Eastercon is intended to be a safe place for people to spend a weekend talking, watching and interacting with all things SF&F-related. This means different things to different people and there have been issues due to the actions of a few in the past. Harassment is often ‘in the eyes of the beholder’ because everyone has a different origin story. We ask you to be sensitive to the fact that what you do not see as harassing behaviour, others may view as such and you could be asked to stop what you are doing.
What is harassment?
To help you, we define harassment as including (but not limited to) the following:
- uninvited physical contact
- uninvited attention
- deliberate intimidation, stalking, following
- offensive verbal comments. These may be related to (but not exclusively related to) gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion
- harassing photography or recording someone without their express permission
- sustained disruption of talks or other events
- targeting with abusive comments through social media or other electronic means
If we receive a formal complaint, we will ask the harasser to stop. If they don’t, we will take further action.
We will endeavour to restrict all programme items related to sex, pornography and discriminatory language till after the 9pm watershed and ensure that:
- the programme item is clearly marked as such in the programme
- ask the Moderator to state at the start of the panel the nature of the content, allowing people sufficient time to leave should they choose to.
Remember that there are children at this convention. We observe a 9pm watershed and so ask members to observe it as well. Costumes, content, events, parties and conversations inappropriate for children we ask to be reserved for after this watershed. Members are reminded that we are sharing the public spaces of the hotel with the general public and conversations can be overheard.
Ultimately, we ask you to please be on your best behaviour.
Where to go if you’re being harassed
In some cases you may find the harassment stops if you clearly say ‘no’ or ‘please leave me alone’, or simply walk away.
If you are being harassed, or you notice that someone else is being harassed, or you have any other concerns, please contact Ops immediately. The Ops Room will be found at the front entrance of the Blue conference centre (recently renamed ‘Orbiter’) at the front of the hotel.
At the time of writing, we are working to provide some form of service whereby you can, if you want to, talk to someone about your harassment without necessarily making a report. This will either be a Listening Service, or a mobile number for someone you can speak to confidentially.
Convention staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the convention.
You do not have to give us details of the harassment, and can choose whether or not to report. If you wish to report, we will take details of the harassment and work with you to respond to the issue in a way that assists you in feeling safe and maintains the safety of the wider convention environment, as well as enforcing our anti-harassment policy. If you report a serious criminal matter, please be aware that we may be obliged to contact the police. We would however take into account any concerns you may have around involving them.
We expect participants to follow these rules throughout the hotel and at all social events.
Should anything come to a dispute (which we fervently hope it will not), the committee will remain the final arbiters of what is harassment. In the unlikely event that someone is asked to leave the convention because of a dispute, this will be done without refund of membership or any other costs incurred.
Like society in general, racism permeates geek culture and geek spaces, making them less welcoming and safe for non-white people. At Dysprosium we want to prioritise the voices of people who are often spoken over or erased in geek spaces, and make Dysprosium as accessible as we can to people from all racial backgrounds. Problems non-white attendees of geek events talk about include:
- white people critiquing their cosplay costumes without being asked
- being expected to be an authority on non-white characters in various shows or comics
- being talked down to or assumed to be less knowledgeable about topics being discussed
Why does Dysprosium need an anti-harassment policy?
We’ve implemented an anti-harassment policy in response to widespread reports of harassment in geek communities and at conventions around the world. There are a multitude of reports and references that are easily searchable on the Internet.
How can I help make Dysprosium safer?
- Join our volunteers!
- Be aware of this anti-harassment policy, of using non-oppressive language, and of folks’ boundaries.
- Back up others – if you see someone being harassed or appearing uncomfortable, ask if they’re ok.