writing rengeek magpie mind

July 2014

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bad girls firefighters

what is the sound of one heart breaking?

If you're not up to speed on the current Readercon harassment flap. I invite you to read here and here and here.

Readercon is my home convention, the con I have sold to friends from other parts of the country as a delightful change of pace and a chance to relax and talk about books. Most of those friends, over the years, have been female, and many of them have come back.

Most recently, I brought my boyfriend.

I am absolutely heartbroken and dismayed by the Readercon Board's decision to assess Rene Walling only a two-year suspension for stalking and harassing Genevieve Valentine.

I am deeply disappointed in and saddened by the con that is, in a very real sense, the con of my heart.

Walling may regret his actions, but that does not change the fact that his undisputed actions made Valentine feel afraid for her safety. As a woman, perhaps I need to explain that when a woman complains of a man harassing her, she is not complaining about an annoyance or an inconvenience. She is complaining about a potential threat to her personal integrity, her well-being, her very life.

Well-meaning men need to understand that women respond to male stalkers in this way because in large numbers, men kill, batter, and rape women, and for no better reason than perceived ownership, sexual jealousy, and issues of control. If women react to such reports convulsively, it is for one reason: the only significant natural predator the human female has is the human male.

We are defending our lives.

This is not hyperbole. This is not hysteria. This is a hard fact that every human woman--gay or straight, cis or trans--lives with every time she is confronted with a human male. He may try to kill me.

It's not paranoia to think so. In a small, but statistically nonzero set of cases, this is true.

I once met a guy at a Rocky Horror screening. I found out later he had called every house in my neighborhood to find out where I lived.

I once said Hi to a male neighbor at a bus stop. He invited me to his place; I declined. I found out later he had sexually assaulted another young woman.

My uncle murdered my aunt because she asked him for a divorce.

Did you hear that?

My uncle murdered my aunt because she asked him for a divorce.

And that is why women are guarded. And that is why Readercon really, really, really screwed this up.

Women are not angels of the house. We are not fading flowers who cannot look out for ourselves. We are not frail crystalline things that can't handle a sexual come-on.

We are physically smaller, physically weaker human beings who live every day with the knowledge that the only lethal predator we have is a random selection of human males.

And we can never know which ones.

We are not calling for Walling's punishment. We are calling for the right of Valentine and other women to exist in an environment without predators.

It's not about the man, Readercon.

It's never about the man

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Comments

Yes.

Thankyou for articulating this.