Re: Code of Conduct at events

From: Adrian Bunk <bunk(at)stusta(dot)de>
To: Ian Jackson <ijackson(at)chiark(dot)greenend(dot)org(dot)uk>
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: Code of Conduct at events
Date: 2010-11-10 12:50:16
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On Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 11:59:19AM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Thijs Kinkhorst writes ("Re: Code of Conduct at events"):
> > Writing into a code which is already not allowed and for which exists an
> > entire system of enforcement professionals and fact finding procedures,
> > seems superfluous at best.
> It seems that you may be unfamiliar with the context surrounding
> sexual assault and rape. I don't know where you live, but in most
> places only a very small proportion of even rapes result in a
> conviction, let alone serious or minor sexual assaults.

Where I come from (Germany) there have been cases where after years in
prison it was shown that the alleged rapes that resulted in a conviction
never existed.

Or cases where even a clear acquittal resulted in a ruined career of the
accused man due to the publicity surrounding the trial.

And I as a man feel pretty vulnerable to wrong accusations of sexual

Men are pigs and women are damn good liars.

It can be pretty hard to impossible to figure out which side is the

> Also note that criminal punishment is enormously more severe than
> censure or even exclusion by a conference organiser. It is therefore
> right that criminal punishment should have a higher standard of
> proof.
> Put it like this: if I'm hosting a party and one of my guests reports
> being assaulted by another of my guests (whether it's a sexual eg a
> nonconsensual grope, nonsexual eg or pushing or shoving, or whatever),
> I'm not going to say "let me call the police". I'm going to listen to
> both sides, and if I believe the complainant I will probably ask the
> attacker to leave and never invite them back.

Who are you to think you can judge better than the experts called by a

And if you believe someone is guilty, why are you sparing him from a
year in jail, allowing him instead to go straight to the next party
assaulting the next woman?

> > It seems rather strange to me to recodify certain illegal
> > behaviours while leaving out other similarly undesirable and illegal
> > ones.
> The reaction to the most recent incident seems to show that there are
> a substantial number of people who think that, and are willing to
> loudly and cleary say that, it is somehow OK to touch someone sexually
> without their permission, or that victims of sexual assault bring it
> on themselves, or other such nonsense.
> One of the key factors that makes people willing to report these kinds
> of attacks is the knowledge that they will receive appropriate support
> from their community. That's a big part of the point of having a
> code of conduct.

Is the same support also available to the victim of a false accusation?

In other words, will the community support both sides until it is clear
who is the victim and who the offender?

> The other part is to make sure that everyone knows that at least in
> our spaces, nonconsensual touching, not taking no for an answer, etc.,
> are completely unacceptable.

You don't need a code of conduct for going to the police and report a

> Ian.



"Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
"Only a promise," Lao Er said.
Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed


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