Tag Archives: sexual harassment

We Question the Accused…

Over the past day or so, there has been a maelstrom over on a Steampunk World’s Fair FB Group regarding their harassment policy. As is the case in so many of these online interactions, the discussion is dominated by about a dozen people who are spouting The Great Derailers, grossly exaggerating the myriad of remote possibilities of abusing the policy while undermining the important intention behind it, and spreading general fear mongering. Some are even using bully techniques of mocking well-intentioned statements meant to make the victimized feel safer in cases of sexual violence and nitpicking minor semantic issues by using straw man and slippery slope rhetoric.

In the middle of these comments about the wording of the SPWF’s Harassment Policy (which the organizers have said repeatedly is a living document, and they are open to revising it for further clarification) are accusations that The Order of the White Feather is guilty of vigilantism. These handful of people claim the OWF is a vigilante group because of these two things:

  1. We believe the victim. We question the accused.
  2. The language around social ostracism for unrepentant rapists and perpetrators of other sexual violence

Some of the comments read as if they think the OWF will have a group of people goose-stepping and waving white feathers who corner and interrogate someone accused of flirting inappropriately under a swinging light bulb in a darkened room, so please allow me to explain further what’s meant by the phrase “We Question the Accused” to clarify this obvious misconception.

Before I go any further, let me make something very, very clear: the OWF is concerned about sexual violence, especially assault and rape. Sexual harassment falls under the spectrum that is sexual violence, and we certainly are concerned about that as well, but the language on this site about ostracism of the unrepentant accused is talking about Sexual Assault and Rape, not botched flirting or taking a photograph without permission. The OWF has no official capacity at SPWF. I’m an invited guest speaker and author who will present on rape culture and hold a white feather creative workshop for those who choose to support our mission. Nothing more. Insinuations that we’ll be policing the event and accosting every accused are both absurd and offensive.

Now that that’s cleared up, I’ll move on to the clarification.

First and foremost, we believe the victim. The traumatized. The person who has been harmed. We believe that they have been hurt by a certain action or behavior. They can come to us because they know they’re safe in doing so. They will be believed. They will not be questioned about details. They will not be forced to justify or explain themselves if they’re not comfortable doing so. We will take them at their word that they feel hurt and/or traumatized without making them “prove” it.

As a culture what we do now is hammer the hurt party with questions. We vow not to do that. Period.

**IF** any questions are asked, they will be asked of the accused. Questions like “What happened?”

Personally, I have no interest in questioning accused rapists or perpetrators of sexual violence or even misogynistic harassers. None whatsoever. I’d rather not have them in my life in any way, shape, or form. When I say “We Question the Accused,” it’s more to emphasize that we DON’T question the traumatized. If, for example, a group of friends had one of their friends come up and say Fred raped her. These friends would believe the accused felt violated and would not ask her for details or justification. As stated on this page, the only question asked to the hurt party is “What would you like to do next?” or “Do you want to  make an official report?” If this group of friends wants more information on what their other friend, Fred, did or what happened, they ask Fred. That’s what I mean by “We Question the Accused.”

Remember, these pages were written with Sexual Assault and Rape in mind.

So, before you go jumping to conclusions after reading eight words, read more about how to talk with the hurt party and inform yourselves about the accountability process we’re proposing for the accused.

No, we weren’t there. We won’t even know what *actually* happened in that room. What’s relevant is that this wo/man before you, vulnerable and scared, has been deeply traumatized.

You have a choice:
A. You can either further traumatize her by not believing her, by asking victim-blaming questions/comments like “why where you there?” “that wasn’t really rape” “that’s a very serious accusation!”, or
B. You can start the healing by saying, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. I believe you. What would you like to do next? I’m here for as much or as little as you’d like to share. You’re in control. I believe you.”

Number next, re: ostracism.

I have a difficult time with people screaming about ostracism and how wrong and unfair and such it all is because these are the same kind of comments and people who ostracized me and other survivors of sexual violence.

Allow me to quote the great Thomas Millar once again (from the must-read “Cockblocking Rapists is a Moral Obligation, or How to Stop Rape Right Now“):

Some people will say that’s rumormongering.  Yes.  Yes, it is.  If stopping rape isn’t a good enough reason to spread rumors to you, then you and I have nothing further to discuss.

Some people will say that it’s unfair to do that, to simply take the survivor’s word, to say things about people without due process.  Well, due process is for the government, to limit their power to lock people up or take their property.  You don’t owe people due process when you decide whether to be friends with them.  You don’t have to have a hearing and invite them to bring a lawyer to decide whether to invite them to a party.  And let’s be honest, most of us repeat things that one person we know did to another person we know based on nothing more than that one participant told us and we believe them.We do it all the time, it’s part of social interaction. (emphasis mine)

All those people who were calling me and the OWF a vigilante group has already done this. They’ve decided, based on very, very little information, indeed, how to socially respond to me and this group. I’ve decided, based also on very, very little information (namely their aggressive comments) that I have absolutely no interest in being friends or even knowing them.

We do that EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. in our communities. That’s ostracism, isn’t it? That’s saying, “you’re not welcome in my circle.”

Now, just imagine the safe places we could create if we used this daily social interaction to ostracize rapists, assholes, bullies, and other horrible people instead of what’s happening now: ostracizing the traumatized and the few who support them all because they’re showing us a painful truth of our culture.

Huh. Imagine that.

As for the Steampunk World’s Fair, they have my complete and unwavering support for their continuing efforts to make the Steampunk Community safer for everyone. Their policy is a strong one, and a strong harassment policy is needed, as confirmed by the very impressive John Scalzi. It comes down to whether or not you trust the organizers to be rational and fair, which I do. For those threatening not to attend SPWF because of the policy, I say it’s a safer event without you there…which means, it will be much, much more fun.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited and it’s sequel, of sorts, Avalon Revamped. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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AnachroCon Controversy

Two weeks ago, one of my dearest friends called me to tell me this article was coming out the following week. I listened with compassion and solidarity as he told me that he was DONE. No more. Finit. Enough of this sexual harassment/assault bullshit in our convention spaces. This time the target was a close friend of his, and the (alleged) assailant, the husband of his cherished colleague.

Here’s an excerpt:

AnachroCon 2014, held February 14-16, at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center, announced last week via Facebook that one of its founding members and co-chairmen William MacLeod would be leaving the con. In his original message (dated Tuesday February 18th) he stated, “The Army finally took its toll on me…. After 6 years as Chairman of AnachroCon, I (William MacLeod) am stepping down and turning convention operations over to my beloved co-chair Cindy so that I may focus on medical issues that have begun to plague me even more over the years.”

However, in the two days leading up to William MacLeod’s announcement, accusations surfaced that a member of the con staff allegedly received inappropriate and unwanted verbal and physical advances from the co-chairman. The staffer, who asked not to be named publically but was interviewed at length by a member of the Steampunk Chronicle staff, states that William MacLeod made repeated offers of sex over the weekend and fondled her at the most recent convention. According to the staffer, this was not the first time he had inappropriately touched her, and she alleges a pattern of such behavior going back several years.

A Troubled History

SpC has uncovered a string of allegations against William MacLeod, including a related sexual harassment allegation in the resignation letter of a former AnachroCon Senior Director of Promotions, Dan Carroll, who cited MacLeod’s behavior toward female members of Carroll’s staff. Carroll stated this week, “I resigned from AnachroCon because of the completely inappropriate treatment of women by the Chairman. All of the women who worked under me at the convention had asked me to address the issue. He did not seem to take these concerns seriously. It was my understanding he had taken steps to seek treatment and was working on the problem.” Carroll resigned in 2011. According to Cindy MacLeod, at the time of Dan Carroll’s resignation, AnachroCon, was not as well organized and they were still running it as a “private party.” There was no formal investigation.

A more recent departure was that of Megan Maude, director of the Fashion Track. She alleges that the problem of harassment has been pervasive at the con for a number years.  In a statement to Steampunk Chronicle, she said, “Predatory behavior was being tolerated and even encouraged by the chairman and his friends… I explained my many concerns about the safety of women at the con to Strobel [Charles Strobel, the Director of Programing and Anachrocon LLC Board of Directors member]… There was even talk of having a woman on staff whose only job would be to handle sexual harassment reports…[but nothing changed]… I genuinely don’t feel that I can safely invite any of my younger girlfriends to the con. I don’t want to tell a bunch of girls in their early to mid 20s to come to an event where I’m genuinely afraid they will be sexually assaulted.”

MacLeod has a long (alleged) history of harassing and assaulting women at his convention. Unfortunate for each of his subsequent targets over the years, no one did a thing about it before now.

Additionally, this man MacLeod supposedly spoke quite loudly for the “Cosplay is not Consent” campaign, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. As I’ve said countless times on this blog, offenders have no moral qualms about hiding in feminist ranks–just as they hide in other places like spiritual and sex-positive communities.

Enough.

Enough.

Enough.

I’m so proud of my dear friend for making a stand on this topic. This is what it takes. Every time another person stands up and says NO MORE or I’M DONE and takes action, the space in which these predators and rapists can operate becomes smaller and smaller. Standing up and saying NO MORE, no matter who is accused, and revoking their social license to operate will stop these predators from operating in our spaces.

Let’s make our convention spaces and communities safe for everyone, except those who perpetrate violence, especially sexualized violence. A good start for conventions is to have a response policy in place and posted publicly on its website, distributed in its literature, and announced at opening ceremonies. Join John Scalzi in boycotting events that do not take sexual harassment and assault seriously enough to have an action plan in place.

Join me in boycotting these events and events who continue to schedule known rapists as their musical guest and Guest of Honor (SteamCon & Wild Wild West Con, specifically), and let them know why you won’t go.

Support conventions who refuse to book known assailants like The Steampunk World’s Fair and AnomalyCon.

Read the entire fascinating article on MacLeod and the AnachroCon Controversy in The Steampunk Chronicle.

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Oppressed Majority

Powerful video.

Brilliant, really.

“Oppressed majority” takes place in an alternate reality where women jog half naked and work while the men take care of the kids and endure daily sexual harassment….The short film, in French and directed by Éléonore Pourriat, shows a father taking his kid to kindergarten and going through the rest of his day facing catcalls, sexist remarks, sexual assault, and contempt. (Source)

From the experience on the street to the way the father was treated by the police and his partner…it’s all extremely accurate to how women are treated daily. By flipping the gender to men, we start to see just how damaging such behavior is and the absurdity in putting up with it (and perpetuating it).

Pay attention to what comes up in your thoughts as you watch it. You’ll see how deeply ingrained rape culture truly is in all of us.

May you find peace.

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Misogyny Defined

reut-miso-e1350497963883The meaning of the word “misogyny” is literally “hatred of women.” Although that is the actual definition of the word, most misogynists think they love women. Misogyny usually manifests less as overt hatred and more as a general belief that men are better than women. They objectify women, belittle women, and control women.

The results of misogyny are rape, abuse, murder, lower pay, less opportunity, general discrimination and loss of power, restrictive gender roles, and more.

In it’s most basic form, it’s treating women as if their purpose on earth was for male pleasure and service, whether sexual, social, or professional. “Smile, sweetheart. You look so much prettier when you smile” is an example of every day misogyny, where the man is saying this to a strange woman on the street, suggesting that her very existence is to look pretty for him. He doesn’t take into consideration that her mother might have just died or she’s going through a divorce or struggling with a disease or a million other things that humans deal with. He interrupts her world to tell her to smile. It’s offensive.

This is an example of where he genuinely thinks he’s doing a nice thing, but the underlying cultural meaning is much deeper. He doesn’t realize it and she likely doesn’t either. It’s perpetuating the cultural understanding that women are supposed to be pretty and sexy and fuckable for men. Just look at any magazine on the shelves to see this. All those horrible star magazines about who’s fat and flabby in their swimsuits…they’re all women. They’re not showing men with beer bellies, they’re showing celebrity women aging or without their normal airbrushed perfection, and they’re mocking them for it.

The “smile, sweetheart” is a basic example, but the same intentions (whether conscious or not) are behind men who shout, “nice tits” or “I’d tap that” or the like at women on the street. It’s called street harassment.

As for the over-sexualization of women in our culture…It’s halloween, just look at the difference between the male costumes and the female costumes.

These are cultural examples. Both men and women perpetuate misogyny and rape culture without even knowing it. This is why it’s so important to talk about it and make people aware. Because, for the worst men, all of this gives them social license to continue more overt forms of misogyny, like abuse and rape. And they’ll get away with it, too. Most of them. 97% of rapists get away with it. Only 3% ever see even a single day in jail. Only 14% ever even see a trial.

Think about how the media handled the Steubenville Rape Case, where they lamented how those poor, poor rapists’ lives were ruined by that vindictive bitch. That is the mentality of the culture. Women rarely lie about rape, about 1.5-2% lie. That’s less than other false crime accusations, like theft or whatever, which are around 8%. What happened in Steubenville happens every weekend and hundreds of high schools around the country. That one just got some media attention. 600+ women are raped every single day.

Back to misogyny, “dizzy broad” “she must be on her period” “she’s overreacting” are all examples of every day misogyny. Shortly after we got Buster, our new dog, he got out one day we were away. Some guy found him and called the number on Buster’s tag. I thanked him over and over and went to pick Buster up. The guy wasn’t there when I did, but his father was. I thanked the father again, and he said I should thank his son, since it was he who found him and put Buster in the yard to keep him safe. So I did. I texted the sone and said I couldn’t express the depth of my gratitude. He responded, “I can think of a few ways. You sounded hot over the phone. I’d like to see if I’m right.”

I was flabbergasted! He turned my gratitude for doing a decent thing into sexualized debt. Since I’m already a survivor of rape, I was terrified because he knew my address. I called the police to report it just in case it escalated, and they minimized it and dismissed it (just like the police did when I reported the rape, by the way…which is why 60% of women don’t report rape).

That’s misogyny.

Other examples of misogynistic speech:

  • “Calm down. You’re too emotional.” (Classic gaslighting.)
  • “She’s a spinner!” (normally said about a very thin, petite woman)
  • “Look at those tits/that ass!” (objectification)
  • “She needs to know her place.” or “Did you put her in her place?”
  • “I’d like to get me some of that.” (objectification)
  • Any comment meaning to control a woman or tell her what to do
  • Any comment that belittles a woman to a sexual object or a collection of body parts
  • Talking about a woman as if she has no other purpose than a life support system for her vagina
  • Supporting misogynistic industries like the bulk of (notice I did not say all) porn and overtly sexualized images of women
  • Treating women as if their sole purpose for existence is for your visual or sexual pleasure
  • Suggesting that a woman was “asking for it” or “deserved it”
  • Uttering the phrase “cry rape” under any circumstances
  • Phrases like “skull fucking” and “bone smoking,” “fish taco” and “carpet muncher”
  • “This is not just about sex. There are 30 women I could call right now who will fuck me.”
  • “Nice guys finish last, awesome guys finish on her face.
  • “Why can’t you look like her?”
  • Rape or roofie jokes of any sort.
  • “You throw/run/hit like a girl.”

My father is a misogynist. A serious misogynist. He is also a generous and kind and loving man. He has little idea he’s a misogynist. He was socialized that way and he has hurt a lot of people because of it, me and my mother not withstanding. He has become more aware of it over the years, but he’s still a pretty serious misogynist. I call him on it these days. One of the hardest things for me to grasp is that someone can do horrible abusive things and they can also do wonderful, loving things. It’s complex. The struggle to understand two completely opposite things like this is called cognitive dissonance. You might have come across the term in your medical studies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

Saying some of the things above doesn’t necessarily make someone a misogynist, because it’s been so immersed in our culture (especially the seemingly innocuous things like ‘you throw like a girl’), but as intelligent, compassionate people, it’s up to us to challenge the underlying cultural problems with perpetuating this type of thinking and become more self aware around the language we use.

Kids are being exposed to this kind of thinking and speech every day at every turn, it’s important to understand this so boys, especially, can be taught to view women as complete human beings, not entities put on earth to please them. That’s what’s called male entitlement, and it’s running rampant on college campuses and in high schools these days.

A recent report shows that 1 in 10 adolescents (between the ages of 12 and 17) have sexually assaulted a classmate, mostly because they don’t know what they’re doing is sexual assault. Forcing someone to kiss them, grabbing someone’s ass or breasts, snapping a bra strap, those are all instances of unwanted sexual contact; i. e. sexual assault. Having sex with someone too drunk to consent is rape. People can say “No Means No” until they’re blue in the face, but when a wo/man says no and the other doesn’t stop but continues pushing pushing pushing past hours of NO until they finally get a yet, that’s coercive rape. It’s not a yes. It’s a coerced yes. If s/he says no. Stop. Period.

We must start teaching enthusiastic consent to where it’s not a “yes” mumbled through fear or tears or coercion, it’s a YES! YES! YES! said either through their lips or their actions. It’s a beautiful dance for two people to come together in this way. No coercion. No begging or breaking down barriers. Enthusiastic consent only, then there is no question. We must start to teach our sons and daughters that sex isn’t something a man pursues at all costs and women are not the gatekeepers. Sex is something two adults choose to do together an expression of love and/or desire for one another. It is not a power tool. It is not a duty or something owed. A woman is not an ejaculatory machine to be discarded after use. We must teach respect.

Just think:

“What’s the worst possible thing you can call a woman? Don’t hold back, now. You’re probably thinking of words like slut, whore, bitch, cunt, skank. Okay, now, what are the worst things you can call a guy? Fag, girl, bitch, pussy, I’ve even heard the term “mangina.” Notice anything? The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl. Being a woman is the ultimate insult. No tell me that’s not royally fucked up.” – Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited and it’s newly released sequel, of sorts, Avalon Revamped. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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50 Shades of Evil

I refuse to read it. Millions love it, but I refuse to read it. I’ve read excerpts from it, and those excerpts have been triggering enough. The exact words my rapist said to me. Seriously. The manipulation and abuse rampant in this series disgusts me. Yes, I haven’t read the entire thing, and for good reason.

This is the first article I’ve seen that explains it well. So much fiction glorifies abusive relationship and sociopathic narcissists as “exciting” lovers. Our culture romanticizes sexual assault daily, really. From the famous soldier-kissing-nurse picture from the end of WWII (sexual assault of a stranger without her consent) to ads for a new hairdo (pictured left). This over-powerment of women despite their disinterest, this perpetuation of male entitlement over women’s bodies disgusts me to no end.

Then, we have an international bestselling glorifying and romanticizing abusive relationships. Just what we need. So many women respond to it because they’ve been socialized by our culture for decades to believe this is how “real” men act. This is what “real” romance and desire looks like. They’re justifying and minimizing their own experiences, just as we’ve all been taught to do.

I’m no different. I did it, too, for the bulk of my 44 years, up until the past 2 or 3, that is. That’s when my eyes were open. It took my best friend digitally raping me back in 2010. A trusted colleague raping me in 2011, and then my lover raping me twice in 2012 for me to see past the patriarchal propaganda. I hope it doesn’t take so much trauma for you to get it.

Excerpt:

EL James’ success comes at a time when the British ministry of the interior, the Home Office, whose remit extents to policing and criminal justice, is seeking to widen the definition of Domestic Abuse in England to include coercive control, following a series of high profile murders of women in England, in 2011 and 2012. The Criminal Justice system in the United Kingdom is slowly waking up (not fast enough for many abuse survivors, in my opinion) to the fact that the phenomenon of a man exercising coercive control , rather than physical violence, is a greater indicator of risk of a woman being murdered by her intimate partner. It is not, then, without significant irony James’ stupendously successful novels contain numerous instances of the “hero” exercising such coercive control over the heroine.

My beef with the books are not the fact they are terribly repetitive and stomach-churning “love scenes” every three pages or so. I am not calling for a ban because they are “porn” or “filth”, as many on the religious right are.  Nor am I making a value judgement per se on those who follow a  BDSM  lifestyle or who enjoy certain erotic tastes in the bedroom. Yet these books are, in every way, completely immoral.

What is particularly disturbing is that this is being presented for public entertainment and the women reading 50 Shadesare effectively being conditioned to view coercive control, one of the most dangerous and insidious forms of relationship abuse, as normal, and even something to aspire to.

Serial Abusers, whether they target children or adults, typically use grooming to create a trust that is later used to keep the Target in the sexual relationship as well as to keep them from seeking help. This is done by paying excessive attention to the Target the beginning – spending time, buying gifts, and this attention can even extend to the Target’s family and friends as a means of masking the actual intent of the actions.  50 Shades of Grey is actually a novel which describes, rather accurately (albeit unintentionally) the process of grooming of a vulnerable Target used by a serial abuser.

Grooming is a term usually used when talking about child sexual abuse, but in my view all abuse involves forms of grooming which in the relationship between an adult Abuser and an adult Target retain many of the same patterns and features.

James’ writing jumps around a bit and its not logically consistent, but let’s look at how the six stages of grooming play out in examples the 50 Shades novels. Critics quickly point to the fact that Ana’s musings read like a teenager’s diary, missing the point that this is actually a device to emphasis Ana’s innocence. Ana’s reaction of embarrassment to a couple kissing openly in an elevator, for example, indicates that Ana maybe an adult chronologically (though not by much); emotionally she is a child. The definitions of the six stages are adapted from this abuse survivors website, which focuses on child abuse, but, as I’ve said, Grooming can affect children and adults alike, and Ana is portrayed very much as a child particularly in the first two books of the Trilogy.

The author of this article goes on to show how the books follow the manipulative tactics of a serial abuser: targeting the victim, gaining the victim’s trust, fulfilling a need, isolating the target, sexualizing the relationship, and maintaining control, either by further manipulation or by force. This pattern can happen over the course of an evening or years of a relationship. The article is specifically about child grooming, but it also fits with abusive relationships of all ages.

Educate yourself on what a Sexual or Emotional Predator looks like. They are generally not the creepy guy with back social skills crouching in the shadows. They are the popular, the charming, the handsome, the talented, the leaders.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited and it’s newly released sequel, of sorts, Avalon Revamped. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

 

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Warning: NYCC Film Crew Creepers

Friend and colleague Ay-leen the Peacemaker had a creepy experience at NY Comic Con this weekend. Read her entire post about it on her Tumblr page. Here’s an excerpt:

On Saturday, October 12th, 2013 at approximately 5:30 PM, I was walking through Artist Alley with my friend A, who was dressed as steampunk-version of Death from The Sandman comics. I was dressed in an Asian steampunk outfit (an image can be seen here, taken earlier that day). As you can see in the photo, I was modestly dressed (steampunk!) and carrying my parasol. We had been stopped numerous times for pictures from attendees and interviewed courtesy by another press crew while in the Artist Alley. This is why I didn’t hesitate when a man dressed in a dark T shirt and dark jeans pulled me aside and hurriedly asked for an interview.

My friend A was busy posing for other photographers at the time. I’m noting this in case any other photographer in the room noticed them and possibly took a photo with them in the background.

The creeper interviewer (which will now be known at TCI) was about 5’ 2” – 5’4” tall (we were eye-level with each other), slightly stocky athletic built, short crew cut dark hair, brown eyes and tanned complexion. He had at least three others with him, dressed all in black. One of them carried a full camera with built in sound boom, and one other had a clip board and looked like a production assistant. There was some sort of logo on the cameraman and on the interviewer’s mic (probably some generic “The_____ show” but I couldn’t see clearly).

Read the creepy conversation on her Tumblr page. Warn others about these revolting, offensive human beings. She’s not the only one who has had this kind of experience with these people, although it would be enough if she was.

People have since messaged me saying that they experienced similar incidents with this group. I encourage you to report these events to con security if you are on site. I myself will be emailing the show manager Lance Fensterman (@Lfensterman, Lance@REEDpop.com)

Please email the show manager, too, and report them to NYCC. This kind of behavior must not be tolerated.

These creepers have been identified:

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Why So Many Victims Don’t Report

When I first read “When I Didn’t Consent. Why I reported. Why I didn’t” by Elyse MoFo Anders, I cried. Then I got angry. Then I cried again. So much of her story is familiar to me and to virtually every other woman and survivor of sexualized violence.

Entitled, exploitative, and/or abusive sexual encounters with smug, manipulative people. Misconceptions about what rape is “supposed to look like.” Betrayed and raped by someone you trust. Dismissive and humiliating treatment by the police. Insensitive community response. Losing all your friends and descending into insanity because no one believes you. Coercion and self-blame perpetuated by our culture.

This must change.

Excerpts:

I was raped. I reported it. I was raped. I didn’t report it. I was raped. I reported it but I didn’t press charges. I was raped. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do so I told myself that I wasn’t raped.

But I was. I was raped.

We have these conversations about rape, conversations that always include a question of “Was the rape reported to the police?” Women are taught that when they get raped, it is our duty to report it. We are obligated to press charges. We must crusade for justice. If the rapist is a real rapist, and he raped someone, it the victim’s duty to stop him.

And we think we know what rape looks like. We know there’s bushes or drinks involved. There’s kicking and screaming… or unconsciousness… and the word “NO!” can be heard from the next room or by passersby. And there’s crying. Crying during. Crying after. So. much. crying. And there’s blood. At least SOME blood.

And we know what to do when you know you’re being raped. If there’s a weapon, you don’t fight. If there’s no weapon, you do. And you make sure you scratch him to get his DNA under your nails. And you don’t shower. And you don’t change. And you go to the hospital. Right away. You’d be irresponsible to wash away evidence.

Even though women put a lot of effort into not getting themselves raped, we already have the script written. We have a plan. We know how we’ll handle it when someone finally thwarts our attempts to get through the night un-raped.

Funny thing about rape, though, is that sometimes your rapist doesn’t match what you thought your rapist would look like. Sometimes central casting sends in dudes that don’t match the type you were already planning to get raped by. And sometimes these guys go off script, ad libbing lines and their timing is off and sometimes it’s the script is edited so much, you didn’t even recognize that this was Your Rape because NONE of the shit that just went down was part of the original plan…

…And despite the incident not following my script for how my rape would go down, it follows a pretty standard template. Drunk -> assaulted -> reported -> not believed -> no investigation -> dismissed…

…(from the section “One time I convinced myself I had a choice” when she was doing a modeling internship with a photographer) One day, while his wife was at her office job, the photographer and I were in the dark room, like we’d done every day. And suddenly, he was behind me, hand down my pants, finger in my vulva. I froze. I didn’t know what to do. So I stood there. I didn’t want to get hurt, so I didn’t fight. But I didn’t want to give the impression that this was enjoyable. I shut down.

Later that night, he had a talk with me about how my behavior in the dark room was unacceptable. He was giving me a pleasurable experience and I was refusing it.

I explained to the man over three times my age that I was not really comfortable with such surprises and that I need time to warm up to intimate encounters since I’d been raped in the past.

He told me that wasn’t fair. He wasn’t a rapist. And I needed to learn to live in the now. “How long are you going to let this keep you down? If you can’t get over this, you’re never going to have a successful career.”…

…(from the section “The time I said no then said yes,” i. e. coercive rape) I was in high school. It wasn’t like “no means no” hadn’t been drilled into my head for years. I knew what rape was. I knew it was awful. I knew it was never the woman’s fault and skirts don’t matter. I knew the talking points. I read Sassy. I was kind of a feminist, even if I didn’t know that I was.

So when I look back at this thing, it’s a little heartbreaking for me. I was well educated on the subject. And I didn’t get what happened. What happens to girls who don’t grow up in affluent progressive schools that promote feminist ideals and encourage girls to find their feminist bearings? Girls who have sex ed every year? Girls who are taught that consent matters? I didn’t call it rape for over 15 years. Even though, immediately, I knew it was, but convinced myself it wasn’t. At worst, I decided, there were some blurred lines.

I was on a date with a guy I met at a coffee shop. I don’t remember where we went or what we did or what is name was.

But at the end of the date, we went back to his house to watch TV. And things progressed.

Once we started fooling around, he got weird. Silent. Not just silent, but non-responsive to anything I said or wanted. If I said no to something, he kept going. I said no repeatedly, but he kept going. I was having trouble processing what was happening. I kept telling him no, but why wasn’t he getting that? I was confused more than scared. I didn’t know what to do.

Coercive rape has accounted for experiences with about 1/3 of my sexual partners. I never considered it rape until recently because, well, it is rape. I remember when I was in my teens and 20s saying no over and over again for hours and finally saying “yes” because I was afraid if I didn’t say “yes” he’d rape me. Turns out…

No Means No, but even more accurate: ONLY AN ENTHUSIASTIC YES MEANS YES. Not a coerced yes. Not a yes through tears or intimidation or fear. Not a drunken yes.

Learn this people.

Please read the entire article here. This victim-blaming has to stop. We–as a community and a culture–need to give the benefit of the doubt to the victim and question the accused. Only we can make sure victims who come forward are taken seriously. By doing so, we revoke the rapists’ social license to operate.

Let’s stop this.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited and it’s newly released sequel, of sorts, Avalon Revamped. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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Filed under Community Response, Misogyny, Objectification, Rape Culture