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Safety at cons
Venus
catundra
Yes, I have been thinking about this and am now ready to air my thoughts.  I hope they are adequately expressed.

First of all, girliejones 's question about whether I feel safe at cons got me thinking.  To be honest, I feel as safe at Swancon as I do at any other public event.  I feel safer now that I have talmor than when I went alone.  When I was single I was the object of (largely unwanted) male attention, not all the time but enough that I can understand how some single women feel threatened or on guard at cons.  There are people I avoid at cons because frankly, they are weird or creepy or just plain unsocialised.  If I talk to you, you can guarantee I think you are none of these things.  Despite being quite quiet and reserved, I am very savvy.  I lived in London for years, walking the streets alone at night, living alone and thinking nothing of it.  I always had an ear and an eye out and avoided potential issues at parties and the like.  This guarded behaviour continues to work for me in certain Swancon situations both in and out of the venue.  I don't think any of us can take our personal safety for granted at cons or with congoers who aren't our friends.  Just because we supposedly share similar interests or like dressing up or whatever doesn't mean we are all friends or share the same boundaries or are all decent people.  It is sad but a fact of life.

Recent events have distressed me, as a woman and as someone who likes to see justice done.  I accept that nobody and no organisation can take the law into their own hands but I also don't accept that someone who had done the wrong thing should have the same rights as everyone else.  What makes me really angry is that someone who has suffered at the hands of this person should still feel like they are the victim.  Why should someone who has had an injustice done to them feel that they can't be free to live their lives? Also because of the selfishness of the other person is now prevented from freely doing what they want?  

I recognise that if you have been a victim of assault the hardest thing is to risk facing your attacker again.  However, I also strongly believe that avoiding that situation and continuing to be the victim empowers the wrong person.  It lets the attacker win and that really makes me angry. 

What I would love to see in this situation is people not bailing out because of legalities, not throwing their hands in the air and feeling disempowered but to see us all reclaim the space for all those people who have been victims at one stage or another.  Instead of fragmenting, hiding and avoiding it would be great if we could help those people find their freedom and their strength and not let the wrong people win. 

How we can do it I'm not entirely sure but all I know is that decent people have a right to go to public events and to not live in fear.

Here is part of the answer courtesy of crankynick .  Not something I felt confident coming out with but certainly something that reflects my current feeling and I support him wholeheartedly. 

What about the rest of you and, on the flipside, how do we help her and others like her reclaim Swancon?  Let's do it.

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I certainly shall do my best to reclaim Swancon for her and to challenge poor behaviour when I see it.

I don't have words. You guys rock so hard.

I feel as if I've been swimming upstream trying to find the source of all this.

Ick!

But yes. I'm not going to let douchebags ruin my con, or that of my friends. I know that sometimes I've not spoken up when I wasn't totally comfortable (it's not that I felt unsafe at the time, just not totally comfortable) but I mean to try and break my early conditioning and say if something is not acceptable.

The more of us that are willing to challenge poor behaviour, the less those who tend to engage in it will be able to pretend that it's not a problem.

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