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Divine Path

"Perfectly Immoral Moral Person" and "Student of Despair with Hope" I will not succumb to this hunger. Let these pages sate yours as well as mine. Also, I'd like longer eyelashesO_o

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Just a concerning bit about exercising caution when drinking in public · 8:03am Jan 1st, 2018


An excerpt;

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

What finally pushed me over the edge into actually writing this post wasa 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 aproblem.

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.


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 ofsumble, 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.

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.

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