[hackerspaces] sexual harrasment

Brendan Halliday wodann at gmail.com
Wed Nov 12 01:00:52 CET 2014

After we had a spate of clearly sexist behaviour from some members on our
mailing list (They opposed the female members having a female targeted
event, somehow conflating it with removing their rights to attend the
space) we implemented a very clearly written Safe Space Policy clearly
outlining the behaviours considered inappropriate.

Of course, one of the sexist members at the time was an executive and tried
to block it claiming the terminology was wrong entirely and posted a
'rewritten' version that removed all references to what harrassment and
sexism is. So be ready for stupid things like that when you try to bring in
rules like this.

You can read it at http://hsbne.org/admin/safespace.html

On Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 3:58 AM, Alan Fay <emptyset at freesideatlanta.org>

> \On Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM, Florencia Edwards <floev22 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> How do you deal with sexual harassment at your spaces?
> Freeside based its Anti-Harassment Policy on the guidelines for
> conferences provided by the Ada Initiative: [
> https://wiki.freesideatlanta.org/fs/Policy_AntiHarassment]
> That's just a policy, though - and is powerless without enforcement.
> First and foremost, leadership has to lead by example.  Any person in a
> leadership role in the organization that engages in harassment should be
> removed immediately.  Any tolerance of harassing behavior by leadership
> will quickly spread through the organization, and diversity will suffer as
> a result.
> Secondary, it's important to establish the right culture and attitude.
> What I tell my fellow Directors and Officers is: "Treat every person that
> walks through the door as your equal."  That tends to work really well.
> There's always a few people that don't get it, so it's important to not
> only follow-up with those individuals, but also with the members or
> visitors that they interact with.  I have a serious conversation with the
> individual, where I put all the cards on the table.  For example, to
> explain exactly how their comments or actions impact the organization, how
> the recipients of their words or behaviors interpreted their actions, etc.
> Thankfully, our membership process tends to find any potential problems
> before onboarding.  One really good test that works for us is taking
> potential members out to a restaurant, to break some bread with other
> members.  99% of the time, you learn everything about a person treats
> others by observing their behavior towards a waiter.
> It's kind of a chicken and egg problem, but having diversity promotes
> diversity.  If there's enough women at the space, then women feel more
> welcome and secure/confident to fight back harassment in the absence of
> leadership.  I still don't know how to promote diversity, but respect and
> non-harassing leadership seemed to work for Freeside.
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