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Keycon

SON OF EDIT: Senate never got back to me, I never got an apology for the harassment LeAmber subjected me to by posting my real name, and the Code of Conduct is now absent from the Keycon website, as well as the Senate and ConCom list. It looks like all Keycon has learned is to hide their tracks.

Sorry, but until I hear better things from the con, it's staying on my Red Alert list.

*EDIT THE FINAL* Keycon has updated their Code of Conduct and it is FANTASTIC. You can read the Code of Conduct here and the Letter to Members prefacing it here. It took a while, but I am very proud of the Senate and the two other members of ConCom's response. (You can read Levi Labelle's response here, and I want to say that he seems like a class act all the way and I hope he stays involved in Keycon.)

I AM KEEPING #RAPECON ACTIVE. With con season kicking off, a specific Twitter feed for highlighting safety issues at other conventions is a great place for activism. I also endorse using it to promote conventions that are safe and respectful. If people want to flood it with thanks for Keycon, I would be, as the kids say, down with that.


The #rapecon hashtag has been started. You can tweet @Keycon28 and ask what they're thinking. #rapecon is NOT just for Keycon, it for publicizing assault and harassment at ALL geek conventions.

Hello everybody!

I posted a few months ago about starting the Back-Up Project at Keycon, and was looking for suggestions on panels. I was asked to talk to both women and men and get a general idea of what the situation was at Keycon, and how safe it was for women.

The results were absolutely horrifying. I couldn't find a single woman who hadn't been followed, groped, or harassed. I couldn't find one woman who hadn't been followed, groped, or harassed for even one day at the convention. Many of my friends who go have been raped attending the con, and I myself was raped after being at the con for approximately eight hours. The rape was never prosecuted, because I couldn't find anyone who didn't treat it as a joke and took me seriously. The defense was, "That's just what happens at Keycon."

I sent in my findings and received this in response:



"We share your concern over the issues you have raised in your email and I would like to assure you that we take your concerns very seriously. We encourage anyone who has experienced harassment or feel that they have been threatened in attendance of our convention to bring forward their complaints directly to the convention chairs who will deal with it promptly. In the case of criminal victimization and assaults of any nature, we strongly encourage that victims approach the police. We would support any criminal investigations and legitimate case brought to the authorities to the best of our ability."
- LeAmber Kensley


Now here are a few problems:

1) I brought forward my complaints. They were brushed off.

2) Pushing survivors to file police reports is re-victimizing, forcing them to relieve what happened and justify their actions. (Because Keycon is a convention at which alcohol flows freely, there is a large amount of victim-blaming directed at women who have the misfortune of not having rapist-dar.)

3) The convention chairs are, depending on how they're defined, three to ten people in a convention of hundreds to thousands. They are strangers to most of the congoers. Asking someone reeling from her assault to spend what can literally be hours hunting down one person to report is cruel and inhumane.
3b) This is their response to my complaint that their volunteers don't take rape and sexual assault seriously, and either victim blame and slut-shame the woman, or ignore the problem. Their solution is to make it harder for assault victims to get help.

4) They want the survivor to prove that her rape was legitimate, and only then will they prosecute "legitimate cases". Here is what I wrote in my e-mail to them:

"This is the heart of the problem. Until all victims are trusted to be telling the truth, you are perpetuating an atmosphere that implicitly supports rapists. No woman, upon reporting her rape, should have to go through questioning to determine whether it is "legitimate". The percentage of false rape accusations is lower than the percentage of false vehicle theft allegations, so unless you are treating all criminal incident reports as fallacious, there is absolutely no reason to force a traumatized woman to relive her rape to prove its veracity to a group of voyeuristic onlookers."



This is Keycon's solution to the problem of harassment. Rather than banning harassers and gropers, they want to make it even more difficult for women to come forward about their harassment. Instead of having a Code of Conduct, they basically have a Code of "What You Should Do When You Get Assaulted (You Dirty Slut, You're Probably Lying)". This is completely, utterly unacceptable.

The Keycon website is here. All of the con heads and their e-mails are on the far right side. Let them know that this their actions and policies are cruel, inhumane, and hateful towards women.

(If requested, I will post the full e-mail chains between myself and Keycon. I've been trying to keep the exact numbers of my findings out of the public. If Keycon decides to shape up, I don't want those numbers haunting them.)

*EDIT v.1.0* I have started receiving death and rape threats, sent from various public libraries.

*EDIT v.2.0* A write-up of the Keycon info session in which these concerns were addressed and brushed off is here (part one) and here (part two). Looks like Keycon doesn't care about preventing the assault of women OR children.

*EDIT v.3.0* ConCom called off a meeting for women's safety, told the concom member concerned not to attend, and then dragged out the meeting so the issue couldn't be raised by other members of the community.
*EDIT v.3.1* This may have been misinformation by a well-meaning volunteer. Either way, Keycon's response to assault is accurately represented by their comments to this post.

*EDIT v.4.0* LeAmber responds here and here. No comment, as they speak for themselves.

*EDIT v.5.0* LeAmber deleted one of her responses. A copy of the e-mail she sent to me (more or less the same as her response) is here. My response on the background is here for those interested.

Comments

( 106 comments — Leave a comment )
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tisiphone
Mar. 28th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
Who did you send your findings to?
succubus_esq
Mar. 28th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
The member of con staff who requested them, who forwarded them to the con heads. The quote is from the response e-mail I received from LeAmber Kensley, who is one of the three con chairs.
moneko
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
This is really crazy. I mostly attend anime conventions and have not experienced harassment, but I wonder if the younger age group at anime cons has something to do with this.
tisiphone
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
This level of harassment is not something I would expect at any convention, and I've gone to a bunch (including this sort of free-wheeling party con.) Something is seriously, seriously amiss at Keycon.
rubynye
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
This is horrifying and necessary to know about. Thank you for doing this research, and for persevering in the face of Keycon's dismissiveness.
succubus_esq
Mar. 29th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
Thank you! I've been getting a lot of pushback in my local community for this. Keycon is the local con where All The Fandoms Come Together And Everyone Is Friends, so any criticism is dealt with harshly.

It's nice to hear other people hear about this and not go, "Yeah, it's a party, alcohol is flowing, things happen. Why are you getting so bent out of shape?"
(no subject) - torrain - Apr. 16th, 2011 06:17 am (UTC) - Expand
sylvanstargazer
Mar. 29th, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
With rates that high, it sounds sort of like some people are attending because they know they can assault women and not face any consequences for it. Ugh.
succubus_esq
Mar. 29th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
I can say from experience that is EXACTLY why some people are going.
fleurdiabolique
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
At the very bottom of the homepage:

"Want to help out? Fire off an email to our volunteer coordinators Ed and Glen, and they'll get back to you. Be sure to let us know about your particular interests or relevant skills, so we can make your volunteer experience fit you to a T!"

How about a whole bunch of people email the volunteer coordinators and say they would like to be sexual assault resource people at the con, helping victims to find the con organizers? Probably they won't take anyone up on it, but it's another way to raise awareness.
succubus_esq
Mar. 29th, 2011 02:24 am (UTC)
This is from the e-mail I sent them; this is what I would like to see as a policy:

"If you want to make the convention safer, post code of conduct and the consequences for violating said code of conduct. Post it publicly on the website and link to it from the main page. Link to the Criminal Code of Canada definitions of rape and sexual assault and make it clear you support those definitions. Give a list of victim-blaming and state explicitly that those are not excuses for rape or sexual assault, and any volunteer, room head, or con staff member espousing such opinions will be removed from their position and banned from the con for the duration of the weekend. Have a zero-tolerance policy for groping, harassment, and assault, by which offenders are banned from the rest of the convention, and repeat offenders are barred for the next five years.

Make the convention safe for women by targeting it at the source: the men who hurt them. Then and only then can you honestly say you support women and their presence in the geek community."

(Yes, it's hetero- and cis-centric, but in the context of Keycon it's mostly male-on-female violence.)
fleurdiabolique
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:34 am (UTC)
Also, do you mind if I put this out to my contacts on Twitter? The con heads might start caring a bit more if this starts to get notice on social media networks.
succubus_esq
Mar. 29th, 2011 02:11 am (UTC)
Go ahead!
(no subject) - succubus_esq - Apr. 14th, 2011 02:56 am (UTC) - Expand
thatwordgrrl
Mar. 29th, 2011 03:57 am (UTC)
If you would be willing to PM me your mailing addy, I'll get some Backup ribbons (see icon) out to you. I generally send them in bunches of 10, so tell me how many you would like.

succubus_esq
Mar. 29th, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I'll be going this year. Winnipeg is a small city, and making a fuss about this is painting a giant target on my back. I'm still deciding.

Although the idea of going as Wonder Woman and lassoing all the men who grab my butt and hauling them to con security is REALLY appealing.

"Officer, I've got another passel for you."
(no subject) - braidedmane - Aug. 2nd, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thatwordgrrl - Aug. 2nd, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - braidedmane - Aug. 2nd, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
amberdine
Mar. 29th, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
That's terrifying. There is nothing about their website that would give me the impression that it's anything but a normal SF convention.
thatwordgrrl
Mar. 29th, 2011 04:35 am (UTC)
Not that I find "go to the police" any sort of acceptable conduct policy, but my cynical self often wonders if concoms say this because they're counting on women NOT to do so. To keep silent.



succubus_esq
Mar. 29th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
I think that's it. They know women won't, but then they can cry that they "don't know about the problem" or "people are exaggerating" when they get called on it.

I know for a fact that they called a lawyer and THIS was the policy they thought was progressive and a good idea. I am appalled.
(no subject) - thatwordgrrl - Mar. 29th, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - imnotandrei - Mar. 29th, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thatwordgrrl - Mar. 29th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - badgerbag - Mar. 31st, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wordweaverlynn - Apr. 18th, 2011 06:28 am (UTC) - Expand
karenhealey
Mar. 31st, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
That is truly, truly awful. I'm so sorry someone raped you.

Might Girl-Wonder.org's Con Anti-Harrassment Project be of some assistance? It has resources for con committees that KeyCon's ConCom might find useful: http://www.cahp.girl-wonder.org/
karenhealey
Mar. 31st, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
(It hasn't been updated in a while, but the extant resources are still good, I think.)
k8e_meta
Apr. 11th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
Social media campaign?
Hi, I got here through geekfeminism. I think it's awful that people were raped at Keycon and nothing was done about it. What would you think about using social media to put pressure on Keycon to adopt an anti-harassment policy, and ban harassers and rapists? It's easy for them to ignore emails which no-one else will ever see, but it would be harder for them to ignore tweets and posts to their Facebook page, especially since the next Keycon is in a bit more than a month. Perhaps with #rapecon for a hashtag.
succubus_esq
Apr. 12th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Social media campaign?
They're holding a meeting about it, but with LeAmber (the main con chair) in charge, it looks like there will be a policy, but absolutely no enforcement. At a recent info session, when several people raised concerns about safety, she rolled her eyes and tried to change the topic.

You can tweet them demanding the resignation of LeAmber @Keycon28. Feel free to use the #rapecon hashtag, as LeAmber is the one who drafted the policy demanding women prove the legitimacy of their rape before they can receive any help.

(Also, helping to spread the word by e-mailing this around to places like Shakesville or Feministing would be great.)
Re: Social media campaign? - succubus_esq - Apr. 14th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC) - Expand
bond_cat
Apr. 12th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
"They're fudging the books"
Last night I attended an info session held by the Keycon Chairs and a few Volunteers. They had put up an advertisement for it in the local Mcnally Robinson book store and had swiftly taken it down, this to begin with offered little time for the word to spread and people actually looking for information to attend.

Off to a rocky start already as they hide behind the books.

The session was lead by Con Chairs LeAmber Kensley, Levi Labelle, Vice Chair Tim Hogue, Marketing staff Mark "DaGopher" Dobres, and another woman who came later, though I do not recall her name.

Questions were brought up regarding, the safety of women at the con, background checks on the volunteers, how the con responds to situations, and preventative measures. The panel claimed to not have any previous knowledge of the issues, though the audience was obviously seeded with people who had felt harassment and were fortunate enough to have it dealt with. They also claimed that their Code of Conduct was on every publication and bulletin space involved with the con, but failed to have it located anywhere in any publication they brought with them for handouts, or on their website.

The panel responded with stating the Code of Conduct was being, "Revamped" and updated, but when asked for further details and examples would use the same wording, "that it was being made more dynamic" and "more comprehensive," without giving any actual details to what this meant. When the example of a pregnant woman being accosted sevens times in the span of a Keycon night, with no aid was brought up, every woman in the info session responded that, they had also been harassed, or groped, and had found the staff they knew immediately to deal with it. This was also when it became visible that myself and two men in the crowd were the only ones in the info session who were NOT volunteers or staff at the con.
bond_cat
Apr. 12th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
When I asked them about volunteers, they replied that background checks on the volunteers was too costly, (The cost of a background check is $20; the same amount as the discount the volunteers receive on their tickets) and that with privacy acts background checks were, "illegal". In reassurance that the volunteers were safe it was brought up that many of the volunteers had been volunteering for as many as ten years. This however doesn't prove that they are safe; if you would have failed a background check ten years ago, what incentive have you to pass one now when they aren't being enforced?

Furthermore, the Con boasts an environment safe for children and that many children as young as eight years old attend the Con year after year. Children of that age are considered vulnerable peoples, if your child at the Con is lost and is taught to seek out the Cons volunteer security, is it really any safer knowing that the Con refuses to do background checks, and that anyone can make themselves that "security".

The security staff was stated to be everywhere, and immediately after wards said that the hospitality suites had their own form of security that they were responsible for. Later stating that no Keycon was responsible because they had to go through Keycon to hold a hospitality suite. Therefor Keycon is at once accepting responsibility for and denying any knowledge of what occurs in the hospitality suites as it suits their needs. This clearly shows that Keycon's main interest is providing a solid PR front, rather than providing a save con environment.

The conversation moved on, with an abrupt, awkward, and uncomfortable change of topic to the art show.

When the topics had been put forth every member of the panel got a look that changed from, guilt, to shock, to genuine concern, except in the case of the Con Chair LeAmber Kensley, who rolled her eyes and maintained a look of anger that they topics were brought forth, AND later in the session brought forth again, at which point the entire panel held an annoyed, aggravated expression and abruptly changed the topic, now avoiding questions from the three people in the crowd who were NOT already apart of the Con.

Keycon also has a reputation for being unsafe and hostile to queer identities, myself being visible gender non-conforming, LeAmber Kensley spent much of the session glaring at me in way that I felt unwelcome and even threatened.

The evening having been filled with a rocky navigation through waters they were obviously uncomfortable in, ended with myself and the two other non Con volunteers being followed through the book store, to ensure we were not an organized entity. This is representative of the harassment campaign used against people who are speaking up against Keycon.
secretsoflife
Apr. 14th, 2011 06:48 am (UTC)
i think that a really effective technique for putting pressure on the con-com would be to get in touch with the GoHs. i don't have the cycles to help out... but it's an idea.

i'm sorry you are faced with this kind of epic bullshit from them. it sucks.
(Deleted comment)
heldc
Apr. 15th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
Re: We are still waiting for you to contact us.
Posting someone's given name on a public forum is bad netiquette.
greensilk
Apr. 14th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
My personal bit
I was not going to respond, but I think I must. You are a cyber bully. We have been polite and tried to deal with your concerns. I am sorry your programming did not fit into our schedule, and this is how you responded. I have included the full response that was sent to you. I have no doubt you will delete this comment. I was more than willing to meet with you on this matter. However you have now slandered and libelled me in print and on the internet. It has become personal. And considering I am a bisexual woman, I find your assumptions about my tolerances hilarious. As a rape survivor, I find you to be pitiable. That is correct Emily, I am bisexual and a rape survivor, I take this very seriously. However you refuse to give us anything but rumour and innuendo despite us asking for more. Have a good day Emily.
bond_cat
Apr. 15th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
Re: My personal bit
"As a rape survivor, I find you to be pitiable. That is correct [Name redacted for safety], I am bisexual and a rape survivor, I take this very seriously. However you refuse to give us anything but rumour and innuendo despite us asking for more."

"I am sorry your programming did not fit into our schedule, and this is how you responded."

Your personal bit only goes as far as displaying you still don't understand what is important and matters in this situation. The programming schedule is a minor inconvenience, the issue at hand is that there are serious problems with the safety of women at Keycon and that the Con staff failed to give the necessary response, being "This is a serious problem, we are presenting these specific suggestions to the senate immediately. Is there anything else we need to add for you and those following the issue to feel safe at our convention?"
It is the Con staff's responsibility to provide that solution and no other, and not to allow the situation to become personal, as it has above.

"And considering I am a bisexual woman, I find your assumptions about my tolerances hilarious. As a rape survivor, I find you to be pitiable. That is correct [Name redacted for safety], I am bisexual and a rape survivor, I take this very seriously. However you refuse to give us anything but rumour and innuendo despite us asking for more. Have a good day [Name redacted for safety]." Is a personal response and irrelevant to the safety of con goers, it is relevant only to your relationship with the people who have raised the issue to your attention. In reality, how well you play with the other kids in the sand box doesn't matter, it's that you are doing your responsibility of properly dealing with the situation.

You cannot expect failing to give your Con goers the safe space they have a right to, to not end in protest. You as a position of authority have a duty to take concerns about the convention as concerns about the convention and not your person, it's baggage that comes with the job, you are showing a stunning lack of professionalism and need to consider that moving forward.

Now deal with the matter at hand, the safety of your Con goers.
What are you doing about it, in detail?
When will it be done by?

You have been saying you have been "Revamping" the Code of Conduct since February, what does revamping mean? What is specifically getting done?
Re: My personal bit - greensilk - Apr. 15th, 2011 03:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - tisiphone - Apr. 15th, 2011 07:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - succubus_esq - Apr. 15th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - noveldevice - Apr. 16th, 2011 02:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - kynn - Apr. 16th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - watchnthestars - Apr. 17th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - kynn - Apr. 17th, 2011 07:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - watchnthestars - Apr. 17th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - kynn - Apr. 17th, 2011 08:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - watchnthestars - Apr. 17th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - tisiphone - Apr. 17th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - marlowe1 - Aug. 5th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - holzman - Aug. 5th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - alexandraerin - Aug. 7th, 2011 10:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - tisiphone - Apr. 17th, 2011 10:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - watchnthestars - Apr. 17th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - tisiphone - Apr. 17th, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - watchnthestars - Apr. 17th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - tisiphone - Apr. 17th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - marlowe1 - Aug. 5th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - succubus_esq - Aug. 7th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - arlana05 - Apr. 17th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - barberio - Apr. 16th, 2011 08:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: My personal bit - barberio - Apr. 16th, 2011 08:37 am (UTC) - Expand
arlana05
Apr. 15th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
Re: My personal bit
To start I would like to say that I did not attended keycon last year and will not be attending this year, the reason I choose not to go is because I am very tired of being groped, grabbed, and ogled.

To any anyone who represents Keycon, this statement should be of concern to you.

According to the 1999 United States National Crime Victimization Survey estimates, only 39% of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement officials. When a male is raped , only less than 10% are believed to be reported. Female-male and female-female rape are ignored altogether in this survey.

The most common reasons given by victims for not reporting rapes are the belief that it is a personal or private matter, and that they fear reprisal from the assailant. A 2007 government report in England says "Estimates from research suggest that between 75 and 95 per cent of rape crimes are never reported to the police.

the question anyone who represents keycon should be asking themselves is simple, how many other women have made the same choice because they do not feel safe?

I would also hope that anyone involved with keycon, from concom to new volunteer, would share my opinion that the fact that one rape has happened at keycon is one rape to many.

as posted earlier

"If you want to make the convention safer, post code of conduct and the consequences for violating said code of conduct. Post it publicly on the website and link to it from the main page. Link to the Criminal Code of Canada definitions of rape and sexual assault and make it clear you support those definitions. Give a list of victim-blaming and state explicitly that those are not excuses for rape or sexual assault, and any volunteer, room head, or con staff member espousing such opinions will be removed from their position and banned from the con for the duration of the weekend. Have a zero-tolerance policy for groping, harassment, and assault, by which offenders are banned from the rest of the convention, and repeat offenders are barred for the next five years."

Victim-blaming and a lack of a concerned response is a huge barrier to anyone coming forward to report an issue. I would like to see a clearly posted code of conduct on the website and in the programs each year

Keycon is welcoming a new “Mentor’s Program” which will act like visible “block parents” throughout the convention to provide assistance to all of our convention goers, but particularly new conveners who may not understand how to behave appropriately or require immediate aid for whatever reason. This program will include an information and training session of newcomers at the beginning of the convention.

This program coming into effect is a positive thing. I would like to point out that there are a few members of the keycon community who have been doing this in the past and if fact did look out for me at my first con. Unfortunately it is not enough to prevent the assaults and harasement that have been occuring.


greensilk
Apr. 16th, 2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
I apologise for posting her name, however I also ask that all post with my real name are also removed.
tisiphone
Apr. 16th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
You really, really don't get it. You are a public figure who holds authority in the context of this convention, who has chosen to out herself by making a public response using your personal livejournal account. She is a person who complained about an atmosphere of hostility - and in fact complained of being sexually assaulted - at the event you, a public official, holds authority at - and in return you outed her using her real name (a choice she did not make), thus leaving her vulnerable to further real-life victimization.

In short: Your real name is a matter of public record. It's on the front page of your convention, and in the username of the lj account you used to issue a formal reply. 's real name was not a matter of public record, until you made it so in your formal reply. You have no right to have your name removed, or to never have it mentioned in the first place. She did, a right that you violated. Why should anyone accede to your request?
(no subject) - kynn - Apr. 16th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cpolk - Apr. 17th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC) - Expand
sarraceniaceae
Apr. 17th, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)
I just got linked to this. Would you have any objection to me attempting to start a googlebomb so that this post is one of the first things you see when google Keycon? Since most people google the convention they're attending at some point, it seems like the best way to warn people what they're getting into.
ninthscompanion
Apr. 26th, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
I would heartily encourage it!!
succubus_esq
Apr. 17th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
LeAmber's deleted response
This is from my e-mail, so I'm not sure how similar it is to her post. I think there were a few parts she condensed.

We share your concern over the issues you have raised in your email and I would like to assure you that we take your concerns very seriously. We encourage anyone who has experienced harassment or feel that they have been threatened in attendance of our convention to bring forward their complaints directly to the convention chairs who will deal with it promptly. In the case of criminal victimization and assaults of any nature, we strongly encourage that victims approach the police. We would support any criminal investigations and legitimate case brought to the authorities to the best of our ability.

Keycon is a volunteer run organization and as such, the flavour of the convention is often shaped by those who actively volunteer on the convention committee. Over the last several years, the convention has endeavoured to make strategic decisions to increase the visibility of women in science fiction and fantasy culture as well as to openly challenge the discrimination of sexual and gender minorities by improving our programming, marketing and other convention vehicles. We always encourage participation and volunteers to run panels, however, the direction of the panels are dictated by convention theme, guests, volunteers, number of similar programming items proposed, etc. Unfortunately, our programming team was unable to fulfill your request for panels this year, but that does not mean that future years may not be possible, or that we are shirking our commitment to gender/sexual equity.

Keycon is very committed to promoting a safe convention not to mention one that challenges gender and sexual stereotypes. To that end, I would like to share with you some of the ways in which we actively work to meet our commitments:

· Last Year, Keycon dedicated its Guest of Honour Spaces completely to women in literature and art. This was a conscious decision to increase the visibility of women, particularly women of colour, women of sexual minorities, etc. This year we are continuing to meet our commitments by inviting a number of guests with backgrounds in advocacy and with experience in mentoring.

· Keycon is welcoming a new “Mentor’s Program” which will act like visible “block parents” throughout the convention to provide assistance to all of our convention goers, but particularly new conveners who may not understand how to behave appropriately or require immediate aid for whatever reason. This program will include an information and training session of newcomers at the beginning of the convention.

· Our program this year includes a code of conduct for the convention that reminds convention goers that we expect appropriate behaviour in our spaces

· We have invited several guests who will be speaking about gender/sexuality issues in a variety of ways throughout the convention. One panel of particular interest for you may be the panel about adult programming at Keycon. This panel will be a discussion of how adult programming impacts the convention, whether it provides entertainment or education, whether it negatively affects our commitment to gender and sexual equity, etc. This panel has been planned for some time to discuss issues with events that happen at the convention such as the adult masquerade (formerly an official convention event) and the “slave auction” unofficially held by a local pirate enthusiast club.

We want to thank you for raising your concerns and again and know that we will act on them accordingly and with diligence and sensitivity. If you would like to discuss this matter further, you are welcome to contact the convention chairs directly at conchairs2011@keycon.org. They would be very happy to answer any of your questions and to discuss how we can make our convention a safer more enjoyable experience for everyone.
succubus_esq
Apr. 17th, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)
Background
As you can see from The Official Keycon Reponse, I was originally interested in running some panels. I say as much in the beginning of this post, and previously posted on Back Up Project asking for ideas on con safety. My initial idea was, several years after my assault, to get back on the horse and try to change the convention from within.

My panels were rejected, and I offered to revamp several of them - more or less a queer/feminist reading of sci-fi and fantasy media. I had several university professors interested in speaking on the panels, and know how to contact some published authors who would likely be willing to quote.

In my e-mail, I said: "Given Keycon's reputation (one woman I spoke to called it "the rape con of raping for rapists"), I really think it is important to push events for and by women in order to reform the image of the convention as a place to drink and get laid. When we met you asked for a write-up of what people are saying about Keycon, and I've spent the last month talking to people."

I thought it was quite clear that by "push events by and for women" I meant in general and not my own panel, but I concede that I may have been misread.

At that point I compiled my findings and was horrified. Some of the information has been posted by another congoer (I don't know how he got it, as it was my impression that only ConCom read my e-mail), but as I stated in the main post, I am not posting the exact findings because if Keycon shapes up, I don't want those numbers haunting them.

Keycon responded with their e-mail as above, and I took issue with their "Code of Conduct" as you can see from the Back Up Project post. I didn't comment on the Mentor Program or the panels, because I didn't have any issue with them, and my response was not about panels. I opened my e-mail with: "Because there seems to have been some confusion, this is not about my panels. My panels became a tertiary interest after talking to women and compiling all the data."

I outlined my issues with the Code of Conduct (longer form than I posted here, but more or less the same), and included the reasons women gave me for not reporting their rapes, including "fear of getting a reputation for starting drama" and "not wanting to endure the questioning to prove "legitimacy" that they or their friends endured the previous years" in addition to the normal (and very legitimate) fears surrounding reporting. I emphasized the fact that simply reporting a crime does not make the convention safer; prevention makes the convention safer, and the responsibility of prevention lies with the convention, not the women attending.

I sent my response on February 18th. I received no response, not even a cursory "we are looking into the matter". After a month and a half of waiting, I posted on Back Up Project on March 28th. I think I allowed ample time for ConCom to get in touch with me and address my concerns, especially given the swiftness with which LeAmber and watchnthestars commented on this post.

That's the background. I will post the e-mails in full if members request it, and I can screencap to prove I haven't done anything but edit out names. (I will still scrub names from any screencaps.)
souvenirscar
Apr. 21st, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
protest
Hello, here from GeekFeminism. What you (as in, all parties who want to protest Keycon's conduct) really need to do is contact the guests. Tell them what kind of shit is going down, what the organizers are refusing to do about it, and if they really want to be associated with this con.

No one wants to be keynote speaker at RapeCon.
brown_betty
Apr. 21st, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
This is horrible. Keycon is in my area, but I've never been because crowds aren't my thing. But if you need person-power, I'm ready and able.
succubus_esq
Apr. 21st, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC)
Right now we're working on contacting the other ConChairs, and everyone involved in the convention (the right-hand side of the Keycon website has an extensive e-mail list) to ask them to change their policies. Like the above poster said, you can also contact the speakers and the hotel (the Keycon website even provides the phone number, how sweet!) and ask why they're endorsing the convention.
just_some_human
Apr. 22nd, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
Catch More Flies With Honey
Fellow Fans and Neighbours;

Let me start by saying that I think it's great that you are all passionate about this cause. More people sould be passionate about the things going on around them.

However, in my opinion, I think you'll achieve your goal faster by being a little less agressive and abrasive.

Keycon is not an oil company that has just polluted mile upon mile of shoreline. It is run by unpaid volunteers. They aren't even being paid a 7-11 minimum wage to put up with the grief that's being dumped on them.

Yes, I mean dumped on. You say that you were brushed off, ignored, glared at etc. If keycon was approached with the same kind of civility that I'm seeing here, I'd have to say that the volunteers that are dealing with this were probably in various measures shocked, surprised, and feeling rather threatened.

Do these volunteers have a responsibility to the safety of convention members as has been previously posted? Absolutely. But give them a chance to think and react to the big bomb you collectively dropped on their laps.

The convention committee only meets once a month.

The board that oversees the committee only meets once a month. Given that context, maybe a month and a half lag time isn't so much.

Please do try and contact the other convention chairs. If you aren't confident that Keycon will write a code of conduct that will do the job you want, write your own and submit it to both the convention chairs, and to the WINSFA Senate. If you aren't happy about the time alloted to your group at a convention committee meeting, then contact the chairs and ask to meet with them to discuss the issue on some different night.

Try building some bridges instead of burning them. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results. After all, your collective stated goal is to make Keycon safe, not to destroy it, right?

Thank you for your time.
tisiphone
Apr. 22nd, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - just_some_human - Apr. 22nd, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - tisiphone - Apr. 22nd, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - just_some_human - Apr. 22nd, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - tisiphone - Apr. 22nd, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - just_some_human - Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - succubus_esq - Apr. 24th, 2011 08:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - zomborgazm - Apr. 26th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - succubus_esq - Apr. 26th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - succubus_esq - Apr. 28th, 2011 05:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - zomborgazm - Apr. 29th, 2011 03:17 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - succubus_esq - May. 1st, 2011 06:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - phynixcaskey - May. 2nd, 2011 04:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - phynixcaskey - May. 2nd, 2011 04:47 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - succubus_esq - May. 2nd, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - Max Nevill - May. 23rd, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - succubus_esq - May. 24th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - holzman - Apr. 29th, 2011 05:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Catch More Flies With Honey - succubus_esq - May. 1st, 2011 06:06 am (UTC) - Expand
zomborgazm
Apr. 26th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
Code of Conduct Live
I posted a comment earlier to let you know that we have posted our revised code of conduct on our website along with a letter to our membership explaining the circumstances of the changes. You will also find our strategy for improving the safety of our convention contained within that letter. Please follow the links on the left hand side of the page from www.keycon.org

Unfortunately the original post has gone missing where I passed on a reply from the just_some_human and I don't have access to their text at the moment. Keycon remains committed to ensuring the safety of all of its members. They expressed that they would be happy to arrange a meeting with the senate for you and would like to work out the details of how to make that happen for you.

Despite how this has been handled, please know that we are doing what we can to ensure that sexual assault never happens at our convention and that victims of assault are treated with compassion, trust and confidence.

Sincerely,

Levi Labelle
Co-Chair, Keycon 2011

zomborgazm
Apr. 26th, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Code of Conduct Live
Please ignore this post as it appears that my original post has reappeared. My apologies for the duplication.

Levi Labelle
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