Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Boosting the Signal

If you haven't already read Elise Matthesen's excellent post on sexual harassment at SF conventions, then go.  Read now.  Elise discusses how to properly report an incident of harassment - important information to know for everyone who ever might attend a con, because even if you are never the subject of such harassment, you might witness it happening to someone else.  Since Elise spoke out about her experience being harassed by a senior Tor editor at a con party, there's been a veritable blizzard of posts and tweets from other women about their negative experiences at cons (here's a post from Tansy Rayner Roberts with links to a few).  I can't even tell you how sad and horrified I am to hear that so many of my fellow female authors have had to endure such awful behavior.

To extend a shred of hope, I myself have had nothing but good experiences at cons.  I've been to WorldCon the last two years, World Fantasy and my local convention MileHiCon the last three, and had a wonderful time at each, without any inappropriate remarks or touching or anything that would make me feel the least bit uncomfortable.  I don't say this to deny the prevalence of harassment - I know I've been lucky - but to say that I've seen what cons *could* be like for women in an ideal world, and I want very, very badly for every woman to have my experience of a safe, fun event.

But to make that happen, we need people who feel safe enough to do so (women AND men) to stand up and say, THIS IS NOT OKAY, when inappropriate behavior does happen.  Mary Robinette Kowal wrote a great post on why it can be hard to do this - and why you should do it anyway.  More and more cons are putting policies into place, so people will have official recourse.  I know as the organizer for this year's BookSworn party at WorldCon, I'm going to make sure those of us hosting have a plan set in advance for how to handle any inappropriate behavior at our party.  Because con parties should be FUN, dammit, not places where women have to fend off creeps.

ETA: Carrie Cuinn has a great post on how to stop sexual harassment at conventions

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for spreading the word. As with the military's issues, the more people speak up, the better it will be for everyone.

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    1. That's certainly my hope! And I do think it's a hopeful sign that so many people are talking about the issue and how to enact change - seems like not so long ago, complaints were often brushed off with "that's just the way it is, learn to deal."

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