• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
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horizon


Not a changeling.

More Blog Posts257

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Dec
31st
2017

The elephant in the equine room · 8:20am Dec 31st, 2017

TW: sexual assault

I need to say something that I have been struggling with since August — something that, even after starting this post, has taken about 48 hours to write out. Something not easy, not pleasant, and this point, not particularly timely. But something very necessary to discuss.

This year at Bronycon, at least three women had their drinks spiked with date-rape drugs.

I say this as a direct witness, based on my experience and the preponderance of the best available supporting evidence [0].


The incident I am aware of — and I dearly hope there were no others — occurred at a room party I attended.

I will not be naming any names.  For the perpetrator, only because I do not know.  For the victims ... because if #MeToo has taught us anything, one of its lessons is that opening up about sexual assault creates a rich environment for re-victimization (bystanders questioning their truthfulness, their choices that allegedly “contributed” to the assault, and their choice of when and whether to face the trauma of public disclosure).[1]

Similar fears have been the major driving force behind my paralysis. This was the victims’ story to tell … wasn’t it? If they chose to smooth it over in hopes of having a quieter and still enjoyable convention, was it my right to second-guess that?  Would I be hurting them again if I spoke up?

Ultimately, the answer to that was the same then as it is now — this is bigger than that. This needs to be brought to light, so others can help identify the perpetrator and/or take steps to protect themselves in the future. But in the wake of the con, nagging doubts made it much easier to take the coward's path, and wait to see if someone else would be the first to break the silence.

So, after Bronycon, I completely shut up about it. Despite yearning to blog about the con's joys and discoveries, I went silent. I knew my conscience wouldn’t let me write about all the fantastic and memorable things that happened while sweeping this under the rug, or burying it as a footnote in my con report — but when I tried to push myself to write this post, there was always that inertia and that fear, and I sat and waited.

And then as the months dragged on, the inertia only grew. Not only would I have to justify my decision to speak up, I would also have to justify my delay, given that my silence about this incident might have given the would-be rapist a chance to strike again. [2]

Frankly, I have no justification for that, other than my fear. I’m sorry. I desperately hope that no further damage has been done. But at least I am making this effort, now, and I hope that counts for something.


What finally pushed me over the edge into actually writing this post was a Twitter thread on weird convention experiences. I clicked on it expecting tales of funny and bizarre moments. What I got was about 50 percent straight-up anecdotes of sexual harassment and even assault.

That is not OK.

That’s not weird, that’s a problem.

Conventions are community gatherings — places where all participants should feel welcome, and should be able to have fun. If incidents like unwanted touches, creeping, and straight-up grabbed breasts are normalized as merely “weird” instead of failures of the safety process, we are driving away half our community with signals that we don’t value their safety. Likewise, if we learn about something as drastic as an attempted rape and our response is to sweep it under the rug, we are directly contributing to making the fandom less safe.

Scary as confronting it is, silence is what allows the bad actors to flourish.

So.

This is what happened.

On Friday night of Bronycon, I was invited to a room party for the usual room party reasons: companionship and alcohol. Most convention room parties tend to have a specific core — a social niche getting together, a birthday to celebrate, or a thematic focus — and this was no exception. The hostesses had organize the evening into a structured drinking game/ritual based on the Norse tradition of sumble, introduced to us as "boast, toast, and oath". Everyone in the room would gather into a single communal drinking circle, sharing various personal recollections and commitments over the course of three rounds. Each participant poured themselves a drink of their personal choice, which they would have to slowly drain over the course of the round; and there was also a collective drink that everyone around the circle shared by sipping from it when they told their individual story. [3]

The first round went without incident. There were about a dozen people in the room, all of whom were playing. One by one, we each took our turn and drank, going around the circle and toasting each contribution.  Then there was a long break between rounds, in which a few people left, a few arrived, some stepped out briefly to take smoke breaks, and the room fell into a more typical party rhythm of small clusters of random chatter. We reconvened and this proceeded through a second round, and once again we went fully around the circle, then broke for between-round socialization.

During that second break, there was a significant influx of people coming in late, mostly from other parties being held elsewhere. A few participants started up deeper side conversations, and one of the new visitors (who had brought a bottle of excellently aged whiskey) began offering sips around.  Finally, we pushed past the distractions and began organizing for round 3; many of the new folk moved on, and one or two joined the dwindling group that wanted to see the ritual through to the end.  By the time round 3 started, if memory serves, we were down to about 10 people, three of whom were female — the two party hostesses and one guest.

We settled back into the rhythm of the ritual, when suddenly, the main hostess halted us mid-story and announced that she was feeling funny and believed she had been drugged.

There was some initial shock and disbelief, but several factors quickly added weight to her story. First, she had previously been a victim of date-rape drugs before, and was recognizing her symptoms from prior experience. Second, the other hostess — who hadn't drunk more than a sip or two of alcohol all night — shortly thereafter began vomiting, and the third woman complained of similar symptoms to the first.  None of the males appeared affected.

The party immediately shut down for safety reasons — the hostesses wanted to be alone behind a locked door by the time the drugs fully kicked in. Several of us formed a posse to collectively escort the third woman back to her hotel room — and by the time we arrived, she was barely coherent.

Thank goodness, all of them safely slept off the dose, and in the morning I and several others of the attendees did our best to check in on them.  I led an effort to collectively compile a list of the people in attendance, as complete as we could remember, and ultimately got that list to the hostess.

It is my understanding that the drugging was then reported to ConOps, but I am not privy to what happened from there — whether it was reported to the police or whether any attendees were contacted by security or law enforcement. (I left my contact information on that list, but nobody followed up with me.)


I can record this dispassionately now, in hindsight, but that night was a swirling tempest of emotions. Shock, disbelief, fear. We had spent the evening hearing about each other's passions and accomplishments and vulnerabilities, sharing laughs and tears — only to have our circle violated by a predator.  To go from that emotional intimacy to staring around the room in fear, wondering whether one of us was participating as a pretext to arrange a rape ... and furthermore, to look at our companions' shocked stares and know that they were looking at us with that same inner question ... it's a lingering, bitter taste of awfulness that has stuck with me since.

I can hardly imagine how much worse it must have been for the women.  The hostess was remarkably gracious and level-headed about it — "there were twenty people it could have been, and only one of them was responsible, so I still trust you 95 percent," she told me the next day — but to have lost an evening, woken up with a migraine, and be aware that without the vigilance on display that night they likely would have been raped?  That's a special circle of hell which I wouldn't wish on anyone. [4]


The culprit, to my knowledge, has not been identified.  However, based on discussion back at the convention, the evidence seems to point to a few conclusions about what happened.

It seems unlikely that the drug was distributed during the ritual itself.  The three women were seated at very different parts of the circle (two across the room from each other), and everyone had poured themselves their own drink (including the nonalcoholic one).  Nobody was making the rounds of the circle to handle multiple other people's drinks.  There was a communal drink being passed around, but nearly everyone drank from it in turn order, and if that had been the spiked drink, several or all of the males would have been showing symptoms too.

Based on that and the timing, the drugging likely happened during the round 2/3 break, when the room broke up into smaller chats and people were individually mingling and moving around.  That's also when a number of new faces flooded in who weren't involved in the ritual and thus weren't aware of the communal and lengthy nature of it.  The more time the assailant spent with their victims after drugging them, the more chance they'd have of exposure; it would have fit their motives better to enter the room, deliver the doses, and try to leave with one of them as soon as possible.  My personal suspicion is one of those people who entered and then left during the break, not all of whom we were able to see the name-badge of.

The woman who wasn't drinking alcohol might provide an additional clue.  One of the few things she did try was a sip of the whiskey that was being offered around.  Many date-rape drugs are put in alcohol to mask the flavor; that might have been a vector, and would have given the assailant a chance to mingle with all his victims.  However, some date-rape drugs are colorless and odorless and might have been placed in her water, so a different delivery method can't be ruled out.  Also, several of the men tried the whiskey as well, so there would have had to be some sleight-of-hand involved in dosing the women but not them.


What now?

To be honest, I'm not sure.

All I can say is to echo  something mentioned in the thread that kicked this off: step one is being honest about what happened, and saying that this is not okay.

Step two ... depends on the reaction.  I hope, dear gods I hope, this was an isolated incident.  (If furry fandom survived a chemical attack, we can survive a rapist.)  But if it wasn't, the only way we can fix this is by confronting it in its full scope.

I will note: This incident is certainly scary.  Nothing I can say will make it non-scary, nor should it be.  However, I don't think fleeing conventions in fear is the answer.  This was the work of a sociopath, and if you're going to let your life choices be defined by avoiding sociopathy you also can't step into tall buildings, live near video gamers, or even step outside your door. Short of species-wide genetic tampering, we can't prevent human sociopathy.

However, we can, and must, work to build environments in which sociopathy is more difficult and less rewarding.

In the meantime, there are concrete steps you can take to make cons safer for yourself and everyone, especially if you partake of alcohol there.

Safe drinking strategies are well-established, and should be well-known.  In social drinking situations with strangers — and this isn't just conventions, but also situations like clubs, dances, block parties, etc — get drinks straight from the source and minimize adulteration opportunities.  Buddy up with a trusted friend to watch each others' backs; leave drinks with each other if you have to step out or use the restroom.  Have an on-site friend or roommate you can call for emergency backup if you start feeling funny.  (Many conventions also have a FLARE or Con-Ops number on the back of your badge, so you can call for security in an emergency. If you run a convention, please consider this.)  Finally, be that friend for your friends — it can be immensely frightening in the moment if something happens, and having backup is a big deal.

If you're throwing a party, have a sober person monitoring alcohol (and people's stuff); even if it's an open bar keep the sources centralized, discard drinks that have been sitting unattended, and babysit drinks for attendees that need to go to the bathroom or step away briefly.  If someone's starting to look out of it (especially if their affect changes rapidly), check in with them repeatedly, and do your best to make sure that they leave your room with someone they know and trust.

Also, while we're on the subject, one more lesson from that Twitter thread ...

If you're at a convention and see creeping, nonconsensual touching, etc.: intervene.  Conventions can promote safety with strong, prominent codes of conduct, but it's community standards which ultimately determine what behavior is discouraged and what gets a pass.  If people look the other way as women get harassed, harassment will never go away.

I want a strong, vibrant fandom that is a safe and fun place for everyone willing to positively contribute.

We can do better on that note.

We have to.


I don't generally ask for signal boosts. However, as a public safety issue, please consider sharing this.

If I write a follow-up to this post, I'll edit to link it here. If others write their own follow-ups worth sharing, I will attempt to link/boost them myself as well:

* bookplayer's blog post has concrete tips on throwing safer parties.
* An important tip on victim care from KMCA, who works professionally as event security.


Footnotes:
[0] Edited post to add the qualifier based on discussion in comments.

[1] As such, while I hope this post will make it easier to discuss this incident and others, I will be monitoring comments closely. Any comment naming a victim (of this event or others) will be summarily deleted — unless it is the victim themself speaking up or there is up-front evidence you have their prior written permission.

[2] As an aside, if your reaction to (say) the Roy Moore victims coming forward was to question why someone would hold on to a sexual assault accusation for decades only to bring it out when it could do political damage? I’m not even a victim, and this has been sticking in my craw for five months. Imagine how much harder it would have been to say something if I faced major professional or social consequences for speaking up. If I, say, had an accuser who could blacklist me from the movie industry, or was prominent in the community, or was about to hold a major political office. The miracle is that anyone has the strength to open up about their trauma under those circumstances.

[3] I’ve got much more to say about the Bronycon sumble ritual in a post which is not this one. In particular, the oath I took, which is extremely relevant to here, and which I've been burning to discuss so I can take steps toward its complete fulfillment.

[4] Except for the sort of transcendent sociopath who is willing to drug multiple women for a chance at sex only they will remember.

Comments ( 205 )

...Sir... I commend you for your choice, it is not easy to tell a terrible truth nor is it easy to ignore it, I am glad that you spoke up, whether if it is too late or not... I cannot say. But will give you these: 👍👍👍👍👍 and some of these :twilightsmile::twilightsmile::twilightsmile::twilightsmile::twilightsmile:

That's a horrible situation. I'm very glad the main hostess there caught it.

This is definitely something that should be shared and not ignored, though, and I'm glad you posted about it.

--arcum42

Holy shit.

That's the best I can come up with at the moment.

What you are describing is not only sexual assault and likely attempted rape, but poisoning. Calling something a "date rape drug" may disguise the reality that giving someone a poweful tranquilizer or other psychoactive, especially mixed with alcohol, is extremely dangerous. Keep in mind that a victim or victims may be on other medications, and may thus suffer extremely severe atypical reactions to the poison. This may mean permanent physical damage, or even death.

The poisoner is a potential killer, and one existing within our fan community. He is extremely dangerous. He either is so much of a fool that he doesn't realize that he's risking manslaughter, or so much of a sociopath that he doesn't care. Consider the mentality and personality required to want to rape a semi-conscious or unconscious woman, for real.

He needs to be identified and locked safely away from the society of decent people. Until he is, he is free to prey on our fandom, harming and possibly raping or even killing innocent victims.

If you have any idea who he is, contact the police. Seriously.

For all our sakes.

Holy shit. You have done the absolutely correct thing here. Will boost.

I'm always a little surprised that people express disbelief about victims of sexual harassment/assault/rape choosing not to come forward. And then I remember that most people probably don't have first—or even second—hand experience with the subject matter. Which is a mixed blessing, inasmuch as it means there are less incidents than there could be, but public discourse is still difficult.

A good friend of mine was harassed in high school by one of our vice principals. She never came forward, despite my urging. My girlfriend in high school was raped and also decided to never come forward or press charges, even though she knew exactly who had done it and where he lived. It's incredibly frustrating to see people get away with such contemptible actions, but at the end of the day it was their call on how to proceed, no matter how I felt about it. So, I get that people, even witnesses or tertiary individuals, have a hard time vocalizing after the trauma.

I'm really hoping to make it to BronyCon in 2018, possibly with a friend joining me for a day. I'm fairly vigilant in keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior in settings full of alcohol and strangers, and I'll try to be extra on my game if I make it next year.

Thanks for sharing, Horizon. I know it's not easy to talk about.

4763069
Thank you for eloquently articulating one of the reasons that this should have been sticking in my craw as it did.

I wasn't even really considering the poisoning angle. That's just sick icing on the existing sociopath cake.

Alsvid #8 · Dec 31st, 2017 · · 31 ·

Folks, I knew shit like this would happen ever since I read all the stories about people hosting sex parties at bronycons, having hookup speed dating shit, and what not.

Basically, I knew this would give rise to creepers and rapists coming to cons to have sex with people - consensually or otherwise.

Maybe we need to, like, discourage people from using cons as sex hookup parties?

Alsvid #9 · Dec 31st, 2017 · · 12 ·

I mean, not to be Debbie Downer or Miss Manners, but maybe the group sex parties at hotel rooms might end really badly one of these days and it might be best to nip this in the bud before we see a news story about it.

As someone who has been a victim of sexual assault (specifically a drugged drink), thank you for speaking up. Please do not hesitate to say something sooner, it is not bad, it is not wrong.
You've done everything very clearly and fairly. I hope that if, god forbid, this happens again, you will do the same thing. :heart:

4763080
Please don't go this route. It will not end well for you. Sexual parties and conduct can be fun, safe, sane and consensual. They can be done without predators and rapists. If someone pursues this line of action, it does not make them a rapist. It does not mean they are encouraging sexual assault, or that they somehow should expect to be hurt. These "parties" do not, in any way, "cause" sexual assault.
Again, please, please, do not go down this path of thinking.

Alsvid #12 · Dec 31st, 2017 · · 41 ·

4763084


I ain't saying all sex parties are dens of rapists, just that they attract people like that.

Shit, if I had heard about this weird-ass sumbel shit going down I would have turned 360 degrees and walked away because I ain't getting drunk with strangers I don't know, especially if it isn't a BYOB thing.

Or, like, I would have walked in, said, 'Y'all are doing some crazy stupid shit. Goodbye."

And then walked out.

Also:

Please don't go this route. It will not end well for you

Shit, pal, why stop there? Veiled threats aren't fun.

Just fuck my shit up, fam. What were you planning to do, exactly?

4763080
The party I described in my post had no sex at all (just alcohol and talking). Was there something I said which made you think it did?

Personally, I would agree with 4763084 — but I would also like to ask that we not further derail comments by talking about the morality or desirability of sex parties, which has nothing to do with the crime which occurred.

4763087

"Y'all are doing some crazy stupid shit. Goodbye."

...yeah, this is what I mean. Sex parties are not stupid if well-run and safe, sane, consensual. They are not to blame for sexual assault, and were in no way a factor in this discussion that the OP put forward. That's pretty much all I'm trying to say.

4763090
My apologies. I have no desire to derail this discussion. Consider the matter closed. I appreciate you saying so.

Alsvid #16 · Dec 31st, 2017 · · 33 ·

4763091

Yeah, well, as a black person I know better than to get in crowds of strange people in secluded places and get drunk or high.

That's how I made it to age 27. I'm probably not going to be going to any backroom pony con things for similar reasons, because I like having my organs inside my body, thank you very much.

I'm just saying; this shit y'all are doing sounds unsafe and it's probably gonna backfire one of these days, more so than this time. Just a little helpful advice. Sorry if I ruffled some feathers.

Peace out, y'all, I'm done offering my friendly advice.

Alsvid #17 · Dec 31st, 2017 · · 27 ·

4763090

The party I described in my post had no sex at all (just alcohol and talking). Was there something I said which made you think it did?

That's usually how people get they bone on. Conversation and Hennessey.

Three to the one from the one to the three
I met a bad bitch last night in the D
Let me tell you how I made her leave with me
Conversation and Hennessey

Y'all might want to listen to Nate Dogg some time.

4763094

I really don't think that organ harvesting is going on at MLP cons. Or even, really, in major American hotels in the USA. It's not an easy crime with which to get away, as it incorporates kidnapping and murder for profit, either of which attracts swift attention from the authorites.

Though it has been on the rise abroad, hasn't it? Larry Niven was sadly right to postulate "organlegging" in his SF stories from the 1960's.

I do remember I saw police cars outside the convention center, or possibly a building across the street, with their lights on at one point, and I may have seen one or more police officers inside the convention center; my memory's uncertain on that, as I wasn't paying much attention at the time. Previously I'd hoped they had nothing to do with the convention, but now I'm hoping they were taking care of this. Dear. Thank you for making this blog post.

4763077

Oh, the severe poisoning would be accidental. The wannabe rapist would just be aiming to get his victim sufficiently wasted that she couldn't fight back.

This doesn't mean he might not accidentally cripple or kill someone. Or would care about it after the fact, save from the point of view of "Crap. I could get in real trouble if I'm caught, now."

Alsvid #21 · Dec 31st, 2017 · · 29 ·

4763098

Bruh, if date rape is going on, who knows what kind of wacky shit goes on?

I'd be careful if I were you. I would cry if I read about you writing a post from a hospital bed detailing how you woke up in a con room in a bathtub full of ice, missing one of your kidneys.

This whole thread just made me decide that Scoots's decision to stop going to bronycons was a good one and I should follow her example.

4763099
The room party in question took place at one of the offsite hotels a few blocks away, so chances are low that the police visit was related. However, if you saw them on Saturday or later, I suppose it's possible that they were visiting con-ops to take a police report on the matter. I'd imagine it was much more likely they were dealing with some property theft, or an altercation between attendees, or assisting in ejecting an attendee who violated con rules and had their badge revoked; those things are fairly rare at cons but certainly less rare than serious crimes like this.

Bluh. That is a really terrible situation. I'm glad it was handled well, at least at the party itself. No clue if it was handled well afterward by con staff and/or other authorities. I have heard about similar things at other big cons, but somewhat naively had hoped it wasn't as bad at pony cons.

Even though I have no experience with witnessing this sort of thing myself, I can understand why one might not want to speak up. So, thank you for talking about it.

4763106
I don't remember what day it was; I doubt they'd have had the lights on just for coming to take a report, though, so it probably wasn't this, unfortunately.
Really hope something happens, or happened, on this. The best case scenario I can think of is that someone never intended rape but thought it would be fun to drug and scare some people; and that's a pretty terrible best case.

4763102
If you feel unsafe attending the con, then that's certainly a legitimate reason not to go.

But nobody's going to get date-raped while listening to Lauren Faust talk about Applejack's hat. Alcohol isn't even allowed in the Baltimore Convention Center, meaning nobody is spiking your Hennessey at the convention itself. If you don't want to attend offsite parties, due to their unsupervised nature and/or the hookups which occur, then just go back to your hotel room once convention panels wind down, and lock the door till morning.

Harrassed in convention space? It happens, unfortunately. But that's where Codes of Conduct and community response come into play to make it a safer space.

4763102

Well, it's not that I think that date rape is a minor crime. It's aggravated assault and battery (with poison) and it's rape, and both of these are felonies. And it's also reckless endangerment, depraved indifference and can very easily turn into manslaughter if a sociopath miscalculates dosages (under situations where he would lack vital data even if he weren't an evil rapist).

It's just that organ theft is a much more complex crime, and a more serious one. Organ theft requires a seriously crazy and evil person with surgical skills and someone willing and able to buy the organs. It's inherently about maiming, generally kidnapping, and often murder. It's the kind of thing that in any First World countries would lead to whole teams of police detectives being put on one's trail.

Is Scoots just not going to Bronycon, or to no cons at all? And what about you?

One shouldn't let the knowledge that there are criminals abroad keep one from enjoying the world. I could live my life doing nothing but working and going to the grocery and laundry and going back home, but that would be a dreary sort of life, wouldn't it?

As for me, I'm going to BABSCon 2018 (Burlingame CA), as is one of my best friends in all the world, and I hope that others I know will as well.

Things like this is why I don't trust people very much any more, and I have been accused of raping someone before when I was 17, it didn't go to the police thank the gods, and I wasn't even in town at the date this happened. Short story I know but I have occasional back problems from this and a good part of why I don't trust people. I'm glad nothing seriously bad happen to them other than a migraine, and pray that it doesn't change how they look at the fandom as a whole. May they have the luck of the gods that nothing happens again, and if it does that the person/persons responsible get caught. God speed my friend.

4763117

She swore off Bronycons. Unsure about other cons.

To be honest, I have had negative impressions of bronycons from what she told me happened to her at them from the beginning.

I may still go to a Bronycon, but knowing what I know NOW, I am probably going to take a crew of my most loyal friends with me.

I was really looking forward to showing up in character as Queen Elsa, but not so much now.

Also, I admit I was curious to examine one of these legendary bacchanalian Brony sex parties in the flesh, but now...ennnnh.

I could live my life doing nothing but working and going to the grocery and laundry and going back home, but that would be a dreary sort of life, wouldn't it?

For all intents and purposes that is my life right now. :rainbowlaugh:

I was shocked when hearing about this from you the following night. I'm glad you're able to speak up about it now. Even just hearing about it second-hand, I wasn't sure how to talk about it with anyone, out of fear of turning it into careless gossip. That haunted me too a little all these months.

Shocked, but maybe not surprised. At the first con I ever went to, 10 years ago, my friend narrowly avoided a possible rape situation, and it was really stressful on her. Without going into details, we were strongly certain the creep was not involved with the fandom at all, just coincidentally staying at the same hotel and visited the con out of boredom. I guess that was a mixed blessing, since the stranger had no influence, there was no pressure to stay silent.

That weekend made a lasting impression. Simultaneously showing me that cons are amazing but also that dangerous things like this can happen very easily. Even if (for some reason) you trust the Brony fandom 100%, remember that anyone in the area can walk in and buy a badge.

Thank you for bringing this up, Horizon.

I'm angry and disappointed that this happened, and at Bronycon of all places. But I'm not surprised, and that's making me sad. This kind of shit is unfortunately endemic to the world we live in, and it's why the NotAllMen thing rings so hollow: it never has been all men, but that doesn't matter; just one rapist or abusive asshole or stalker or harasser is enough to ruin things for a lot of women.

At least in this case, nobody was harmed beyond the initial drugging. It's not much of a comfort, but it's still a good thing.

It is sad

it is sad that fandom that is supposed to be family friendly can have this kind of the issue

sure - we are all different and we have different tastes (some people may not mind R34 or gore - like FoE), but still - this is supposed to be family friendly group and in most part it is , including cons that always had been great deal of fun for me.

Sadly rotten apples can be find everywhere and opportunists as well

thanks for pointing this out
and to all others - keep your eyes open, but don't let some individual to ruin your love for the group as a whole

Good God. I'm glad you said something. Months after the fact or not, this needs to be confronted. I'll boost this later today; don't want it to get overshadowed by a card blog.

As someone who has been targeted by a serial pedophile, and has had to help a lot of victims, I say this:

A lot of predators have immense faith in social fear and awkwardness.

You see weird shit? Immediately call it out. Someone's excuse seems plausible but you don't quite buy it, it doesn't feel right in your gut? Tell someone. Be brave.

Weird shit can be as simple as seeing someone touch a drink that isn't theirs, to consistently making unwanted physical contact. But you gotta confront it when you see it happen.

A lot of this escalates because predators know people will be too scared or confused or feel like it's not their place to do something. And that unless they're caught red handed, they can talk their way out of it.

This also doesn't mean be angry or jump to conclusions immediately. But it does mean that if something makes you uncomfortable, or confused, odds are very high that's your subconscious screaming at you for reasons your conscious mind doesn't quite get yet. Be brave, swallow that down, and do your due diligence.

Just because it's simple, though, doesn't mean it's easy.

This is horrible. This is legitimately fucking scary. God.

Thanks for sharing it -- hard as it might've been, this kind of thing has to be known if we want to make it harder on the perpetrator to do it again. I'm glad to hear the affected people were safe, and here's to that person being caught at some point.

I'll boost this wherever I can. Stay safe whenever you go to a con, people.

My girlfriend got drugged at Pacific Ponycon this past January. In our case, we know the culprit - he was stupid enough to tell her his name and his room number. We managed to track his mother down on Facebook, and the jerk tried to avoid us when we ran into him at BABScon a few months later.

I do not know if this same male is responsible for these druggings, nor do I have any info on what happened at Bronycon. I am posting to point out that the situation at Bronycon is not an isolated incident.

Boosted. Even with meager numbers, this is of capital importance. Even more so considering all the people attending parties tonight.

Will signal boost, in so far as I am able. This needs to be common knowledge.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

This is not okay.

Just one more reason not to congregate with people. :/

Oh honey.

*sigh* There's no good thing I can say here. I really want to consider everyone (regardless of gender) as complete and absolute equals. I'm very nonviolent in almost all conditions. I hate the idea of white-knighting. Also, I'm 6'2", yet haven't punched anyone in anger since the 90s (and never anyone that didn't hit me first.) But this kind of bullshit IS unequal (gender-biased), and is frankly one of the few things that brings out any sort of macho, caveman, protective instincts in me. I hear about this and want to just flatten whoever is responsible (had I been there.)

I'm reminded of a song.

Oddly enough, I was in a conversation with a woman earlier tonight who talked about how she'd been sexually harassed as a teacher at a catholic school, and when she'd reported it, it'd all been covered up and she'd basically been bullied into not going public with it. Now I read here that the same bullshit is happening in my beloved fandom? Fuck... I really wish some problems COULD be solved with violence. Because I'm so certain the creeps are in the minority here, and all of us vs them would be the easiest fight ever... if we could just stoop to their level.

But we don't and we won't. I won't get the satisfaction of punching some deserving asshole in the face because we are all better than that. Instead we'll band together and protect one another. We'll watch over drinks, and tag-team the bathrooms. We'll walk each other home, and text each other in the morning. We'll figure it out, and we'll do our best to make the world a fair and safe place, without resorting to violence...

Unless some asshole is just really, really asking for it. :rainbowdetermined2:

circs #41 · Dec 31st, 2017 · · 17 ·

4763073
Um. Do you know the statistics for sexual assault on women? 50% of the population has a *lot* of experience with this, even if it’s ‘only’ being propositioned as a pre-teen. Or those little ‘pranks’ high school boys like to play (ever snapped a bra strap in HS, or seen it done? Or worse? Would you do that at work? Why not? Think about it hard and what those girls went through went they were told that you just liked them). Cat called? Called a woman a bitch or c*nt online when you didn’t agree with them? Do you have this niggling feeling a woman friend should at least kiss you if you go to a bar and spot her a drink? Why? If your friend says, ‘Let’s go the the bar’, and you find out he’s gay, and he bought the round, do you owe him a kiss? Same thing, isn’t it? If not, please, I beg you, explain!q

Horizon, thank you for your courage, your courtesy, and your care for your friends. Thank you for acting immediately in the moment, and for acting now. Thank you for seeing the difficulties we face, going public with sexual assault, attempted or accomplished. I wouldn’t be afraid to have you in my room at a gathering. :hugs:

Speaking as a close friend of the hostess, she is extremely grateful for your speaking up and thankfully this has not turned her off attending cons or the brony fandom.

Thank you for speaking up, and don't fault yourself for the time it took. It's a difficult subject and one I walked away from when the con finished because it bothered me too much to speak.

All that matters is that something is said. Not that it took you months or even years, only that you did. That and that alone can and will make a difference. If not to the victims, yourself but someone who reads this. Where they will hopefully take it to heart and if they see this they will do something. Or give courage to those that have experienced this to speak up.

One of the problems with speaking up about ones experience of rape or sexual harassment is not being believed. Being victimized for ruining their assailants life. Being shamed, shunned and being seen as a slut who asked for it. The mentality of our culture and the male mindset is one of a society that accept's and condone's a culture of rape. The more that we speak out against this the more we can change that.

My wife has some horror stories. She will talk about it. However she has never pursued legal action against those that have raped her. It's easier to live with the act then to have to go through the system in an attempt at justice. And this is something I have heard time and time again from many female friends who have been raped.

this is absolutely terrifying considering i showed up at my first con when i was fucking sixteen

there's also young children at bronycon who just want to see ponies and cute, wonderful things and a potential rapist almost hurt three different people in a place i remember feeling safe in

it's also horrible because if you stumble into the right corners of the site and have the misfortune of finding the 'right' folks, some people in this fandom don't understand what consent even is wtf

this is not, and it will never be okay

fuck whoever did this

i'm optimist but i'm also a realist i doubt it won't happen again but i really hope it doesn't this is a serious crime i hope the person get what's coming to them

Just reading this makes me feel terrible. Cant imagine how it was for the women affected. Considering all it could have been several people (maybe a group of them plotting it together, as unlikely as it might seem).

I do hope the con at least reported it to the police if the host of the party didnt. No idea what Bronycons policy regarding such things is (as it seems it was a private party rather then "related" to them) but i do hope it got reported.

While its a complex matter regardless, especially for the victims, but the authorities should be contacted in such cases. THEY ARE THE ONES PROPERLY ABLE TO INVESTIGATE such stuff. No twitter/whatever mob can and can generally tend to mess things up rather then aid.

Sweet Christ... I commend you for speaking up about this. I have no words to say that I understand what you’re going through but you have my deepest sympathies.

4763227
Thank you for passing that message along.

Please drop me a message if there's more detail she (or any of the other victims) want to add anonymously. I'm more than willing to pass it along as a witness and keep her name out of the spotlight.

I can't believe this. I don't mean that literally, of course. I believe that this happened, but I'm upset that this could happen. That someone who theoretically enjoyed our little pony show about good social behavior could do this, or that cons are so vulnerable to infiltration... well, not the con itself, but someone somewhere in the process of bringing people to a room party trusted someone too much. Really I guess I'm upset that people have to be so vigilant. That they can't just enjoy themselves in what should be their time.

:ajsleepy:

I also find it hard to believe that there's any way to victim blame here. There is no possible rationalization for literally poisoning someone else. No "she was asking for it", no ambiguity regarding consent. Drugging cannot be anything but an attempt to deprive someone of their ability to consent.

I'm glad that this hasn't pushed anyone away from attending more cons, but it's a bit disheartening nonetheless. I look forward to hearing what went well.

Lol the weirdest stuff happens at cons. :derpytongue2:

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