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

Hannah Grimm dharlette at gmail.com
Mon Jun 23 04:10:31 UTC 2014

I know plenty about the Ada Initiative (having attended AdaCamp myself) and
have no issues recommending their work on anti-harassment policies to

On Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 2:22 PM, Bacon Zombie <baconzombie at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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:
> http://exoticliability.libsyn.com/exotic-liability-87-trigger
> 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
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
>>> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
>>> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
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