the ordinary. This is not violence, not rape. This seems to be a regular correspondence on a social network. But this is a reality in which it is a little pleasant. Women constantly receive messages from strangers and wonder why this is happening. They are trying to just live their own lives, while others at the same time try to humiliate them in any way.
Studies have shown, that women are twice as likely to have been persecuted on the Internet than men. And requests to send sex pictures are just one of the most innocent forms of this behaviour. Women regularly receive abusive messages in the form of photographs of male genitalia. Often they are marked on abusive photographs or created on their behalf by false accounts.
5 Ways to Protect Yourself on Facebook
1. Control who sees what
In recent years, Facebook has done a lot to control privacy settings. Now you can even hide information from specific people.
How to control what people see on your Facebook profile :
On the computer, click on the arrow in the upper right corner of the page and select “Settings”. Now in the sidebar, click “Privacy.” Here you can determine who will see your messages and you can be contacted.
Now go to the “Chronicle and Tags” section. Here you can control who can create posts in your chronicle and see the posts you are tagged in. Here you can also set the pre-moderation (verification) settings of any marks before they are published.
Another cool tool is the ability to look at your profile through the eyes of other users. So you can make sure that certain people do not see what they should not see.
2. Do not let potential pursuers know where you are
As I mentioned above, tagging posts and photos allow potential stalkers to find out where you are. When you post a post to Facebook, there is a “Mark Visit” button that adds your location to the post. It’s better not to use this feature.
But geotags are not the only way to find out your location
Have you ever noticed how, after visiting an online store, you start to see ads for similar products on Facebook? Or do you meet someone at a party, and the next day, Facebook offers to add him as a friend?
Facebook knows about this because you have a mobile device with a Facebook application, which determines your position automatically. It’s good that this information is not publicly available, so your friends will not be able to find you in the same way. But Facebook allows you to view the history of your location, which is maintained in the system.
Where to see how Facebook tracks your location:
Go to settings. Click Location Reporting in the left pane, then click Open Location History. A map will appear along with a log showing your location from the moment you turned on the recording. For some, this information may have been collected for many years.
How to delete your location history:
Click on the three bars in the upper right corner of the screen (or bottom right if you have an iPhone). Select Settings & Privacy> Settings> Location. To turn off data logging, move the Location Log slider to the left.
If you want to delete your location history, click on “Open Location Log”, then the three dots in the upper right corner and “Clear Location Log” Usually you need to re-enter your password. (By the way, resetting your password is another great way to prevent other users from accessing your location or account in general.)
3. Block the pursuers and put them on the list of restrictions
Another useful feature is called Restricted Access. Users added there may even be your friends, but they will only see the information that you published publicly. They will not be aware of this, which is especially useful if it is necessary to avoid unnecessary confrontation.
It is easy to say that you need to be able to directly and decisively declare to a person that he will not see your posts. But it is well known what a painful reaction can cause a refusal to add to friends. Therefore, you can safely add such people as friends, and then quickly put them on a limited-access list. Everything you write to your friends will be invisible to them.
4. Report accounts of impostors
Although Facebook’s rules prohibit creating accounts on behalf of another person, it’s estimated that there are over 60 million. One of the main reasons for their appearance is that people want to impersonate others. Such an impostor can be friends with one of your friends or even personally with you and will use the information received against you.
If you find on Facebook a fake account with your photo and personal data, you need to inform the administration, which, according to the rules, must delete it.
To report a fake Facebook account :
Go to your account page, click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the page and select “Send feedback or report a profile.” For the reason, indicate “Impersonation of another person” and add “I”.
However, a smart impostor will probably block you so that you cannot see the fake page. In this case, ask your friend to complain about it.
Facebook is also trying to take the lead in finding impostors. He recently announced a new initiative for automatic face recognition on profiles. However, this algorithm only works on new accounts. If a fake account on your behalf was created earlier, the only way to delete it is to complain about it. Also, only photos of your friends and their friends will be used to determine your face and not all photos on the social network in general.
This circumstance casts doubt on the effectiveness of this tactic, especially since many false accounts are created not for revenge, but for the purposes of fraud, selling goods or promoting political ideas. The experience of the 2016 US presidential election showed that Facebook has a whole industry of trolls aimed at shaping public opinion. Russia also got it – not so long ago, in August 2018, Facebook announced the removal of 652 fake accounts allegedly associated with Russia and Iran. Social networks today are a real apple of contention among politicians.
Returning to the topic of photographs, there is always a universal solution – to make most or all photos confidential. Many cybercriminals focus on photography. If they don’t have access to your photos, you will be a much less attractive target for them.
In recent years, sexting has ceased to be considered obscene and has become a regular part of flirting. One study even found that 88% of users sent messages or images of a sexual nature at least once. We are in no hurry to condemn this. The same study showed a correlation between sexting and sexual satisfaction, especially in women.
However, sending candid photos is a potentially very risky job. As they say, what is written with a pen – sent to the Internet – you can’t cut it with an axe. It is impossible to guarantee that such photographs will always be stored somewhere in a safe place. Many women learned about this through bitter experience when their former partners from revenge sent their intimate photos to friends, relatives and even employers.
It’s good that Facebook has an algorithm that automatically detects and removes nudity. However, in November 2017, the social network introduced a completely innovative method of solving the problem of pornography, which is now being tested in Australia.
If you suspect that some image may appear on the Internet without your consent, you need to fill out a special form and talk about the problem, then send the image or video to yourself using the Facebook Messenger application. After reading the report and evaluating, administrators will need to remove this image. Since Facebook owns Instagram, this will prevent the image from spreading on it.
This method has several problems. First, you should be aware of the existence of a given image or video (sometimes they are published without the knowledge of the victim). Secondly, you must have an image file, which is not always possible, since it could have been taken by another person. Finally, you must trust the Facebook administration and accept the fact that a live person will see the image. Many are worried by the fact that someone outside (and technically savvy) will see something that was not intended for his eyes, even for a short time.
Instagram and Snapchat
In 2010, Instagram earned, in 2012 – Snapchat. These applications have changed not only the photography industry but also online harassment techniques.
When you publish a photo, you can comment on it. It’s hard to understand how some people get so much trolling time. But such people do exist, and they can spend hours looking for photos just to offend their author.
Every day, millions of accounts receive abusive, vulgar, and obscene comments and private messages. Photos of genitals and the like can be sent to women, not to mention the already mentioned pornography.
Several methods allow avoiding such situations. Yes, trolls can still get you if they want to. But you can significantly complicate this task for them.
3 ways to protect yourself on Instagram and Snapchat
1. Check the identifying data in the photos
A few simple steps allow you to secure photos and your account. For example, you are in a restaurant and want to post a photo of a dish on Instagram. It will be great to note the restaurant itself because it will make them an advertisement. But so you immediately make it clear to potential pursuers where you are.
You risk even more if you enable geolocation options in photos. If you take a picture of a caramel latte at Starbucks, no one will know which of the 27,339 Starbucks establishments around the world you are in. But with geolocation turned on, the photo will immediately give out your exact location.
In June 2017, Snapchat introduced a new feature called SnapMap, which shows friends on a map. At first glance, an innocent trifle, but it allows other people to constantly monitor your whereabouts. By disabling the SnapMap function, you will prevent many potentially dangerous situations.
2. Do not use real data
When registering with Snapchat, it indicates the birthday, phone number and email address – a standard set for social networks. But anyone more or less tech-savvy can find this data in your Snapchat account. Then with the help of this data, he will be able to pursue you by e-mail, in Viber, VKontakte and many other applications.
The best way to protect information is to hide it. Create a new address for registration. Use a non-existent phone number (one that can be given to the mooring in the bar so that he could not call you) and set a different date of birth.
Another simple trick that makes life difficult for trolls is switching their accounts from the public to private. This can be done both on Instagram and Snapchat. A private account allows you to limit the number of people who see your messages. You can allow access only to friends, relatives, etc.
How to make your account private on Snapchat :
Go to Settings> View My History> My Friends / Settings. In Settings, you can determine who can write your messages and see your location.
How to make an account private on Instagram: Go to Settings> Closed account (move right to enable).
If you use these applications for marketing purposes, create a separate account. So your photos will not be mixed with public ones.
However, even with such precautions, it is not possible to prevent offensive comments completely. So here are some more tips.
3. Block the haters
Both Instagram and Snapchat have a user blocking feature. So you can block a person and delete his comments.
How to block people on Instagram :
Select the person you want to block, click the three dots in the upper right corner and click the “Block” button.
How to block people on Snapchat :
Select the person you want to block, click on the three lines in the upper left corner and click the “Block” button.
Unfortunately, harassment is common in the work environment, both online (when you send obscene messages or photographs) and in real life. In the United States and Europe in recent years, women have learned to defend their rights in the workplace, and criminal cases for “harassment” there are commonplace. In Russia and other former USSR countries, things are much worse with this. Many bosses think it is commonplace to touch subordinates in a variety of places, and the “career through bed” formula is secretly common in many organizations. Often, nothing can be done until the persecutor rapes his victim. But this does not mean that nothing can be done. Here are some general tips you might find useful.
According to a study by the superjob.ru portal, which polled 3,000 economically active Russians of both sexes, 9% experienced sexual harassment at work. There were twice as many women who answered positively as men, and another 6% refused to answer the question. Many women noted that after harassment they were forced to quit.
Sociologists tend to think that the actual statistics of victims of harassment are higher since many do not want or are afraid to admit it. “The scale of sexual harassment in Russia is not even taken up by experts, ” Radio Liberty reports in a large-scale study of this problem. – The polls they conduct are not indicative, because many respondents do not even understand the essence of the issue: most victims of the harassment do not tell anyone about him, and some do not see anything bad in him, considering persistent attention with some subtext on the part of the boss a reliable way to move forward through the ranks. “
But all this does not mean that you can fold your hands and do nothing. Here are some helpful tips on how to avoid or at least reduce the chance of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Sexual harassment at work: what to do?
If you are at the workplace and you feel uneasy, you need to immediately start recording to the recorder or otherwise. Many cases are based on small incidents that, if not properly documented, will not be useful as evidence.
Even if you are not sure if the incident is harassment, it is best to consider it as such. If things get worse, you can eventually take action.
Report Harassment at Work
1.Document each meeting
Any comment, inappropriate email, or any other type of message that may qualify as harassment should be recorded and stored wherever you have access (definitely not on the company’s corporate Google Drive). One comment may be random, but if they continue, you can set a precedent.
If during the meeting you were subjected to inappropriate utterance or touch, as soon as possible write an email to yourself (from your account) and describe the incident as detailed as possible. Indicate the time, date and place of the incident.
2. Track the situation
Take screenshots, record time and dates, save emails and everything that bothers you.
3.Report about it
With the evidence in hand, it’s time to make it public. Although it is sometimes inconvenient to report harassment in the office, publicity is one of the most productive ways to stop it.
Send your data to the human resources department, which, we hope, knows how to act in such cases. If your company does not have a human resources department, you need to prepare a detailed email and send it to the office or your manager (in case it is not the culprit).
How to write a letter to report sexual harassment:
Creating your first email can be a daunting task. Therefore, we have created a template for you.
Subject: Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment
Dear and !
I am writing this email to notify you that has sexually harassed me .
The following incidents occurred during this time:
Thank you for paying attention to my request. If you need more information, I will be happy to provide it to you.
Your firm should have a policy on how to evaluate this situation and how to take action.
If you feel that the complaint has not been adequately addressed, remember that you can always turn to a lawyer for help. A professional who is well versed in such legal matters should guide you in the next steps.
It should also be noted that many such recommendations are not applicable since quite a lot of women work in freelance or self-employment mode. In this case, you need to act more independently.
Self-employment sexual harassment
If you are not self-employed and have encountered similar behaviour, since there is no one to report the problem, you need to take care of the situation yourself.
This is exactly what happened with Larisa, a musician who received sexual messages from a colleague. After an explicit comment on how she moves during the game, Larisa left a comment: “Don’t be dumb”, to which the defendant wrote: “Oh, I like your way of communicating.”
At the same time, Larisa decided not to publicly dishonor him, saying that his comments were indecent and aggressive. He did not agree with this and continued.
Larisa decided that she could resist this herself. Someone may decide that the best method of self-defense is simply to ignore a preoccupied psycho. In this scenario, there is no right or wrong way to stop the harassment. This is only your decision.
LinkedIn Sexual Harassment
LinkedIn, an online career and business platform, has unfortunately also evolved into a sexual harassment platform. And although this social network is blocked in Russia, many businesses (and not only) people continue to use it.
Although LinkedIn’s policy prohibits any form of abuse, it cannot be completely prevented. Unfortunately, sexual harassment still happens there every day.
Since this is a social network, some see it as a dating site. Among other things, women complained that men were sending them obscene messages and comments about their appearance, judging by the profile photo.
Another potential mistake is a resume.
Many people upload their resumes, not knowing that the email address and phone number are displayed in the header. If you do not want the entire Internet to have access to this information, remove it from the public version of the resume.
Unwanted phone calls to take a walk may seem like innocent fun for other men, but women may not like it.
And that is the problem. Many harassments are hidden, and it is difficult for women to prove them and complain about them. Although you can’t completely ban idiots from writing to you on LinkedIn, several ways allow you to create additional protection.
4 ways to protect yourself on LinkedIn
1. Before confirming your friendship on LinkedIn, check the extent of the relationship. Are there any common connections? Do you work in a common industry? If not, do not accept it.
2. If you receive an unsolicited message, you can block it. Just click on the three dots in the upper right corner, and then click “Report this conversation.”
3. You can also block a person by prohibiting viewing your profile or the ability to communicate with you. Go to your user profile, click Advanced> Report / Block, and follow the instructions.
4. If you want to download a resume, make sure your phone number, home address and other contact information are not provided. If someone wants to contact you about business issues, they can do this through LinkedIn.
These tips will not protect you 100%. But they involve more control over who can contact you.
Sexual harassment and online dating
Vika * started chatting with Mark * about a month after she registered with Dating@Mail.ru, but they haven’t met in person yet. One night, after more than an hour of active correspondence, Mark suggested moving on to closer communication – having sex on Skype.
The next day, Vika was horrified to learn that one of her friends received a recording of this meeting. An hour later, Vika received a message from Mark: pay, otherwise, the record will be sent to even more people on her social network.
In online dating, women are most vulnerable to virtual sexual harassment.
Unlike most social networks, they go to dating sites for a specific purpose and communicate with strangers there. If other sites have strict privacy settings for protection, on dating sites such methods usually only get in the way.
Dating applications were invented for entertainment, but the consequences are sometimes unpleasant.
For example, Emma * met Ramil in the Badoo app. After a conversation in the application, the conversation switched to VKontakte, but when Emma checked his profile photo, she noticed that Ramil looked different and the profile did not match the application. Not wanting a scandal, she told Ramil that she had certain personal problems that needed to be resolved before she was ready to meet. In response, he began to bombard her with aggressive questions about where and with whom she was.
As a result, Emma blocked him and complained to the developers of the application. Knowing that he would search for her on social networks, she also blocked him on VK, Viber and Instagram. And when he tried to call her, she also blocked his phone. Finally, Ramil understood the hint or decided that it would be too difficult to establish a connection. Not all women are so lucky.
What happened to Emma, known as catfishing ( catfishing ). This is when someone on the Internet pretends to be another, often using fake photos and profiles. Emma was able to understand that the person in the Badoo profile is different from the person in the VK profile, most catfishers are smarter.
It’s also pretty easy to unknowingly become an accomplice in a catfisher. Take, for example, Katya *. One day a friend called her and said that her Facebook profile picture was used by another person on a dating site. Katya complained about a fake profile and they removed him. But who knows how many people saw her face and information before?
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to get to know the Internet without becoming a victim of fraud or harassment. But there are some ways to protect oneself.
3 ways to protect yourself on dating sites
1. Check the biography
When you chat with someone on the Internet for the first time, find information about him on Google, VKontakte and other dating applications, if you are registered there. Look at the inconsistencies between their photos and profile descriptions. If you find them, complain about it.
2. Get to know a person better
Communicate in the application before transferring the conversation to another platform. This will give you an idea of who they are before you can tell further details about your personal life. As soon as you feel comfortable enough to transfer the conversation to another platform, check what information about you is available there. For example, WhatsApp and Telegram show profile photos, WhatsApp allows you to update status, and you can write brief information about yourself in Telegram. Both applications also have a “last time online” feature that shows your contacts how long you have been in the application. If you do not want anyone to see this information, change the privacy settings. And if you ultimately decide to meet in person, be sure to do it in a public place and tell some friends where you are going.
3. Make your social media accounts and photos private.
This minimizes the likelihood that your photos can be stolen and used on dating sites.
Most adults know what safe sex is. But perhaps they never wondered what safe sexting was.
This is important because sexting is now very popular. According to one study, almost half of the adult users surveyed deal with it.
However, the fact that many people do this does not mean that it is safe. Stories of pornography and hacking have become commonplace. And it’s easy to imagine how your intimate photos falling into the wrong hands can ruin your professional and personal life.
It’s pretty simple to say just stop sexting, but we won’t. Sexting can be a fun pastime and a great complement to online dating. We are not here to limit you in the joys of life.
But we want to give a couple of tips on how to safely correspond.
7 ways to protect yourself during sexting
1. Do not show your face or anything else that can identify you
The first thing you should pay attention to is the availability of your photos and the possibility of identification with their help. This means that you must make sure that the photographs do not show the face, unusual moles or tattoos.
2. Do not chat while drunk
After a glass of beer, you can feel relaxed, but this does not mean that it’s time to unzip your blouse and turn on the camera.
Fortunately, several applications can prevent regrets in the morning. For example, Drunk Locker is a very useful app when you go to a party. In addition to being able to find a sober driver, it can also block certain contacts so that they cannot be contacted by phone, SMS and social networks.
3. Make photos self-destruct
Appendix Discreet specially designed for sexting and requires that both the sender and the recipient enter an access code to view the sent image. The main advantage of Discreet is that it allows you to delete images from the phone of the person to whom you sent them. However, there is nothing that can prevent the person from receiving your photos from taking and saving a screenshot.
An application that solves the screenshot problem a little is the popular Snapchat, which automatically deletes photos a few seconds after opening them. Although Snapchat allows you to take screenshots, it sends a notification if it is completed. But this is not an ideal solution, because a little google, you can find several ways to get around this notification. So there is still a risk that someone might save your photo without your knowledge.
Another application for locking screenshots is Confide, which is well encrypted and deletes messages and photos automatically. But then again, with a very big desire, you can get around its limitations.
4. Password will help protect your phone and photos
To make sure that no one is spying on you and your partner, when you view information on the phone, both of you should protect your phones with a password.
You can also download an application that will store intimate photos in a separate password-protected folder. Some of these applications are KeepSafe and Gallery Lock. One of the interesting things about Gallery Lock is that the application icon can be hidden so that others will not understand that it is installed on your phone. Also, if someone repeatedly tries to log in and this fails, the application will take a picture.
However, keep in mind that not all of these applications encrypt data, which means that your photos can be stolen.
5.Safe photo storage
If you take such a cool photo of your fifth point that it will look like a work of art, you probably want to save it. Then it’s better to save it on a computer, rather than a mobile device that could be lost or stolen.
Of course, even a computer can be hacked, so it is better to encrypt confidential photos. VeraCrypt is a free open source program that allows you to encrypt individual files on Windows and Mac.
Please note that after you encrypt the photos, they must be permanently deleted from the computer. It’s not enough just to put them in the basket and empty it.
Until the data is physically overwritten, it will still exist and may be accessible to hackers. Fortunately, some programs can delete files permanently. One of the most popular free applications for Windows is Eraser, for Mac – Permanent Eraser.
6. Do not sync photos
If you use Android, it’s likely your photos are automatically saved to Google Photos. For iPhone owners, they are saved in iCloud. Some people like to send photos to Google Drive, Yandex. Disk and similar services.
Perhaps you remember the iCloud hack in 2014 when personal photos of several celebrities (mainly women), such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kirsten Dunst, got into the network as a result of a phishing attack. It is unlikely that you want this to happen to you, so it’s better not to store intimate photos in the cloud.
However, we do not recommend disabling automatic synchronization, as this can lead to a complete loss of all information in the event of the loss or theft of the phone. It’s better to log in to Google Photos or iCloud and selectively delete individual photos. Keep in mind that if you have automatic synchronization turned on, this can lead to the fact that the photo will be deleted from the phone. Therefore, if you want to save the photo, transfer it to another place, preferably in an encrypted folder (see above).
7. Do not send images to people you do not trust
Let this advice seem obvious, but 16% of the sexting people sent messages to strangers.
It’s especially important not to send potential compromising photos to strangers. As you may have read earlier in this list, there is no condom for sexting. So follow the precautions and choose your sexting partners wisely.
Attacks in real life
Of course, attacks on women are not only on the Internet. Often attacks are carried out in the real world, and criminals use high technology to prosecute and insult their victims. One study found that in 79% of cases, criminals followed victims on social networks.
Sometimes criminals are people we know, such as a jealous husband. In other cases, the attacks were not specifically planned, for example, the theft of a cell phone or just the wrong time and place.
In any case, there are many precautions you can take to stay safe. The easiest ones are to tell a friend where you will be or to encrypt data on devices.
How to use taxi applications safely
Back in 2014 in New Delhi, an Uber driver raped a passenger. When it turned out that the driver already had a criminal record for rape, some demanded a complete Uber ban.
Following the press coverage of this incident, Uber led the new CEO. It seems that the company is finally ready seriously for the safety of passengers, putting forward several new initiatives.
The basic principle that has already been implemented allows you to show your trip to five trusted contacts. This means that your friends can follow you during the trip and see that you have arrived at your destination. If desired, you can also set the trusted contacts feature so that it is enabled only for night trips.
“Trusted contacts” are similar to the functions in the Lyft application, which allows you to send a friend a route and an approximate arrival time. In Uber and Lyft, such messages include the make and model of the car, the number of the car, and a photograph of the driver.
Uber also provides the ability to dial emergency numbers at the touch of a button, automatically giving them your location in real-time. Other measures Uber plans include taking drunk drivers and criminal offenses that can be checked at their internal bases.
But here are some more ways to increase travel safety.
5 ways to protect yourself when using taxi calling apps
1. Make sure you get in the right car
Before driving, check the car number, make and model, name and photo of the driver. Everything should exactly match the source data.
2. Do not tell the driver that the destination or landing in your home or place of work
If you let it slip, it may be worth a little talk about something else, clouding the reality and switching his attention to another. For example, if he asks how are you, you can answer: “Everything is fine, how great it is to meet friends sometimes.” Another option would be to specify a different destination, different from the real address, located in a couple of blocks.
3. Check the driver reviews
One of the nice features of car search apps is that they allow passengers to see the driver rating. If he has bad reviews, cancel the trip and call another car. In order not to wait too long, turn on several applications already installed on your phone at once to use the one that works most quickly in finding the right driver.
4. Track your route
If you are guided in a given area, you may notice if the driver takes the wrong route. But if you don’t know the location, open the Maps application on your phone and build a route to make sure that you are heading to the right place. If the actual driving route looks strange, ask a question.
5. If something goes wrong, go out
Yes, you can be late for a meeting and lose a couple of hundred rubles, but if you don’t feel safe, ask the driver to stop and get out of the car. Too often, women provoke unsafe situations because they are afraid to look stupid. Believe me, not worth it.
What to do if the phone is lost or stolen
Many of us, it seems, spend their whole lives on the phone. The phones store all the contacts, photos and applications that we use for navigation, follow the news, organize our work, create a schedule and keep in touch with friends and family. This is a fairly large amount of personal information, and we would not want it to fall into the wrong hands.
Fortunately, there are several easy ways to protect yourself in the event of a loss or theft of a mobile device.
4 ways to protect phone contents
1.Protect your phone with a password
So that someone quickly does not get access to the contents of your phone, as soon as he is at his disposal, set a password on him.
The exact way to set a password will depend on your device, but for Android, you may have to go to Settings> Security> Screen Lock Type. You can specify how to unlock the screen with a graphic pattern, pin code, or password.
Password is the most reliable option, but also the most annoying, as you need to enter it every time you want to check for updates on a social network. You may also be able to lock the phone so that it opens only with a fingerprint.
Another interesting feature is a smart lock. When using it, the lock will not work if the phone is with you or you are in certain places (for example, at home) or next to other trusted devices. Some phones can even recognize speech and faces.
2. Set up phone tracking
One of the great GPS features on your phone is that if it’s lost, you can track where it is. But for this feature to work, you must configure it in advance.
If you have an Android, there are several options. On some devices, such as Samsung, this feature is built-in, although you need to create a Samsung account to access it. By enabling this feature, you can find your phone by going to https://findmymobile.samsung.com/ from another device and logging in to the system.
Another option is to download the Find My Device app from the Google Play Store. This application works the same as Samsung and requires that you have a Google account. Also, if you just lost your phone somewhere in the house, it will be able to give you a signal even if your phone is in silent mode. Go to https://myaccount.google.com/intro/find-your-phone, login, and you can see the location of your phone on the map. There you can reset your phone password.
Another good solution for finding lost and stolen devices is the paid ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus application. It has an anti-theft module that allows you to track the phone, turn on the siren on it, take pictures with the camera, send messages to it, delete data, etc. It has excellent functionality, there is the Russian language.
However, keep in mind that if you have Android, you can only find your device if location services are turned on and you are connected to the Internet. The savvy thief will know how to disable these features so that you cannot find him and your phone.
If you have an iPhone, you need to download the Find My iPhone app. Once it is installed, you can find your device on the map by clicking on the link and logging in to iCloud.
In this application, you can mark the phone as “Lost”, which will automatically block it. Lost Model also allows you to set a message on the locked screen, so if the phone is simply lost, you can write something like “Lost phone. Please call 212-555-1234. ” And if you are useful, please know that the phone was stolen, you can write something formidable.
This is an extreme option. If you are sure that you can’t return the phone, you can delete all data using Find My Device / Find My iPhone. Therefore, even if the thief manages to crack the password, he will not be able to access your personal information.
Keep in mind that when you do this, you will lose the ability to remotely monitor your phone, as all data will be deleted. However, the phone will still be able to receive services from your wireless service provider, that is, an attacker will be able to call from your number and use your tariff. To disable it, call the operator and tell him that your phone was stolen.
The realization that one day you will have to delete the phone data is another important reason for backing up the contents of the phone (which must be done anyway). On Android, the easiest way to back up data is to use the Google Cloud. On the iPhone, use iCloud.
But what if you did not prudently install the Find My Device / Find My iPhone search application, and now you cannot change passwords, lock your phone, or delete data from a distance? In this case, you need …
4. Change passwords in all applications
Make a list of applications with passwords that you have on your phone, install them on another device and start changing your passwords. These are usually email, social media accounts, bank accounts, and app stores.
Stay Safe with Meetup.com
One of the amazing things on the Internet is that it allows you to bring together strangers by interests that otherwise would never have met.
A great way to do this is with Meetup.com. It allows you to create events and activities based on common interests and participate in them. Some popular categories are movies, health, pets, and more. This is a fantastic way to make new friends and develop interests.
But didn’t your mother teach you not to talk to strangers? Did she mean any serious problems or panic for no reason? Not both. You must be able to live a full life, but do not forget about precautions.
3 Ways to Protect Yourself at Meetup.com
1. Do not fill out the profile too much
Keep in mind that your profile page is fully accessible to everyone who has the Internet, so post only the information that is acceptable to you.
If you have a passion for food and you can’t wait for the next culinary meeting in your city, you can mention how much you love pasties and are ready to eat a ton of them. But don’t say that your beloved cheburechny is located right at your house on Lenin 15, where you live in apartment 10, and you will not be home for a week.
If you are interested in family vacations, you can say that you have children of ten and six years old, but do not specify that their name is Sasha and Masha, they want to go to school No. 76 and return home alone at the beginning of the third.
2. Get to know people in real life before talking face to face
Meetup has a built-in mail system, so you can receive messages from participants by email, without specifying your real address.
But even in this case, if you are not interested in establishing contacts before the meeting and in real-life communication, you can block messages from users and receive messages from event organizers. Just go to settings and open the “Privacy” section.
There you can choose whether you want your groups or interests to be listed on your profile. Here you can choose who will be able to write to you in Meetup, whether it is the organizers, members of your events or visitors to the site.
3. Tell a friend where you are going.
In any situation, if you are going to meet strangers, it will be right to tell a friend where you are going and set a deadline when you should be at home. Also, if the meeting involves a drink, never be alone among strangers.
Preventing violence from your partner
In some countries, one in three women has ever been abused by their partner. Although modern technology can help victims (for example, to gather evidence against the offender), they can also, unfortunately, be used by criminals. Overuse of technology can lead to cybercriminals in full control of their victims. Various applications of the application for searching mobile devices, as well as programs for tracking family members and monitoring children, are very common.
The problem is that lawyers who try to deal with such types of violence cannot do anything against companies that produce such applications, and application stores cannot block them since they are mainly used for completely legitimate purposes.
Many of these applications allow attackers to track the location of their victims, read their messages, forward them to another device, and even watch and listen to them remotely, activating the phone’s camera and microphone.
As mentioned above, some applications are sold for unauthorized surveillance. Although rarely found in official app stores, they can be downloaded elsewhere on the Internet. And while most phones have default settings that block apps from outside the app store, there are many guides around the Internet to circumvent these restrictions.
A very sad feature of these applications is also the fact that they can usually be configured so that the application icon is hidden, so the victim is able to find it on your phone.
You might think that the solution would be to scan your phone for spyware, but, unfortunately, even some of the largest manufacturers in this industry, such as Symantec, Kaspersky and Avast, have been largely ineffective in detecting these applications.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
3 ways to keep your partner at a distance
1. Keep your phone with you at all times
Almost all known applications require that an attacker have access to the victim’s phone at least once.
2. Be careful about using any phone that you have not purchased on your own.
Attackers who have a lot of control over their victims often buy the victim’s phone themselves, for example as a gift. In these cases, they can not only install spyware applications in advance but with the help of a little technical knowledge, they can continuously control the device from a distance. Some companies sell phones that already have built-in phones or that have preinstalled surveillance software.
3. Password will protect your phone, do not tell it to anyone
As mentioned earlier, the presence of a password to lock the phone is the main method of protection that will ensure the security of its contents. If you suspect that your partner has access to your device, immediately change your password. Make it long and complex and do not use information that can be easily guessed, for example, the date of your birth or the name of the pet.
However, we are not so naive and cannot ignore reality, knowing that many victims themselves reveal their passwords under pressure or allow the use of dangerous applications.
Regardless of your ability to protect mobile devices, some organizations specialize in protecting people from domestic violence. Here are some of them:
- All-Russian helpline for women affected by domestic violence (Anna Center): 8 (800) 7000 600
- Center for the Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence
Phone in Moscow: (495) 690-63-48
- Hotline of the Center for Psychological Assistance EMERCOM of Russia: (495) 926-3707, on weekdays from 9:00 to 18:00
- Help Center for survivors of sexual violence: 901-0201, on weekdays from 10:00 to 18:00
Not bad if you have an emergency app on your phone. This will allow you to notify friends or family members when you feel insecure and/ or need to call emergency assistance.
Some phones already have these features built-in, so check to see if yours has this feature. If not, look for these apps in app stores. In Android and iOS, there are many.
1. “ Mobile Rescuer of the Ministry of Emergencies ” is the official application from the Ministry of Emergencies of Russia, which allows you to notify the Ministry of Emergencies and friends at the same time that you are in an emergency.
2. ICE stands for “In case of emergency”, this application allows you to send a message and location via GPS to selected contacts when you want your friends or relatives to know your location. You can also send a message if you are late, thereby informing that as soon as you return, they will immediately receive a message from you.
2. React Mobile performs the same functions as ICE, but additionally has an SOS button that will notify your pre-selected contacts by e-mail and SMS, and if you wish, it will also post on Facebook and Twitter. At the same time, this application automatically contacts local emergency services.
It is also possible to place certain information on the lock screen, which can help in case of a situation where you cannot provide information about yourself to emergency services. For example, you could write something like: “In case of an emergency, call ” and then indicate his phone number. Or, if you have a specific medical problem, such as an allergy or epilepsy, you can write about it in this text message.
Setting a message on the lock screen will differ depending on which phone model you have.
Modern technology and the Internet play a big role in our lives, both in good and in bad ways. As women, we use online technology for different purposes, and we should be able to continue to do so.
We hope that this guide and the tools described in it will help you protect yourself on the Internet and effectively resist attacks.
If you found this guide useful, please share it with others so that more women can learn these simple tricks.