Basics about the site
The site was made by Aftermetoo, a Canadian charity formed in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, to help people who are experiencing sexual harassment. It was made in partnership with the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Canada’s public foundation for gender equality.
First, we surveyed people in Canada who’d experienced sexual harassment at work to find out what kind of information they want and need. Then, we pulled together a team to answer their questions. You can read about the people who contributed to the site here.
The development of this site was funded by the Canadian federal government and by donations from individual people.
Aftermetoo’s goal is to help people who are being sexually harassed at work in Canada.
People don’t tend to talk about sexual harassment openly. Half the people we surveyed had told literally nobody they had been harassed until they responded to our surveys. Instead, people tend to go online looking for information about the law and what they should do. That’s why we made this site. So that when someone gets harassed and goes online looking for help, they can find it here.
• Aftermetoo is Canadian. If you go online looking for information about sexual harassment, most of what you find will be American. That’s not necessarily going to help you, because the laws are different in Canada. In fact, the laws are different in every province and territory. Aftermetoo gives you information that’s relevant to you, specific to where you actually live.
• To save time. Aftermetoo read hundreds of studies and books and talked with dozens of experts. We did the research so you don’t have to!
• To save money. Aftermetoo talked with dozens of experts, and their advice is here on the site for free. We’ve provided links to places where you can get free (or cheap) legal and mental health support. We’ve provided links to all kinds of free materials that may help you, like podcasts and quizzes and games and TV shows.
• To save yourself pain and mistakes. Aftermetoo tells you how people tend to handle being harassed, how that plays out for them, and how they feel about it afterward. Here, you can learn from the experiences of others.
• To avoid judgement and pressure. Aftermetoo is a judgement-free zone. We believe that every way of handling harassment is brave and honourable, and we respect the decisions you are making.
In making Aftermetoo, we read hundreds of studies and reports and books about sexual harassment. We’ve talked with dozens of experts. We’ve followed along with #MeToo and #MoiAussi and #BalanceTonPorc, #BelieveWomen, #AgressionNonDénoncée, #TimesUp, #Metoogay, #RapedButNotReported, and countless other social media movements. We’ve read hundreds of message boards and forums and advice sites and news stories. That’s the wealth of information about sexual harassment that we have synopsized and summarized here for you.
After we drafted the articles here, we had everything fact-checked by lawyers and mental health experts and sexual harassment researchers and professional fact-checkers. We’re not perfect and there are certainly mistakes on the site (if you find one, please tell us!). But we’ve done our best to make the material here as comprehensive and accurate as possible. We want to thank everybody who helped us.
If you are being sexually harassed, you should first take some time to assess your situation , document everything that’s happening in case you need records later, and build a support network around yourself . Then you will want to consider your options . For most people, the right choice will be one of three things: to stay at work and try to cope; to formally report what’s happening (or take some kind of legal action); or to start looking for a new job. You can find a ton of information about each of those options here on this site, and you can also find information about how to protect your mental health , protect your career , and protect your finances .
Our research has found that most people end up feeling good about how they handled being harassed. They feel like it was confusing and scary at the time, but they ended up doing what was right for them. So we want to encourage you to trust your own instincts. You know your own situation best, and you will know what’s right for you.
Yes. Aftermetoo is 100% free. This site will never try to sell you anything or make you pay for anything.
Who the site is for
Aftermetoo is for people who are experiencing sexual harassment at work in Canada or want to learn more about the issue.
No, and if we’ve left you with that impression, we’re sorry. (And please tell us, and we will try to fix it.) The majority of people who get harassed are women, but lots of people who are nonbinary or gender-fluid get harassed, and so do men.
No. This site was written for adults, and there may be material or language here that’s inappropriate for children.
If you’re concerned Aftermetoo might not be safe for you because of trauma you’ve experienced, we urge you to trust those instincts. You are the best expert on what is right for you.
Here’s some information that may help you decide whether this site will be safe for you:
• There are no photos or illustrations of harassment here.
• There’s nothing here that’s sexually explicit or violent.
• There are no slurs or harassing language.
• We’ve tried to avoid violent language, including metaphors of violence.
• We’ve tried to keep the tone overall practical and straightforward.
But the nature of the topic means that some material here is going to be disturbing. That will probably be especially true with the #MeToo stories, which are first-person stories of sexual harassment. It’s also true for media we link to: For example, some of the movies and TV shows in our Resource Roulette will not be safe for people who are trying to avoid being retraumatized, and the same may be true for some of the music on our Spotify playlists.
Yes, Aftermetoo should be safe to use privately.
• If somebody is monitoring the network you use to access the internet when you visit us, they may be able to see that you came here. Some employers will do that, or people where you live could do it. If you want to avoid that, we recommend you visit the site using your mobile data instead of Wi-Fi, or use a VPN when you’re visiting us.
• If somebody has access to the physical device you use to visit this site, they may be able to see that you came here. If you want to avoid that, we recommend you close your browser and clear your cookies and browser history after visiting.
• If somebody is monitoring what you do through keystroke-logging software, they may be able to tell that you visited this site. Some employers do that. If you want to avoid it, you’ll need to use a non-work device to visit us.
• Somebody might be able to see the site over your shoulder while you’re visiting us on your device.
Aftermetoo is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines’ AA standards, which are designed to make sites accessible for people with physical and/or situational disabilities, as well as for people whose internet connections are slow. This should make the site perceivable, operable, and understandable for users of all abilities regardless of what device, browser, or method of navigation they are using, and regardless of how slow their internet connection is.
If you are having trouble using the site, please let us know, and if there’s a problem on our end, we’ll try to fix it.
Pretty much, yes. The only exception is when we’re linking you to external resources. Some external resources are available only in one language.
We don’t have plans to translate the site into additional languages. But we have released all text on the site under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY 4.0), which means that anyone can remix, repurpose, and reuse the materials here, as long as they comply with the terms of the licence. That means if you want to translate and republish any of the material yourself, you are totally free to do it. And we encourage it, and would love to hear about it if you do it!
We know that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples have extra challenges when it comes to workplace sexual harassment. We know they are more likely to be harassed than non-Indigenous people. When Indigenous people work in majority-white workplaces, they face harassment based on their indigeneity as well as their gender. And laws and policies crafted by colonial institutions are rooted in white-settler values, which are different from Indigenous values and are often not a good fit for Indigenous people. That all makes things harder and more complicated for Indigenous people. We hope that, if you’re Indigenous, you’ll find Aftermetoo helpful.
The general information on Aftermetoo should be applicable to Indigenous people, and we’ve included specific information for Indigenous people as well. We’ve included Indigenous people’s stories in our articles and #MeToo stories, and our Resource Roulette and Spotify playlists include materials by Indigenous creators. (Like Samantha Crain, Riit, Nive Nielsen & the Deer Children, Anachnid, Elisapie, Wayne Lavallee, and Tiffany Ayalik.) But we have tried not to overrepresent Indigenous people, because we don’t want to accidentally perpetuate the idea that Indigenous people are inherently and always traumatized. (In thinking this through, we read this blog post by Lindsay Nixon, this interview between Smokii Sumac and Daniel Heath Justice, this blog post by Kim Senklip Harvey, and this column from the staff at Two Row Times.)
If you’re Indigenous and have feedback for us, we would love to hear it. Please write us at [email protected].
People who are 2SLGBTQIA+ are much more likely to be harassed than other people, and the harassment they face is more often hostility-based and can be more severe.
Throughout Aftermetoo (and especially in the money and careers articles), we’ve included information that’s specific to 2SLGBTQIA+ people, and to specific groups inside that broad community, such as trans people and nonbinary people. We’ve included stories of 2SLGBTQIA+ people in our articles and #MeToo stories, and our Resource Roulette and Spotify playlists include materials by 2SLGBTQIA+ creators. (Like, we have materials from authors like Kate Bornstein and Alison Ash Fogarty, and music from artists like Christine and the Queens, Todrick Hall, Angel Haze, Sophie Xeon, GIRLI, Anna Akana, Rae Spoon, and FLETCHER.)
We hope that, if you’re 2SLGBTQIA+, you’ll find Aftermetoo helpful.
If you’re 2SLGBTQIA+ and have feedback for us, we would love to hear it. Please write us at [email protected].
When racialized people get sexually harassed, the harassment is often more severe and sustained than it is for white people. Also, racialized people get harassed for both gender-related reasons and race-related reasons. It can be more difficult for racialized people to get their employer (or the police) to take them seriously when they have a problem. This all means that sexual harassment is harder and more complicated for racialized people. If you’re racialized, we hope Aftermetoo can help you.
Throughout the site, we’ve included information specifically for racialized people, as well as for specific racial/ethnic communities, such as Black or Asian people. We’ve included racialized people’s stories in the Aftermetoo articles and #MeToo stories, and our Resource Roulette and Spotify playlists include materials by racialized creators. (Like, our Spotify playlists include music from Beyoncé, Alabama Shakes, BLACKPINK, Bomba Estéreo, Aiza, TLC, JXCKY, Bella Poarch, Ayla D’Iyla, Ultra Naté, and many other racialized artists.)
If you’re racialized and have feedback for us, we would love to hear it. Please write us at [email protected].
How to use the site
If you’re being harassed right now, we recommend you start with three Aftermetoo articles that describe what you can do right now to start protecting yourself. Read how to assess your situation , how to document what’s happening , and how to build a support network .
Or, you could start with this article that describes what sexual harassment is (and isn’t) , or this one that describes how the laws in Canada determine whether you’re being sexually harassed.
If your situation feels dangerous, we recommend you start with this article about how to decide whether to go to the police .
Yes! Aftermetoo has a library of resources that includes podcasts, TV shows, movies, games, quizzes, websites, and music. You’re welcome to add to it! The resources in Resource Roulette have been recommended by people who found them personally helpful when they were being harassed at work in Canada.
We think they are great, but we are definitely not saying you will necessarily like or benefit from them. Everybody is different, and a thing that works great for one person may be totally unhelpful to somebody else. And please note that, because of the nature of the subject matter, the resources in Resource Roulette are pretty likely to include triggering material, including portrayals of trauma. Please trust your own judgement on whether resources in Resource Roulette are likely to be helpful to you.
The law is complicated, but we’ve tried to explain things clearly, so they’ll make sense to people who aren’t lawyers. Also, in our articles we’ve highlighted legal terms in pale yellow, and if you click on those highlighted terms, a definition will pop up. Our goal here isn’t to try to turn you into a lawyer. We are just trying to give you basic information that will help you make decisions. We hope it works for you.
No. You can just start reading.
No. We will never send you anything unless you deliberately sign up for it.
Not yet. We would love to create a safe, healthy place for people in Canada to talk in real time about their experiences, but we haven’t done it yet. When we do, we’ll update this part of the FAQ.
Yes! You can send us your story here.
No problem. Just send us the link to your story, and we will take it down immediately. We won’t ask you any questions and we won’t ask you to prove it’s your story. We will just immediately take it down. It’s very important to us to not harm people with these stories. That’s our top priority.
Please send us the link and we’ll take it down immediately. We won’t ask you any questions, and we won’t ask you to prove anything to us. We don’t want people to be harmed by these stories, and so we would rather take down a story that describes a real harasser rather than risk having a story that accidentally makes it look like someone’s a harasser who isn’t.
We’re sorry! The most common reason we take down #MeToo stories (or don’t put them up in the first place) is when we think they might result in you getting sued for defamation. Or it’s possible somebody else wrote us saying it was their story, and we took it down for that reason. If you want your story to go back up, please send an email to [email protected] and we can talk about how to make that happen.
Thank you for wanting to help! You can share your own #MeToo story. We would really appreciate if you would share a resource that you found helpful when you were experiencing sexual harassment. You could add songs to our Spotify playlists. We would love if you would send us feedback. (Seriously, the more feedback the better.) If you can afford it, we would love if you could donate to help keep the site going. Donations are tax deductible in Canada.
Thank you for considering sending in a #MeToo story! When you send in your story, it will go into a queue until it’s approved. Usually stories go up within 24 hours, but sometimes it may take longer.
Thank you for considering sending in a resource for Resource Roulette! When you send in a resource, it will go into a queue until it’s approved. Usually that will happen within 24 hours, but sometimes it may take longer.
Up in the top right-hand corner of the site, on every page, you should see a little location marker. (Like, QC for Quebec, or ON for Ontario.) If you click it, it will show you different options and you can pick whichever one you want.
No. The site should automatically detect where you are and set the location marker to wherever you are currently located. If you change it, the site should remember that change every time you visit, until/unless you clear your cache.
About 7% of people working in Canada are federally regulated workers. A federally regulated worker is a person who works in an industry regulated by the Canadian federal government, such as banking, broadcasting and telecommunications, the airline industry, or the federal public service. To find out if you’re a federally regulated worker, read this article.
If you’re a federally regulated worker, you’re protected by different laws than people who aren’t federally regulated workers. Federally regulated workers are protected by the Canada Labour Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act, instead of by provincial or territorial employment and human rights laws. If you’re a federally regulated worker, you should set your “location” on this site to Federal, instead of picking the province or territory where you live or work. That’s how you’ll get legal information from the site that’s relevant to you.
The location that matters is the one that was your normal work location at the time you got harassed. Like this:
• You live in Toronto, and got harassed in Toronto. Pick Ontario.
• You live in Ottawa, but work in Gatineau. Pick Quebec.
• You live in Kelowna, but got harassed at a summer job in Banff. Pick Alberta.
• You live and work in Montreal, but got harassed at a conference in Berlin. Pick Quebec.
• You were hired to work in Toronto and that’s where the harassment happened, but during the pandemic you moved back to Moncton. Pick Ontario.
• You were hired to work in Toronto, but during the pandemic you moved back to Moncton, and the harassment happened afterward. Pick Ontario.
• You were hired to work remotely for a Toronto-based company from your home in Moncton. Pick New Brunswick.
• You work for a company in San Francisco, your actual employer is based in Toronto, and you live in Vancouver. Pick B.C.
The one exception, though, is if you’re a federally regulated worker. (Read more about federal workers.)
• You live in Gatineau and work for the federal government. Pick Federal.
• You live in Winnipeg and work in broadcasting. Pick Federal.
• You live in Saskatchewan and work at a uranium mine. Pick Federal.
• You live in Akwesasne and work for the band council. Pick Federal.
If you were harassed while you were working for a Canadian employer, then set your location marker based on where that employer is located.
If the harassment occurred while you were working for a non-Canadian employer (no matter where it took place), then the legal information on this site is unlikely to be relevant for you, because you wouldn’t be covered under any Canadian laws. In that case, it doesn’t really matter what location you set. There’s lots of material on the site we hope you’ll find useful, but you’ll need to be aware that the legal information won’t be relevant for you.
There’s nobody at Aftermetoo who can give you advice or information tailored to your specific situation. If that’s what you’re looking for, we recommend you call 211, which is available 24/7 and provides free, confidential information and referrals to community and social services across Canada. You could also check out our list of organizations, which was pulled from 211, and offers resources specifically related to workplace sexual harassment.
If you see anything on our site that’s outdated, or if you want to recommend a resource that we should add to the site, please let us know.
About the information on the site
The information on this site was written by people with expertise in sexual harassment, employment law, human rights law, trauma, mental health and wellness, supported by professional writers and editors. You can read more about them here.
We’ve done our best to ensure you can trust the information on the site.
Every article was drafted by a lawyer, a journalist, or a mental health expert. Every legal article was reviewed by at least one different, independent lawyer (not the one who wrote it) before it was finalized. Articles related to mental health were drafted by mental health experts, and then reviewed by researchers with expertise in sexual harassment. Every article was edited by a professional editor, and then copyedited by a professional copy editor (in both French and English), to ensure they are as clear and understandable as possible.
You can read the names of some of the people who contributed to the site here.
The information on this site should be up-to-date. The laws do change from time to time, and how they get interpreted by the courts also changes. But the information on this site is pretty general, so you should be able to trust that it’s accurate. If you end up getting involved in legal action, your lawyer will be able to tell you if anything specific has changed lately that you need to know about.
Yes. You can find the glossary here.
The site includes two kinds of resources.
• We have partnered with 211 to provide links to places where you can get various kinds of help, like legal aid, counselling, or therapy. We tried to select organizations that seem like they would be helpful. In some cases, we directly contacted them to find out what kinds of services they offer and who the services are for. But we are not endorsing those organizations, and we haven’t independently tested or tried to assess the quality of their services.
• We also offer Resource Roulette, a collection of links to media and other kinds of material related (sometimes very loosely!) to workplace sexual harassment. It includes links to things like TV shows and online quizzes and games and podcasts. The resources in Resource Roulette have been recommended by people who found them personally helpful when they were experiencing workplace sexual harassment. We think they are great, but we are definitely not saying you will necessarily like or benefit from them. Everybody is different, and a thing that works great for one person may be totally unhelpful to somebody else. And please note that, because of the nature of the subject matter, the resources in Resource Roulette are pretty likely to include triggering material, including portrayals of trauma. Please trust your own judgement on whether resources in Resource Roulette are likely to be helpful to you.
I want more information
You’re in luck! Aftermetoo has lots of general information about workplace sexual harassment! Here is a page that summarizes 25 years of academic studies, surveys, and journal articles about sexual harassment.
There are also other sites you might find helpful.
• The Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children (CREVAWC) is a research centre at Western University that studies sexual violence in Canada.
• The Ending Violence Association of Canada (EVA CAN) is a national Canadian non-profit whose purpose is to educate and respond to gender-based violence at the national level.
• The Me Too Movement is an American non-profit that brings resources, support, and pathways to healing for people who’ve experienced sexual violence. It was founded by survivor and activist Tarana Burke, who started the #MeToo movement.
If you know of other organizations, books, or studies that we should link to, please send them to us at [email protected].
Here is a page that summarizes 25 years of academic studies, surveys, and journal articles about sexual harassment. It includes links to free full-text versions for almost everything.
Here are some places you can go for that information.
In 2017, the government held a series of consultations with the public on workplace harassment and sexual violence. You can read what it learned here.
In 2018, the government released a study on harassment in Canadian workplaces. You can read it here.
In 2020, the Canadian government carried out a major survey on sexual misconduct at work, and you can read the results of that survey here.
This 2020 article presents findings on the prevalence, characteristics, and impacts of inappropriate sexualized behaviours, discrimination and sexual assault in Canadian workplaces.
In 2020, the government also released a report on workers’ experiences of inappropriate sexualized behaviours, sexual assault, and gender-based discrimination. You can read it here.
Aftermetoo has partnered with the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children (CREVAWC) to create training for employers and employees that anyone can take for free online. We encourage you to share that training with your employer.
Problems and mistakes
Thank you for wanting to help! You can report broken things here, and we will fix them as soon as we can.
Thank you for wanting to report a mistake! You can report mistakes here, and we will fix them as soon as we can.
Thank you for wanting to report something that’s out-of-date! You can report it here, and we’ll update the article as soon as we can.
Please use the Report a typo or error form at the bottom of every article to ask your question. We won’t be able to answer you individually, but we will try to edit the article to include the answer to your question. Depending on your question, that might take weeks or even months, so we apologize in advance that you are going to have to wait.
There is a toggle at the top-right corner of the site on every page, where you can change your location.
The site should automatically remember the location you set, until the next time you clear your cache. If it’s not working for you, let us know and we’ll try to help.
We would love to hear from you! Comments, criticism, suggestions, complaints—we welcome them all! You can send us feedback here. Please know that we are unlikely to reply to you, because we’re not resourced to be able to do it. But we do welcome your input, and we will consider it seriously.
Oh, ugh, we are sorry about that.
In publishing the #MeToo stories and some of the anecdotes in articles, we knew that we risked seeming exploitative. We did it anyway, because the research says that people who are being harassed really benefit from hearing the stories and experiences of other people—and our own surveys have found the same thing. People told us they really wanted to hear other people’s stories.
In our storytelling, we tried to put very little emphasis on the actual harassment, and more on how it affected people, and the choices they made afterward. We tried really hard to not sexualize the people who got harassed. But it sounds like for you, at least, we didn’t get it right, and we’re sorry about that.
We’re really sorry. We’ve tried to make it clear on the site that we can’t offer any advice or support for people on an individual basis. We’re not qualified to do it, and we’re not resourced to do it. We’re sorry. There are links here to people who are qualified, and that’s who you should reach out to. We’re really sorry we can’t help. But we really can’t.
Safety exits offer a quick way to close a site. You can see an example on the website of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, where it’s labelled Hide This Site. Safety exits are based on the idea that the person using the site may need to hide it quickly—for example, if an abusive person comes along and sees what they’re doing. This is a common scenario in situations of domestic violence.
Originally, we had planned to have a safety exit on Aftermetoo, but after some research and thinking we decided not to. Our surveys found that most people didn’t expect to need to hide this site quickly. Most said they’d be visiting the site from home, on their phone, and phones are easy to put away or lock. Closing a browser tab is pretty easy, too. So, overall, it seemed to us that most people wouldn’t need or want a safety exit here.
We also didn’t want to make people feel more protected than they actually are. Safety exits really only protect you against someone seeing what site you’re visiting while you’re actually visiting it, when the other person is right there with you. They don’t protect you if your internet browsing is being remotely monitored. They don’t protect you against somebody checking your browsing history or looking at open tabs on your device. They don’t protect you if somebody is using keylogging software to monitor what you’re doing.
So, after a lot of research and thinking, we decided not to have a safety exit on Aftermetoo. That doesn’t mean we’re opposed to them—we’re not! There are lots of reasons why other sites can and should provide a safety exit. We just don’t think safety exits are right for this particular site.
Yeah, we hear you. What we’ve tried to do here is to describe what usually happens, for most people, while making it clear that each person will have their own unique circumstances and experiences. We’re sorry we haven’t reflected yours, and if you want to tell us more about it, we’d be happy to hear from you.
That is definitely not our goal, and we’re really sorry we made you feel that way. We know that when people experience sexual harassment, they feel a lot of pressure to report (and judgement if they don’t), and we don’t want to make people feel that way. This site is a judgement-free zone and we believe that whether to report is a personal decision that only you can make. You know your own situation best, and you are the only person who can decide what’s best for you. We urge you to trust your own instincts.
We’re sorry the site made you feel that way. That definitely isn’t our goal. We know that people who are experiencing harassment tend to get a lot of judgement and pressure to do specific things, and we definitely do not want to add to that. This site is a judgement-free zone and we don’t have a position on whether you should report or not. You know your own circumstances best, and you are the only person who can decide what’s right for you. We urge you to trust your own instincts.
The site is pretty pessimistic! There are lots of reasons to be pessimistic! Workplace sexual harassment has been happening for a long time, and, despite decades of efforts to eliminate it, it is still happening at roughly the same rates. And workplace sexual harassment works: It has successfully pushed out lots of women and 2SLGBTQIA+ people from male-dominated workplaces and industries. That sucks and it makes us mad.
Our goal in making this site was to be honest with you. But we didn’t want to be discouraging, and we’re sorry if we left you feeling discouraged.
The design is pretty cheerful! We did that on purpose, because although workplace sexual harassment is a tough topic, we didn’t think it would help anybody for the site itself to be visually dark and gloomy. And our message is a relatively optimistic one. We believe you are going to navigate your experience well, and we want you to feel empowered and capable as you do it. That’s why the site design is cheerful.
Yes, this is mostly an informational site, so it can be a little dry. If you want to have fun though, maybe check out our Resource Roulette, where people share resources that helped them when they were being harassed. Not everything in Resource Roulette is going to work for everybody, but there are some games and TV shows and movies there that you might like 😊.
We’re sorry. We didn’t want to leave people feeling hopeless. There are things people can do to manage the experience of being sexually harassed, and we want people to leave the site feeling confident and empowered. We’re sorry we got the balance wrong for you.
Our goal is to make the information here accessible to a broad range of people. Like, for people for whom English or French is not a first language, or people who have a low literacy level, or for whom reading is difficult because of a physical disability or cognitive impairment. But there is lots of material here for people who want to dig deeper. You can try our page that summarizes 25 years of academic studies, surveys, and journal articles about sexual harassment, which includes links to free full-text versions for almost all the articles. Or check out the links in our articles, or Resource Roulette.
We’re sorry we made you feel that way. We really didn’t mean to. This site is nonpartisan and doesn’t take any political positions. We don’t support any political parties or party platforms. Our goal is really simple: to support people who are being sexually harassed. Everybody has the legal right to do their job without being sexually harassed, and we believe that right should be defended and protected. That’s our only position.
We want the site to reflect the experiences of everybody who’s been harassed, and if you came here and didn’t see yourself and your experiences reflected, that sucks and we’re really sorry.
Most of the images and stories on this site portray women, and that’s because most people who get harassed are women. But people who aren’t women definitely get harassed, too. We’ve tried to include men and nonbinary people in our text and illustrations, and we’re sorry you didn’t see yourself and your own experience reflected here. Please let us know, and we’ll try to do better in future.
We’re sorry you feel like we’ve been dismissive of those organizations. We really don’t mean to be.
The reality is that filing a human rights complaint is time-consuming and laborious, the process can take a long time to play out, and it’s very common for cases to eventually be dismissed for technical reasons. Every expert knows that. But people who are being sexually harassed often don’t know it until after they’ve made a complaint, and they often end up feeling bad about how the process played out for them. We wanted to make sure people have the information they need up-front, so they can make realistic decisions about what’s possible and what’s best for them.
Some employers are great! But many aren’t. Some employers are well-intentioned, but don’t do a very good job of protecting their employees. Others don’t even try.
We’ve tried to be realistic about how employers typically tend to respond to reports of sexual harassment, and the information we’ve provided is backed up by dozens of studies and surveys. (You can read them here.) The truth is, lots of employers don’t take reports of sexual harassment seriously and don’t live up to their legal obligations to protect people against it, and instead of punishing the harasser, many actually punish the person who reported it. These are all things that experts have known for decades. We think people who are being harassed deserve to know it too.
If you’re a good employer who’s working hard to keep your workplace free of sexual harassment, we see you and we applaud you! Thank you!
We are so sorry! We did our best to collect everybody’s name for the credits page, but we know we missed some people. In a few cases, we weren’t sure whether you would want to be included, and we didn’t have your contact information to ask. Please send us your name and we will gladly add you to the credits page. And thank you for your help!
No problem. If you send us a note we’ll remove your name. Or if we’ve made a mistake in how we credited you, please just tell us what it is and we’ll fix it.
No problem. If you send us a note we will immediately remove your story, no questions asked. You don’t need to explain why you want it to come down. Just send us a note and we’ll take it down.
Please just write and tell us, and we’ll try to figure out what happened.
We’re sorry. That sucks and we’re really sorry if it’s causing you problems. Please send us a note, and we’ll try to find a way to make it clear that the story isn’t about you. If we can’t figure out a way to do that, we will take down the story.
Before we made this site, we did an environmental scan to find out what information was already available for people. We found serious gaps.
People had told us they were looking for information about their rights, how they could get help exercising them, and what outcomes might result from the different choices they could make (like reporting versus not reporting). Some of that information is available online if you dig. But there’s one glaring exception, which is information about outcomes.
The reality is that when people try to exercise their right to not be harassed, the outcomes are often really unsatisfying. For many people, their careers end up damaged, they sometimes lose money, and the whole experience can be hard on their mental and physical health. These are outcomes that experts have known about for decades, and we think you deserve to know them too. That’s why we say that our gift to you is the truth.
But please don’t think we’re implying that anyone is deliberately misleading you: we’re not. It is just honestly really hard to form a holistic picture of the implications of all the choices you could make. To do it, you’d need to consult with all kinds of specialist experts – like sexual harassment researchers, lawyers, therapists, HR experts, economists, statisticians, and people with expertise in trauma. That’s what we’re done here, for you.
We want to be super clear that by giving you information about the pros and cons of various courses of action, we are in no way trying to steer you in any particular direction. We’re really not. We don’t have any opinion about what you should do. Different decisions make sense for different people, and you are the expert on your situation. What you should do is up to you.
We’re not saying people won’t try to help you. They absolutely might. But the unfortunate reality is that workplace sexual harassment happens literally every day, and very often goes completely unchallenged and unpunished.
Here’s what that looks like in practice.
—Various levels of government have passed laws intended to protect people against harassment, and have set up agencies responsible for supporting workplace safety, which includes protecting people against harassment. Even so, harassment is still extremely common.
— In some industries, like restaurant work, construction, law enforcement, and the military, harassment is so common and so widely tolerated by people in positions of authority that practically nobody even bothers to complain about it.
— Research has found that when people do report harassment, it’s common for employers to respond by ignoring the complaint, or disbelieving or minimizing its seriousness. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the employer to respond by punishing the person for complaining. And even well-intentioned employers are sometimes confused about their legal obligations, or don’t understand the seriousness of what’s been reported to them.
— Severe sexual harassment can constitute sexual assault, which is a criminal offence in Canada. However, police are more likely to dismiss sexual assault complaints compared with complaints about other types of crimes, and the legal system is less likely to prosecute and convict them.
— Research has found that when people turn to civil court or human rights tribunals for help, that doesn’t always work out well for them. The systems are slow and can be expensive, the processes are adversarial which can leave people further traumatized, and it is fairly rare for people to get an outcome that, in the end, that they find satisfying.
That’s why we tell you that “people who are supposed to protect you probably won’t.” It’s not that they won’t try. Individuals may – and they might even succeed. But the system as a whole doesn’t work very well, and we think that’s something you deserve to know.
I want more help
We are really sorry to say this, but probably not. We just aren’t resourced to communicate directly with people one-on-one, and we are definitely not qualified to assess or give you advice about your specific situation. If you need advice about your specific situation, we urge you to check out our links to community services that may be able to help you, or to call 211. 211 is not an emergency call like 911; your call will be answered by a person whose job it is to connect you with resources.
No, we don’t. We’re not resourced to do that. However, there is lots of information on the site that can connect you with counselling or legal advice, as well as other kinds of support. We urge you to check out our links to community services that may be able to help you, or to call 211. 211 is not an emergency call like 911; your call will be answered by a person whose job it is to connect you with resources.
Read our article on how to find and work with a lawyer here. It includes tips on how to get a free legal consultation, and explains how legal fees normally work.
This is something 211 can help you find. You can call 211, or see their resources here.
I want to help other people
Thank you for wanting to help! We are grateful! You can donate here, and your donation is tax deductible in Canada. Thank you for wanting to help people who are being sexually harassed in Canada!
Yes! Thank you for wanting to help! You can share your own story of sexual harassment here. If there are resources that helped you when you were being harassed (like a movie or podcast or book), you can share resources with other people here. You can contribute music to our Spotify playlists. We would love if you would send us your feedback about the site.
Please also share Aftermetoo with your friends! This is really important. It’s very likely that someone you know is being harassed right now, but isn’t telling anybody. If you tell other people about this site, you can make it possible for them to benefit from the information here while still maintaining their own privacy. So please tell your friends about us!
Also, you are free to remix and reuse the text material on this site, as long as you comply with the requirements of the licence. That means you are totally free to do things like print off our materials and share them with other people. You can make art out of them if you want! You can make translated versions of our articles and share them on your own site. You could run a social media campaign based on our materials. Here’s where you can read ideas about how to use our materials, and more about the conditions of the licence.
Thank you for wanting to support our work with your time and skills! We really appreciate it.
At this time, we don’t have the staff to coordinate volunteer work in the way that volunteers need and deserve, so we are not offering formal opportunities for volunteering. If you want to help, please share resources that have helped you on our Resource Roulette, or help spread the word about the site on social media and online forums, if you’re comfortable doing so.
We hope to offer volunteering opportunities in the future and, if we do, we’ll update this FAQ. In the meantime, we suggest you reach out to any of the organizations on our support organizations page, which might be able to benefit from your time and skills.
We’re a very small team, and we’re rarely hiring. There’s no point in sending us a general application, because we hire so infrequently. If we have any open positions, you can see them on our jobs page.
No. If we start one in future, we’ll update this page.
We have a really tiny staff! We read everything you send us, but we may not reply.
• Our top priority is to be responsive to people who are having problems using the site. If you send us that kind of email, we will reply as quickly as we can.
• If you are having difficulty donating, or want to talk about how to donate, we thank you, and we’ll reply to you.
• If you send us feedback, we’ll be grateful to get it, and we will consider it seriously, but we will probably not reply to you.
• If you report a problem, we will try to fix it, but we won’t reply unless we need more information to understand what’s wrong.
• If you write asking for help or advice related to your specific situation, we will not reply. We aren’t resourced to support people on an individual basis, and more importantly, we’re not qualified to do it. Honestly, it would be irresponsible for us to even try. If you have written to us seeking help about your specific situation, we urge you to instead phone 211 or browse through the resources they provide.
• If you wrote aiming to sell us services, we will almost certainly not reply to you. No offence! We know you’re just doing your job! But if we know we don’t want what you’re selling, we will not reply to you.
• If you are aiming to partner with us or talk about a project, we will probably reply, but it may take as long as a week or two.
• If you are a journalist writing about Aftermetoo, we will probably reply, but it may take as long as a week. If you’re on deadline, please tell us that, and we’ll try to reply before your deadline.
• If you’re looking for a job or an internship with Aftermetoo, we will probably not reply to you. We wish you all the best in your search, but it’s rare for us to have openings (and we don’t offer internships), and we don’t want to waste your time.
• If you write us trying to pick a fight, or trolling or sealioning or JAQing at us, we will delete your mail and ignore you. There is so much harassment and nonsense “debate” on the internet, and we are sick of it and will not participate in it.
We’re sorry that we can’t always reply to everyone. But we just are not resourced to do it, and we want to be honest with you about that.
The illustrations were made by Justyna Stasik.
We chose Justyna to make our illustrations because we think her work is really great at conveying ambiguity. Sexual harassment can be a confusing experience, and people who are being harassed experience a mix of emotions, often simultaneously. We felt like Justyna’s illustrations do a great job of reflecting that complexity.
If you want to send us any feedback about Justyna’s work please feel free to do it, and we will pass it on to her. (Unless it’s rude or mean. People can be mean on the internet, especially to women. We don’t like that and we won’t participate in it.)