From author Elise Mattheson via Mary Robinette Kowal:
At this year’s Writing Excuses Retreat, we had several evenings where we just answered questions about how to have a career as an SF writer. One night, I said, “We should probably talk about how to handle sexual harassment at a convention.”
The room had been quiet before. It became still.
. . . .
Back in 2010, while I was still VP of SFWA, I served as a conduit for a woman who had been sexually harassed by an editor to anonymously contact his employer. She didn’t feel safe doing so directly because she was afraid it would affect her career. You see that, right? The power that concern gave the editor over her? The publisher took it very seriously, and due to that the woman felt safe in speaking to a representative directly.
Apparently, that doesn’t count as a formal complaint because it wasn’t to Human Resources or to the Legal Department. So, here we are in 2013 and Elise Matheson was harassed by the same man at a convention. When she made a report, she was told it was the first one.
She’s written up an account of her reaction and how to go about making a formal report of sexual harassment.
. . . .
[T]his year at WisCon I learned firsthand how to report sexual harassment. In case you ever need or want to know, here’s what I learned and how it went.
Two editors I knew were throwing a book release party on Friday night at the convention. I was there, standing around with a drink talking about Babylon 5, the work of China Mieville, and Marxist theories of labor (like you do) when an editor from a different house joined the conversation briefly and decided to do the thing that I reported. A minute or two after he left, one of the hosts came over to check on me. I was lucky: my host was alert and aware. On hearing what had happened, he gave me the name of a mandated reporter at the company the harasser was representing at the convention.
The mandated reporter was respectful and professional. Even though I knew them, reporting this stuff is scary, especially about someone who’s been with a company for a long time, so I was really glad to be listened to. Since the incident happened during Memorial Day weekend, I was told Human Resources would follow up with me on Tuesday.
There was most of a convention between then and Tuesday, and I didn’t like the thought of more of this nonsense (there’s a polite word for it!) happening, so I went and found a convention Safety staffer. He asked me right away whether I was okay and whether I wanted someone with me while we talked or would rather speak privately. A friend was nearby, a previous Guest of Honor at the convention, and I asked her to stay for the conversation. The Safety person asked whether I’d like to make a formal report. I told him, “I’d just like to tell you what happened informally, I guess, while I figure out what I want to do.”
. . . .
Someone told me that since it was the first report, the editor would not be asked to leave the convention. I was surprised it was the first report, but hey, if it was and if that’s the process, follow the process. They told me they had instructed him to keep away from me for the rest of the convention.
Link to the rest at Mary Robinette Kowal and thanks to Joe for the tip.
PG is not familiar with any of the individuals involved here, but from prior experience representing juveniles who had been sexually mistreated, a harasser/predator almost never targets a single victim exclusively. There are always more.