Chapter 5 – How to Navigate Real-Life Situations of Bias, Harassment, and Discrimination

Ok y’all. I’m getting vulnerable here. In Chapter 5 I share my own personal experiences with harassment and how I navigated each situation. One thing I hope you recognize through me describing my own experiences is that with each incident I improved at navigating the next. I learned that experiencing harassment was simply part of my job, it became normal to me, I learned how to better self-care and advocate for myself, and I learned the systems and structures there to oppose and support me. Each incident gave me the opportunity to practice self advocacy, self care, and self love.
While this can sound defeatist, like there’s no hope to avoid harassment, I feel the opposite – I feel empowered. Knowing how to navigate harassment means that if I ever find myself in a difficult situation, I trust that I can navigate my way towards a better place of wellbeing. I have no control over whether I am harassed or not, but I do have control over my reaction and how I navigate the situation.

Tip: If you’d like to discuss navigating harassment with a supportive community and mentors, you’re welcome to join the Resilient in STEM Facebook Community. This is a private community with people who want to support and help you on your journey. You can also offer advice to others in the group!

Harassment Scenarios and
How to Use the Resilience Mindset & Reporting Framework

5.1 The Resilience Mindset & Reporting Framework

The video above is about the Resilience Mindset and the Reporting Framework. Below I provided a downloadable PDF of the Resilience Mindset and Reporting Framework for you. In the subsequent scenario videos, use this PDF as a reference to follow how I apply the Resilience Mindset and Reporting Framework in real life in order to navigate bias, harassment, and discrimination. 

The Harassment Scenarios

A note from Jill:

The following videos are true-stories of harassment through which I learned the skills and knowledge on how to navigate harassment. In each one I show how to use the Resilience Mindset and Reporting Framework as well as share tips with navigating harassment.

These are not in chronological order, and I omitted names and locations involved the incidents because they are not relevant. These types of incidents unfortunately happen all of the time to many different people, so the details are unnecessary.

I recommend watching these with a copy of the Resilient Mindset and Reporting Framework in front of you so that you can follow along.

5.2.1 Is it a Joke or Harassment?

5.2.2 Reporting Harassment in Graduate School

5.2.3 Bias: Genuine Praise or Low Expectations?

5.2.4 Using a Witness to Report Harassment

5.2.5 Subtle Harassment is Dangerous

5.2.6 You Were Born to Stand Out!

5.2.7 Navigating Harassment not Linked to Protected Categories

5.2.8 Reporting Harassment from Clients or Vendors at Work

5.3 Resources for Reporting

5.4 Exercise: Know Your Resources for Reporting Harassment


  1. After this exercise do you feel more or less confident reporting harassment?
  2. If you feel less confident, why?
  3. If you feel less confident, what could help you feel more confident?
  4. What are the gaps in your support system or in the resources?
    1. What information are you missing?
    2. Who may know this missing information? 
    3. Who can you ask for help to answer any remaining questions you may have?

Documenting Harassment

Tip: The document below is important to save &/or print and keep with your records of instances of bias, harassment, or discrimination you’ve faced. In the case that you are harassed, it can feel very emotionally overwhelming making it hard to remember what exactly to document. This STEM Thrive Guides Harassment Documentation Checklist can help you remember as your adrenaline is pumping.

Extra Credit: Listen to ‘5 Ways Documenting Harassment is Life Changing!’ to help gain motivation for starting to document every incident of harassment, discrimination, or bias you witness or experience.

“Secret Tips” For Navigating Harassment

These aren’t so secret anymore! I hope you put these to good use.

Chapter 5 Quiz

(The answers for these are at the beginning of Chapter 6.)

  1. True or False: When you are harassed, it is helpful to have a supportive witness that has more power than your harasser in order to reach justice.
  2. If you feel unsafe in your workplace or school because of a derogatory remark someone made toward you, what should your first action be?
    • Use the 5 variables of the Reporting Framework to determine a strategy for reporting the harassment. 
    • Brush it off or ignore it, and don’t report or document the incident.
    • Document the incident. 
    • Repeat and embody the 5 truths of the Resilience Mindset so that you can empower yourself to reach justice or at least feel safe once again in your school or workplace. 
    • Move to a safe location and perform self-care as needed to improve your emotional state. 
  3. When should you document bias, harassment, or discrimination you experience?
    • When the incident causes physical or mental health issues. 
    • Every single time or every instance, no matter how big or small. 
    • When an issue escalates and you need to formally report the incident(s).
    • Never. 
  4. How soon do you have to report harassment after an incident occurs?
    • Within 24 hours.
    • Within 3 weeks. 
    • Within about half a year or a year, depending on your jurisdiction.
  5. If a colleague or coworker is harassing you but not on the basis of a protected category like sex, gender identity, race, military status, religion, etc., what is one possible basis for filing a formal report?
    • There is no basis for filing a formal report if the harassment does not fall under a protected category. 
    • You may be able to file a report on the basis that the person is creating a hostile work or school environment for you. 

Complete Chapter 5 and Continue on to Chapter 6