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Thursday pretty much most people were rolling in and registering and floating about the place ready for the convention to begin. It’s hard to describe the layout of this place – sprawling, is probably the best word. Personally, I hate it. I get lost every single time I leave my room to find another building, even with walking around with a map in my hand. Jonathan totally bailed on me and moved his room to closer to the convention center building but luckily that meant the room went to Deb and Chris so I can at least follow them home at the end of the night! The bar (as it seems to be becoming the bar) is nowhere near the convention center so if you’re reading this for a report of the con, sorry, probably won’t be here :)

I spent most of the day yesterday, before things kicked off, doing my own thing. I figured out (by trekking all the way to the lobby to get them to show me on the map where it was and to get a bunch of quarters) how to do my laundry. And I washed and dried a load and hung out by the pool, reading Power and Majesty for an hour or two. Now I have all clean clothes again. Excellent plan.

I spoke to my cousin on the phone because she was trying to sort out texting for the phone she’s lent me. All was mostly sorted except the damn over the phone Verizon won’t accept my VISA card because the mailing address is outside of USA. Meh, texting would be great but I’ll live. I don’t think I can make it to a store to pay the $10 in person.

In the afternoon I headed over to the convention center. I’d found a couple of extra books I hadn’t seen in my convention bag that I wanted to put on the swap table, both were small paperbacks and shockingly heavy for their size. I’m terrified of seeing huge piles of Glitter Rose on those tables but so far I haven’t seen one. And also happily none of my friends who’d bought their copies of the book received one in their bag for free.

I headed into the Dealers Room and bumped into Rob Shearman. I’m sure he told me months ago he was coming but I’d completely forgotten so that was a very happy surprise. And then I headed into the room and left copies of Nightsiders, Love and Romanpunk and Thief of Lives at the Prime Books table for sale. I took a very quick turn around the room myself. I do have a bit of a shopping list but I need to take care with it because I don’t have much space in my luggage. I also had a look at the art which is being exhibited in the same room. I’m looking for cover artists.

Then I headed over to the bar to find Jonathan. Sat with him for a bit and various people came past. Deb and Chris came by and picked me up for the early dinner they were doing before the Aussie Party. Really, when I grow up, I think I want to be Garth Nix. He’d gone from having not thought about the party the night before to there being posters plastered everywhere by that time the next day. AND he’d managed to get the stuff for the party well before then too so that our early dinner was a bit unnecessary cause he didn’t really need much help in set up.

We went to Old Town to Coyote Cafe for dinner. I had a black bean burrito which was delicious and looked longingly at the whole page of tequila choices. I wish wish wish I could have tasted a few. Alas for me, no drinking at all this con. Not even a sip. My Crohns was not good the week before I left for the con and it’s exceedingly borderline this week (as in I’m in pain off and on) and I know that if I take one wrong step, it’ll be bad news. The pain is definitely unbearable such that I can’t just “wear the consequences” like I do sometimes. My family were really great at finding the best choices for me for eating and I’m still trying mostly to do the same now. So I didn’t get to drink there nor at the party.

Last Aussie party they had tshirts made for the Aussie contingent. This time, Garth told us all to wear garish Aussie tshirts that you’d buy at the airport. I, um, wore my Galactic Suburbia shirt – crass self promotion? The party was awesome. A LOT of food and wine and beer and ginger beer. And the convention showed up promptly at 9.30 and left by about 1.15 or so?

 

I had a really good catch up with Rob. And I also hung out with Deb Kalin, Tessa Kum, Kirstyn McDermott and Ellen Gregory. I was very sad to show up to their quartet after they’d spent quite some time talking about rape culture. But when the obligatory offensive, too drunk guy came up to harass us – I kid you not, he presented himself to the five of us with “give a woman a compliment and she will sleep with you every time” or something equivalent – he was met first with silence, then polite suggestions he should go to bed and then, “you know, we don’t HAVE to put up with this, please leave” and finally Jonathan gently removed him from our group after Kirstyn nearly punched him in the head after very firmly telling him to leave because he was bothering us.

It was sort of fascinating to watch that he both thought he was deeply attractive (Deb and I were giggling about how even if we hadn’t had sex for 10 years we wouldn’t do it) and also that he had some right to continue standing in our group, harassing us, being offensive and ruining our otherwise enjoyable night. And when told that he actually wasn’t charming or appealing and that in fact he was bothering us, he got more stubborn and more determined that he would only leave on his own terms. Eventually Jonathan got him to move to the other side of the patio but he did yell out at us 15 minutes later “I’m still he-re.” Like it was some principle of his freedom and had no idea that he was more than quashing our own right to stand in our own space and not be harassed or that we even had the right to choose who *we* wanted to talk to. He had become the victim in his own mind. But eventually, Chris and Jonathan escorted him off the premises. It was both a very beautiful moment and also deeply sad because he left because two big guys showed him the door and not because five women had asked him politely, and then more bluntly, to leave us alone.

It wasn’t the first time that’s happened to me or to women around me. It wasn’t even the first time this week that’s happened to me. But it’s fascinating how some men behave that way, completely oblivious to the concept that women should be able to stand in their own group at a party and not be forced into being propositioned for sex or be forced to have to talk to men they don’t want to and that they also have the right to be able to tell them not to bother them and that they should respect that, whether they want to or not. Like, the idea that our experience of the situation was unimportant, even irrelevant to him, and that he would have pressed the point, had he not had another male remove him from the situation. It wasn’t harmless in that he quite clearly told one of us that if she didn’t tell him her correct name, he was going to feel her breasts. And he moved in to kiss her without her permission or any encouragement or invitation. We were mostly in a situation where it could be taken care of. But honestly? What’s that guy like in a room alone with a woman? That’s what we were asking ourselves.

But the night ended cheerfully as we regaled the removal of him from the group.

 



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24 Comments

  • By Tansy Rayner Roberts on 29 October 2011 at 4:44 am

    Sorry to hear that happened! But I do think it’s important to talk about these things, putting it calmly out there that it happens. Because incidents like this are invisible otherwise, which means too often that the next harassment might not be dealt with effectively.

  • By Sean the Bookonaut on 29 October 2011 at 7:33 am

    *shakes head*

  • By AlisaK on 29 October 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Yeah wasn’t sure whether I should have blogged it but I really feel that we need to illustrate when and where and how these things go on. Because they do. And the only way to stop them is to … stop them. And then talk about it.

  • By AlisaK on 29 October 2011 at 3:52 pm

    yup

  • By Kaia on 30 October 2011 at 7:46 pm

    The entitlement of drunk men never ceases to amaze me. Although ‘amaze’ might be the wrong choice of words here.

  • By Cathy on 31 October 2011 at 7:53 am

    From your description, I’m assuming he was the guy removed from the Shimmer/Edge Books party by hotel security Saturday night.

  • By AlisaK on 31 October 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Oh really? I had not heard that. I know someone from my group lodged a complaint so he must have also then been removed from the con after his second eviction?

  • By Charles Tan on 1 November 2011 at 6:38 am

    It’s the “motorhead” guy and he had same modus operandi.

    Personal evictions only made him sneak back to the party. Jaym Gates had to call security to physically eject him from the hotel. Stina Leicht’s blog has another account. Jaym BTW is collecting reports of harassment.

  • By Liz Argall on 1 November 2011 at 8:45 am

    Thanks for blogging about it. Fuck-knuckles thrive on polite silence and I’m so glad you guys spoke up early and spoke up often.

  • By Cathy on 1 November 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Don’t know about getting banned from the con proper. Based on what someone at the party said after the guy got escorted out, the deal was that he wouldn’t get his badge yanked as long as he didn’t go to any more parties. No idea if they followed through and yanked his badge after he got escorted out saturday night.

  • By Shweta Narayan on 1 November 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I have no content to ad about the creeper; I’m sorry (and pissed off) that you all suffered that.

    Really I’m just dropping by to say that EVERYONE I talked to about the free books was squeeing at getting copies of Glitter Rose, and delighted that something that cool was in the free bags :) Because of an upcoming move, my husband and I had to severely limit how many books we kept – but we kept that one, based on the recs and since it’s a gorgeous object, and I’m looking forward to it!

  • By Masonian on 1 November 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I heard about this guy! I can’t remember if it was Kirstyn McDermott who told me about him or Jaym Gates… They’ve been calling him “The Motorhead guy” or the “Creeper”
    Blech. I hope it didn’t taint your WFC experience too much.

  • By WFC 2011 Creeper on 1 November 2011 at 4:51 pm

    [...] Alisa Krasnostein for the Aussie party: [...]

  • [...] first heard about the goings on via this post on Alisa Krasnostein’s blog, but judging from this post by Stina Leicht the problem went on [...]

  • By Julia on 1 November 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Honestly, I think talking about this openly and honestly is more important than “calmness.”

    It’s perfectly reasonable to be angry, upset, scared, freaked out, etc. when something like this happens.

  • By Vylar Kaftan on 2 November 2011 at 12:31 am

    Thanks for posting about this. I assume you’ve seen other posts about this topic (see nihilistic_kid’s LJ).

    I’m sorry you had to deal with this creep.

    Jaym Gates is working on an anti-harassment policy for future World Fantasies. She is collecting reports from people who experienced or witnessed this crap. I’m pretty sure she knows about this post–but for anyone reading, please contact her if you saw something. You can reach her as jaym_gates on LJ, or you can email me at web @ vylar kaftan .net and I’ll forward your email to her. Thanks.

  • By Vylar Kaftan » The creeper at World Fantasy on 2 November 2011 at 1:04 am

    [...] Personal accounts of the specific incidents at WFC: 1) Jaym Gates 2) Stina Leicht 3) secritcrush’s LJ 4) Champagne and Socks [...]

  • By Cathy on 2 November 2011 at 5:58 am

    I see from Jaym Gates’ blog that he was banned from the con.

    http://jaymgates.com/misc/wfc-2011-creeper/

  • By AlisaK on 2 November 2011 at 9:17 am

    I think as a woman, you get used to this kind of behaviour, especially at bars and parties. I’m kinda sick of having to have techniques to deal with it. That said, I think a lot of guys are becoming aware of the problems through the discussions that have gone on and by talking about it, and making these issues communal ones, we can use peer pressure to raise the standards of acceptable and actual behaviour. Which is essentially what happened here.

    Thank you so much for the feedback on Glitter Rose! I’m so happy to hear that people thought it was cool and wanted to keep it – “gorgeous object” was precisely what we were aiming for with this book! I hope you enjoy it!

  • By AlisaK on 2 November 2011 at 9:18 am

    I agree, silence is the predator’s friend.

  • By AlisaK on 2 November 2011 at 9:20 am

    It was really only even a small part of the Aussie party which I thought overall was a great party. And I feel like people stepped in when we needed them to and we stood up to him the best we could. And it looks like he was dealt with by the organisation as well. I googled him the next day and wondered what he would think if he knew editors and publishers were on the end of his behaviour.

  • By AlisaK on 2 November 2011 at 9:21 am

    That’s true.
    Probably worse is that he wasn’t the only guy at the con who made me feel unsafe over the convention period.

  • By AlisaK on 2 November 2011 at 9:22 am

    I’ve just caught up. I mostly wanted to document it so as not to let it slide, unspoken about.

  • By AlisaK on 2 November 2011 at 9:22 am

    Wow. Just caught up on this.

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