Anita Sarkeesian has launched the Game and Online Harassment Hotline as allegations of sexual harassment and abuse continue to plague the video games industry.
Sarkeesian, head of the Feminist Frequency, views the hotline as an emotional support resource for all those in video games who experience abuse, burnout, depression.
VentureBeat talked to Sarkeesian about the initiative. Below are the key points from the interview:
- Anita really started working on the project last August during the so called first wave of #MeToo in the gaming industry;
- the idea behind the hotline is to take care of the people who make and play games. Anyone can ask for help: a fan, a player, a developer or a streamer;
- the service should allow people share and feel “a liberation and a freedom and a sense of beginning to heal”;
- The Games and Online Harassment Hotline is not a suicide prevention service, but its agents are trained in it. They can also refer the caller to a more specialized hotline;
- the hotline will always be free. But it is expensive to keep it working, so the service will always keep fundraising;
- so far, the hotline is available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific times, Monday through Friday. This is to reduce the operating costs costs and to allow workers time to analyze people’s problems: why do they call? How often? What is the best way to support them?
- The Games and Online Harassment Hotline is a direct extension of Anita’s core work to eliminate toxic environments in video games. The hotline will teach people to not be afraid to ask for help and will be a step towards a large-scale cultural shift;
- Anita herself will not answer calls.
Anita Sarkeesian is an American-Canadian activist. Her video series Tropes vs Women in Video Games explored women’s representation in games. In 2015, TIME magazine included her in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world.