Talk about missing the point — now we’ve got someone declaring the TAM harassment problem solved — why, just call casino security, and they’ll take care of it!
Uh, yes. We know. We can go to a meeting, and if there is a jerk causing problems, we can seek out authorities and maybe get it resolved (although, in the case of women complaining of harassment, we’re more likely to see the problem treated dismissively). That’s always been an option, and it’s really patronizing to bring it up as if no other person on the planet ever even thought of it.
It’s not the issue. What’s wanted is a recognition of the fact that no one has the right to harass others at a public meeting, and that the meeting organizers have a zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment, to discourage harassment before it happens.
Why is this so hard to understand?
These events are safe: they are well-bounded, contain security staff, and all the organizers want them to proceed with little disruption. Nobody has complained that there was no available recourse to deal with jerkwads.
The problem is that they are not safe spaces, which means a place where women can feel comfortable speaking without risk of unwelcome advances. You can’t just announce that there are security guards outside the door to create a safe space; it takes a bit more effort than that.
The author of that blog actually hit on the real problem by accident in a comment on that thread.
Honestly, if your a woman at an event like TAM, expect to be hit on.
You know, there’s a lot of whining that Rebecca Watson or myself have claimed that TAM is unsafe, a claim that we actually haven’t made at all. To the contrary, we’ve both supported TAM and encouraged people to attend. But we’ve also asked that it be better, and I do give DJ credit — it has improved in the representation of women speakers during his tenure.
But if you’re looking to pin the blame on people who have said TAM isn’t a good place for women, who might be spreading the word that women shouldn’t attend, you might want to start with people who declare that women ought to “expect to be hit on”.
Some people seem confused by the phrase “safe space”. They seem to be unaware of the fact that in English, one word in context can modify the meaning of another: like “parkway” is actually a place where cars drive, rather than park. But to help out those poor naive simpletons, here’s an explanation of “safe space”.