NB this post is part of a series:
- Stalking: online and face to face harassment
- Responding to comments about my post ‘Stalking: online and face to face harassment’
- Responding to comments: is gendering offenders a mistake?
- Responding to comments: can’t we just ask people to be decent to each other?
- Responding to comments: how do you deal with an offender who’s not committed an offence at your event?
This year I’ve received, on average, about a report per month of men harassing or assaulting women in the lindy/blues/bal scenes. Which puts us at about 9 for the year so far.
Most of these reports have been about Australians, and most of them have been about men in Sydney. Yes, including who are part of this facebook group. Yes, if you are harassing women, we have seen you, and we have written reports. Even if you are hassling women interstate.
Most of these reports have been about harassment. So I thought I’d write a quick bit of info for the men in this group who’ve been harassing women.
The most common report is about a combination of face to face and online harassment. So, here bros, stop doing this stuff (especially to brand new dancers or young dancers):
- Asking a woman for her phone number so you can ‘Help her find out about dancing’ the first time you meet her at her first dance. This is creepy. STOP IT.
- Immediately facebook friending a woman you’ve just met at a dance and then sending her HEAPS of messages, commenting on all her posts, tagging her a lot, asking for her phone number, address, dates. This is creepy. STOP IT.
- Taking photos of her and then posting them online and tagging her. This is epic creepy. STOP IT.
- Sending lots (ie more than 2) facebook messages within an hour or two, or a day or two. If she doesn’t reply, or doesn’t send the first message, she’s not interested. STOP IT.
- Sending lots of texts. If she doesn’t reply, doesn’t send the first message, or responds only with emojis, she’s not interested. STOP IT.
- Demanding a woman reply to messages and texts, and getting angry or upset/saying how sad you feel if she doesn’t answer your messages IMMEDIATELY.
This is crap. STOP IT.
- Driving her home after a dance the first night you meet her, then ‘dropping in’ at her house randomly afterwards. This is hella creepy. STOP IT.
- Asking her about her relationships (boyfriends, husbands, girlfriends), sex life, or intimate history. This is CREEPY. STOP IT.
- While dancing: holding her too close and then passing it off as ‘a blues hold’ or an ‘experienced move’; touching her inappropriately (on her breasts, buttocks, groin, upper legs – you know what we’re talking about). This is really gross. And other people in the room see you and will do something about it. SO STOP IT.
- While dancing: Physically lifting or pulling a woman into a dip, lift, or jump, even if it seems ‘small’. This is not respectful or safe. STOP IT.
- At dances: touching too much. Unwanted cuddles or hugs, massages or ‘dance lessons’, constant ‘platonic’ touches, hand holding, ‘accidental’ touches. If you haven’t asked for and received permission for this stuff, STOP IT.
- Continuing to do any of these things if she’s asked you to stop, or said something like “It’s a bit full on to get so many messages.”
NOTE: We SEE YOU. Other people in the room see you doing stuff that isn’t ok. And they will do something about it. So STOP IT.
— CONSEQUENCES —
If you’re doing this stuff, you’re going to get busted. What usually happens:
- you get warned,
- you get banned from local events,
- you get banned from interstate and international events.
- bans are enforced by security at events, and all event organisers are very willing to call the police if offenders try to turn up anyway.
- yes, organisers and teachers do talk to each other about this stuff, both within Sydney, and between states and countries.
— PROCESS —
- The woman/women you’re targeting speaks to their friend who then speaks to someone like me who organises events, to a teacher, or to a dancer who’s been around for years.
- This person then tells you/the harasser to stop that shit, or they tell a person who can do something about it (eg an event organiser).
- You get an in-person warning, or an emailed warning. If it’s from me, you will get an immediate ban from all my events and parties.
- The organiser/friend will tell other people, including other organisers and DJs in other cities and countries, who will then ‘watch’ you or warn you when you visit their town.
It is common for offenders to threaten the woman/women they’re harassing if they ‘tell someone’ about this.
Most organisers have a process in place to keep the reporting women safe: a friend or agent does the reporting, and the woman stays anonymous.
NB: most offenders harass more than one woman, and we are finding more women are reporting now.
Most offenders are seen by _other people_ who then report them. Yes, other men will report your behaviour.
— SOME DEFINITIONS —
- “Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.”
- This can be online or face to face.
- Face to face harassment can include (and this includes examples of stuff I’ve read in reports this year):
- Staring or leering eg Staring at a woman while she’s dancing or talking;
- Deliberately brushing up against you or unwelcome touching eg Squeezing past someone to get to the water dispenser, touching her while she’s talking to her friends, holding her too close and in a sexual way during dances;
- sexy or sexualised comments or jokes eg asking a woman about her sex life, or how often she has sex, or about her sexual preferences;
- insults or teasing of a sexual nature eg making jokes like “X likes it a bit risky don’t you?”
- intrusive questions or statements about your private life eg “Who is your boyfriend? Do you have a boyfriend? Why isn’t he here?”
- displaying posters, magazines or screen savers of a sexual nature eg Showing women explicit vintage ‘cheesecake’ pictures and photos on his phone at a dance;
4. Online harassment can include (and this includes examples of stuff I’ve read in reports this year):
- displaying posters, magazines or screen savers of a sexual nature eg Sending women explicit vintage ‘cheesecake’ pictures and photos of sexualised vintage wear to women via facebook, suggesting she wear this outfit or would ‘look good in this’;
- sending sexually explicit emails or text messages
- inappropriate advances on social networking sites eg lots and lots of messages on facebook, or text messages, asking for dates, or asking invasive questions about her private life;
- accessing sexually explicit internet sites
- requests for sex or repeated unwanted requests to go out on dates eg Asking a woman to come for coffee after dancing, or to go for dinner before dancing.
- behaviour that may also be considered to be an offence under criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications. eg groping a woman’s groin, buttocks, or breasts while dancing, forcing kisses and ‘cuddles’ at the end of a dance or at the end of a night of dancing.