The Con Anti-Harassment Project is a grass-roots campaign designed to help make conventions safer for everyone. Our aims are to encourage fandom, geek community and other non-business conventions to establish, articulate and act upon anti-harassment policies, especially sexual harassment policies, and to encourage mutual respect among con-goers, guests and staff.
The convention experience is often a fun and rewarding one; we want to do our part to make it fun, rewarding and safe for everyone involved. Conventions can’t eliminate harassment, but they can reduce it, have ways to deal with it when it happens, and make it clear that it’s unacceptable in our fun con environments. Our campaign is based upon a three-part action plan we encourage con committees to adopt and adapt for their own con atmosphere and environment.
All conventions should establish policies against verbal and physical harassment, tailored to the specific atmosphere and demographics of their con. Some conventions have, to good effect. Many cons have not, counting on the common sense of their attendees or assuming that the general illegality of such harassment would adequately discourage it within the con.
Unfortunately, the volume of accounts from people who have experienced or witnessed harassment at conventions indicates this is not the case.
We encourage conventions to establish a firm and actionable anti-harassment policy; not as a complete solution, but as a first step towards reducing harassment and increasing safety in the con environment.
Cons with policies against verbal and physical harassment should articulate such policies to their attendees, volunteers, and staff via important materials like con programs and websites.
Publicizing such policies tells potential harassers that they will not be tolerated and informs attendees and potential attendees that the con is serious about their safety, will actively discourage harassment, and will have procedures established for responding to harassment if it does occur. Establishing and articulating a policy against harassment also prevents harassers from using ignorance of unacceptable behavior as a means of avoiding the consequences of such behavior.
We encourage cons to articulate their policies in their relevant materials.
Cons should act upon their verbal and physical harassment policies.
Cons that respond promptly and consistently to harassment complaints and make it clear that harassment complaints will be investigated and acted upon further deter potential harassers and encourage safety and mutual respect among con-goers.
We encourage cons to support their anti-harassment policies by implementing clear procedures for addressing complaints, and to train their volunteers and staff to respond to complaints of harassment or related problems.
What Can I Do?
Join the Letter Campaign and write to your local con.
Check out and contribute to our Con Database, which lists the known policies of cons and their contact information.
Want to add an anti-harassment policy to your con package? Check out the Policy Tips for a few ideas on how you can establish, articulate and act upon your anti-harassment policy.
Share your experience or account of harassment in our moderated safe-space forum (requires registration).
How else can you help stop harassment, maybe even before it starts? Check out the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Project (and Gentlemen’s Auxiliary) for tips on how to identify and assist women who may need help. OSWBEOUP(&GA) isn’t affiliated with CAHP (which is a gender-neutral project) but it offers excellent resources for aiding harassed women specifically.
Got questions? Check out the CAHP FAQ.