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On Bravery, and Public Service - Zer Netmouse
January 31st, 2014
09:51 am

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On Bravery, and Public Service
A lot of people saw twistpeach's original post about an harassment incident at Arisia. I doubt as many have seen her followup. Please take a minute to check it out if you are interested in these issues and our community response.

(TL/DR version: It is important that the main response on this, especially for people who didn't know the perpetrator, is not to focus on shaming him or banning him but to focus on working within your organizations to wipe out institutionalized tolerance of bad behavior.)

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From:theferrett
Date:January 31st, 2014 04:44 pm (UTC)
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Actually, for me, the takeaway is that the goal of organizations is to make this stuff so mundane that reporting it and effectively handling it becomes a non-stigmatized process. And then more people do it, and it winds up being easier to lather, rinse, repeat.
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From:netmouse
Date:February 2nd, 2014 02:37 am (UTC)
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I think we have the same take-away, only you identified the actionable goal, while I made a slightly more vague process-oriented statement. :P

I am very pleased to note that Detcon1's Safety officer has signed up with her local rape crisis center to be a volunteer and get the 40 hours of training included in that, and we are in contact with the Wayne County rape crisis center about getting some training here in Michigan for staff who want it.
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From:the_leewit
Date:February 1st, 2014 07:24 pm (UTC)
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My tl;dr take-away from my experiences, for what it's worth: there are a lot of people who say, "Oh, so many people like to start teh Dramaz!" with the subtext: "And I feel like I or a friend of mine might get excluded by some touchy broad."

But: 1. People who don't respect others' sexual/ touch boundaries need feedback about it, because it may be done in ignorance. It's unfortunate in many ways that fandom is filled with the type of person who feels like the "Shoplifters will be prosecuted" sign is a personal accusation, and I hate to make others feel bad. (No, really, I do.) But you don't get potty-trained if you don't learn to recognize when your body is telling you it's going to pee; you don't learn where your elbows stop without knocking over a few vases; and you don't learn proper empathy without learning to gauge others' reactions without bringing your own baggage to the table;

2. Actual predators, whether they are rapists or people who use manipulation of social pressure/ gaslighting/ boundary creep to get laid, are usually repeat offenders. Yup, it's usually "that guy (m or f) over there." By saying there's a "that guy over there," I'm not saying you are that guy over there, but if you recognize the problem and kick sand over it, you're routing vital dilithium to the "that-guy cloaking chamber", and I'd much rather see that energy used in, I don't know, making guacamole or something. (And by "you," I mean, "they," or even "me." I've never seen you cloak that guy. I really respect your willingness to bring these dialogues to the table. I also appreciate your guacamole.)

3. I find that when calm, swift, effective action is taken when boundary violations are reported, not only do boundary violations drop, people being edgy about violations and willing to say, "Hey, chill, dude," in a non-arm-waving, non-finger-pointing, non-storing-up-resentment-until-you-blow-up-about-a-minor-infringement-because-you-have-been-made-sick-of-constantly-shrugging-things-off manner.

In other words, what Ferrett said, and what you said. Appropriate feedback begets appropriate action. Displays that are not appropriately responded to make for melted engine blocks. Who knew?

Of course, you probably know why I avoid cons these days, so maaaaybe I'm not the best person to talk, here...

Edited at 2014-02-01 07:25 pm (UTC)
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From:netmouse
Date:February 2nd, 2014 02:42 am (UTC)
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Yeah, it's a lot easier to say, "this is the walk we need to walk" than to actually do it. At Eastercon I tried to have a talk with an old friend about why he was creeping me out and pushing my boundaries and I REALLY don't know if what I said made any sense to him. I later saw him talking to another woman whom I believe he is also friends with; he had his arm around her waist and from that point up she was leaning about 45 degrees away from him, which I interpreted as being what she found comfortable as far as distance between their faces, since one of my observations was that he was tending to lean in and speak to me from a face-to-face distance I'm not always comfortable having with lovers, much less *him*. So I doubt my comments sensitized him in any general way. *sigh*

I wish cons seemed like a fun, non-stress place for you to be.
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From:the_leewit
Date:February 4th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
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Oh, no! I'm just trying not to stress other people out by being there.

I'm just super-sensitive to boundary violation, and someone did, probably unwittingly and with the best of intentions. Now that someone is deeply hurt, and for some reason, I can't unruffle my feathers. And that someone has seniority. So, I'm off the con circuit in the upper midwest for the foreseeable future. May go to my local one in October, though... if my kids start ponying up their share of the rent. Sigh. Can't win for forfeiting, here.
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