Sexual Harassment in SF&F Fandom
December 1, 2010 9:37 AM   Subscribe

You're at a science-fiction and fantasy convention. As you peruse the programming schedule, you come across a panel titled "Sexual Harassment in SF&F Fandom (one hour)". What would you expect to learn from that panel?

So I'm going to be running a panel about "Sexual Harassment in SF&F Fandom" at my local SF&F con next April. Thing is, I have never run a Sexual Harassment workshop or anything of the sort, so I have no idea how to prepare for it.

I plan to contact the Center for Women and Families here in town because I understand from some people who've worked with them that they will be able to provide assistance to me, even a speaker if I would like. That's great, but what I would also like to do is talk about sexual harrassment issues that are specific to science-fiction and fantasy fandom. Even more specifically, I'd like to get into harrassment issues surrounding attending conventions, and how to deal with harrassment at a convention if it happens to you.

Writer Jim C. Hines has been kind enough to grant me permission to use the content found in his blog post. I'm also aware of the Con Anti-Harrassment Project. I'm wondering what other resources specific to fandom may exist?

I'd also love to hear from anyone out there who has run a sexual harrassment workshop or discussion, who might have some tips for me on how to conduct this panel, things I need to think about or be aware of.

Thanks in advance!
posted by magstheaxe to Education (26 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite


The first thing that came to my mind is this great comment posted about the whole WoW / username / Real Name debacle. I think that comment, and that thread, encapsulate a lot about what the problems are for women in this situation.

The Geek Feminism Wiki might be of use to you as well.

You might try to get in touch with Cassie Claire, who started in fandom and who has dealt with more than her share of shit. She might not want to talk about it but she might also have other people with whom you should speak. My friend interviewed her for an online mag years ago and she was really nice.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:49 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

A Modest Proposal (context: The Open Source Boob Project.)
posted by zamboni at 9:53 AM on December 1, 2010

Best answer: Sexual Harassment in SF&F Fandom

I like the idea but I'm wondering if the title of this presentation might mean you're mostly preaching to the converted and not reaching the people who might benefit from understanding this whole deal a little better. Do you have leeway with the title?

In any case, the big deal if you want people to walk away thinking about this and not just feeling blamed and shamed is to talk about things that have happened in fairly neutral terms and, most importantly, takeaways of what people have done and how this sort of thing was received. People want to feel that they can help change things, and that they're not being seen in some sort of oogyboogy boys vs. girls fairly stark binary situation.

So talking about how cons who have adopted policies, how that's affected them, the process for adopting such a policy, incidents that have led towards having to adopt policies, challenges for adopting policies. I'd make sure you had a reading list with links like zamboni suggests and a snappy URL that people who wanted to read more could read more. Maybe even some links to how this sort of thing goes down in other communities [I think about the Ruby weirdness and how that was and was not handled]

Most importantly I'd want ways to stay sex-positive and sexy [for men and women] while being cognizant of what good boundaries are for being in a large crowd of people you don't know well. Anyone with pull in those communities [whether it's famous people, people who are socially connected, people with popular blogs, people with more power for whatever reason] can be part of modeling good behavior and steering discussions so that things don't get out of hand. Everyone who gives a shit about this sort of thing can be deputized to help solve problems that come up.

For me, dealing with this sort of thing here, a lot of it is teaching people to not be reactive to things that offend or upset them. That you can say "hey man not cool" without getting name-calling or otherwise shrill and that there's a difference between people being offensive in their speech and doing things that make people feel physically unsafe. I know for a lot of people those lines are blurry [and it's worth explaining things like triggers and etc] but that as a community people need to figure out how far along the continuum of
ok                                         not
to                                        ok to
be                                         be
offensive                               offensive
every group is. Figuring out where that line is is one of the more difficult things a community does because you'll always have people out at both ends who feel strongly that the line should be much closer to their side. Best of luck, this sounds like it will be interesting.
posted by jessamyn at 9:59 AM on December 1, 2010 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I think some discussion guidelines need to be established for both the panelists and the attendees in order to create a safe environment for sexual harassment to be discussed. Here are the safer space guidelines from Sexy Spring, a sex-positive skillshare conference that I am a core planner for. Not all will be relevant to your workshop but things like sharing opinions/experiences in terms of "I" statements and not assuming the backgrounds and identities of others are. Please use them if you feel like it will be helpful!
posted by radioaction at 10:04 AM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

>What would you expect to learn from that panel?

-I would expect to hear about the different experiences that people do have, and the lengths some people have gone to in their harassment and the lengths people have gone to to protect themselves from harassment. The end product should not be a rally cry for women's rights but a better understanding of the respect that everyone should treat each other with, both inside and outside SF Fandom. Good luck, I hope the people who read the program and say "why the hell would i want to go to that?" actually go to it, because they are most likely to learn something from it.
posted by zombieApoc at 10:05 AM on December 1, 2010

My guess is that the majority of attendees will be people who have experienced sexual harassment themselves and who want to share their experiences. If that's what you want to facilitate, be ready for that.

If that's not what you want to facilitate, I would also suggest a change of title to something like "Addressing Sexual Harassment at Cons" or "Creating Responsive Anti-Harassment Policies." That would make it easier to focus the conversation around exploring possible solutions, rather than people sharing painful experiences.

Not that it isn't OK to make a space for people to share painful experiences; it just doesn't sound to me like that is what you want to be doing here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:22 AM on December 1, 2010

Response by poster: Sexual Harassment in SF&F Fandom

I like the idea but I'm wondering if the title of this presentation might mean you're mostly preaching to the converted and not reaching the people who might benefit from understanding this whole deal a little better. Do you have leeway with the title?

posted by jessamyn at 12:59 PM on December 1

Oh, absolutely. I can change it to whatever I want. Do you have a suggestion?
posted by magstheaxe at 10:25 AM on December 1, 2010

Best answer: If you're going to be con-specific, you have a lot of ground to cover:

* Harassment by a con-goer vs staff vs a con guest is still harassment. People are often afraid to report harassment for various reasons -- either not wanting to cause a fuss, thinking it's "no big deal, it's to be expected", or, if it's an offending celebrity, nothing will be done about it. As someone who has been a con-goer and staff, I get frustrated at how much harassment happens, but how little victims will report anything. Con staff is there to help; we don't want creepers there, even if they are a celebrity guest.

* Being safe in various rooming and travel arrangements -- many con attendees will room with people they only know from forums, which can cause a lot of issues, especially if an incident escalates. Getting locked out of a room or stranded with no ride home happens quite often.

* That being in a costume is not a tacit invitation to harassment. "If she didn't want the attention, why did she dress like that?" is a common perception you'll have to fight.

* That sexual harassment is not the only type of harassment that goes on. There are plenty of socially insulated attendees who become stalkers once they run into someone they admire, or even someone who shares their fandom. Learning some basic risk assessment and disengagement skills is beneficial to everyone, regardless of gender*.

* And, as a guy, sexual harassment does go both ways at cons. I've had my ass grabbed before while in costume. Not fun.
posted by Wossname at 10:27 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Probably a lot of people who would attend that kind of thing either a) already see this as a valid issue, or b) have experienced it as a target.

Every couple of months or so, there's a question on AskMe like "my [friend/coworker/casual acquaintance] says stupid things; how can I respond without alienating him?" A list of concrete examples of phrases to use could be immensely valuable. Even watching roleplay could be really helpful.

In-the-moment responses are great, but I think people really need to be able to explain in depth why this is even a problem. I can't imagine, for example, trying to elucidate this issue to my own parents, or to people I grew up with in my home town. How does one do that?

Of course you'll try to illustrate in the panel why it's a serious issue, how it affects women, etc., but if you can give people the tools they need to also explain this clearly, themselves, on those rare occasions when they have someone ready to listen, and to recognize those opportunities, that could be awesome.
posted by amtho at 10:48 AM on December 1, 2010

(Note: All of this comes from *my* particular background and history a young, able, well-off, anglo, queer-id'd cis-male, so discount as appropriate!)

While I applaud (what I read as the positive intent), not knowing you, I would be very hesitant to attend this workshop. There are a million ways that this could go terribly! Perhaps, not for the novice!

* someone hogs the attention. Usually, someone with privilege, or someone who wants to be 'white knight'
* the session becomes a rehashing ground for stories, which then are not believed, or minimized. Overall, a buzzkill.
* the talk goes to generalities about queer folk, or women and men, or whatever. People fail to own their opinions and experiences and generalize.
* the session turns in to 'blame the victim' or 'we aren't like that' or the like.

All that said, there are ways of making it go smoother, and many of them are about moderation and the environment/space (see the Sexy Spring guidelines posted earlier). Moderation, at its heart, is deciding what voices and words to privilege, to ensure that the workshop meets it's goals. That is quite a lot of responsibility to take on!

This much I hope will be obvious, but really consider your motives when running this, and think hard about what you want the outcome and vibe to be, and make those clear to participants if you can. Make it clear what the goals are and the rules are, and let people opt-in. If they don't like them, consider amendments, and if it's not enough, people can leave :)

re: titles, jessamyn
I would be a lot more excited about a workshop called "Making This Con Safe(r) and Awesome(r) For Everyone" or "Our A**hole Free Con" or something like that.

I wish you luck!
posted by gregglind at 10:50 AM on December 1, 2010 [10 favorites]

That's great, but what I would also like to do is talk about sexual harrassment issues that are specific to science-fiction and fantasy fandom.

My own beef would involve blatant sexual harassment being tolerated or even winked at when it comes from well respected authors. Perhaps this has become less of an issue recently, but I know that in the not-very-distant past there have been extremely well known and well loved authors whose behavior would be truly unacceptable coming from anyone else. Recent blogging indicates that there are authors and editors who still have this problem.

This may be a minefield, though.
posted by Justinian at 10:57 AM on December 1, 2010

Perhaps this has become less of an issue recently

It has not. See the posts from Jim Hines's blog linked above.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:05 AM on December 1, 2010

I think gregglind's title suggestions would work pretty well.

I don't like sexual harassment workshops because they tend to feel outdated and humorless - that is to say, they're no fun, and the participants discount the lesson as a result. The ones I've had at workplaces (ranging from very expensive corporate "this is because we got sued" video series to sitting in a small room with a handful of people and an annoyed supervisor reading a script) have been universally despised, either because they seemed pointless or they seemed designed to make everyone feel like a bad guy (ethics workshops tend to have similar problems.) I would assume that this workshop (especially with the old name) would be like that.

I say this as a woman who's been low-to-mid-level harassed at cons (and at work!), who avoids whole areas of cons because she knows what kind of behavior will be going on, who won't dress up largely because of how people treat women in costume, etc. I'd love to see this stuff curbed - I think a lot of geeks/nerds/etc. feel that cons are a no-boundaries zone: a chance to dress like Darth Vader, talk about the relative merits of the Seventh and Ninth Doctors in public, drink Absinthe till you puke, stay up till 4am playing D&D, and treat other people like your personal playthings, woot.

In an ideal world, people leaving your workshop would be committed to being a force for good at the con - empowered to tell other people to knock it off, willing to report problematic behavior to con officials, etc. I don't just mean they get "Keep Our Con Safe" stickers to wear ala the HRC, but that they're interested in taking action during the con. I have no idea how to accomplish that.
posted by SMPA at 11:11 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

That's great, but what I would also like to do is talk about sexual harrassment issues that are specific to science-fiction and fantasy fandom.

One of the problems that we have here that you'll also likely have there is that if you're dealing with a bunch of people who have felt like nerds all their lives [and I'm overgeneralizing, but I think this rings true for the discussions on this topic that I've read] you'll wind up with a few specific ways these conversations can go badly that might not be as prevalent in a workplace discussion.

1. People who have been picked on and teased and harassed their whole lives will find it difficult to see themselves as people with any sort of privilege. I'm not saying this privilege discussion is even necessary but it will be pushback that you should expect if you are going to go in that direction. There's a dynamic that we see often here at MeFi where nerdy/geeky/introverted men often see themselves as less privileged than their nerdy/geeky/introverted female counterparts [and vice versa, women may not acknowledge this dynamic in ways that seem legitimizing] and this can affect how the two groups interact with each other and how they see harassment issues. You may or may not even get into a discussion about privilege, but the way it's seen in historically "underclass" type communities may differ from standard workplace views.

2. There's an aggressive libertarian streak in a "do what thou wilt" sort of way going through some SF/Fandom communities. This can be great because it frees people up to have the exact kinds of relationships they feel that they want [there's a lot more poly/ambisexual/fetish stuff going on in most SF/fan communities that I know personally than in almost any other community] but it can also be tough to then try to impress guidelines on people who basically don't see that sort of limiting of behavior as appropriate. So having a sort of response to "why can't people just stop being bothered by inappropriate comments?" by people who do not want, at all, to stop making them will be useful.

3. Nerdy and geeky folks, especially smart ones, can supplement limited or quirky social skills with intensive amounts of study and practice. We see a lot on MeFi people who are having a hard time in interactions [both in AskMe questions and also in MeTa discussions about the community] just really badly want a ruleset to follow. And then they want the fact that they followed the ruleset to absolve them of any blame for anything moving forward. This is not practical but it is very common. While I think it's usually not too tough to lay some guidelines out, it can often come into conflict with outline #2 above. And there can often be an intense amount of backlash about this where person #1 believes they were strictly adhering to the rules as they saw them and person #2 got pissed anyhow which is clearly against the rules and bla bla bla. There is usually a subtle or not-so-subtle appeal to authority in these sorts of situations which is why having some trusted arbitration or otherwise benevolent group responsible for some of this would be a great idea. And ultimately people are responsible for their own behavior not just responsible to "the rules"

And last, what I think would be terrific and somthing you don't usually see would be men talking about dealing with people accusing them [rightly or wrongly] of being inappropriate and ways to deal with that personally and socially. I'm not sure you can do this and I think it would be a minefield but one thing I've learned after working here is that there are many men who are absolutely petrified of being called out as a sexual harasser or someone behaving badly, by accident when they're trying hard to not be this way. This can lead to a lot of defensiveness that we're probably used to where guys sort of pre-emptively defend themselves and are more fighty than they might need to be because they feel that people don't take that concern, that very real fear, seriously. I don't know if this is something that could be done, but addressing those concerns, trying to balance the needs of people on both sides of the dispute [while at the same time not minimizing the huge hassle and headache that sexual harassment is to women and being like "things are tough all over"] would probably make the discussion interesting to people who might have other personal relationships to the topic than as a harassee or harassor.

Hope that's helpful.
posted by jessamyn at 11:20 AM on December 1, 2010 [11 favorites]

Best answer: I think being solutions-focused rather than problem-focused is really going to be the key, and the title of the panel should reflect that (as should the moderation and participation guidelines).

If people want a facilitated venting space, that should probably be another thing, and the people who want to vent at the panel could be referred to that opportunity.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:22 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

somthing you don't usually see would be men talking about dealing with people accusing them [rightly or wrongly] of being inappropriate

In my own experience, that takes up most of the airtime in public discussions of sexual harassment in every setting I experience them (including here).

and ways to deal with that personally and socially.

This, on the other hand, I would love to see get more airtime. Again, solutions-focused conversations.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:26 AM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think the idea of shifting the focus to a more general community-building, behavior norms-setting workshop is an interesting take--less charged, more likely to pull in the folks who need to hear that sexual harassment (among other behavorial expressions of asshattery) isn't funny or cool. Since it's a SF&F convention, maybe a title like, "Utopia in Fandoms of the Future" or something?

Whatever happens, good luck! It's a really, really important topic!!!

It would be awesome if you could get Wil Wheaton, because then you could title it, "Wil Wheaton Says Don't be a Dick at Cons"
posted by smirkette at 11:34 AM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Mod note: comment removed - if your answer can be prejudged by you as "terribly politically incorrect" maybe it's best kept to yourself or emailed to the OP, seriously?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:15 PM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'd expect at least one "I was groped / leered at by Isaac Asimov" story.
posted by zippy at 12:46 PM on December 1, 2010

Best answer: I've been sexually harassed at SF cons and usually didn't notice until someone brought it to my attention. Yes, I'm that socially inept. So, I think a lot of the folks here talking about community standards and broadening the topic are very good. If you model it as something like Social Interaction 101, it becomes a lot more interesting and you can included sexual boundaries along with some other confusing social things.

It might help to have some friends act out some scenarios, good, bad and questioning, and let folks talk about what was good, bad or confusing. Geeks are concrete thinkers, usually.

I'd also love to attend a session on something like Earthling Social Systems 101. Appeal to my SF geek sense of humour! When people are laughing, they are paying attention. Present something as a systems issue, and we want to fix it. Combine the two, and it could be powerful.
posted by QIbHom at 12:57 PM on December 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

I think how the panel is moderated is a really important part of it. Since the goal of the panel is to contribute to sci-fi fandom being a safe space for women, it's important to make sure the panel itself works as a safe space for women and women's voices, which means centering the voices and lived experiences of women. What this boils down to is making sure dudes don't take over the discussion by taking exception to every single detail ("but I've never sexually assaulted anyone!" "But jocks gave me a wedgie in grade 10!") There seems to be a sense with some people that experiences of sexual harassment or assault are only valid if they can be proven with some kind of combination court case/double-blind study, so making it clear that the experiences of women are being given priority over some guy's hypothetical woman-who-makes-false-accusations-against-everyone-all-the-time-for-no-reason is likely necessary to keep the panel from being totally derailed.

I think that focus will help. I know people are talking about the panel being solution-focused, but I think a major part of the solution is the guys there seeing where women are coming from and understanding how harassment actually makes people feel. And having a panel where women don't come away feeling like a space to talk about a huge problem they face got hijacked by a bunch of dudes in jedi costumes can't help but be positive. It's one of those "being the change you want to make" things, to borrow a hollow platitude I find really annoying.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 2:18 PM on December 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions so far!

Yes, I was thinking (in vague terms, since this only came up in the past week or so) of taking a solutions-focused, community-building sort of approach. I understand that people may try to use the panel as a place to vent, but I'd rather keep that to a minimum and focus on how one can make one's behavior more appropriate.

I really like the idea of building around a theme of 'Earthling Social Systems 101".

@smirkette We can't afford Wil Wheaton :(

For those of you who have led any sort of sexual harrassment discussion, esp. with multiple genders in the room: how did you keep the discussion focused, and steer it where you wanted it to go?
posted by magstheaxe at 2:30 PM on December 1, 2010

Best answer: To answer your last question, when facilitating this kind of discussion, in the past I have:

Kept it very focused on outcomes and positive behaviours.

Used actual case studies or very clear hypotheticals and really very strongly shied away from anecdote.

Made sure that everyone in the room, female, male, whatever, felt that it was a safe judgement-free place. I found this especially challenging as there are always a few people of both genders that basically wanted to turn sessions into a witch-hunt and often ended up explicitly or implicitly questioning others' feelings and their rights to express them or even be there.

I think, for me at any rate, big challenges around these dicussions are keeping the discussion productive. They have - for me - often devolved into fairly unhelpful stereotype binaries and ideological trench warfare with two sides that never the twain shall meet. People feel marginalised, ignored or slighted, and then they get angry, and then they become pure as the driven snow and their opponents black as night.

Something that I've always tried to do is highlight how most of the participants in the conversation have more in common than different, and everyone's here to learn and participate. This may not be great rhetorically, but something that I have found helped is to reduce ambiguity. People get all caught up in, is that/isn't that harrassment, yes it is, no it's not in these situations. Rather than focus on labels, I've tried to keep it focussed on very specific situations, and not discuss the ambiguities of the situations at all, but rather focus on actions; what should an observer do in that situation? The victim? The perpetrator? etc?

I've not done this in con settings, only corporate. Good luck!
posted by smoke at 3:02 PM on December 1, 2010

You need to tightly clarify your goals for this panel and your desired outcomes. It sounds like you want dialog around the harassment that happens in the con community and what can be done about it. What is your desired outcome of that discussion? You need to clarify specific boundaries: how much sharing of personal experiences is acceptable, how much discussion of others' personal experiences is acceptable, etc. This discussion needs to be tightly moderated to avoid going off the rails and you really need to think about what that means and whether you can provide that kind of moderation.

If I were running this panel (which since I've never been to a Con, I am approaching from perhaps a different place, though many things are universal) tight moderation would involve the following:

* Opt-in for the rules/safer space guidelines (basically what I posted in my first comment) before anything even starts. Rules need to be available before the workshop, either on the Con's site or in the description of the workshop. Attendees are welcome to add additional rules.

* Go around where people state their name, preferred pronoun and maybe one thing they hope to get out of the workshop. People may opt out if they choose. This may or may not be feasible depending on how big the group is.

* Victim blaming language will not be tolerated. Since the attendees may or may not be familiar with what this means, I think a one strike rule (rather than zero-tolerance) is acceptable but must be strictly enforced.

* Questioning the validity of others' experiences will not be tolerated. Saying "that's not sexual harassment" or "big deal!" in response to someones experiences is absolutely inappropriate.

* When a voice begins to dominate the conversation, the person needs to be interrupted and told that other voices need to be heard. If they are unwilling, they need to be told to leave.

* Hypotheticals and conjectures lead to rabbit holes and should be avoided. Especially dialog about what women should or should not do to avoid being harassed.

* There needs to be more people than just you moderating this discussion so that there are eyes and ears all over. More hands are needed for removing people that are causing issues (preferably followed by an explanation of why they were told to leave out in the hall) or for attending to people that are feeling triggered by the discussion. Not saying either of these things will happen, but the space will be safer if it's planned for.

Be very careful about framing the discussion in terms of the perpetrator's experiences. Framing it as "Earthly Social Systems 101" makes it feel to me like sexual harassment is portrayed as a social misunderstanding rather than a knowingly committed act. Sometimes sexual harassment is a honest social misunderstanding, a lot of times it is not.

Ultimately, I question the purpose of having a sexual harassment panel if the Con doesn't have a sexual harassment policy and a system in place for dealing with sexual harassment. That is, unless the point of the panel is to establish this, but it doesn't sound like it is. I personally would probably not go to this panel, unless the Con as a whole had a safer space policy in place or if I knew the moderators personally and that they were going to do a kick ass job of creating a safer discussion.
posted by radioaction at 7:34 AM on December 2, 2010

Response by poster: Just want to say follow-up about my sexual harassment panel, which I just held this morning at Conglomeration 2011.

It went great! I had seven people, which is unheard of on a Sunday morning. Our Art GoH, Kristen Kest, came early, and we were talking about some of my material before the panel started. There were four women and three guys in attendance, and a couple more women wandered in near the end.

I started out thanking everyone for coming, and explaining that I wasn't an expert or anything, but that this was a topic that I felt was very important and so I'd be glad to answer any questions. I explained that I wanted this to be an open and interactive discussion, so anybody should feel free to just jump in with a question or comment.

I then talked about "What Is Sexual Harassment?", using the definition from the Con Anti Harassment Project. I said that we have no hard figures about how widespread the problem is, but that personally nearly every woman I know has a story of sexual harassment at a con (and I've been going to cons for nearly twenty years). I said that I wanted to focus mostly on the problems of groping and leering and "mini-stalking" (a person focusing unwanted attention on someone else for the duration of a con, as opposed to more long-term stalking) because I heard more about those kind of complaints that any others. But, of course, if someone had a contribution about other kinds of harassment, speak up!

To give an example of how widespread the problem is, I showed the Google Video of the famous Harlan Ellison/Connie Willis incident. I then followed up with the woman on the New York subway from last fall as an example of how another woman chose to handle being harassed.

I talked about how, in my view, this woman did certain things right:

1) She got loud
2) She drew attention to herself, and to the situation.
3) She was specific. She told him to stop, repeatedly and loudly.
4) She “called out” her assailant and named him as such.
5) She made it clear that she was not going to let this go.

Obviously, I said, this won't work in every situation of sexual harassment. One thing some harassers to is try to isolate their victim so that they can't call for help; that would require a different approach. But in general, harassers count on the fact that women are socialized to not make a fuss, and try to take advantage of it. Making a fuss, I said, will generally catch them off guard and transfer any advantage to you.

We started to get into open discussion at this point, and to be honest I can't recall the ebb and flow of the conversation, but we covered everything I wanted to: “ask early, ask often” if you're concerned that someone you're flirting with isn't entirely comfortable with the proceedings, bystanders and what they can do to help, cosplay and the importance of remembering that just because a woman is dressed “that way” doesn't mean she's dressed that way for you, being on the autism spectrum is no excuse, being specific: “Stop”, “Stop touching my breast”, “You're making me afraid, stop it”, etc., minority and GLBT-focused issues, victim-blaming and why some women don't want to go to the police or convention committee, and more.

Overall, it was a really good panel, and everyone had a lot of positive feedback. One refrain I did hear was that this panel really did belong on Friday afternoon or Friday night. I've also had three women so far who didn't make it to the panel come to me afterwards to (a) ask for the handouts I gave, and (b) thank me for trying to raise awareness about this issue.

I feel really good about it, and I hope I'm able to do this panel again soon! Thank you so much for your help!
posted by magstheaxe at 10:10 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

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