Sometimes, advocacy can open us up to unwanted attention. Being vocal about the things we want to change might encourage other people to judge or criticize us or our ideas. Advocacy can also make people in authority uncomfortable or upset, and they might overreact to the criticism they hear. These steps can help reduce some of the risks of advocating.
1. Protect Your Mental Health
Check in with yourself to make sure you’re not feeling overwhelmed. Keep a journal to keep track of how you’re feeling. Check out Further Resources for more info!
Ask for help if you do feel overwhelmed. People who care about you always want to help!
2. Increase Your Safety
- Tell an adult you trust about your goal.
- Triple-check the privacy on your social media accounts and email.
- Keep evidence of any harassment you experience: screenshots, pictures and print-outs of anything that has to do with your cause.
3. Always Plan Ahead
- Always bring someone with you when you are going to talk about your cause in public.
- Do research before you go to protests. Talk to someone you know who’s been to them in your area.
- What are the safety issues involved in protesting where you live?
- When considering going to a protest, some useful safety questions to ask are:
- Is the protest legal?
- Will there be counter-protesters?
- Does an adult who isn’t going to the protest know you’re going?
- In case you can’t use your cellphone, do you know somebody’s phone number off by heart, or do you have it written on your leg?
- Are the police going to be there? If so, will that make you feel safe?
- Do you have enough water?
- Are you wearing comfortable shoes?