The Not-So-Anti-Rape Feminist Glittery Hoo-Haas

So I’m looking for something to rant about this week, and what should I find on Facebook? Why, nothing other than a call for all conventions to have harassment policies.

Now, I’ll freely admit that if I want to harass someone, I don’t need a policy to do it. Nor will an anti-harassment policy stop me. Leaving that aside, the evidence being used by the special snowflake making the call was this incident (http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/12/07/aki-con-cosplayer-assaulted/).

By the time I’d finished the article I was ready to rant at nuclear levels.

Let’s start with the first and most obvious failure here. Drugging someone and raping them is not harassment. It is assault, deprivation of liberty, a boatload of other crimes depending on just how pissy the local police department gets, and first and foremost, it is rape.

Thank you so much Ms Special Snowflake for your ever-so-sexist conflation of rape and harassment and your backhanded dismissal of the suffering of every rape survivor ever. This kind of bullshit is part of why people resent the anti-harassment campaigns and make jokes about it.

Sensible humans – even madwomen like me – recognize that there is a difference between harassment, “he looked at me funny”, and rape. The three fall into completely different categories and the attempts to make harassment seem worse by conflating it with rape only make things worse for rape survivors – and easier for rapists. Way to go, Feminist Glittery Hoo Haas. Somehow I don’t think making it easier for rapists was part of your game plan, but guess what? You don’t show enough intelligence to realize your insane campaigns do this.

Which, of course, is why I see links to stories about the assault and rape being used to support the needs for conventions to have a harassment policy.

No. In this case what the convention needed was someone with a few functioning brain cells. I can accept hiring a convicted sex offender if there was evidence that person had reformed or the offense was one of those stupid “They call that a sexual offense?” things (like peeing in public – I’ve been caught badly short in places where there weren’t any public toilets to be found. It’s hell. I don’t blame a guy in that situation for pointing it at a wall and letting fly. Any jurisdiction that labels this as a “sexual crime” needs to be mocked without mercy – and I know there are some that do), or there was reasonable cause to doubt the offense was an actual offense (one of those “he said, she said” things, in other words).

In this case, there was no evidence of any of those three conditions. Rather the contrary in fact – so if the con committee wasn’t prepared to un-hire the person, they certainly should have made sure he had a minder for the duration of the convention. It’s not that unusual to do that for a special guest anyway, just not to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t do anything out of line.

Having received the complaint, the con committee should have acted on it. Would they have ignored a complaint of someone being assaulted and having the stuffing beaten out of them? Likely not. A complaint of someone stealing? Likely not. That makes this a multi-level fail on the part of the committee members – all of whom are likely congratulating themselves for their highly sensitive handling of the issue by quietly round-filing it. Because groupthink and the desire not to make trouble will totally do that.

All of that aside, there is absolutely zero excuse to use this incident to call for harassment policies. If anything that’s an even bigger fail than the con committee’s actions enabling and assisting the rapist because it effectively downgrades the rape to “harassment”. I know what harassment looks like. Rape ain’t it.

Harassment policies would not have stopped a damn thing here. There was no harassment. There was a young woman (or girl, depending on where you want to draw the woman/girl line) partying and having fun until she passed out and woke up in the rapist’s hotel room. There was a man who was making passes at young women, but not to the level of harassment if the article is to be believed.

Hell, there weren’t even any complaints of “he looked at me funny”, which for a con is bloody unbelievable (although it’s possible those complaints never got to the committee, given its stellar performance at this convention).

Let’s get this right, people. If it’s a spade, call it a spade. If it’s a fucking shovel, call it a fucking shovel. But don’t call your garden trowel a fucking shovel and your spade a fucking shovel. Not only do you cheapen the language, you make it impossible for anyone to recognize the fucking shovel when they need to.

59 comments

  1. I never imagined that the feminists would get all biblical, that if a man looks at a woman with lust in his heart, he has already raped her. But that’s the power of the “Male Gaze” apparently.

    1. Actually, it’s the only “non-sexist” point of view possible. Men are walking rape machines. Failure to acknowledge that means that you hate women. It all makes sense if you “think” about it. It’s just like the horrified editorials that I read right after Viagra came out. “What happens if the woman isn’t in the mood anymore? What is the man going to do?” Personally, I’d probably take care of things without assitance at that point, but to a feminist? Erect penis = Will to rape.

      1. I think some of them want to criminalize being in possession of a penis. Which is kind of dumb. If you outlaw penises only outlaws will have…

        Um. I think my logic loop just fritzed.

    2. Yes indeed. But just watch the fuss if you dare to suggest that since she has all the equipment necessary to be a prostitute, she is one…

  2. It’s just like various groups wanting to pass laws whenever something happens, even though there are existing laws that cover the offense. They want to be seen “doing something”. Plus, these kinds of “womyn” want to legitimize their ability to complain about any man who they don’t want attention from even looking at them for longer than a half second.

    1. Oh, but of course. If they aren’t seen to be “doing something” people might get the idea that they’re useless. Can’t have that, now, can we?

  3. Rape is a felony crime, no matter when or where. Harassment ranges from meh to mildly annoying to a pain in the tuckus to possibly crossing the border into assault, at which point it’s not harassment, it’s assault. At that point you don’t call for policies, you call security/your big mean friends/the cops. And don’t penalize everyone else because you, oh devoted feminist-type individual, can’t tell the difference. Grrrrrrrrr.

    1. Exactly. There is a difference and lumping it all into the one “harassment” bucket cheapens the crime and makes it harder for the victims of said crime.

  4. Before you get too worked up (too late?) I’m wondering if you’re not taking things a bit too far. I know, I know. Yes, if the DJ drugged the girl and had sex with her he’s a rapist and ought to be exec…err… jailed because we’re a society full of wimps who won’t handle this business in a severe enough manner.

    THAT MUCH BEING SAID (yes, caps intentional) I’m wondering how far the “hitting on” went. That article was pretty non-specific. If it was simply a matter of “he looked at me wrong” then there was nothing the con could have done BUT if the the DJ was legitimately harassing women whether through physical contact (IE putting his arm around a woman w/o permission or grabbing a girl by the arm when she tried to walk away) or just by refusing to buzz off when told to buzz off (and we all know the kind of guy I’m talking about) then maybe, just maybe, he could have been removed BEFORE he raped anyone. I’m just mentioning the possibility.

    Think about it this way:

    DJ “Victor” walks in. He starts to play music because he’s a DJ and that’s what DJs do. He walks up to a girl and tries to talk to her. She tells him to go away. He follows her. She tells him to go away again. He tries one more time. Security escorts him out the door. Inside, the would-have-been rape victim goes on about her night disappointed because there’s no music and that’s the end of it. “Victor” is gone and all’s well that ends well.

    Do I know that things could have gone this simply? No. But it might have. Of course, not hiring a sexual offender probably would have been a good start. Keep in mind that I’m not trying to scale back what the POS did. He’s a rapist and he belongs in Hell for it. I won’t pretend otherwise. My point is that stopping things at the level of harassment MAY prevent rapes in the future. And if kicking out a lech keeps a woman from being raped I’m all for it.

    I have three daughters. I don’t want to see this happen to them. I’m already training my oldest (age seven) in the martial arts I took as a kid and I fully intend to train her in firearms when she’s old enough and listens better to help her protect herself. The same with the other two, although the youngest hasn’t learned to walk yet so it might be a minute for her. I just think that a little help removing the threat before it materializes might work as well. That’s where con organizers come in. Would it have worked here? I don’t know. I don’t know if the DJ had done anything before raping the victim that would have caused him to get kicked out. But it might have. That’s a good enough reason to have a policy.

    1. Hmm. So a policy of “I don’t like the expression on his face when he is looking at my side of the room” being enough to get a man barred for life from attending public events is your solution to rape? Well true, men being permanently confined to solitary would reduce rape a fair amount. Wouldn’t stop it, men aren’t the only ones capable of committing rape.

      1. You’re not reading what I wrote. I specifically said that it has to be a man that went too far Quote from my earlier comment: “If it was simply a matter of “he looked at me wrong” then there was nothing the con could have done” That’s it. If a guy just looks then why do anything. It’s about setting a line in an intelligent place and enforcing it. A man who puts his hands on a woman or who refuses to walk away when told to has crossed that. A man who has looked has not. Read what’s there and you’ll see what I meant.

        1. But you’re not understanding that the harassment policies the “Feminist Glittery Hoo-Haas” want to push are more closely aligned with what Sanford stated. Therefore, if you’re suggesting that harassment policies are reasonable, in this instance, then you are, by implication, supporting those hyper-sensitive policies pushed by these women.

            1. Unfortunately, yes. These twits are all-or-nothing, which means a common-sense policy along the lines of “Looking is okay. Hanging around and talking to someone who has asked you to leave is not. Neither is touching someone without an invitation or a damn good idea they’re going to be okay with it. (Big hint: if you hug someone and they start backing away, apologize and don’t touch them again. Ever.) No, we do not care if you are male, female, or the reincarnation of Elvis Presley.” is going to be considered both inadequate AND justification for getting people banned because “he looked at me funny”

              1. Even this can be problematical. When I was younger, I spent time in quite a few clubs/events/… where it wasn’t physically possible to get to most of the room without tapping people on the shoulder, and squeezing past them. It wasn’t sexual, and certainly wasn’t harassment; but I can see someone being charged (with no defense acceptable) for there being 20 gallons of dancers on a 10 gallon floor.

        2. What level of proof will you require? I have seen a woman claim threats that did not happen in a public place to get a man in trouble. If there is not some judicial process this is arming scum to get whatever man they do not like. If there is a judicial process it gets very expensive in time and inconvenience very fast.

          1. That’s another messy issue. For a con, I’d say a quiet “We’ve had complaints about your behavior. Don’t do X, Y, Z. We’ll be watching you.” And then actually WATCH should – in a sane world – be enough to prevent most harassment.

            It won’t prevent rape.

    2. You’re entirely skipping over the fact “Victor” spent four years in prison for rape before the Con hired him, and the Con committee was told this, with links, by more than one person. They brought him in and turned him loose. THAT is the bottom line. Anti-harassment protocols would be stupid. Not hiring sex offenders and ignoring and deleting warnings before the event? The committee members individually and the Con should be held legally accountable.

      1. Agreed. Having hired him, they should have been keeping a close eye on him – he hadn’t been out and clean long enough to justify giving him free rein in a target-rich environment.

        1. Giving the Con committee the benefit of the doubt (which I very much doubt they deserve) the sexual crime Victor was imprisoned for was simply mentioned as having sexual relations with a minor. No details on how old he was or how old the minor was, or if it was consensual or not. He looks fairly young in the mugshot (not sure if that is a current mugshot or one took in 2006) if that is a current picture, I would guess him at around 19-20 in 2006. If what he was guilty of was having consensual sex with a 16 year old at that time I could see the Con committee thinking it was not that big a deal and shouldn’t be a problem.
          However there are several instances brought to their attention of women recently having problems with him. With that in mind I would think SOMEBODY on the committee should have gotten a clue and did something about it. (I would advocate castrating with a rusty butter knife, but that tends to be frowned upon by TPTB)

      2. Yeah, a harassment policy would stop a sex offender . . . the way drunk driving laws stop alcoholics.

      1. Thanks for this, David. The articles I read said buggerall about the inappropriate behavior beforehand.

        The convention management obviously failed on multiple levels here. In my view a harassment policy isn’t going to make diddly squat bit of difference if the con management isn’t prepared to behave responsibly. On the flip side, a responsible con team would have been escorting the man (presuming they didn’t un-hire him) everywhere and making damn sure he stayed within the bounds of civil behavior. A responsible con team would also act on complaints regardless of whether they had a policy or not.

        1. Isn’t having thought out in advance how to deal with complaints con management behaving responsibly? Having a policy and then following it sure sounds like good management to me.

          Having an unreasonable policy or having one and *not* following it would not be responsible, of course.

          1. Having a policy that hasn’t been thought through – and had holes poked in it in advance by cynical SOBs – is bad management behavior. Having no formal policy but having all team members clued in and willing to step in when necessary is responsible (in my experience the formal policy usually happens because the people who did the right thing because it was the right thing to do aren’t there any more, so the policy is papering over the absence).

    3. The article was extremely non-specific about what happened beforehand.

      What I don’t appreciate (among other things, but then I’m something of a pissy bitch at the best of times. I’ve just stopped trying to hide it) is the cries of “look, someone got raped. We need cons to have a harassment policy”. Um. No.

      The con failed in multiple ways – including hiring the specimen (based on his history) and having hired him, failing to keep an eye on him. If there was harassment leading up to the attack, they failed there too.

      That doesn’t make conflating harassment and rape a good or sensible thing to do.

  5. I think you may be being overgenerous in crediting the feminists as backing up their supposed anti-rape stance.

    I think their other stances so compromise this that it maybe shouldn’t be credited at all.

    I’m a fairly strict “Doesn’t matter, you can freaking well keep your pants zipped” adherent. I think any other position intellectually undermines the thesis that rape is wrong, and I take rape being unjustifiable as a basic assumption. Maybe this doesn’t mean so much, given how few in general seem to be really rigorous at having such rational, as opposed to rationalized.

    However, if one reads much into the other stances, one might see why the ‘all-men-are-rapists’. If that is what a feminist would do if they were a man, and they don’t acknowledge other values, it would make a certain amount of sense for them to project that.

    Adding feminist support for Kennedy/Clinton, one might suspect that the anti-rape stance is purely cosmetic for them.

    1. Revisiting the last item, because I had a sudden thing come up before I finished properly. Now I think I was unfair, and should be more charitable.

      It is a relatively easy thing to object to being a victim of rape oneself. This is not a position I would contest about feminists having, and it very much does count as something beyond the cosmetic.

      The broader question is whether one objects to rape when it is not a purely negative matter for oneself.

      I use two metrics to estimate this. One, how strongly does one exhibit the principle that one keeps one pants zipped? Two, how much does one allow one’s own desires to influence one’s criteria for when it is right or wrong to unzip one’s pants?

      I do not much have a favorable view of humanity where this is concerned. I do not see any reason to grant a free pass on it to any gender, faction, family, creed, time or society.

    2. The whole thing reminds me somewhat of an alleged interchange between a feminist of the “all-men-are-rapists” school and a male interviewer. She claimed the interviewer was a rapist because he had the equipment.

      He is said to have retorted that she must be a prostitute because she has the equipment for that.

      I’m given to understand the result was… interesting.

  6. I find it very disturbing (not to mention idiotic) that con committees, university administrations, and corporations have “policies” for things which are crimes. There’s only one “policy” to have if a felony is committed: call the goddamned police. The legal system (on the whole) does a better job of preserving the rights of the victim and the accused, a better job of getting the facts, and a better job of punishing the guilty.

    Plus, you know, it’s the law.

    1. Well, if you are a university that gets federal $$, the D of Ed sent out the infamous “dear colleague” letter saying that you have to have a policy and it has to be draconian in favor of the accuser. It boils down to: even if the accused is found not guilty by a jury or the police find no grounds for action before it reaches that point, if a campus group finds 50.1% certainty that the accuser did something, he must be punished. Otherwise the U risks having federal funds cut and a civil rights investigation (note that the threat was implied, not explicit). MindingtheCampus.com has been following this mess pretty well.

  7. Just how do you enforce “harassment policies” if you have a ridiculously broad definition of harassment? If it’s oogling women, you’d have to chuck out 90% of the male attendees.

    1. 100%. The relevant crime for these specimens is “breathing while in possession of an attached penis” The use the male puts said appendage to doesn’t matter.

        1. Sunglasses. That way no one can see where your eyes are aimed. As an added bonus, you can smile mysteriously when you’re asked if you’re a vampire.

          1. I wonder if Jim would stop at “changing her mind” if accused of “sexual harassment”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

            1. I suspect Jim would leave someone who did that with a very personal understanding of why it’s a very bad idea to cry wolf.

      1. His 90% is correct, they will allow girls with penises to remain, so long as thjey aren’t lesbians

  8. I’m going to bring a level of expertise to this that very few have. I was a “volunteer helper that ended up actually running InConJunction II security (the head, never showed). I was in charge for ICJ III, and helped at many more of the first 10. I went to San Antonio WorldCon and was asked if I was “working” (security). I’ve been to somewhere North of 100 Cons, since 1980., as a worker/dealer/attendee. For about 20 years, they used a variation of the “rules” I wrote for ICJ III. So, I have a certain “expertise” in this matter.
    1) Aki-Con engaged in, by definition, a _criminal conspiracy_, by acting as they did. They should be sued/charged on that basis. 2) A “harassment policy” should NOT BE NECESSARY. If someone is engaging in ‘harassment” other fans should step in, and make it known that it Is NOT APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR. (Side note, ask knowledgeable fans, why the Galt House incident, means Louisville will _*NEVER*_ host a WorldCon.)
    3) By definition (legal and civil) Con Com are responsible for behavior at Con’s, and should plan on that basis. (I talked to some organizers in the mid 90’s, warning them about a con attendee, and possible consequences of his behavior.) IF the facts are as stated, the Con Com 501(c)3 “protection” for Aki-Con is GONE.
    4) If Con Com & their “security” refuse to take action, BROADCAST the problem on newsgroups and Facebook. Call the police if there are real actions taking place.
    If we, as fans, guest, dealers, etc., allow this to happen, we _deserve_ what happens. Con’s do this because WE LET THEM. If we, all of us, say “This is not acceptable, and won’t attend, unless it stops,” it. will. get. worse. The “harassment” and Rape problems occur because we refuse to stop the bad acts on BOTH SIDES. (I’ve had 3 friends raped, not assaulted, but raped, and known well a 4th.) The “false claimers” get away with it, because no one is willing to stop them. If they are shunned, they stop, because no one will associate with them. If you are worried by a Con’s security set up, tell them you will a) stop attending, and b) warn others to stay away. Then, DO IT, *SILENCE IS CONSENT.*
    Sad to say. This is where the “don’t make waves,” or the “ignore the problem and it will go away,” attitudes have gotten us. Complaining about conflating harassment and rape, (indeed two very different issues) is not the problem. Ignoring, allowing, even encouraging bad behavior is the problem. No wonder people are confusing the issues.

    1. Walter,

      Thank you. I’ve never worked con security, but my experience everywhere is that the policies happen when the people with the morals and spine to step in and *do* something when someone is misbehaving aren’t there anymore, so instead of acting, people write a policy and point to it to say “Look. We have a policy. Everything is fine.”

      You are correct that conflating harassment and rape is not the core problem here. I’m not going to apologize for snarking that conflation, though – because letting that conflation slide past unmocked is another way of ignoring the bad behavior.

  9. I’ve been on Security for cons. One of them had a problem with an individual with a penchant for showing his deck of pornographic playing cards to underage girls.

    Then he tried that shit on one of our team — and suddenly found himself in the center of a rings of Men In Black Jumpsuits Wearing Expressions Suggesting Deep Thoughts On The Frailty Of Human Life. (I still remember the look on his face when he took a step backwards, turned around and saw me staring at him…. >:) ) We made it abundantly clear to the conrunners that he was not to be allowed back in future. He was not allowed back.

    As to “harassment policies”: I had great fun this year making a mockery of OryCon’s policy. There’s one individual on whom I like to try out my latest and worst Puns — his reactions are amusing. At one point, I uncorked a particularly noxious one; his response was to point his finger and say, “GO”. The next day, he asked me a question — and I told him, “Under the terms of the convention harassment policy, I am not permitted to have any interactions with you again — you *did* say ‘Go’.” This led to a very long, very said discussion on the stupidity of “zero-tolerance policies” and such (after he had formally permitted me to speak to him, of course 😉 ); it was generally agredd “any action which would fall under ‘harassment policy’ is also an action which warrants a direct jump to ‘get the fuck out of my convention, asshole’ (or at the very least some wall-to-wall counseling)”.

    1. “Zero tolerance” is – in my experience – a way of pretending to do something without having to make any difficult decisions.

  10. I am sick unto death of the following expressions: “male gaze”, “white privilege”, “mansplaining”, “rape culture”, “cultural appropriation”. I was happier before I first heard them, and would be happier if I never heard or read them again. *sigh*

  11. Seems to be a problem with Liberal attitudes prevalent on Con-runners. A long time ago, I was on a ConCom, and I was pointing out the need for a PNG policy (persona non grata), and I was met with incredible resistance, especially to the idea that someone who was a known troublemaker at other conventions should be banned in advance. Oh no! They hadn’t caused trouble at OUR con, so they would have to be allowed! (non-denominational) Heaven forfend that we do anything to put out any individual who wanted to come.

    On the plus side, I did write the weapons policy that basically amounted to one should obey the laws of the state, specifically so that I and several of my friends could exercise their concealed carry rights. Too many other cons are so PC that they would throw an absolute fit if they knew.

    And that goes back to the time PhilCon banned toy guns except as parts of costumes. My toy-gun-collector buddy Mitch then went as Mr. PhilCon Weapons Policy decked out in as many toy guns as he could manage. And outside of the Masquerade, he wore a shoulder holster with a toy car in it. The car, of course, was a model of a Chevy Beretta.

    1. You do have pictures of that, right? Because I want to see Mr PhilCon Weapons Policy. It sounds awesome.

      The list of PNG is important – right along with the notion that if you can’t uninvite someone who stands a fair chance of being Trouble, you bloody well give that person an escort to keep an eye on him. (Or her. Or, in extreme cases, it.)

      1. I managed to dig out a dark, badly developed photo from the 1989 reprise – they actually asked him to come back to do it again – with myself and two others as “caddies”carrying additional toy weapons. Where shall I send it?

  12. I know that our con has banned certain people, but it’s generally kept low key. No one runs around making loud announcements. Part of the problem is, I would think, that the Hotel is a public place and you can’t keep random persons from walking the hallways, even if you can keep them from the event rooms. You also can’t stop them from getting a room at the Hotel, and you can’t keep them from attending private parties.

    I can’t see any way that the Con Com has control over those places and I don’t see how they can be responsible. They can refuse to sell a membership, but beyond that? The hotel also has policies of what to do about criminal or disruptive behavior.

    Con Com should have internal policies to assure staff that they will be supported and to make sure staff knows who on staff has authority (“I’m getting the con chair,” is always the right answer), and the con should have published policies, mostly that amount to “we have the right to tell you to leave for any reason,”

    But no amount of policy-having is going to give the con the authority to make someone leave the public areas of the hotel.

    1. But no amount of policy-having is going to give the con the authority to make someone leave the public areas of the hotel.

      “Hey, this guy is bothering several of our Con-goers. You need to make him leave or we won’t come back.”

        1. And common sense is, alas, the rarest and most precious commodity in the universe. At least when you consider how little of it you ever see displayed.

    2. You don’t need to make a big fuss over it. The combination of “no badge for X. They do not purchase membership” and “No entry to official functions without a badge” is usually enough – and when it isn’t the scary con security crew headed by the likes of CF acts as a handy backup.

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