Apparently, CONvergence 2011 was the site of a significantly above-average number of incidents of assault, people being drugged, and a host of other slightly sketchy things that got talked about but not really reported. It is a drinking and party con, and that definitely has an effect on how people behave there late at night.
This year, the con staff printed out these large, eye-catching posters, and made several announcements and other posters to the effect that:
- There were distinct safe spaces around the con.
- Staff takes your report of assault seriously.
- False reports are frowned upon but staff will absolutely investigate what you say, and will take measures to protect you when necessary.
- Harassment, sexual assault, and bad behavior is not allowed just because you are barely wearing anything. We don’t judge you, we only judge those who would harm you.
I’m a member of this convention, and have been for 10 years. But I don’t often volunteer, and I’m pretty far from staff personally. I was blown away by the steps taken to combat sexual misconduct and assault at this convention. By all reports it was very effective. I would love to start seeing signs and policies like these at more conventions, especially ones with the combination of cosplay, dancing, and drinking that CONvergence has developed recently.