Sexual Harassment: Yes, This Is A Problem
Jul 12, 201310:37PM
I'm known for disagreeing with all parts of the political spectrum. Sometimes, though, the majority IS right.
There's a current discussion of sexual harassment at SF cons going on in various fora. This one has some disturbing specifics:
I believe it.
There's news of an editor at a major house getting released due to allegations of sexual harassment on his part, against convention attendees.
I believe that, too.
I haven't commented on any of these fora, because I don't really have anything to add to their comments. Mine are here.
Yes. This crap happens. This crap should not happen. Demonstrate some manners, and take no for an answer. It's not hard.
Back in my youth, there were a couple of times someone had to tell me no. When they did, I understood what it meant, and left them alone.
I've been fortunate enough not to encounter much of this, partly because I wouldn't hang out with that kind of asshole. I have seen rudeness and drunken silliness, but nothing that was apparent as sexual harassment, at a con in my presence. Be assured if I do, I'll ask you to take the crap elsewhere. Expect that quite a few of us will.
The only significant event I recall was some clown doctoring a woman's drink at one of our parties back in the early 90s. We showed him the door (which is also an in-joke and worth telling), and invited him not to return.
But, I've seen someone try to "accidentally" feel my wife up at a concert. He was drunk and "tripped" and fell over our seats, and put his hand out for "support" and "just happened" to catch one of her breasts. He didn't try again, so there wasn't a lot we could do, but we made sure he was aware that he needed to moderate his intake and actions. (Which is code for saying she offered to settle the matter herself, and I backed her up.)
On the other end, my wife has also been on a field exercise featuring multiple agencies, where a female coworker told high ranking execs that, "She's here because she's a friend of [the male public affairs person]." There are obvious inappropriate connotations to this. And in fact, she was there as the only trained combat photographer. That we've both been friends of that gentleman for two decades isn't relevant.
The annoying part of this incident was that most of the men present didn’t see why this statement was a problem.
1: it's untrue
B) it implies unprofessional and inappropriate romantic or sexual involvement between two people
Iii} it demeans the professional abilities and credibility of both parties.
Awareness is part of the solution.
If you see it, offer a polite reminder that the behavior is unacceptable, ungentlemanly and unladylike, and crass to all around.
If someone reminds you of this, be aware your behavior is reaching a level that others don't find acceptable, and moderate your actions. Stop drinking would be first, followed by going to your room and re-assessing your interactive skills. There is a line between free expression and asocial behavior. When others don't feel safe around you, you've crossed the line.
If the problem persists, either contact convention management to have them address it. If this happens, be ready to support the victim as witnesses. The staff can't do much without evidence.
If getting the staff to do anything is infeasible or impractical, acquire several allies, and deal with it diplomatically. Accompany the culprit, and politely remind him his (or her) behavior is unacceptable and they should leave. Repeat this reminder until they return to their room or leave the convention. It generally takes less than 30 minutes and you can even work in shifts.
Also be aware that there are child predators at conventions. I know of one because at 22 I was just within his range of youthfulness for a doctored drink and a moderately forceful come-on. Fortunately, I am not small, nor weak. I informed the two conventions he frequented as to his antics, as did at least two other people. I haven't seen him since.
We like a variety of politics, faiths, genres, costumes, presentations, hobbies and acts.
As Wil Wheaton puts it: "Don't be a dick."
As I put it to younger troops in the military: Ask yourself, "Would I want my grandmother to see photos of this?"
Simple guideline, eh?