There’s been a debate online for a couple of years now concerning harassment policies at various conferences.
If you’ve been paying attention at all, you know what I’m talking about here. For years, it seems, most conferences that were skeptic , humanist, or atheist did not have formal harassment policies.
Sure, all of these events had people that anyone could seek out if they believed in some way they were being harassed by another person, but how often did that actually happen? Unfortunately, there’s really not any statistics I am able to uncover.
These people that have claimed harassment in the past never seemed to have reported the incidents. If they did, then the organizers either never did anything about the alleged harassment or acted upon the incident, then quietly covered it up.
What good would either of those do the conference? None. Word of mouth can destroy some of these events. Remember when there was a concerted effort to let women know that TAM was unsafe?
But in the intervening years, many organizations have formalized harassment policies. Has it done any good? I mean, if these conference organizers had no reports before for instance, do they think that the reason they have no reports now is due to their new written policy?
Or have there been incidents of harassment at certain conferences? To my knowledge, there haven’t been any and we all know that it would be shouted from the rafters from a certain quarter if there was even the slightest hint.
So then, no incidents since policies were instituted. None that we know of anyway. Does this prove the policies are working or it never was the problem that it was made out to be in the first place?
Your guess is as good as mine.