[Noisebridge-discuss] How is the anti-harassment policy holding up?

Bacon Zombie baconzombie at gmail.com
Fri Jun 20 21:22:10 UTC 2014

I'd recommended reading up on the Ada initiative
<https://adainitiative.org/what-we-do/conference-policies/> before advising
people to seek their help/advise.

Here is a good starting point:

On 20 Jun 2014 19:53, "Hannah Grimm" <dharlette at gmail.com> wrote:

> Jen,
> First off, I am so sorry that you had to go through this.  I've been on
> the receiving end of similar things at Noisebridge, but I was fortunate
> enough to have a handful of friends within the community who were very
> involved and high-status, which made it possible for us to pass an
> anti-harassment policy at the space.  While I never sought justice against
> the people who groped and harassed me (one was a stranger, the other
> already on his way to jail for unrelated reasons), I did manage to get a
> policy in place, which has been used a handful of times.  I wrote about
> my experiences with harassment and getting a policy in place
> <https://plus.google.com/+HannahGrimm/posts/5517czLTefa> here.
> Shortly after we added it, it came to light that one of the members of our
> space had a criminal history of battering women and sexually assaulting
> minors.  One of the ladies at the space came forward with an overwhelming
> amount of evidence, and he was very quickly banned.  We very quickly banned
> one person who had been looking up the skirt of another woman in the place,
> and it's also been brought to bear (in non-sexual harassment) against an
> individual who was engaging in a creepy campaign of harassment via email
> and phone (this one is currently going through mediation).  I wouldn't say
> that it's solved all of our problems, but it's definitely made a difference
> for the better.  We used a variant of the Double Union anti-harassment
> policy. <http://www.doubleunion.org/policies>
> There are a couple of things I'd recommend moving forwards.  The first is,
> do the women at your hackerspace have private backchannels set up for them
> to talk, share stories, warn eachother, etc?  A lot of the organizing,
> support, etc. that makes it possible to deal with harassment here has been
> done via the anarcho-feminist hackerhive mailing list (not to mention
> networking, job opportunities, etc.).  Having other women around you that
> you can rally to your cause is so very, very important, and these
> backchannels matter because when the system fails and you can't get things
> done officially, you can at least warn the others in your community.  The
> second is to get an anti-harassment policy in place.  I suspect that the Ada
> initiative <https://adainitiative.org/what-we-do/conference-policies/>
> can help you there, they have carefully documented a ton of work on
> policies.  It has to be part of the culture that these kinds of behaviors
> aren't okay. A policy won't magically solve the issue, but it will at least
> give the community a starting point moving forward.  Lastly, have you
> considered joining (or founding) your own, explicitly feminist,
> hackerspace? Model View Culture
> <http://modelviewculture.com/pieces/the-rise-of-feminist-hackerspaces-and-how-to-make-your-own>
> has a great write-up on it, and San Francisco's Double Union
> <http://www.doubleunion.org/> is an excellent example of it done right.
> Sometimes communities are broken and it's easier to build a new one than to
> fix it.
> I wish you the best of luck in dealing with this, and I am so very, very
> sorry that you went through it.
> Hannah
> On Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 5:47 AM, Jen Kotila <jen.kotila01 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hello fellow anarchistic, the-users-decide-policy, do'ocracy hackerspace
>> members! I am a member of Labitat.dk and biologigaragen.org who has been
>> severely sexually harassed for many months. You can read an account here.
>> <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-DPJhdE71IyXx_Du9TlV5b2UvVvwkLhgOnVO-06pBCY/edit>
>> Labitat and Biologigargen didn't have any structures in place to deal
>> with this so the proposed solution of dealing with this sensitive issue was
>> worse than the cure as I ended up getting mobbed and having a nervous
>> breakdown in a meeting on May 22.
>> <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UBXIbR9BY9BTmaSe7dDenBkKCIyAuHySsgtwKFMVQck/edit>
>> After that I became somewhat desperate to seek justice within an
>> anarchistic, DIY framework and reached out to the DIYbio community. Some
>> were supportive some weren't.
>> <https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/diybio/oLgYmZ26Wco> Oh, also,
>> amusingly I did that in part because I was silenced on the Labitat and
>> Biologigargen.org mailing lists arond that time. In fact, I was stripped of
>> my moderator privileges on the Biologigaragen list by someone, probably one
>> of guys who harassed me. felt like that meant I would not be heard and felt
>> somewhat desperate. Also, I was moderated on that list and ONLY me. I was
>> not informed that I was unable to post, it just happened.
>> Late, I reached out to the local anarchist community in Copenhagen (which
>> is VERY active but to which I am not that connected as I am new in DK--
>> someone else should have handled this I think) and finally found a well
>> regarded mediator from within that milieu (the other side was suggesting
>> business mediators, lawyers who knew one of the guys involved in bullying
>> me, and a guy I had been in active conflict with).
>> On the day before mediation, June 16, they finally posted their response
>> <http://lists.labitat.dk/pipermail/discuss/2014-June/013794.html>to my
>> allegations
>> <http://lists.labitat.dk/pipermail/discuss/2014-May/013537.html> which
>> were publicly stated on May 17.
>> I was hoping that through mediation, I would be able to get the opposing
>> side to stop the Kopenlab Festival. You see, I was originally on the
>> organizing group for this Festival and a lot of the harassment took place
>> in that group. I'm also firmly of the position that unrepentant harassers
>> who, instead of listening to the person coming forward instead react with
>> increasing hostility that leads to very dangerous mobbing behavior and
>> baseless threats of libel and slander (see the most recent post on our
>> Discuss list here for that gem)
>> <http://lists.labitat.dk/pipermail/discuss/2014-June/013828.html> instead
>> do not deserve to be in charge of anything.
>> So I come to you now asking for a few things.
>> 1, I have been posting about Noisebridge's case and talking about it
>> without knowing the details. Are they somewhere in narrative form?
>> 2. Is anyone here willing to work with Labitat to help sort this out? If
>> so, you can try posting on our Space mailing list to offer help:
>> http://lists.labitat.dk/listinfo or write to the board
>> bestyrelse at lists.labitat.dk
>> 3. I created a site called opendiscriminaiton.org to help deal with this
>> incredibly serious and systemic problem in hacking. If you guys want to add
>> to it (threre's a brand-spakin' new wikia with nothing on it because my
>> collaborators and I are too busy with Occupy Kopenlab
>> <http://opendiscrimination.org/?cat=3> to do any work on it), please
>> knock yourself out. Eventually I would like it to expand, become more
>> general and maybe grow to the point where it functions as a movement wide
>> "staff handbook" or "hr" of sorts so that every new anarchistically
>> organized male-dominated hackerspace doesn't have to reinvent the wheel
>> every time harassment happens.
>> 4. Speaking of Occupy Kopenlab <http://opendiscrimination.org/?cat=3>,
>> the group behind opendiscrimination.org is organizing action against the
>> Kopenlab Festival. Basically, the idea is that since it's supposed to be a
>> non-hierarchical open knowledge festival they should welcome any and all
>> opposition, well, openly. Of course, you are all in the States but there's
>> ways to take action online if you want to.
>> You know, I really miss the States right now. This whole ordeal has made
>> damned homesick. DK has the highest rate of sexual harassment in the EU, 37%
>> of all women in DK
>> <http://www.b.dk/nationalt/vold-chikane-og-stalking-mod-kvinder-i-danmark-overstiger-eu-gennemsnit>
>> have been harassed compared to only 25% in the States
>> <http://www.b.dk/nationalt/vold-chikane-og-stalking-mod-kvinder-i-danmark-overstiger-eu-gennemsnit>.
>> I was warned by others in Labitat that the general community would probably
>> believe me but would be PISSED at -me- for stirring up conflict as Danes
>> are conflict averse. Yep. That is by and large what has happened (although
>> I get a lot of doubt and misogynistic abuse as well).
>> Maybe you can help Labitat solve this. Or maybe Labitat is in its death
>> throes over this and it'll just be interesting for other spaces in the
>> movement to watch. Let's see what happens.
>> Thanks for your time,
>> Jen
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