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My Sexual Harassment Policy

As many of you saw, Readercon posted a statement about their handling of sexual harassment. The convention committee has voted to overturn the board’s decision and issue a lifetime ban to Mister Walling, in accordance with the convention’s policies. They also offered an unreserved apology for the con’s handling of the situation.

As a part of the larger conversation, I’d like to offer the following pledge. Feedback is welcome, and anyone is invited to co-sign.


My Policy on Sexual Harassment

My goal in convention/fandom spaces, online, and in general, is to interact with others in such a way that all parties feel safe and respected. Therefore…

  1. I will be accountable for my actions. If I mess up, I will not make excuses or blame others for my behaviors or the consequences of those behaviors. (Nor will I make or accept excuses about other people’s inappropriate behaviors, even if they’re friends or Big Important People in the community.)1
  2. I will try not to make assumptions about physical interactions, or statements/behaviors that could be construed as sexual. For example, if I don’t know whether or not you’re comfortable being hugged, I’ll ask you.2
  3. I will listen to and respect your boundaries. Period.
  4. If I see a situation where it looks like you are being harassed, I will ask if you’re okay and/or attempt to offer you a way out of the situation. Depending on the situation, I will confront the harasser and/or offer to back you up in confronting/reporting the harasser yourself if you choose to do so.
  5. If someone I know is harassing others, I will pull them aside and confront them on their behavior.
  6. If they refuse to change their behavior, I will “ban” them from my life (both in the real-world and in my online spaces).
  7. I will continue to speak out, and to try to encourage discussion and action to reduce sexual harassment.


Other Reading:

  1. I would love it if I NEVER saw another ‘Oh, but what if he’s a socially clueless Aspie’ remark…
  2. I don’t know why asking is such a difficult concept for people.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


Aug. 10th, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
I co-sign to the best of my ability; I allow myself room for my social phobia to interfere with me carrying out some of this (4 and 5 mostly), but will do my best inasmuch as I have spoons for the task.

For example, if I don’t know whether or not you’re comfortable being hugged, I’ll ask you.
With the prevalence of "Free Hugs!" signs at various conventions, and the fact that any number of said huggers are already counting their hugs, I've been sorely tempted to start a "Hugs For Charity" thing. You know, ask people to pledge a certain amount of money for every hug you get at the convention, that sort of thing. The thing that stops me is that not everyone is comfortable being hugged, and I can easily foresee huggers attempting to pressure attendees into getting hugged because it's "for a good cause". And I can also imagine attendees attempting to pressure huggers into hugging someone they don't want to as well. I like the idea, but I'm pretty sure there's too much room for abuse for it to become viable in our current culture.
Aug. 11th, 2012 01:09 am (UTC)
You could make it a dual project -- the huggers have to ask, and have to respect the answer. The tally is of the number of unique individuals respectfully asked, and then the money goes to a rape crisis center.

ETA: The script could go something like this: "In order to raise awareness about the importance of consent, we're asking people whether or not they would like a hug. Money will be donated to $ORGANIZATION based on the number of people whose answers we listen to and respect. Would you like a hug?"

Edited at 2012-08-11 01:12 am (UTC)
Aug. 11th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
Ooo, that has potential!

I'm still not entirely sure what to do about random attendees; I don't want anyone to feel harassed if they get asked a lot randomly, and with a convention of ~3,000 people, I know I certainly can't remember everyone I talk to - not to mention how many different people would be offering hugs in the first place. Maybe if we make all free hug signs official "Ask Me About Free Hugs" signs, and it has to be in response to the sign and not a random solicitation? Brainstorming goes here!

Edit: Oh wait, but we still need a way for Huggers to turn down people they don't feel like hugging, and possibly to keep track of people who hug in a creepy way so Con Staff can do something about them. Well, we're half the way there, at least?

Edited at 2012-08-11 01:48 am (UTC)
Aug. 11th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
How about offering the people a pin that says something like "No Hugging Zone" if they are against getting mass hugged.
Aug. 11th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
Hmm; it's a good idea in theory, but our con attendees already have difficulty picking out staffers, and we have distinctive badges at 3"x4" in size. (We are working on this.) Honestly, I'm leaning towards "only in response to Ask Me About", I just want a good way for people to be able to say "no" if they're the ones holding the sign.
Aug. 12th, 2012 02:58 pm (UTC)
A non-SF convention I attended used color-coded dots for indicating hug preferences. Green meant "yes, hug me," yellow meant "ask first," and red meant "no." The dots were small enough to easily fit on name badges, but bright enough to be visible from a distance. And it freed those who didn't want hugs from having to constantly say no, which made them popular. (Some attendees expressed enthusiasm for/against hugs by using more dots.)
Aug. 13th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
I was thinking stickers to the already been asked. And money is for 'no's also? So can't be pressured on that. Stickers like you get for giving blood or voting.
Aug. 11th, 2012 01:51 am (UTC)
I actually really like that idea!


Jim C. Hines

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