Feminist Frequency & Crash Override Are Partnering Up, Because Who Better To Fight Online Harassment Than Anita Sarkeesian & Zoe Quinn?
Online harassment continues to be a big problem, and one that is often not given due attention by authorities. Increasingly, though, there are resources for people who are targets of harassment — and now, Feminist Frequency and Crash Override have teamed up to help victims of online abuse. Since both organizations were founded by women who have themselves been targets of large-scale harassment campaigns, the partnership in and of itself is a great symbol of resilience in the face of online abuse.
Crash Override founder Zoe Quinn and Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian unfortunately both know a lot about what can happen to women online, from abusive online comments to harassing phone calls and from rape and death threats to doxing and SWATing. Quinn, an indie games developer, was the first victim of the misogynistic GamerGate movement, which coalesced after Quinn's ex-boyfriend accused her of infidelity and of sleeping with a journalist for favorable game reviews (an allegation which was quickly determined to be false). And even before GamerGate, feminist cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian experienced harassment, abuse, and threats online for her analysis of sexist tropes in video games through her Feminist Frequency videos.
According a statement on Feminist Frequency's website, Feminist Frequency is now a financial sponsor of Crash Override, the organization Zoe Quinn founded last year, which runs a crisis helpline and provides advice and resources for people being targeted online. And with financial support from Feminist Frequency, it seems likely they'll be able to not only keep that good work going, but to "greatly expand operations, assist more people, and create more resources for the public, all for free."
“Crash Override is an invaluable resource in combating online harassment and helping targets when they are most vulnerable,” Anita Sarkeesian said in a statement. “This partnership helps further Feminist Frequency’s mission of ending online harassment and I’m thrilled we can support this essential work.”
Online harassment, particularly the targeted kind that both Quinn and Sarkeesian have experienced, is terrifying — and all the more so since there often isn't an obvious solution. Reporting the abuse on the website is often minimally effective, and law enforcement typically doesn't have the knowledge or resources to deal with threats issued online. But more and more, there are options. In addition to Crash Override, organizations like Hollaback! have also launched efforts to combat online harassment. It's not a substitute for institutional protection, but it does mean that victims aren't alone.
Hopefully, we'll someday live in a world where harassment and abusive behavior online is a rarity and is taken seriously by both companies and the criminal justice system when it does happen. In the meantime, it's inspiring to see organizations run by two women who have stood tall in the face of harassment now standing together to make the Internet safer for everyone.