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May 30 2012

Harassment at TAM9

EDIT: More information in a follow-up post

So, Greg Laden has a post on FtB about DJ Grothe making some kind of horrible comments about how women who complain about harassment are making women afraid to come to conferences.  And that, as far as he knows, he is unaware of any reports of harassment.  Which is weird because I was sexually harassed by a guy last year at the TAM9 speaker’s reception, as were some other women, and the guy was kicked out for it. And I was told that it was DJ himself who made him leave.

From my recap last year:

That evening I went to a presenter’s reception, and got to spend some time hanging out with a lot of awesome people who were going to be speaking, including Debbie Goddard who I had not previously spent much time with.  But there was a drunk british guy from Shrewsbury who would not leave me alone.  I hate wine breath.  And I was not nice to him, but he kept following me.  He was so annoying that every time I tried to escape and enter a new conversation, everyone who was in that conversation would leave and leave me stranded.

He also kept touching me, which I found very disconcerting.  Fortunately, I was eventually rescued, and he was asked to leave, but it was pretty gross.

I guess it didn’t mean much to him at the time, or he forgot, or didn’t realize that it wasn’t just that the guy was annoying, it was that he was inappropriately touching me and backing me into corners and asking me to have sex with him after I told him to stop, or that DJ wasn’t who kicked him out and it was someone else on the TAM staff.  In fact, I was impressed with TAM so much for ultimately intervening that I didn’t want to go into explicit detail of exactly how gross the guy had been to me, for fear of making TAM look bad.

In any event, someone was harassing me and someone from TAM made it stop.  I’m sure part of it was that I was really upset, but I was touched that they’d fixed the problem so quickly and proud of them for doing so.  And, probably because it was very upsetting at the time, I am currently upset that apparently no one at TAM remembers or took note of it — like somehow it didn’t count because it happened to me?  Because I and the other woman harassed were speakers?  Or I didn’t write something down?  Like I should have written up a report?

But if that didn’t count as a report of harassment, I’m not sure what to think of DJ’s claims that there’s never been one, other than he’s playing with semantics.  Here’s his comment from FB (bolding is mine):

It is true that harassment issues are much discussed in some quarters of the skeptics and atheist and other allied movements (all generally for the better, to the extent the emotionally charged issues are tempered with evidence) but to my knowledge there has never been a report filed of sexual harassment at TAM and there have been zero reports of harassment at the TAMs we’ve put on while I’ve been at JREF.

Of course that doesn’t mean such didn’t happen, but of 800+ responses to our attendee survey last year, only three people said they were made to feel unwelcome by someone at the event: one, a man who didn’t like all the magic; two, a woman who was ridiculed for her veganism; and three, a conservative who didn’t feel welcome because of what he saw as an undue emphasis by speakers and attendees on progressive and leftist ideals. (One woman at the event did, however, complain to staff that she felt she may be harassed by someone in the future, and felt uncomfortable about the man, and while we are concerned about such concerns, she didn’t complain of any actual activity that had happened that the hotel or security or law enforcement or others could take action on.)

I believe I understand the impulse to protect people from harm (this is a strong motivation for skeptics, after all) but telling newbies that they need to be on guard against so-called sexual predators at our events, or that the movement or movements are “unsafe for women,” may be a sure-fire way of making some women feel unwelcome who otherwise would feel and be safe and welcomed. As for policies, I think Ben is on the right track. We are all against harassment or bullying of any kind, sexual or otherwise. Any incident of harassment or assault should immediately be reported to security and law enforcement, and JREF staff and the hotel staff stand ready to assist should any regrettable incident ever occur, God forbid. But again, no such incident has ever occurred at TAM to my knowledge, and I believe that bears mentioning in current discussions about how prevalent are the unnamed “sexual predators” at various atheist and skeptical events.

Last year we had 40% women attendees, something I’m really happy about. But this year only about 18% of TAM registrants so far are women, a significant and alarming decrease, and judging from dozens of emails we have received from women on our lists, this may be due to the messaging that some women receive from various quarters that going to TAM or other similar conferences means they will be accosted or harassed. (This is misinformation. Again, there’ve been on reports of such harassment the last two TAMs while I’ve been at the JREF, nor any reports filed with authorities at any other TAMs of which I’m aware.) We have gotten emails over the last few months from women vowing never to attend TAM because they heard that JREF is purported to condone child-sex-trafficking, and emails in response to various blog posts about JREF or me that seem to suggest I or others at the JREF promote the objectification of women, or that we condone violence or threats of violence against women, or that they believe that women would be unsafe because we feature this or that man on the program. I think this misinformation results from irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics who, in trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism, actually and rather clumsily themselves help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe, and I find that unfortunate.

29 comments

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  1. 1
    Eve

    “(One woman at the event did, however, complain to staff that she felt she may be harassed by someone in the future, and felt uncomfortable about the man, and while we are concerned about such concerns, she didn’t complain of any actual activity that had happened that the hotel or security or law enforcement or others could take action on.)”

    If that one woman was you, then it’s interesting how Mr. Winebreath’s words and actions don’t count as “actual activity that had happened” and asking a harasser to leave doesn’t count as “action” that security could take.

  2. 2
    danielwalldammit

    Thank you for posting this. It gives a clearer picture of what some of this controversy may be about.

  3. 3
    D.J. Grothe

    Ashley, I am sincerely sorry to hear about this. JREF takes the security and safety of all attendees at our events seriously. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no knowledge of this happening at TAM 9 in Vegas last year, and no TAM staff asked anyone to leave TAM last year (you seem to recollect that he was removed, correct? If so, I wonder by whom. Was the guy a TAM attendee?). Further, no JREF staff nor hotel staff nor security were informed of any such incident regarding a TAM attendee. I appreciate that you assume JREF staff were or that I was personally involved in removing someone from TAM over an incident such as this, but again, no one was asked to leave the event last year, nor as anyone notified about the incident.

    (One person did however make a written complaint about a concern over possible future harassment, feeling uncomfortable in the presence of someone else at one of the conference venues, and we kept this as record. Unfortunately, the complaintant didn’t include any actual activity that had happened that the hotel or security or law enforcement or anyone else could take action on other than the action we took on the complaint, which was to speak with the individual in question about the concerns. But to clarify, that complaint was not made by you.)

  4. 4
    Ashley F. Miller

    I did not *assume*. You were congratulated by multiple people for doing this. There were several people who were there who all vividly remember it.

  5. 5
    D.J. Grothe

    Ashley, just so there isn’t any misunderstanding: are you saying that I had someone removed from TAM last year? By whom were you told that it was me who made someone leave, as you say above?

    Again, very sorry to hear about the incident, but neither I nor any other staffer asked anyone to leave TAM last year, and no staff received a complaint along these lines. Do you know if the guy was a TAM attendee, and that he left TAM? You mention the incident occurred at the speakers reception?

  6. 6
    Ashley F. Miller

    You and someone else kicked an attendee out of the speakers reception for harassing me, Jen, and Jamila. http://www.facebook.com/mgafm/posts/394636350588993?notif_t=share_comment

  7. 7
    Michael

    For what it’s worth, I was also at the speakers reception. If someone was kicked out, it was not done in a way that made a scene. I spent most of the time speaking with Debbie Goddard, Surly Amy and Amy’s husband and there were no whispers of a creep or bad situation either.

    I’m not saying it didn’t happen, I’m just saying there was no big scene.

  8. 8
    Sally Strange

    Effective security never creates a big scene.

  9. 9
    Aquaria

    Funny, several people who are apparently able to see what’s happening in front of their faces have come forward to say they remembered the incident AND the guy being thrown out.

    They’re on the facebook link in Ashley Miller’s post.

    Try to keep up.

  10. 10
    Phil Ferguson

    @Ashley,
    I am so sorry that you and several others had this experience – no one should have to deal with a drunken rude idiot. This guy was clearly out of line and I am so sorry he bothered you and several other good friends at that event.

    @DJ,
    This was at the speaker reception. There was one person that was not supposed to be in the room (i do not know if he was even at TAM) he was rude and talking to several ladies with inappropriate language. I told you about him and you took immediate action and talked to the gentleman and you took him from the room.

    @Ashley,
    At that time, DJ only knew what I told him and he acted immediately and did the right thing. There is a chance that DJ does not remember this because he only knew that the guy was rude, drunk and needed to leave. DJ did not stop to think about it – he just took action. He did not have the details that you elaborated above. If you never gave him the details he would not have known that you were harassed. I was much closer to your side of the room and I did not know all of this information until today.

    Again, I am so sorry you were harassed.

  11. 11
    MaryLynne

    DJ: All I know of the incident is this account, but do you get the point? It seems you did not realized it was harassment and do not remember it. Got that. Can you now say something like, “I now understand that there was harassment. I will make sure that staff and volunteers are trained on what to do if they are informed of harassment and will make sure it is documented.”

  12. 12
    The whole truth

    Miss Miller, is there any actual evidence that the alleged harassment took place? Is there any actual evidence that “some other women” were harassed? Did you submit a written report of the alleged harassment to the conference organizers? Did the alleged “other women” submit written reports? Did any of you report the alleged harassment directly to “DJ”?

    If the guy was so obnoxious for so long, why didn’t you ask someone for help? Why didn’t you ask for help right away if you were so repulsed by and uncomfortable with the guy’s alleged behavior? You say that someone from TAM’s staff eventually (but “so quickly”) intervened but you don’t say whether you asked for help or if someone just happened to come along and deal with the alleged situation.

    You say that someone from TAM “made it stop” and that someone kicked the guy out but you don’t say exactly who it was who first intervened and how they knew you were being harassed. You say that you were told that “DJ himself” kicked the guy out but you don’t say who told you that.

    You obviously think that TAM should consider what you did as a “report of harassment” but you don’t actually say what you did, exactly who intervened, whether you asked for help, who you talked to (either to ask for help or otherwise), and there are a lot of other missing, important details.

    Another thing you said is that you were ultimately impressed with and proud of TAM’s staff for so quickly intervening. If they intervened so quickly, how could the guy have harassed you from room to room for so long?

    You also make it sound as though “DJ” must have known about the alleged situation at the time but you don’t actually know that he did because you didn’t actually talk to him about it at the time, did you?

    Exactly how would it make TAM “look bad” if you had gone “into explicit detail of exactly how gross the guy had been to” you? Who exactly would you have gone into explicit detail to about how gross the guy was to you that would have made TAM look bad? If you had gone into explicit detail with TAM’s staff, how would that make TAM look bad? If you didn’t go into explicit detail with someone on TAM’s staff at the time, then why did they intervene and kick the guy out? How would they know for sure what they were intervening with?

    And another question: Do you expect the TAM staff or “DJ” to be psychic and to know what’s happening to you and/or other people at the conferences at all times, and to know what has allegedly happened to you or other people even though you and/or those other people don’t properly report it to the people in charge?

    According to your own words TAM’s staff took care of the alleged situation “so quickly” and effectively. That speaks well of TAM’s staff, which should demonstrate to you and all others that TAM’s staff deals with problems quickly and effectively as soon as they know about them. TAM’s staff can’t reasonably be expected to be psychic or to personally babysit every woman (or man) at their conferences. It’s unreasonable for you to blame TAM or “DJ” for something that you could have ended a lot faster if you had asked for help quickly and had properly reported it to the people in charge.

    Is it wrong for ‘skeptics’ to be skeptical of non-evidential claims that don’t add up, and that weren’t properly reported to the people in charge of the conference?

    Are you making up the whole thing?

  13. 13
    Dan L.

    Man, sounds like you have an axe to grind. Did you get kicked out of TAM for propositioning women or something?

  14. 14
    The whole truth

    Actually, what is in my questions and comments is a demonstration of a scientific, skeptical mind at work. I don’t automatically believe hearsay, or claims that have no evidence to support them, especially when those claims sound flaky, and smear people. I would think that so-called “skeptics” would think in a similar way.

    I have never been to a TAM conference and don’t know even know for sure what “TAM” is, although it’s apparently an organization of atheists and/or “skeptics”. It doesn’t really matter what TAM is though. It could be an organization of plumbers, janitors, or brain surgeons, and it wouldn’t change a thing. What matters is the particulars and veracity of the alleged incidents and whether there’s any evidence of them, and how the alleged ‘victims’ dealt with it, and whether the TAM organizers should be held responsible for it.

    From what I’ve seen, all the uproar about “harassment” at TAM conferences is based on flaky claims from a few women who appear to have an agenda and are not good at dealing with even minor problems, and it looks as though they’re making a giant volcanic mountain out of a molehill.

    The burden of proof is on those who are making the harassment claims. If they have evidence, fine, let’s see it. If they don’t, then they should shut up. If the incidents actually did occur as the women describe them, and the alleged ‘victims’ handled it poorly, they should take responsibility for that. If the alleged ‘victims’ expect TAM’s staff and organizers to be psychic and/or to babysit everyone at every conference at all times, they’re being unreasonable and unrealistic.

    Sometimes shit happens, especially when people are drinking alcohol, whether at a TAM conference or elsewhere, and there are proper and effective ways to deal with it. Not dealing with it properly or effectively, and then whining about it on the internet is not going to accomplish anything positive. Miss Miller’s own words show that TAM deals with problems “so quickly” when they’re made aware of problems. What else does she expect them to do? Does she or any other woman really believe that a stronger ‘harassment policy’ is going to PREVENT problems? Do laws prevent all people from committing crimes?

    A problem can’t be dealt with until it is a problem, and according to Miss Miller’s own words TAM’s staff deals with problems as soon as they’re aware of them. What else can TAM do? Psychoanalyze every man before allowing them in? Make them do breathalyzer and drug tests? Hold the conferences where no alcohol is available? Hold the conferences in a heavily guarded bunker so that no one can crash the event? Make every man swear an oath that they will behave in a way that offends no woman under any circumstances? Make every man get an insurance bond that will go to the female ‘victims’ if they complain of harassment? Hire bodyguards for every woman and charge all the attendees for the cost? Would any or all of that be something that all the attendees would agree on? Would all the female attendees agree to the same standards, costs, and requirements for themselves?

    I don’t condone genuine harassment, but I don’t see a problem in all this internet shitstorm that TAM should be held responsible for, and I don’t see anything that shows that attending a TAM conference is any more unsafe than a grocery store, a library, a church, a school, or a bar. A TAM conference is likely a lot safer than any of those places.

    I also wonder if the women who are complaining would be as quick and eager to complain, and blame TAM, if the ‘victims’ of alleged harassment were men. Do they think that men are never harassed (sexually or otherwise)?

  15. 15
    stephaniezvan

    Or you could just be a denialist asshole. After all, that is where the evidence points.

  16. 16
    The whole truth

    Yeah, I guess that asking a so-called “skeptic” for actual evidence of her claims of harassment, and for evidence of negligence or discriminatory practices on the part of TAM, and pointing out that the so-called “skeptics” (especially the female ones who are complaining of being harassed) have some responsibilities in dealing with such matters and are expecting unreasonable ‘protection’, makes me a “denialist asshole”.

    Of course I’m actually a “denialist asshole” because I don’t instantly and automatically believe all the claims and don’t blindly and robotically believe, defend, and protect every damsel who claims to be in distress.

    Show me a damsel who is in legitimate distress and I’ll run to help her, but if she’s just whining or expecting special treatment I’ll say so. That’s part of the price of ‘equality’.

  17. 17
    Ashley F. Miller

    I highly recommend actually reading everything I’ve written, where you will find other witnesses’ statements and the argument that TAM is safe, but DJ’s claims that no harassment ever happens are inaccurate, rather than whatever it is you seem to think I’m arguing. Surely if you can apply such hyper-skepticism to my ordinary claims, you can do the same to his extraordinary claims.

  18. 18
    snort

    “but DJ’s claims that no harassment ever happens”

    Liar. This thread well illustrates the skeptical attitude and its opposite.

  19. 19
    snort

    Every post I’ve ever seen from stephaniezvan is evidence that she is a dishonest ideological crank. People like her are poisonous to the interests of feminism in the same way as racist Zionists are poisonous to the interests of Jews, whose historical oppression is exploited by such people to justify their every act or word, no matter how foul. Stephanie operates from the position of victim’s privilege … since she’s a woman and women have been exploited, she is always in the right.

    Feminist skeptics need to put their skepticism first and recognize women like stephaniezvan as the enemies of rationality that they are.

  20. 20
    The whole truth

    I read part of the Facebok page and it is too disjointed to make any sense, so I’m going to ignore it. There are too many responses to missing comments or comments on missing responses. If you (Ashley Miller) or anyone else have evidence to support your claims, present it here. You’re making claims here, so support them here.

    I would think that to establish that DJ’s claims are “extraordinary” it would have to be shown, with actual evidence, that the harassment (as you’ve described it) has occurred (see below at the asterisk), and that DJ knew about it at the time, and/or knew about it when he said there are no records of it, and that he has retrievable records of it. You’re essentially accusing him of lying, and of negligence.

    Unless you can show the evidence I mentioned above, it’s your claims that should be considered “extraordinary”.

    * What we’re really talking about is ‘sexual’ harassment, or at least that’s actually what you and Rebecca Watson (and any others?) are complaining about.

    Even if some guy was kicked out of a TAM conference it doesn’t necessarily or automatically mean that DJ knew of any ‘sexual’ harassment or that any ‘sexual’ harassment was properly reported to him or anyone else on TAM’s staff. It should not be assumed that DJ or anyone else working for TAM was made aware of the particulars of the alleged harassment at the time or later. After all, you (Ashley Miller) said yourself that you didn’t go into “explicit detail”, and you haven’t even said who you talked to on TAM’s staff at the time of the alleged harassment or at any other time, and there are also the other questions about missing details that I brought up earlier and that you haven’t responded to.

    If you or anyone else is going to complain about sexual harassment or any other kind of harassment at a TAM conference or anywhere else, you should be prepared to produce verifiable evidence that supports your claims. If you don’t have any evidence, or if you don’t handle the situation or the reporting of it quickly and properly, don’t be surprised if what you claim is questioned and/or ignored.

    Consider this: Would your claims hold up in a court of law? Would Rebecca Watson’s claims hold up in a court of law? Would a prosecutor or a tort attorney take any of the claims seriously?

  21. 21
    The whole truth

    I want to add that your claims are hardly “ordinary”. They are a serious accusation of sexual harassment on the part of a guy that you claim was at a TAM conference and they are a serious accusation of lying and negligence on the part of DJ. Unless you have evidence to support your accusations you could easily find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit. Such accusations shouldn’t be made without verifiable evidence, and making it so public by creating a huge stink on the internet is not the best move.

  22. 22
    The whole truth

    Miss Miller,

    I have a daughter and the last thing that I want is for anyone (men or women) to harass or harm her in any way. I’m not your dad but I’m going to tell you what I would tell my daughter:

    If you’re ever in a situation where someone acts in a way that makes you feel unsafe or is just totally obnoxious, get way from them no matter what it takes or immediately ask for help if there are other people nearby. If the person’s behavior is something that is or may be illegal, report the incident to the police right away and file a written report with the police and with the event organizers if you’re at any kind of an event. Make sure you have something worth reporting and have as much evidence and credible witnesses as possible. Don’t expect people to read your mind or the mind of the person harassing you, and don’t expect people to automatically believe you. And realize that many irritating things, especially if they’re just verbal, are not illegal or are not actionable in just the way you’d like just because they’re irritating. Life is full of unfair things, and plenty of irritating and even unsafe people. Be aware of what’s going on around you, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it, but also be careful to not let things seem bigger than they actually are. Crying wolf can backfire, and being overly sensitive about pushy men (or women) will just stress you out and be unproductive.

    Making accusations of harassment, negligence, or lying should be carefully considered before making them, at least publicly, especially if the person you’re accusing may be damaged professionally and/or financially by your accusations. They might sue you. Realize that if you do report harassment to the police or to event organizers, that they, especially the police, are going to question you thoroughly and ask for evidence and witnesses, unless they personally witness the incident. Even if you’re actually harassed to the point that it breaks the law, unless you can produce evidence and/or enough credible witnesses the police and/or the prosecutor are likely to advise you to drop it and move on. And lastly, don’t expect special treatment or special sympathy because you’re a woman.

  23. 23
    Cyn

    Dear “The whole truth,”

    Your replies here are just chock full of misstatements and an obvious lack of understanding of the course of events. And since you either don’t know, don’t understand, or don’t care about the way things played out, your comments here are just worthless. Sorry, I do not mean to be unkind, just truthful. You’re taking so much time and wasting so many words with all of this ignorance. For the sake of the internet, please, just stop.

    And after you’ve done so, please hand your daughter over to someone who will truly care whether or not she is sexually assaulted. I just keep imagining the scenario in which your poor girl comes to you to say that some stranger shoved her into a corner and stuck his hand down her shirt, to which you will of course reply DO YOU HAVE PROOF? WHERE IS THE COLD HARD PHYSICAL PROOF? DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOB TESTED FOR FINGERPRINTS? NO? THEN SHUT THE FUCK UP BECAUSE YOU MIGHT HARM THIS MAN IF YOU TELL PEOPLE WHAT HE DID TO YOU.

    Your daughter deserves better than you.

  24. 24
    Skreee

    So photoshopping some dude’s head on Hitler’s body is in no way slander and AOK in your book, but ladies, don’t go around saying some asshole harrassed or assaulted you, nono, THAT would be terrible, think of the poor dudez!
    Right, got you.

  25. 25
    The whole truth

    To “Cyn”,

    If my “replies here are just chock full of misstatements and an obvious lack of understanding of the course of events” then show me the evidence. Apparently you missed the fact that my replies contain many QUESTIONS about the alleged “events”, and they are reasonable, relevant questions.

    You obviously have the same paranoid mental condition as the women who are endlessly whining about sexual harassment at TAM conferences and, like them, like to exaggerate. Do you have any evidence of anyone sticking their hand down anyone’s blouse at a TAM conference, and has anyone even made that claim?

    And you can take your snide comments about my parenting skills, which are just chock full of misstatements and an obvious lack of understanding, and shove them up your arrogant ass. And if you don’t like that just know that I’d say it to you whether you’re a woman or a man. That’s ‘equality’. Nope, you don’t get any special favors. Get used to it.

    At least my daughter isn’t a whiny, helpless, paranoid, victim-card-playing, sexist feminazi, and I have no doubt that she knows what to do if anyone, man or woman, verbally harasses her, or sticks their hand down her blouse without her permission. Do you really think that I, a man, don’t realize that there are some total jerks or even dangerous men (and women) in the world? Do you really think that my daughter has never encountered any men (or women) who are that way? I taught her (and still do) how to deal with it, not to just whine about it and live her life in unreasonable fear or anger. My daughter has actually had a lot more problems with obnoxious or violent females than with males, and she’s not the only female I’ve met or know who has encountered that. Maybe you “feminists” should be more concerned with how obnoxious, sexist, or violent women behave. A good look at your own sexist attitude would be a start.

    Do you women want to truly be non-sexist, and see people equally, and be treated equally? Start by being a people-ist, not a femin-ist. And remember that if it’s okay for women to be femin-ists, it’s just as okay for men to be male-ists, or masculine-ists, or whatever other term would apply.

  26. 26
    The whole truth

    Skreee, you should look into the history of the individuals I blast on my site before chiding me. If anything I’m way too nice to them.

  27. 27
    Joshua Zucker

    To “The whole truth”:

    You write “Apparently you missed the fact that my replies contain many QUESTIONS about the alleged “events”, and they are reasonable, relevant questions.”

    I think we noticed the questions, but we are waiting for the evidence that they are reasonable, relevant questions. After all, if you are asking us for evidence for our claims, I’m going to wait for some evidence for your claim.

    What makes them reasonable?

    What makes them relevant?

    Do you understand the goals that Ashley had when beginning this conversation? If you don’t, how can you know whether your questions are relevant to it or not?

    Do you understand why people are upset about many of the things DJ Grothe has said in the past week or so, along with other somewhat related things he said about six months ago?

    I have the feeling you’re largely missing the point. Maybe I am, too, but I think the point is what policies on harassment and the reporting thereof should be in place so that women feel comfortable at TAM or other meetings, rather than a question of what happened in this particular incident or what should have happened to this particular perpetrator.

  28. 28
    Marlo Rocci

    If you are harassed at a TAM event, especially if it’s at the hotel or venue, go to the managers off the venue or their security personel first. All hotels and bars have video survielance equipment that can help back your claim and trained security personnel to deal with the situation. TAM doesn’t.

  29. 29
    The Barefoot Skeptic

    What I am reading quite a bit is “I heard this” And “So-and-so said this happened”. There was also at the very beginning a gentleman who explained exactly how this was handled and that DJ may not have gotten an idea of the level of disrespect the drunken offender had achieved.

    I attended TAM this year with my husband who had gone last year. He is the kind of man who DOES NOT TOLERATE any kind of disrespect towards women, and would have happily initiated a physical altercation for the sake of defending any woman in that situation. However in his experience he felt TAM was a very safe place for me to attend, and also felt safe enough to allow me to wander throughout, attend what I chose, and speak to whomever I chose.

    I felt incredibly comfortable, and although I am not a model I am attractive enough to garner attention in most if not all situations. And not once did I experience an iota of negative attention or gender biased treatment.

    That is NOT to negate how someone else was made to feel by any means. I am making this declaration simply to say TAM IS SAFE FOR WOMEN! And just like ANY other place you may go, there is generally always going to be an ass-SACK UP!!! Stick up for yourself, and if that doesn’t work seek help. It is blatantly obvious Ashley got it immediately-she made that very clear. Don’t avoid TAM because of how one person chose to act-any more than you would avoid the grocery store, the movies, a restaurant or the bank!

  1. 30
    DJ Grothe: Should he resign from JREF? | The X Blog

    [...] (Added: This post is not about TAM, mainly. It is mainly about reactions to people speaking out to make conferences like TAM and the sketpics movement in general more women friendly; the specific reaction to suggest that speaking out in this manner is itself making it less women friendly is tantamount to victim blaming and shows a serious lack of understanding of the most important transition happening now in the Skeptics movement. Having said that, there is an issue with TAM itself closely connected to this conversation: As part of the broader conversation, DJ Grothe has made the comment that there has never been any serious harassment at TAM. Ashley Miller begs to differ.) [...]

  2. 31
    DJ, please fix this genuine problem | Pharyngula

    [...] Ashley Miller was harassed and reported it, and now DJ is denying it happened. I heard from another person near the end of the conference that [...]

  3. 32
    No sex please, we’re skeptics

    [...] that is a general definition, and what constitutes harassment does vary from place to place. And, although I do have some experience, based on my union [...]

  4. 33
    TAM9 Harassment New Information « Ashley F. Miller

    [...] Honors You Tube Twitter Facebook RSS Feed ← Harassment at TAM9 [...]

  5. 34
    No, DJ Grothe should not resign from JREF | The Atheist Experience

    [...] of anything, guess how every word out of your mouth will be taken?) His inability to remember an incident last year when he himself threw a guy out for harassing Ashley Miller just decreases everyone’s [...]

  6. 35
    » What to do about sexism and sexual-harassment at skeptics events (Part Two). Name names. The Skeptical Abyss

    [...] is not pure enough in his ideology further underscores the idiocy of the call for DJ to resign).  TAM’s anti-harassment efforts seemed to have worked on at least one occasion.  Apparently this is not enough.  Recent bloggers and commenters have called for anti-harassment [...]

  7. 36
    Feminism Poisons Everything « Geoff's Blog

    [...] get sued, for not providing an environment in which (paranoid, unattractive) women can feel safe. DJ himself: One person did however make a written complaint about a concern over possible future harassment [...]

  8. 37
    I support DJ Grothe | The Uncredible Hallq

    [...] himself quite well in the ensuing controversy. See for example what he’s done trying to clear up a misunderstanding with Ashley Miller. (And yes, I think that piece of this suggests TAM could [...]

  9. 38
    Perseverance & Policies | emilyhasbooks

    [...] does occur- and contrary to DJ Grothe, I’m positive that it occurs at TAM, too. Outside of other women’s accounts, there have been multiple occasions where I was made uncomfortable and actually frightened by [...]

  10. 39
    The further hyper-skepticism stalling our conversation | Lousy Canuck

    [...] in the first place — because you’re going to have a major problem with that data when someone comes forward to contradict it. Especially if you thereafter try to gaslight that person and convince them that there was never [...]

  11. 40
    Why skeptics should care about gender and other “sensitive” issues | L'Extérieur de l'Asile

    [...] at Stephanie Zvan’s Almost Diamonds, another blog of note. Read also Ashley Miller’s original post and its follow-ups to have an idea why some of us think there’s a problem. Oh, and for those [...]

  12. 41
    Those Meddling Kids | Almost Diamonds

    [...] Ashley became inconvenient. She could be managed, though: In her blog post and in further comments, Ashley says she didn’t [...]

  13. 42
    Harassment policies campaign – timeline of major events | Lousy Canuck

    [...] F. Miller Harassment at TAM9: Ashley Miller links to a post from last year about some harassment she experienced at TAM despite [...]

  14. 43
    Harming TAM | Almost Diamonds

    [...] methods to claim there were no reports of harassment at TAM last year, thus prompting the people who did report to speak up [...]

  15. 44
    How Not to Handle Harassment | En Tequila Es Verdad

    [...] he piled fail upon fail. When you claim there were “no reports of such harassment,” yet you were the one personally throwing out at least one harasser, and you blame your falling numbers on the women who speak of TAM like it’s some sort of [...]

  16. 45
    Addressing some things Thunderf00t definitely actually said « The Hypothetical Bus Stop

    [...] people came forward with specific incidents they had reported to him. You can read about one here and another here. These apparently don’t count because they weren’t [...]

  17. 46
    Stephanie Zvan doesn't understand cyberstalking - justinvacula.com | justinvacula.com

    [...] I’m also fully aware of some really bad experiences some have had at conventions and have read examples of harassment people have faced. This is bad and should not happen – although it, at the same time, is much different than [...]

  18. 47
    Conference anti-harassment campaigns do work: Three existence proofs from SF&F, atheism/skepticism, and open source | Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog

    […] Ashley Miller publicly reports her experiences with harassment at TAM 9, countering earlier claims that no harassment was reported at TAM 9. In a positive turn of events, Elyse reports favorably on SkeptiCamp Ohio’s handling of harassment complaints according to their anti-harassment policy. Sasha Pixlee of More than Men begins maintaining a list of skeptic/atheist conferences with anti-harassment policies and advocates for more policies. […]

  19. 48
    Nadia la Festivalul de Film Feminist din Londra, așa cum a fost | Nadia bate câmpii

    […] și-n jos!), dar ăla e singurul context în care îi interesează subiectul- altminteri, violul și alte aventuri vesele sunt în floare la convențiile de atei din “țările civilizate”, în […]

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