As we’ve said before, it seems that every con season, stuff like this has to keep getting brought up. And every con season, we keep talking about it, because it seems as if some folks still aren’t getting it.
Some of you may recall an article that we published last June, which dealt with some first-hand accounts of harassment that various (male and female) cosplayers have experienced in the past. This article sparked a lot of good conversation amongst cosplayers and non-cosplayers, and (we feel) got the word out in a way that made sense to a lot of people by showing the actual experiences of those who have experienced this unacceptable behavior from others.
Well, on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017, a blogger going by the name of K. Tempest Bradford wrote a piece called OdysseyCon and Why Serial Harassers Are Safe In Our Community. It’s a disheartening read, but very important that convention goers and convention staff take note of it. As its title implies, the blog post brings up the issue of convention management being aware of the behavior of specific harassers, yet still hiring these individuals to work at the event(s).
Therefore, seeing as how we’ve previously addressed issues like this with the actual attendees of conventions, let’s go about this a different way. This time, let’s take a moment to talk about those individuals who work to plan, organize, and execute these events.
Listen: We all know (some of us more than others) that harassment, abuse, and the like are NOT COOL. We get it, right? HOWEVER, it seems that some people don’t understand that being an apologist for those who perpetrate these actions can be (almost) equally as bad. Excusing someone else’s harassing behavior only serves to strengthen that person’s resolve, and possibly embolden the next harasser who comes around. Sure, not all convention committees (or concoms, as they’re known) are like the one that Ms. Bradford talks about in her post, but it’s important to note that apologists DO EXIST, and those people need to not be in charge of setting up areas where harassment has – unfortunately – become commonplace.
So how do we prevent this kind of thing as a community? Well, a couple of suggestions would be as follows:
- Concoms should be aware of who they bring to their events as guests, and be aware of any history that those persons have regarding harassment or abusive behavior.
- Concoms should also take steps to refuse entry to anyone who has a repeat history of these behaviors, especially at conventions.
- Concoms, volunteers, and convention security should never assume that a person who reports something simply needs to be “talked down” or just apologized to. It comes off as if the person who reported it is not being listened to.
- Convention security should ALWAYS be informed of all harassing/abusive behavior, and should take those reports seriously EVERY TIME.
- Patrons & attendees should still always be aware of their surroundings, and look out for your fellow con-goers. We’re all there to have a good time, after all.
As convention attendees, we should be able to count on concoms and convention personnel to keep us safe through the regulations they set forth as well as their OWN behavior. They want us to keep attending their events? They need to put on their adult pants and take responsibility.
These issues remain in the forefront of our minds every convention season BECAUSE THEY KEEP HAPPENING. Excusing behavior like this is not only detrimental to investigations, but it is demeaning & disrespectful to those whose lives these harassers affect. Take heed, concoms. We con-goers are more focused on you, now. While your events remain on many people’s calendars every year, don’t think for a moment that fans won’t disappear if we don’t feel comfortable, safe, and respected when we show up.