Right To Be’s storytelling platform is a safe space where you can submit your story of any type of harassment. Sharing your story on our platform is proven to reduce trauma for you — and it helps others too, by letting them know they are not alone.
After you share your story with us, it will be read and reviewed by a member of our team. If you are experiencing online harassment or want to support people being harassed online, you’ll need to become a member. Our community can help you document or report abuse on social media platforms, as well as send you messages of support.
Right To Be (formerly Hollaback!) started collecting stories of harassment in 2005 following the story of a woman named Thao Nguyen who bravely stood up to someone who harassed her. Learn more about who we are here and our history here.
Fed up with being harassed online, and angered by the harassment we saw happening across the internet, in 2016, Right To Be launched HeartMob, a platform where people could share online harassment stories and get support from a community of vetted bystanders. The platform was co-founded by Jae Cameron, Jill Dimond, Emily May, Debjani Roy, and Courtney Young.
In 2020, Right To Be partnered with the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and the Coalition Against Online Violence to expand the platform to support women and gender-expansive journalists experiencing online threats. We conducted a series of focus groups with a group of women journalists to understand the usefulness of existing HeartMob features and what changes or new features would better support them. As a result, journalists were able to create a special “journalist account,” as well as tag their stories as journalist stories, allowing for more specific and attentive support. They could also access the Coalition Against Online Violence’s Online Violence Resources Hub.
In 2022, we integrated our storytelling platform and HeartMob so people can share all types of harassment stories and find the support they need in one place. Since 2005, we have received 32,000 stories of harassment.
Recent studies have shown how our platform is an evidence-based promising practice in addressing harassment and in transforming the way that people feel about their experiences. The study Hollaback!: The Role of Collective Storytelling Online in a Social Movement Organization revealed that by posting their story on our platform people were able to see their experiences as part of a larger injustice.
“I became more sure in my conviction that I was right to consider what happened was really, really wrong. Not to just accept it as part of life,” said one participant in the study.
Another study called “Classification and Its Consequences for Online Harassment: Design Insights from Right To Be”, (2017) revealed that users felt validated when their experiences were accepted and labeled as ‘online harassment’ within the platform.
“WHEN I REGISTERED WITH Right To Be’s storytelling platform MY ONLY INTENTION WAS TO GET SOME KIND OF SUPPORT NETWORK… I HOPED TO IDENTIFY WITH SOMEONE DEALING WITH SOMETHING SIMILAR TO ME”
Right To Be’s storytelling platform user
Source: “Classification and Its Consequences for Online Harassment: Design Insights from Right To Be”
Participants agreed that the platform allowed them to connect with users who can empathize with their experiences or who understood the impacts of their situations. One user said: “When I registered, my only intention was to get some kind of support network… I hoped to identify with someone that’s dealing with something similar to me”
The study showed that “a system for categorizing submitted cases according to specific harassment behaviors and their impacts could help connect isolated users with the support they need most”. It also revealed that “labeling abusive behaviors as ‘online harassment’ enables bystanders to grasp the scope of this problem” and encourages them to give support. Labeling harassment as unacceptable seems to be “critical for surfacing norms and expectations about what is and is not acceptable behavior”.
Our goal in offering a space to share stories and get help from a community is to reduce trauma for people being harassed by giving them the support they need — and in doing that work, create an army of good so powerful that it can help disrupt the culture of hate.
A program evaluation of our platform, conducted in June 2021 by Germain Impact Solutions, showed that 64% of users who have experienced online harassment reported that the platform was very helpful or somewhat helpful in making them feel connected to, and supported by, others. One participant said: “The awareness that my case was not unique [was helpful]– this is something that happens quite often – and in some bizarre way that was helpful. Seeing that there is such a large community who have survived these cases.” The study revealed that 57% of people who have experienced harassment reported that the platform was very helpful or somewhat helpful in healing from their trauma. “I was getting exhausted from this harassment. My harassers were like insects, they followed me like bees. This community helped me to alleviate that”, said another participant.
“I was getting exhausted from this harassment. My harassers were like insects, they followed me like bees. Right To Be’s storytelling platform helped me to alleviate that”
Right To Be’s storytelling platform User
Source: Right To Be’s Evaluation Program 2021
About 53 % of people who have experienced harassment said that being part of a community is one of the aspects they get the most value out of the platform, while 44 % said it was seeing other people’s stories and 37 % said getting access to resources. Another 76 % of bystanders found value in sending words of support, while 73 % appreciated reading other people’s stories, and 67 % appreciated being part of a community.
The evaluation exposed that for people who experienced harassment who now support others, supporting others can also be a way of building resilience: “The value is very high because it provides me an opportunity to be able to directly help current victims of something. My biggest draw to it is the potential to directly make a difference in people’s lives. That helps me be willing to wake up on a day-to-day basis knowing what can actually help turn my experience into something because of the power.”