Group silence can be very noisy. A useful tactic in a mass cover-up of unpleasantness is for the participants to become as loud as possible…about something else.
Ed Kramer’s molestation news was generating all sorts of media attention in 2013, but when John Scalzi, president of the SFWA, launched his personal Convention Policy and refused to be the Guest of Honor at any convention that lacked such a policy, there was something conspicuously missing from his demand.
“So, I’ve decided something. I am often asked to be a Guest of Honor or a participant at conventions, which is nice. I also have a number of friends and fans who go to conventions, which is nice too. When my friends and fans go to conventions, I would like them not to have to worry, if they are skeeved on by some creep at the convention, that the convention will take the problem seriously. I would also like them to be able to know how to report the problem, should such a situation occur.” – John Scalzi
He linked to numerous examples of policies from various conventions that he thought were acceptable, and not one of these policies attempts to prevent, or even mention, the problem of pedophilia at conventions. Thus, things like Ed Kramer’s known, eyewitnessed, documented behavior, of having children in his hotel room during the convention he founded (Dragon*Con), is never addressed in the numerous policies.
These policies provide no vague umbrella that could even conceivably address child rape, but instead itemize:
“offensive verbal comments about gender, sexuality, impairment, physical appearance, body size, race or religion
showing sexual images in public spaces.
Discussion or images related to sex, pornography, discriminatory language or similar is welcome if it meets all of the following criteria: (a) organisers have specifically granted permission in writing; (b) it is necessary to the topic of discussion and no alternative exists; (c) it is presented in a respectful manner, especially towards women and LGBTQIA people; and (d) attendees are warned in advance in the programme and respectfully given ample warning and opportunity to leave beforehand. This exception does not allow use of gratuitous sexual images as attention-getting devices or unnecessary examples.”
Furthermore, the most detailed policy that Scalzi found acceptable prohibited:
And even addressed problems non-white attendees of geek events face, including
Despite such attention to detail and its careful address of numerous potential offenses and crimes against a person, not one of the policies Scalzi cited as acceptable had a single prohibition against pedophilic acts, including acts of enticement.
For simplicity, review the brief outline of the shorter policy that Scalzi references, from Wiscon: “Harassment is generally any behavior that annoys, alarms, or threatens another person or group. This includes unwanted physical contact, following someone around a public area without their consent, or threatening to physically attack someone. If you approach someone and they tell you “no” or to leave them alone, you must do so and have no further contact. If you fail to honor their response, they may have a legitimate complaint of harassment.”
All of this noise, to prevent annoyance, alarm, the feeling of threat and unwanted or uninvited contact. Not one word to prevent child molesters from “accepting” the invitation of a child. To the contrary, from the point of view of a practicing pedophile, the various “safe space” policies cited by Scalzi both endorse and enable adult-child relationships. Now, that may seem like a strong statement from silence, but it really isn’t, if you can, for a moment, think like a predator.
Samuel R. Delany’s case in favor of pedophilic relationships was laid out in a long interview with Will Shetterly and is as follows:
“Many, many children—and I was one of them—are desperate to establish some sort of sexual relation with an older and even adult figure.”
“I think we have to be willing to ask people did it hurt or did it feel good, and start from there—and not penalizing people for going after what feels good, even if it makes others hurt, at least in the investigative phase.”
“Here is a quickly thought out example and by no means complete:
• PAIN or PLEASURE
• LENGTH OF TIME BETWEEN THE ACTS ENTAILED AND THE PRESUMED VICTIMS ASSESSMENT THAT HARM WAS DONE
• FEAR AND COERCION
• THREATS OF LATER HARM
And all of these should be weighted differently at different ages.”
Read that again. Delany’s allowable pedophilic acts are explicitly in harmony with the Scalzi Safe Space policy – no fear, no coercion, no threats…consensual, pleasurable contact only.
In other words, a pedophile with the Delany mindset is given carte blanche under the Scalzi-endorsed code to attract children “desperate to establish some sort of sexual relation with an…adult figure” for invited sexual and physical attention.
“Why? Because I want my friends and fans to be able to come to a convention and feel assured that the convention is making the effort to be a safe place for them.” – John Scalzi
Scalzi’s desire for his friends’ and fans’ safe place becomes a nightmare if just one of those friends or fans happens to be a molester like fellow SFWA member Ed Kramer, who attracted children to his hotel room at the conventions he ran.
You value what you protect, and Scalzi’s “Safe Space” policy affords protection to the pedophiles in SF, both known and unknown, and their accomplices.
Scalzi clearly can’t take responsibility for the private actions of all of his associates. After all, following his own public scandal following his infamous “I am a rapist” essay, Scalzi himself turned to radio personality Jian Ghomeshi of the CBC to set the record straight. Ghomeshi was later arrested and charged with seven counts of sexual assault, and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, against a total of six women, and now faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison. It is doubtful that Scalzi would have enlisted Ghomeshi’s public relations assistance had he known that he might turn out to be an alleged predator.
However, that’s the point. With all the disturbing details of the Kramer case, and a fandom that organized detailed, pseudostatistical reports and shunnings whenever one of their own committed the fannish crime of writing cruel things about books and calling one another names, the creation of “safe spaces” that nonetheless omitted any overt or implied prohibition to potential child predators, is at best, a lazy mockery.
No. Not lazy. Negligent.