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May 23 2012

Real Progress

Five atheist conventions have reacted to my two posts on speakers behaving badly and harassment policies (plus all the commentary there and all over the atheist blogosphere O.o):

  • The Secular Student Alliance will make their harassment policy more public.
  • The American Atheists will adopt a formal, public policy.
  • Freethought Festival will adopt a formal, public policy.
  • The Minnesota Atheists will adopt a formal, public policy for their events, including their convention this summer, as confirmed to me through email.
  • Skepticon will adopt a formal, public policy.

Additionally, Zach Moore has announced:

The next secular event I attend or organize will have a clear anti-harassment policy or it won’t happen. Simple as that.

Ian Bushfield, president of the British Columbia Humanists, has said something similar about conventions he plans.

That’s a good start, particularly for all happening within three days, but it’s obviously not enough. If you go to conventions, look for their harassment policies. If you can’t find them, or they don’t amount to anything more concrete than “We’re agin’ it”, tell the organizers you want them to do better. Volunteer to help if you can. Then come back and tell us what they said or what kind of policy they have.

There is more in the works too.

New conferences are sprouting like weeds. This is a good thing, but it means that not everyone running a con necessarily has information on handling this stuff up front. This is true for a lot of parts of con-running, actually, which is why I’ve started a new project. The aim is to collect how-to knowledge on running a con. This will include a lot more than the professional HR aspects, of course, but it will contain those as well. I’m not sure where the information will be hosted, but it will be publicly available and hopefully linked widely.

On top of that, Jen has mentioned the idea of speakers using their clout to put pressure on the organizations that want them to speak. This is shaping up to look something like a speakers union, where speakers can sign up to endorse a number of behavioral codes independently. Speaker A could say s/he won’t speak at any event without the kind of harassment policy we’ve already been looking for and that s/he won’t make sexual advances to con staff and audience members. Speaker B could endorse those and additionally state that any event s/he speaks at will have to have approximate parity in speaker gender and representation of racial minorities.

The details of the various codes haven’t been worked out. Feel free to argue about them in the comments. People are paying attention right now. Use the moment.

If there is demand, there may be an attendee union put into place as well. This would look a lot like the speakers union but with more ease of getting on and off the list. So what do you think. Is there demand?

I’ve also seen ideas about conferences sharing or consolidating data to make it easier to identify problem speakers and attendees and to increase accountability across events. I’ve seen someone talk about meeting for event planners, though that sort of thing might be well folded into student leadership conferences, with accomplished planners sharing knowledge on panels. I’m sure I’ve seen other interesting ideas, but it’s been a whirlwind few days.

So tell me, what else may help?

71 comments

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  1. 1
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    … and some people always complain that the real problem is complaining, and that if everyone would just hush up and not put people on the spot then the problems would work themselves out. Total BS, obviously.

    What else could help? I don’t know, but with the way you folks are kicking ass it seems like if you can keep the momentum going you’ll get just about everything you can think up implemented. Maybe not exactly an attendee’s union, but sort of maybe organizing voluntary teams of folks to look out for each other, led by people who everyone knows can be trusted? It would probably feel more welcoming to new people to be included in that way, and you could have them all sign a pledge to avoid behaving in negative ways… as a way to sort of clue new men in to the fact that sexist behavior is unacceptable without singling them out, and letting women know that the group has their back and is looking out for them.

  2. 2
    Robert B.

    Wow, way to go for all those conventions and organizers. It seems to me, agreeing this fast is a sign that these people and groups were already sympathetic to the objective, not just worried about bad PR or economic pressure. It speaks of an “Oh, hey, that’s a good idea!” sort of reaction.

  3. 3
    Chorasmia

    Watching the marginally relevant atheist movement comment on it changes in its internal affairs as if they constitute “real progress” is sort of like watching people who’ve made a killing in Monopoly money act as though it’s real wealth.

  4. 4
    Chorasmia

    *on changes

  5. 5
    embertine

    Actually, I think just gaining a consensus that this behaviour is unacceptable will put pressure on those who have a habit of acting like douchenozzles not to do so. Of course, the genuinely malicious harassers will probably not be put off, but hopefully will feel a bit cornered.

  6. 6
    John Morales

    Grats, Stephanie.

    (Impressive!)

  7. 7
    ...

    Yes, bring on the anonymous accusations, secret lists, and throw out all concepts of facing the accuser, standards of evidence and the rest of it.

    This will go well, I am sure.

  8. 8
    I'm_not

    Phew, that’s that sorted then. Meanwhile, back in the real world…

  9. 9
    Chorasmia

    I suspect that imposing stricter and quite possibly unreasonable norms on the community will tend to marginalize the atheist movement even further than it already has been now, as it becomes an increasingly self-congratulatory, insular circlejerk.

    Which is just as well because, even as an atheist, I don’t exactly want these types representing me.

  10. 10
    John Morales

    Chorasmia, are claiming that an anti-harassment policy is quite possibly an unreasonable norm to expect at conferences/conventions?

    (Because if you are, then I understand how you’d not wish to be represented by those who share such norms)

  11. 11
    Stephanie Zvan

    Poor little elipses, so out of the loop on what’s actually being proposed. So why is it that you’ve commented on three of my last four posts but skipped the one that demonstrates how baseless these fears to which you cling are? Would you have to stop clinging?

  12. 12
    Chorasmia

    Chorasmia, are claiming that an anti-harassment policy is quite possibly an unreasonable norm to expect at conferences/conventions?

    After “Elevatorgate”, I suspect that what counts as “harassment” is excessively broad.

    Given most intelligence forecasts of how the world will look like in the coming decades (it’s not pretty), I think that people in the atheist movement will go to their graves rather disappointed in themselves for having wasted their lives on this sort of frivolous bullshit.

  13. 13
    John Morales

    Chorasmia:

    After “Elevatorgate”, I suspect that what counts as “harassment” is excessively broad.

    I see.

    Your stated basis is suspicion; the basis for that suspicion is your perception of “Elevatorgate”, and presumably your basis for that is that under such policies the events in that incident would fall into the category of behaviour proscribed by such a policy.

    It may be that you wish to become even more informed so that your suspicions may be based on a more factual basis, so I helpfully draw your attention to this portion of Stephanie’s earlier post: The Geek Feminism Wiki has put together an excellent sample policy you can adapt to your event and your needs.

    Given most intelligence forecasts of how the world will look like in the coming decades (it’s not pretty), I think that people in the atheist movement will go to their graves rather disappointed in themselves for having wasted their lives on this sort of frivolous bullshit.

    I imagine your concerns and suspicions about people in the atheist movement possibly further marginalising it and also wasting their lives on such frivolous bullshit as having (and hopefully enforcing) a non-harassment policy at their conventions have been duly noted and apportioned the weight they merit by those who have read them.

  14. 14
    tynk

    @John Morales
    Nicely said, I always find it confusing when people of any group can find a way to take the stance that having a policy prohibiting harassment is a bad thing. We are seeing the same thing in U.S. policies being pushed right now. Whether it is in the form of excluding sexual harassment from anti-bullying legislature or from repealing laws that say women deserve the same pay for the same work.

    A policy against harassment is a good thing. Harassment is bad. No idea why that is so hard for some people to understand.

  15. 15
    Chorasmia

    Well what can I say: if you feel your life is well spent obsessing over really minor first world problems and that you can look back on it all when you’re old and withered and say “I did something meaningful”, then it’s your prerogative.

    That being said, I’m betting the outcome will be quite different, and a lot funnier.

  16. 16
    penn

    Chorasmia, how are you going to feel looking back on a life spent trying to stop people from fixing “really minor first world problems”? If you want to go cure malaria, or provide universal sanitation, or fix climate change go ahead and do it. Don’t just vaguely criticize other people about their priorities.

  17. 17
    John Morales

    tynk, I can think of one pretty obvious reason why someone might not be amenable to the introduction of norms that discourage harassment, but I understand you mean to refer to otherwise well-meaning people.

    It does seem odd; possibly it’s a reaction to perceived authoritarianism.

    Chorasmia, obsession is a pretty strong term which I think generally inapplicable to those pursuing this initiative, but it’s generous of you to consider that it’s people’s prerogative to pursue their own goals.

  18. 18
    Chorasmia

    Chorasmia, how are you going to feel looking back on a life spent trying to stop people from fixing “really minor first world problems”

    Pretty good. I like drawing attention to other people’s deficits of reason.

    More seriously, the overarching goal of my life is the acquisition of knowledge. That I can point out that people are stupid in the process is a nice byproduct.

    Chorasmia, obsession is a pretty strong term which I think generally inapplicable to those pursuing this initiative

    Nearly everyone I’ve talked to outside the atheist echo chamber thinks you’re intolerable harpies with ridiculous priorities.

  19. 19
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    It’s amazing how self-proclaimed “skeptics” cry out how unfair and witch-hunty some anti-harrasment policies that have not been written yet are.

    But I’ve got a question for you:
    A woman is pinched in the butt by a man. Do you consider that to be harrasment?
    If yes, what would you think to be a suitable anti-harrasment procedure and how is she supposed to prove it unless he had very dirty fingers?

  20. 20
    Chorasmia

    A woman is pinched in the butt by a man. Do you consider that to be harrasment?

    Yeah.

    how is she supposed to prove it unless he had very dirty fingers?

    Don’t know. Burden of proof rests with the plaintiff though.

  21. 21
    Stacy

    the overarching goal of my life is the acquisition of knowledge

    Gee, when you put it like that, you don’t sound the least bit silly.

  22. 22
    Chorasmia

    Gee, when you put it like that, you don’t sound the least bit silly.

    Do you have a problem with that goal?

  23. 23
    Stacy

    Burden of proof rests with the plaintiff though.

    Legal standards obtain in courts of law, not in ordinary human interaction.

  24. 24
    Stephanie Zvan

    Chorasmia, your concern was noted far upthread. Harpies were Greek deliverers of justice. They weren’t meant to be tolerated.

    Now go back to your little friends who couldn’t even scrape up that much knowledge between them. The adults have work to do.

  25. 25
    Timid Atheist

    Don’t know. Burden of proof rests with the plaintiff though.

    I do so love when people make this argument in regards to sexual harassment and rape. Because it’s obviously much worse if the victim is lying than if they’re telling the truth.

  26. 26
    Stephanie Zvan

    Chorasmia is acting very much like Chris Hever, who knows well that he’s not allowed here. He’ll probably keep morphing for a bit. Ignore those comments. They’ll go to spam as soon as they’re seen.

  27. 27
    jamessweet

    This is great! While I’m not sure how effective it will be in regards to the more borderline stuff, if there’s any teeth to these policies at all then I expect it will have a tremendous effect on the really blatant stuff that has been described recently.

  28. 28
    penn

    Pretty good. I like drawing attention to other people’s deficits of reason.

    Are you going to ever do that on one of these threads? I haven’t noticed a single deficit of reason that you’ve pointed out in this thread. You’ve just said there are more important things in life to worry about even though you’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on this thread yourself. If people fixing minor problems is a waste of life then I’d argue that complaining about and trying to obstruct people fixing minor problems is a much bigger waste.

    More seriously, the overarching goal of my life is the acquisition of knowledge.

    Really? Is that what you are doing in this thread? Or are you just complaining that people are concerned with something you aren’t. Do you go to gaming forums and blogs and tell them that gaming is a waste of time? What about knitting, LARPing, or coin collecting?

  29. 29
    Stephanie Zvan

    Folks, I’m pretty sure this is Hever. Please do not engage: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/01/27/troll-alert-do-not-engage/

    Also, I’m not just asking because it’s a derail. The last couple of comments he’s left have been directed at me, with sneers about things I’ve said in old posts. It’s clear he’s already got a personal hate-on for me. DO NOT FEED IT.

  30. 30
    karmakin

    Putting these policies in place looks like a very good thing. I’m still concerned, until I see them, that the policies are going to be too narrow to be effective and based upon reactions and not actions, but I’ll keep an open mind.

  31. 31
    Greg Laden

    I suspect that imposing stricter and quite possibly unreasonable norms on the community will tend to marginalize the atheist movement even further than it already has been now, as it becomes an increasingly self-congratulatory, insular circlejerk.

    Nope. As I’ve been saying now for about a year (as we come up on a key anniversary) the skeptics/atheist movement simply needs to do what many other grown up ventures, movements, institutions, etc. have already done a long time ago. It is time to professionalize.

  32. 32
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yep. What Greg said. Business conferences have done it. Science fiction conventions have done it. Our situation is a bit of both, so we’ll be pulling information from both to help make sure con runners end up with the kind of experience they want to create and everyone, whether there for business or fun, has a good time.

  33. 33
    Adam Lee

    Another salutary effect of having these policies, which we can already see developing, is that people who are angry at the mere existence of such a thing will stop attending cons that have them. Since I suspect the overlap between these people and actual harassers is significant, this is a net gain.

  34. 34
    Emptyell

    “Putting these policies in place looks like a very good thing. I’m still concerned, until I see them, that the policies are going to be too narrow to be effective and based upon reactions and not actions, but I’ll keep an open mind.”

    Even if they are narrowly and carefully written the effect will be to make clear that such behavior is inappropriate/unacceptable, make it harder for people to behave that way and easier for others to call them out on it. It seems all upside potential to me.

    On the other end, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that it’s not the start of a secular humanist inquisition. I forget though, if he sinks is he a sexist douchbag or is it the other way around?

  35. 35
    Besomyka

    Even if there is no current harassment, publicly implementing an anti-harassment policy is still a net-good and should be done.

    The arguments against it proposed in this thread remind me of the GOP’s argument against fair pay and the VAW Act. It’s horribly wrong headed, an opinion born of ignorance and fear.

    Making rules for proper behavior should not need to wait for there to be a crime committed before acting, particularly if there’s general agreement that the behavior being prohibited is wrong.

    Acting to combat potential future harassment and encourage the participation of a more diverse people does not take away from efforts of those people to address other problems as well. The argument is empty.

    Good on you Stephanie, and good on the organizers that have responded so quickly. Despite the few unbelievably misogynist people that have come out of the woodwork, it’s heartening to see that the people that matter are sensible.

  36. 36
    celticwulf

    OK, with all of the people saying “oh noes” I’m wondering if they’ll get it in their head to put on their own conference with a pro-harassment policy ;) Nobody actually rational would go, but hey, it would be exactly what they seem to be saying they want :)

    Great job on how it’s gone so far with getting policies in place, hope the biggest name conferences will jump on board soon too. :)

  37. 37
    Emptyell

    I suspect that imposing stricter and quite possibly unreasonable norms on the community will tend to marginalize the atheist movement even further than it already has been now, as it becomes an increasingly self-congratulatory, insular circlejerk.

    “unreasonable norms” WTF?

    So it’s much better to alienate half the population than to make a few (circular) jerks uncomfortable?

  38. 38
    IslandBrewer

    Wow, three posts in and you got the “Evil radical FtBers imposing their unreasonable nazi-like standards on conventions” at the same time as “Oh, look, this has no relation to the REAL world!” Posts.

    I was expecting at least 5 posts before that started.

  39. 39
    jamessweet

    Yes, bring on the anonymous accusations, secret lists, and throw out all concepts of facing the accuser, standards of evidence and the rest of it.

    This will go well, I am sure.

    Ever worked with a company that has a strong anti-harassment policy? ‘Cause I do. And it doesn’t actually go down like that, so… Grow up.

    Moreover, it’s baffling to me all the people who are referring to this as “secret lists”, when the entire point of this conversation has basically been, “Hey, this ‘secret list’, private networking solution doesn’t seem to be working all that great. What can we do that’s better?”

  40. 40
    Gregory in Seattle

    HAVING anti-harassment policies is not the same as ENFORCING anti-harassment policies. Case in point: the many public schools that have, but refuse to enforce, policies that are supposed to curb bullying.

  41. 41
    leftwingfox

    This is some very welcome news, and I’m glad to hear it.

  42. 42
    Greg Laden

    Where is TAM in this, do we know? Did they already have a policy? I may have just missed news about this.

  43. 43
    Desert Son, OM

    Stephanie,

    Business conferences have done it. Science fiction conventions have done it. Our situation is a bit of both, so we’ll be pulling information from both to help make sure con runners end up with the kind of experience they want to create and everyone, whether there for business or fun, has a good time.

    Three cheers, with thanks, and congratulations on your efforts getting recognition and implementation. This has been a welcome post of good news to read today. Thanks again.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  44. 44
    I'm_not

    To bring up this subjects’s Godwin, I assume none of you would have voted for Clinton then?

  45. 45
    Stephanie Zvan

    To bring up this subjects’s Godwin, I assume none of you would have voted for Clinton then?

    Congratulations. You may be responsible for the stupidest tu quoque argument ever. “Hey! You know you’re not pure enough to do anything about sexual harassment because you voted for the guy who hurt a few women instead of the guys who would have hurt millions, right?”

    Damn.

  46. 46
    I'm_not

    #46 Bill Clinton was and is a predatory male who uses his power and position to get laid. I don’t know his “success rate” but I am willing to bet he has creeped quite a few women out over the years before he got what he wanted. I’m not defending it, quite the opposite, it’s just a fact we know about him. He pokes the payroll. I use him as an example because it is a matter of public record.

    He pokes the payroll in organisations that legislate against that kind of thing and gets away with it because he’s Bill Clinton.

    I assume your comment about other people hurting millions means you are assuming I’m a Republican? I’m European and left wing, and that’s left wing by European standards, not American ones.

    You are not going to legislate this away. You are going to have to, as individuals, whenever it happens, stand up to the sleaze balls and make a big fuss.

    Everyone else is going to have to tacitly agree to stand at your shoulder and back you up.

    The only way this will change is from the bottom up and it seems to me the will is certainly there.

  47. 47
    Emburii

    ‘You are not going to legislate this away. You are going to have to, as individuals, whenever it happens, stand up to the sleaze balls and make a big fuss.’

    …but if they name names then they’ll get accused of setting up ‘blacklists’ and trying to threaten people’s income, as per the thread over at PZ’s and Blag Hag’s. Adding names to it just means the cries will shift from ‘You’re oppressing [unnamed people]!’ to ‘You’re oppressing [named person]!’

  48. 48
    I'm_not

    So don’t do it here, do it when it happens! Punch the sleazy fucker if you can, I’ll happily hold his arms while you do.

    Put the despicable fuckers on the spot there and then, or as close to there and then as is possible, comfortable in the knowledge somebody, most body, everybody, has your back.

  49. 49
    Utakata

    @ I’m_not says:

    Hey, I’m left wong too. But I try not to make these stupid kind of arguements.

  50. 50
    I'm_not

    Why is it stupid please?

  51. 51
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    I’m_not #49:

    Punch the sleazy fucker if you can,

    So your solution is assault? Yeah, that’s totally not going to escalate things.

  52. 52
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m not

    So don’t do it here, do it when it happens! Punch the sleazy fucker if you can, I’ll happily hold his arms while you do.

    I guess I can finish your sentence with “I’m not a 1,60m female”. Because you just claimed that it is my duty to violently attack a guy who is in 95% of cases taller and stronger than me and quite often alone with me.
    Yeah, and if I fail to risk my teeth it’s obviously my fault.

  53. 53
    Drivebyposter

    So your solution is assault? Yeah, that’s totally not going to escalate things.

    The only way to end inappropriate physical contact is with more inappropriate physical contact. Duh. It’s sympathetic magic.

    /sarcasm.

  54. 54
    Jadehawk

    comfortable in the knowledge somebody, most body, everybody, has your back.

    I’m_not is not from Europe; I’m_not is from fucking lalaland. a woman who physically assaults a man as retribution for harassment is going to find herself in jail and forever used in MRA statistics in no time. And that’s only if she’s lucky enough not to find herself in the homicide statistics, as yet another victim.

  55. 55
    Emburii

    ‘So don’t do it here, do it when it happens! Punch the sleazy fucker if you can, I’ll happily hold his arms while you do.’

    Put the despicable fuckers on the spot there and then, or as close to there and then as is possible, comfortable in the knowledge somebody, most body, everybody, has your back.

    This is also assuming all people have the wherewithal to fully, completely, or openly react at the time of the assault. Some people freeze up in times of stress, and that’s not their fault. Not everyone’s reaction to stress is immediate, either; they could keep going as if nothing happened for ten minutes or something until it fully sinks in and then they’re a wreck, then they’re angry. But by then it’s going to be seen as a little late to act.

    The default assumption that it is the victim’s duty to fight dumps more shame and stress on a victim who didn’t immediately come up swinging at a time when said person least needs it. It’s also a handy excuse from abusers not to apply any sort of thought or temperance to their actions because obviously it’s someone else’s duty to let them know when they’ve crossed the line; ‘she didn’t slap me or say anything, how was I supposed to know that this woman I’ve never even spoken to directly didn’t like me describing out loud what I wanted to do to her tits in her hearing range and in front of a bunch of other people?’

    This is further assuming that most people WILL have your back in a conflict and that’s not a guarantee by any means. When I look at how a fairly large chunk of the skeptical population treated Rebecca Watson, I (and others, it seems) kind of lose any hope that I could take their support in a messy situation as a given. If it’s a man and especially one who has power and clout and it’s your word against theirs…’It was a joke’. ‘I didn’t touch her, she just wants attention’ or ‘it was an accident’. Guess who’s more likely to be believed?

  56. 56
    Emburii

    Ack, what I typed as ‘your word against theirs’ should more read as ‘my word as a woman against theirs’ for that last paragraph. I hummed a few bars, maybe someone with better writing skills can finish the rest of the song.

  57. 57
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    a woman who physically assaults a man as retribution for harassment is going to find herself in jail and forever used in MRA statistics in no time.

    Only if she’s lucky. If she’s unlucky she takes a detour via the hospital, if she’s very unlucky it’s the cemetery (50% of women murdered in Germany* are murdered by their male (ex) partner).

    *That’s in Europe, btw

  58. 58
    I'm_not

    A pinch on the ass was used as example on one of the threads pertaining to this problem. If someone pinches your ass I believe you are perfectly justified in slapping that person or, if you have one, throwing your drink over them.

    It works. It works especially well if you can be confident the other people in the bar think sleazing isn’t appropriate behaviour. It would seem the victims of this behaviour at these events aren’t confident that they have the back-up and that is a problem no amount of legislation will solve.

  59. 59
    Stephanie Zvan

    What’s all this derailing bullshit about legislation? We’re talking about putting strong, public anti-harassment policies in place that include reporting procedures and responsibilities for event staff. We’re talking about explicitly creating situations in which someone who is harassed knows who has their back–or is able to hold event organizers responsible if those people don’t. We’re talking about organizational solutions to an organizational problem.

    You don’t appear to have put nearly as much time into reading as you have into objecting, or you’d know that. So, since you’ve wasted large amounts of my time and everyone else’s, be very, very careful if you still feel the need to pontificate here. You don’t really have any more chances to get the basics right.

  60. 60
    Raging Bee

    Bill Clinton was and is a predatory male who uses his power and position to get laid.

    “Predatory?” Please. He had consensual sex with adults who had plenty of opportunity to walk out, and plenty of access to whatever support they would have needed to press charges against him, had they chosen to do so. That’s not “predatory.” Priests and other unchecked authoritarians raping boys is “predatory.” “Cheating” is not the same as “predatory.” Learn the meaning of words before you use them, okay?

    I don’t know his “success rate”…

    In other words, you say he’s bad but you really have no clue how bad he is or is not. You’re a Republican, aren’t you?

  61. 61
    Utakata

    @ I’m_not

    …to answer your question, I am allowing regulars here to dissect and explain why your arguements are full of stupid. That is, thread derailing (lol, Bill Clinton), cowboy vigilante, from a male priveledge stupid amoung other stupid.

    This is not to suggest you are stupid yourself. I have met, seen and/or read many intelligent folks (ie. Abbie Smith) make incredibley stupid arguements. And even I (though the jury is still out whether I am intelligent or not) have made some really stupid arguements. But thankfully here at FTB, you have the priveledge of many well rounded readers here pointing out your stupidy, including the host of this blog. My strongest recommendation is to listen to them. And then take a few days or so to digest what they have said…and hopefully you can come to a more well rounded and reasonable understanding of your stupid arguements.

    Back to lurking…

  62. 62
    Jadehawk

    It works especially well if you can be confident the other people in the bar think sleazing isn’t appropriate behaviour.

    and how can I have this confidence, without a harassment policy?

    yeah, didn’t think so.

    and no, physically assaulting someone is still an unwise response, because it’s illegal and a potential escalation of the problem.

  63. 63
    Emburii

    ‘…It works especially well if you can be confident the other people in the bar think sleazing isn’t appropriate behaviour. It would seem the victims of this behaviour at these events aren’t confident that they have the back-up and that is a problem no amount of legislation will solve.’

    Says you. I feel a lot more confident when people are willing to acknowledge there could be a problem,and when they are willing to put steps on place for recourse so that, for instance, I don’t have to risk my personal safety in assaulting someone who may be bigger or stronger than I am.

    I notice you also haven’t addressed what happens if someone leverages their power to say ‘it was an accident’ (the hundredth time) or ‘I didn’t do it, she’s just looking for attention’ (like how some people say that EG was made up). Then the victim looks bad for being so ‘unreasonable’, especially if she’s using your direct approach. On the other hand, if she reports it and the channels are in place…well, it’s harder to intimidate an avalanche.

  64. 64
    Melody

    Hold the phone! Maybe we should reconsider! The very respectable Russell Blackford thinks any sexual harassment policy is “Talibanesque.”

    “There’s also the small issue of some people wanting to introduce Talibanesque codes of conduct that go far beyond any legal requirements into the atheist/skeptic/secularist movements. I’m glad these people don’t have any actual political power.” — Russell Blackford

    Super feminist Miranda Celeste Hale agrees.

  65. 65
    Jen

    Come on, Melody. We established that this is terribly wrong on twitter earlier this week. It’s not the Taliban – it’s the Galiban.

  66. 66
    Greg Laden

    Who is Russell Blackford and why do we care what he thinks?

  67. 67
    Melody

    He’s one of the most prominent atheists in Australia and he has quite a following on his blog. More importantly, he has the respect and admiration of people like Miranda Celeste Hale.

  68. 68
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Melody, heh.

    A straight answer to a putatively rhetorical (but disingenuous) question is usually a zinger.

    (Yours is particularly po-faced)

  69. 69
    Ophelia Benson

    Hey sexual harassment policy is totes Talibanesque.

    Banning girls from school? Check.

    Killing teachers who teach girls? Check.

    Throwing acid on girls going to school? Check.

    Whipping women for showing a bit of hair? Check.

    Stoning women to death? Check.

    Demolishing girls’ schools? Check.

    Forbidding women to work or attend school or university or drive or get medical help? Check.

    Banning music, kites, movies? Check.

    The match is uncanny.

  70. 70
    jamessweet

    Since Melody has spammed this comment on multiple blogs, I’ll ask it again here: When, where, and in what context did Blackford say that? Googling is of no help here.

  71. 71
    Melody

    I didn’t see you ask me for a link. I made the comment on two blogs, hardly spamming. That’s a very rude thing to say.

    Linky: https://www.facebook.com/steve.zara/posts/10151142394425299

    Obviously Ophelia is aware of the comments. She has written two blog posts about it. Did you deride her for writing about it? Or was it because she didn’t name names?

  1. 72
    Do We Need to Blacklist Speakers? « Radio Freethinker

    [...] The question is how to move forward knowing this is a problem. Stephanie Zvan at Almost Diamonds wrote a piece about what conference organizers need to do to ensure that their conventions are free of harassment. Already various groups are in the process of creating public policies on anti-harassment. [...]

  2. 73
    Perseverance & Policies | emilyhasbooks

    [...] with such incidents. There will be minor disagreements as to what stipulations and consequences anti-harassment policies need to include; dialogue about creating these policies needs to be transparent. I firmly state [...]

  3. 74
    What Is More Important Than Peace? (NSFW) » Almost Diamonds

    [...] It wasn’t, by the way. [...]

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