This week in the world of science communications wore me out. I have cried, and I have cursed.
Now I grieve. Oh, not for the reasons some have suggested. I can no longer consider someone with the persistent, predatory behavior documented so far to be "a nice guy." I can no longer talk to him, let alone sit in the same room. Even without a personal violation, I feel afraid. I can no longer trust. I cannot imagine how those who were attacked (and make no mistake, these women were targeted with a barrage of language that constitutes an attack) continued to interact with such an ass, even peripherally.
No, I grieve because I have lost my safe place. I felt like Science Online and my network of communicators was completely safe. Any asses had been cut out of the heard already. After all, we had tons of women at the conference! These were the good men! Now I must always wonder, when I see a conversation dyad there, if both parties feel safe. Should I go close enough to intervene and allow escape, if necessary?
I also worry that I may make someone uncomfortable! I am a 4+ extrovert with no qualms about discussing duck penises or telling jokes. I have been known, in the course of a billiards game, to bend down over a pocket and let my cleavage distract a male opponent! OMG, I may be harassing people!
It's heartening to know that these issues will be discussed and addressed at the conference in 2014, but I still grieve for the necessity of this course of events. And I fear for those who have (and will) suffer these types of attacks, even if they do not occur within my community.
Finally, I hope. I hope we can move into the future safely for everyone but without destroying the spirit of what has been created.