For someone who didn’t want one kind of attention, this woman has certainly managed to get plenty of another kind of attention.
The rules barred "unwelcome sexual attention". There really isn't any way to know if sexual attention will be unwelcome until after it has been offered, at which point it is too late as you are a harrasser.
people expect to be first addressed and considered and treated on grounds other than their sexual desirability to you. That should be our default assumption. To convey otherwise where this expectation is implicitly in place is to effectively risk being interpreted by the recipient of your sexual request that you are so uninterested in them for anything but sex that you refuse even to take the normal steps of acquaintance and friendship and trust-building but insist instead of just seeing if they are willing to be a sex partner first since that is all that matters.
In my own defense I never said I thought this was in any way appropriate or "no big deal", my issue is what I feel is the misuse of the word "harassment".
My 10 to your 1 that Cardguy didn't read the rules.
SkeptiCamps are informal, community-organized conferences borne from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. Everyone from casual skeptics to the experienced participate, give talks and get to know each other.
Skepticamp is based on the Barcamp model - user-generated open conferences where the content is provided by the participants.
We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Explicit sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue. While some important and relevant issues may touch upon sexual issues, please keep it professional and in an academic context. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference [without a refund] at the discretion of the conference organizers.
when a man shows that he has no care or knowledge about social norms as it relates to expressing (especially overtly sexual) attractions, i worry that my consent or interests isn't of importance to him and then i worry if i'm safe walking to my car later or back down the same hallway.
SkeptiCamp is a one-of-a-kind event coming Memorial Day weekend, and this year there are two great speakers, Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist blog (as well as selling his soul on ebay) fame and Skepchick and the anti-Jenny McCarthy, Elyse Anders! Skeptics will be gathering from all over the state and beyond to listen and watch a series of presentations made by fellow attendees or maybe even YOU. Although you do not have to present to attend, everyone contributes in some way. The event goes until 6PM and I would not be surprised if you will be able to find a group of skeptics to have a great Saturday night with at a local bar or restaurant. How often do you get to meet and party with skeptics from all over the state?
zarq: I do. All the time. I do it without fear that I'm going to be assaulted, kidnapped or raped by other males on the street. I do it without being a target of unwanted catcalling or attention. I do it without being worried that someone else might put me in bodily danger. I do it without worrying that everyone around me is a potential threat? Do you know why? Because I don't have to. Because I'm a guy.
If it was a babysitting card, do you think there would be a blog post and 200 & counting comment thread on mefi, about this offensive babysitting card?
No. This oversimplifies my point. I was talking about the justifiable concerns that women have regarding being safe at night, and the fact that men do not hold concerns along similar lines because there are specific, cultural differences in Western society regarding the way women are treated by men, compared to the way men treat men. That women are more at risk for sexual advances, rape and certain types of assault.
Yes means yes, no means no, and maybe means no. Please take no for an answer, for everything from simple social requests to intimate encounters. Do not corner people socially - if someone is looking trapped, give them space. Sexual or other harassment will not be tolerated at this event. We encourage you to seek enthusiastic consent for all activities during the weekend.
No touching other people without asking! (Or unless you already have that sort of relationship with them.) We really mean it. This means no random hands on knees, shoulders, etc. We know this is California and everyone hugs, but please do that awkward "wanna hug?" gesture before actually hugging. When in doubt about any kind of social or erotic touching, please ASK FIRST. We have attendees who do not like to be touched, and they will like you much better if you respect their personal space.
I’ve gotten dozens of other comments here, on other blogs, on Facebook, and in e-mails that reflect the same sentiment. And I knew I would get them. Every woman knows she will get them. Every time she speaks up. Every time. And sometimes it’s just exhausting. It hurts a little, having to relive it and be called names and a liar, but ultimately it just makes you tired, completely bone-weary, and a little heartbroken.
Similarly, resources, help-and-crisis-lines, policies, report structures, sensitivity training programs, sexual assault/harassment workshops, etc. will all completely overlook the existence of trans people, much less our specific needs in relation to these issues and how to have those needs met in a compassionate, understanding way, and not provide any structures in place to help us in the event that we do end up being victims of sexual assault, harassment or violence, or rape.
Now listen up, children. I was 70 last week and I have been on to this since I was 12. In my lifetime and in just one country I have seen changes to the teaching of maths and science, the professions opened to women, the banking system woken up so that it no longer demands a male countersignature, individual taxation for couples, women’s refuges and rape crisis centres, clarification of what rape is and stalking on the books as a criminal offence plus other changes to the law. And so on and so forth. And marched and wrote and spoke and supported comrades in the fight.
In the course of that I have met an amazing number of totally impressive people, people I have been so proud to know. Not a few of them on this very blog where I come for the very clarity of thought, effective communication, depth of commitment and experience which has always proved to be far more effective than any amount of mealy-mouthed wanking.
We are not there yet and sometimes that get a bit frustrating. Some of us, though, know exactly what we are aiming for and it is still eyes on the prize.
The conflagrations work. They raise consciousness. They make people recognize that sexism is real, and is fucked-up, and is worth fighting.
msalt: The hostile environment standard does not require a "position of power over the victim."
True, but it's kind of the exception that proves the rule...
a single mother who is grabbed, verbally accosted every day for years, threatened with job loss if she doesn't submit, and not rarely raped
Smaller acts add up to a larger effect if they are ongoing or inescapable. Being asked out on a date once in a place or a manner that you consider to be unacceptable is a small annoyance. Being unable to hang out at a event with your friends without being interrupted by someone who thinks they’re entitled to stand as close to you as they want is quite something else.
People aren’t oysters. If something is continually irritating us, we move. If harassing behavior is pervasive in a organization, participation in that organization is denied to or severely limited for anyone who doesn’t excrete the equivalent of mother of pearl.
As people are not oysters, it also doesn’t matter whether the irritant someone encounters today is the same as the irritant they encountered yesterday. This is why a single act from a single person is not necessarily “no big deal”. It can still constitute harassment if it occurs where other similar acts are happening. One small act by one person can’t create a hostile environment, but it can certainly contribute to one.
SkeptiCamp Ohio is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion or beliefs in the Boogeyman. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form.
Explicit sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue.
I do think that vaguely worded guidelines like prohibitions on "unwanted" or "unwelcome" sexual advances are problematic. I think reasonable people, who don't engage in behavior most of us would describe as harassment, have legitimate and reasonable concerns that such policies could lead to them facing official sanctions, such as firing or being banned from a conference, if they engage in ordinarily innocuous behavior such as flirting or asking someone on a date, if they get turned down or rebuffed and the other person decides to make a complaint.
Which leads to what I think I am happy to say I thought was a bad rhetorical strategy - although I am not operating in an official capacity when I say that - of imagining a woman who has been "not rarely raped", and further imagining that, upon meeting this woman, Elyse's response would be not, say, "I am very sorry to hear that", say, but something like "What happened to you could be described as sexual harassment, as could what happened to me - therefore, I have suffered as you have". Which is complicated by, as corb says, a not-negligible number of people in the discussion - including Elyse - potentially being survivors of sexual assault.
One overture, without coercion, threat of violence or repetition, I don't think that's comparable to a single mother who is grabbed, verbally accosted every day for years, threatened with job loss if she doesn't submit, and not rarely raped. But that more severe scenario that is not, sadly, uncommon. I find it offensive for this blogger to say "Yeah I had that happen to me too."
(Includes a copy of the policy.)
As a member of the Python community, we pledge only to attend, speak at, assist, sponsor, or otherwise participate in conferences that publicly promote an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination code of conduct policy.
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