Caught some nasty germs from being at BlackHat and DefCon.
More importantly – More than a few fellow attendees reported on Twitter that they were sexually harassed. I ask myself, WHY is this still a fucking issue? I don’t have answers, there is behavior here that is not likely to change.
Las Vegas is full of knucklehead predators that I will never understand. I was in the airport there one time a while back and saw a guy and his minions leaving their plane and leader dude screamed or woo-hooed loudly into the face of a security guard. IN THE AIRPORT. A police officer might have arrested dude, but hey, it’s Vegas and I can do whatever I want. Yeah, tired of that mentality.
When a cab driver is leering at, and making sexually harassing comments, to a fare, that shit should be reported and action taken. When a bar patron is leering at, and sexually harassing, another patron, and that person does not welcome that attention – We can rely on security or bouncers to try to deescalate but I doubt the recipient of the unwanted attention will even say anything in the first place.
When the perpetrators of the harassment, sexual or otherwise, are part of the hacker/infosec communities, we can’t allow this behavior to stand. Do we somehow believe this behavior is only exhibited in Vegas during conventions? I would be willing to bet that the same behavior is exhibited at work, online, etc. This is a huge problem in itself.
Interesting thread on Twitter about this – And people that fight online scourges like revenge porn are the ones asking on this thread, HOW are we going to help here? Deescalation training is amazing, I have read through some of the resources that are freely available, and I have taken away some good info. I agree wholeheartedly that self defense training, especially in practical arts like Krav Maga, builds confidence, and that confidence alone can be enough to make the harasser hear ‘NO’. I also know that violence is not going to be the answer. Should not be.
There are times, of course, when you are not going to have your wing-person close at hand – times like going to the airport to catch your plane and the cab driver is being more than creepy.
And of course, I have to write this: I am a large, middle-aged white guy. I have literally no idea of the types of harassment that others have been subjected to. I can’t. As I age, I am not nearly as intimidating as I once was, but for the most part, I am left alone. I acknowledge that I am coming at this from a place of zero experience. I do have a family, including my life partner (she/her), a daughter and a granddaughter. We all have vested interest in holding the harassers accountable. But once again, I don’t pretend to have answers.
I started thinking a lot about this, and I decided that I needed to get some things in print.
I would ask any person that is being harassed to NOT do anything that will place you in any physical danger. I know some folks will ignore the offending party until he (cuz it’s almost always a he) goes away. If this works, I would be surprised. Some of the dudes I have seen, being ignored by their target, get really agitated and physical.
It’s stupid and terrible that the person being harassed has to leave and seek help. It is sickening.
And I feel like even writing any of this is like victim-blaming. Again, sickening.