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Unread 05-04-2013, 10:24 AM   #1
Boreotheria
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Strategies for dealing with rudeness/harassment

I think we, especially women, need to learn or develop some alternate strategies to deal with the bullying that we face at conventions.

This is NOT to suggest that what happens to us is our own fault. It's not. What it's for is to figure out if there are constructive ways to call attention to the abuser, get convention security to pay attention to him, and in general not let the comments ruin our fun.

Disclaimer: I don't want this conversation to go into the realm of physical violence, as other threads have. However, keep in mind that if someone physically assaults you -- and groping is absolutely a form of physical assault -- physical self-defense is not inappropriate. Let's leave that one right there. I do recommend physical self-defense lessons.

Okay, go.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 10:55 AM   #2
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a) if it's not that serious, just walk away
b) if it is really rude tell them that you are not okay with it, sternly, show them that you are strong and they aren't getting you down. If it continues report them
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Unread 05-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #3
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If someone harasses you, it's important to make it clear that you want them to stop. They have no excuse. Don't make excuses for them. I've friends with that mindset--it can get you into worse trouble.

When you report someone, make it clear that you expect action to be taken. Too many times I've been told that the harassment is either my fault or "such a common problem that there's nothing to be done about it." Be firm about it, but not rude.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 11:57 AM   #4
Boreotheria
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Two things I would do, and recommend.

1) If you feel safe, call attention to the abuser. This is not a situation where, as you're told in school, the bullies "just want attention". What they want is to state their opinion on your body or get a handful of boob, and then escape. If you're verbally accosted, reply loudly; if you're physically assaulted, call attention to the attacker. IF YOU FEEL SAFE DOING SO. Not everyone would feel safe doing that in every situation. But if those of us who DO feel safe do it, it will put some doubt into these guys' minds that it's something they can get away with or that people will turn a blind eye to.

2) Tell convention security or staff about the incident, whether or not you were able to react in the moment. If they aren't interested in helping to find the person, don't go back to this con. A common excuse is that the crowds are too big for them to go looking for someone. If they say that, they've set up a convention with unsafe crowds! Again, vote with your dollars. Don't go back, and write to concom to say specifically why you aren't going back.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 01:12 PM   #5
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Male or female, I find that nothing diffuses a situation faster than turning it into a joke. It takes some forethought and the ability to think on your feet to put together a good retort, but just laughing at them (like it's a joke, not a nervous laugh) is a good enough response for me. It makes the abuser look like an idiot and lets them know that you aren't going to be bothered by them. If they don't get the point (which is probable since a lot of con-goers tend to be the socially unaware type), let them know. "Seriously, stop." Tell them off, tell them what they did is not okay. Confidence. That's all you need. People like that often go for easy victims, so don't let them see you as one.

...Unless you're physically threatened. Don't joke about that.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 01:34 PM   #6
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Snark is good! I admit that I rehearse snarky comebacks in my mind.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 01:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boreotheria View Post
Snark is good! I admit that I rehearse snarky comebacks in my mind.

Comebacks work

I once used a comeback about my wig when I got some Axel hate- it worked.
No issues now.


Never let what a person says get to you?
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Unread 05-04-2013, 01:47 PM   #8
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While it is extremely important not to just stand by quietly and let these people continue to harass you, the opposite end of the spectrum is just as bad.

Screaming, cussing, flipping off, and physically assaulting someone is not the way to go either. It doesn't make you look cool or like your favorite anime characters.

Take the high road and be an adult. Laugh it off or tell that person in a stern, confident voice that what they're doing in wrong. If they continue to do whatever it is they're doing that's when you just walk away and go find con security to deal with it.

These people are not worth flipping your shit over. Half of them don't even understand what they're doing is not okay and sometimes they need to have it spelled out for them.

"Dude, I'm not going to that for your photo. It makes me uncomfortable."

"I don't like hugging people I don't know, but thank you for asking beforehand."

As for the ones that DO know what they're doing is not okay. Call them out on it if you feel safe doing so, and then go get con security.

But whatever you decide to do in the end, do it calmly, in a mature fashion, and with confidence.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 02:14 PM   #9
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As I said, let's keep discussion of physical self defense out of it. Unless you're in danger or someone won't remove his hands from you, violence isn't the answer.

Calmness? I dunno. Part of what we need to do is make it clear to abusers and passers-by that this is not appropriate. This isn't a theoretical academic discussion. If someone abuses you, that's something that could make you angry. If you're angry, don't bottle the anger.

Obviously there's a fine line to walk between doing something that will get you kicked out of a con and doing something that will put the blame on the abuser where it belongs, so there has to be some kind of restraint and self-discipline involved. Unless you're so pissed off that you don't care and you're never coming back to this con again anyways for the reasons I stated.

But if you want to plan ahead to take control of the situation: yep. Imagine how it would go down, imagine your own reaction to various kinds of insults or assaults, and be confident in your assertion that the attacker is in the wrong. But displaying a little anger alongside this is absolutely not a bad idea.

For what it's worth I think enough of them do know that what they're doing is wrong, especially if they're doing it in a crowd where they can't be identified or can disappear quickly. Not every con-goer has a social disability.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 03:02 PM   #10
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Generally, I'll ignore them and walk away. If they persist on following me, I'll lead them right to the nearest security personnel and calmly tell them the ladies or gentlemen are harassing me. They'll get farther than I will. If they get physical, I won't hurt them unless I have to. I'm not going to deck a woman for grabbing my ass or anything like that. But if I'm hit, shoved, or whatever...at some point you need to defend yourself. But general douchebaggery, name calling, stuff like that...yeah. I just walk away and report them if I have to.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 03:03 PM   #11
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Staying calm is hard when you've just been insulted, or are being harassed. You could be scared, you could be angry. You could be dejected. You could be completely dumbstruck and have no idea what to do. That last one was me for a long time. Until I graduated high school, any time I was picked took me by surprise and I had no idea what to do but look at them funny and keep going along my day. Now, like I said, just laugh at their attempt to get you down. Laugh at the troll.

If you're caught in a situation and you're the type to get anxious and quiet, I suggest channeling everything you have into one word. Just one, not a long spiel that will get caught in your throat. Something like STOP will do, so would LEAVE ME ALONE. It's okay to be awkwardly loud, it'll get attention and whatever is going on will likely end right there. Staying in pairs (or more) is great, especially if your friend can back you up.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 04:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boreotheria View Post
As I said, let's keep discussion of physical self defense out of it. Unless you're in danger or someone won't remove his hands from you, violence isn't the answer.

Calmness? I dunno. Part of what we need to do is make it clear to abusers and passers-by that this is not appropriate. This isn't a theoretical academic discussion. If someone abuses you, that's something that could make you angry. If you're angry, don't bottle the anger.

Obviously there's a fine line to walk between doing something that will get you kicked out of a con and doing something that will put the blame on the abuser where it belongs, so there has to be some kind of restraint and self-discipline involved. Unless you're so pissed off that you don't care and you're never coming back to this con again anyways for the reasons I stated.

But if you want to plan ahead to take control of the situation: yep. Imagine how it would go down, imagine your own reaction to various kinds of insults or assaults, and be confident in your assertion that the attacker is in the wrong. But displaying a little anger alongside this is absolutely not a bad idea.

For what it's worth I think enough of them do know that what they're doing is wrong, especially if they're doing it in a crowd where they can't be identified or can disappear quickly. Not every con-goer has a social disability.
^This. Especially the part about keeping discussion of violence out of this. I've found people on here seem to jump into that conversation when it isn't relevant.

As someone who has social disability, I will say that having one isn't a free pass to be a jerk. They should be called out on their behavior like everyone else.

I also feel like I should quote my Self-Defense teacher here. "Everyone is different, every situation is different."
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Unread 05-04-2013, 05:16 PM   #13
Boreotheria
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Quote:
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As someone who has social disability, I will say that having one isn't a free pass to be a jerk. They should be called out on their behavior like everyone else.
Exactly, I apologize for not making that clearer too. Everyone signed the same code of conduct to get in there, they all need to be held to the same standards.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 11:12 PM   #14
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Reactions depend on the situation, but I firmly believe in telling your harassers off, regardless of the way you do it - snark, firmness, or jokes - whatever you have to do to get the point across, as long as you're not resorting to violence, because the OP is correct in the essential point that two wrongs don't make a right.

Personally, I tend to be a bit snarky, and I don't regret it in the slightest. A lot of people who pull this stuff at conventions WILL try to say stuff like "Oh it was just a joke, lighten up!" (which is of course the lamest and most overused excuse in the book.) I usually tell them that they aren't funny and not to quit their day job.

I've also used "You spent $55 to stand around and bitch at complete strangers the entire weekend? Stay classy."




Of course, in the above instances, I'm talking about people who walk around spouting unwarranted comments about someone's appearance or costume, but when it comes down to sexual harassment, I think you have a few options.

1.) Let them know that you are uncomfortable and that what they are doing or saying isn't cool or funny.
2.) If you feel uncomfortable doing this, try to snap a picture of them. Even trick them into taking a photo with you or your friends. (This sounds stupid, but I have used this method to get someone kicked out of a convention before for taking upskirt photos.)
3.) ALWAYS tell con security at the end. Always. They are there to help you.
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Unread 05-06-2013, 04:37 PM   #15
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AH! thank you for making this thread! This topic has come up many times before in the forum, and it is common for the people on here to jump to the violence discussion when it is completely not necessary. I have grown extremely tired of comments or stories that maybe someone made a lewd or rude comment toward them and they or other posters go to" punch him in the face!" or "start yelling at the top of your lungs that is is a *long slew of derogatory names*" it is really childish and inappropriate. The jumpiness of some of the people on here actually made me leave cosplay.com for a while because i didn't want to deal with it anymore, which is unfortunate because this is a great forum!

Anyway...I have had a long time issue with this type of thing. in and out of cosplay. If someone makes a rude comment toward me or is acting really inappropriately, i can never think of how to get out of the situation. I freeze up and tend to go with the mind set of "maybe I'm just over reacting" only after the person is gone do i come up with the right thing to say or do that could have stopped them.
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