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August 23rd, 2008
02:50 pm

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My personal anti-harassment policy
I consider myself a member of the Gentleman's Auxiliary. If we are at a convention--or anywhere--and I see that you are being harassed, troubled, creeped-out, bullied, abused or in any way inappropriately treated by someone, I will get your back and provide whatever help you might need--or "back the play" of any person who comes to your aid first.

I heard of this effort through the Con Anti-Harassment Project, because someone mentioned on an arisian mailing list that Arisia was reported to have a well-articulated, comprehensive anti-harassment police published online and in the program book. Checking out the CAHP page led me to the OSWBEOU [Open Source Women Back Each Other Up] Project (& Gentleman's Auxiliary).

My participation is gender & orientation neutral. While I'd be a fool to not recognize that it is more likely that I might encounter a man harassing a woman. I will not stand idly by and let anyone be abused, no matter the gender of the aggressor or the victim.

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From:kitwench
Date:August 23rd, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC)
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Question - is there anything in place to help determine whether or not the behavior is mutually consensual ?
I've seen a number of odd occasions wherein the lady (or gentleman) in distress objects heartily to the 'defense'...
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From:happypete
Date:August 24th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)

No...unfortunately...

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...this is one of those things where common sense has to prevail. I can only hope that my "common sense" is good enough so that I never offer a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

Let's just say that I'm not going to pull a transgressor away from an embrace and punch them in the snoot...but I might come up say, "I'm concerned; it looks to me like this person is troubling you. May I help?" If he or she thanks me for my concern, but tells me that my assistance is not needed, I'll leave. If he or she tells me, "You're a nosy, pushy bastard. Mind your own business," [or any variation on the theme] I'll apologize profusely for the intrusion--and leave.

If, however, he or she really needs help, then at least I didn't sit there "minding my own business" while someone was being harassed.
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From:brute_force
Date:August 23rd, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC)

I'm sorry..

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..but it all sounds far to "P.C." for my tastes, and but my hatred of "politically corectness" boarders on mania. If a person says "Back off!", most of the time the "harasser" will realise the error of their ways and toddle off. I've far too many times seen someone complain after the fact of someone bothering them and never having said anything. If one is too cowardly to say anything, then oh well. Now if a person asks for help.. then by all means, I'm there. I'm the anti-christ of the cult of the "victim".
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From:happypete
Date:August 24th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)

Hey, listen...

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...I'm all for people telling bullies to back off. That's what they teach the kids in school these days.

They also teach that by-standers are a powerful enabler of and deterrent to bullies.

That's really all this is...pretty funny that you think that this is "P.C." and dindin thought it was patronizing.

The bottom line is that it's just putting a lot of fancy lingo around the basic question of what you will do if you see someone being harassed.
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From:brute_force
Date:August 24th, 2008 11:47 am (UTC)

I should clarify...

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.. I do not think that helping is "PC".. I think having an "official" document and policy is. I find regulating common decency to be... indecent. I'm not the type to let anyone get hurt while I can do something about it, but I have also noticed a tend in the popularity of being stalked. Bystanders are also pretty good at enabling people who want to feel important by crying for help if someone even looks at them wrong. There have to be a balance and I do not feel that events writing nanny policies will ever promote that balance.
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From:coleoptera
Date:August 23rd, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC)
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I know how uncomfortable it can be for people to want to aid others in situations, especially if they aren't entirely sure of the background or the entire true feelings of the person that appears to be harassed. But having been on both sides, and seen the situations enough, I think the best thing to do is to step up and do something, not that doing something really should be walking up and punching someone in the face. If you're really not sure if your help is wanted, needed or appreciated, it never hurts to start with "Is this person bothering you?" And you can leave it at that if you get what you think is a good response, but you sure don't have it. A lot of people just need a little support to be able to get past a variety of things to do what they wanted to - shock, nervousness, shyness, any natural trait involving the avoidance of confrontation - and ideally for those people, you can help them be that much stronger the next time this might happen.

I consider this almost the antithesis of being PC. This is old fashioned good public manners. For people aiming to be gentlemen, this is chivalry, and there's no reason for that aspect to be dead. I wish more people would grow a pair and stand up for what's right when they are confronted with what is clearly wrong. You're just as much at fault if you know it and walk away.

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From:happypete
Date:August 24th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)

Agreed...

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...punching people in the snoot is never a good idea.

Especially at cons, you might be walking up to a very good set of LARP gamers acting their parts particularly well.

[I know of at least one instance where the participants didn't realize quickly enough that the 3rd party wasn't a fellow LARPer. They didn't drop character; you can imagine the fracas that ensued].
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From:dindin
Date:August 23rd, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
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Is there some reason this has to have a name and a project and rules?

Can't people just say "I'm a human being and if I see people doing something bad I'll take action rather than standing idly by"?

To be honest a "Gentleman's Auxiliary" sounds a bit patronizing.
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From:happypete
Date:August 24th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)

Heh...

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I think the women who set this up were trying to be a bit patronizing to the men--mainly in the "Dudes, we've got this, mmkay...But if you want to help out, you can be in our club..."

It really is pretty much as simple as your second sentence...but you know us geeks, we have to register a domain name, write up a mission statement and manifesto, and all that...

Don't get stressed...hearts are in the right places. This is just how we roll.
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From:dindin
Date:August 24th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)

Re: Heh...

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I'm not stressed, just puzzled. But then again most of what goes on in/around cons puzzles me, in particular the kerfuffle that I believe birthed this. So it's par for the course. :)
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From:happypete
Date:August 24th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)

actually, the virulence of the backlash...

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against theferrett ...really bothered me. I mean, the little spontaneous grope-fest that started the idea notwithstanding, to have anything to do with his proposed grope-a-thon you would have had to ask for, receive, and display a frelling button saying that you had declared your mammaries up for...umm...grabs.
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From:brute_force
Date:August 24th, 2008 11:49 am (UTC)

I Absolutely

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.. agree.
I find nothing wrong with helping.. just in making policy about it.
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From:happypete
Date:August 24th, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC)

the policy does nothing to help the people involved...

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not really...although perhaps it does put people on notice that there are consequences for being an ass.

What it does is give an organization a defense if some cretin decides to sue it or its members because he or she was a jerk and got their ass kicked out for it.
From:chesuli
Date:August 24th, 2008 07:37 am (UTC)
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From:brute_force
Date:August 24th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)

and ..

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.. after you say that, I agree that action should be taken.
That being said, When I can not get some young lady to stop coming up and touching my hair at an event, I do not beleive a new policy should be written.
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From:happypete
Date:August 24th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)

what's the back-story here?

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Maybe if a by-stander had asked her to cut it out that would have helped?
From:chesuli
Date:August 24th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
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From:happypete
Date:August 25th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)

if it works...

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I'm all for it. I stood up and said something publicly because I'm hoping that by doing so I'm making it more likely that others will act the same way [regardless of whether they make a public declaration] and also, perhaps, that potential harassers will find that they have less perception of "safe space" to harass people...

An armed society is a polite society--and in the case of harassing behavior, we can hope the only armament we need is words [with perhaps accompanying Stern Looks].
From:tessercat
Date:August 24th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
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From:happypete
Date:August 25th, 2008 02:13 am (UTC)

hmm...

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well, I'd take the label as a compliment...I guess...but clearly it wasn't enough of a warning to keep this guy from being an ass.

Worse, I've seen cases where that "tough" lable is seen as a challenge, a "dare," if you will--"she may be tough," thinks the jerk, "but she'll 'fall' for me."

I'm going to give your friend the benefit of the doubt and guess that she was so shocked--at his behavior and also possibly at your [appropriate, if forceful] response.
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