kinda long but MAJOR CONCERN please read and pass on.

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AnnaMaul93
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kinda long but MAJOR CONCERN please read and pass on.

Post by AnnaMaul93 » Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:40 pm

Last year I hopped on to this growing community full of wonderful people and amazing experiences via the regional gatherings in TX. Almost everyone I have met has been great at contributing and getting involved to make the events (and everyday life) enjoyable. However, there are still a few people at every event that can take the fun right out. As a community we can handle these people in a swift and effective way, but only if people speak out.
This last weekend at Orfunner (our regional BM) our community encountered a sexulal predator. He agressivly tried to hit on every woman (and teenage girl) at the event, mastrubated in public, and eventually raped one lady before I lead a posse of five to evict him. There are MANY things that might have prevented him from being there, and some things we can do to prevent this from ever happening again.

1. There was no/little rangering. Albeit important, I don't think rangering alone would have prevented this from happening.

2. Greeters. They thought he seemed a bit odd, but did not check to see if he had camping gear (which he did not). He had no idea of our Survival Guide, no aquaintences, could not recall how he heard of the event.

3. COMMUNICATION (most important) within the group. He made A LOT of people feel uncomfortable, but each person thought it was "just them". He immediatly came on to women and made a few boyfriends/husbands upset, but no one said a thing.

4. Weirdness. We are all freaky in one way or another, but a few people in this life are genuinely creepy. Creepy weird and freaky weird are different. I'm sure most people would agree. It is a fallicy to believe we MUST accept everyone. No matter how nice you might believe you are, you should never have to compromise your person to accept someone else. That's why you're you.

5. Recognition. Some people recognized him from another event where he was acting creepy/inappropriatly and hitting on the young or drunk women. That would have been a good ejection point.

I'm just one little pink-haired gal, but it wasn't difficult dealing with this situation. I talked to him Sunday morning and explained how his behavior was not appropriate, told him exactly what he did that needed to stop and told him he would have to leave if it happened again. (I only knew about his flirtings at this point). He played it dumb and apologized and was off to enjoy the day. Shortly after, the woman he attacked the night before came up to me and told me what had happened to her. My heart and chin dropped at the thought that this would've gone unknown if she were not a close friend of mine concerned at the sight of us talking. We threw him out (she did not want to press charges at this time). Then I gave the much needed talk to every campsite I could find. Now you get the speech.

"If you are made to feel uncomfortable by another person. You should tell them to back off. Simply wishing for them to leave you alone does not work. You must tell them. Once they are informed, tell your friends. That is what they are there for. Say"That guy/gal is making me feel creeped out." and they will usually keep an eye out for you. Most likely they are creeped out by him/her too. We are a tight community filled with loving people and are supposed to be supportive in these situations so we can get back to being relaxed and having a good time. If every one (or even just most people) is creeped out by a single person, that person should not be around. If someone speaks up early enough about these things, serious situations, like someone that is a treasured friend getting sexually assaulted, will probably not happen. We, as a community, can prevent most tragedies when we work together. Every single person I talked to said this guy was a problem but they thought it was an isolated event. Next time, speak up and out, tell a friend, tell a ranger, tell a ranger for a friend if you think the friend is too freaked out. If there is no ranger, and only if, make yourself a ranger if you so feel inclined at that moment, but only if you are sober and can do so in a calm non-violent way. Sorry about bringing you down with this, but you need to be aware. Thanks for the oreo/glow stick/beer/water/etc. I hope you can enjoy the rest of the time here knowing that he is gone."

I hope this can be openly discussed so that it never happens again.
Remember that it doesn't matter whom it happened to, it matters that it happened.
It happened to our community. We are the ones who can change so that, in the future, it will not be repeated. In the mean time, I will continue to build and burn art, party like April's fool and dance until sunrise as needed.

Thank you, sorry to bring you down - Lenell

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Post by angrykittie25 » Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:40 pm

First of all I would like to say that it is very sad and horrifying what happened to your friend. I am would also like to say how much I admire you for taking hold of the situation once something terribly violent happened to your friend.

But my thoughts on your post:
1. There was no/little rangering. Albeit important, I don't think rangering alone would have prevented this from happening.
Whether ranger were there or not, they cannot take care of a problem if no one tells them of a problem. #4 implies that no one would have thought to tell a ranger if there were any/more there anyway.
2. Greeters. They thought he seemed a bit odd, but did not check to see if he had camping gear (which he did not). He had no idea of our Survival Guide, no aquaintences, could not recall how he heard of the event.
Is it really the greeters job to assess what people bring and if it is effecient to camp? What if someone showed up with no gear, because someone else brought it for them and it was already waiting for them? I thought greeters were there to greet people, tell them any info on where to camp and such and make sure they are not bringing prohibited items to the event. Maybe I am wrong?
3. COMMUNICATION (most important) within the group. He made A LOT of people feel uncomfortable, but each person thought it was "just them". He immediatly came on to women and made a few boyfriends/husbands upset, but no one said a thing.
THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HAVE STOPPED THE PREDITOR BEFORE THINGS GOT OUT OF HAND. If no one talks to eachother a problem cannot be identified. Even if there were cops there, they would not have arrested anyone for being creepy weird unless there was a complaint, or they themselves witnessed a crime. So what do you expect rangers to do if no one says anything to them.

#4 I agree with you here. There is no reason to accept everyone. There are creeps and monsters disguised as humans out there, but the problem is what criteria will you use to pick and chose who is allowed to your event. Many times, it is difficult to pick out a sicko from a crowd until he starts acting inappropriate.

#5 I agree again, if there were people who were positive that they were doing the same inappropriate behavior at other events, I would have asked him to leave or found a way to make him leave. Question: If people recognized him from another event and knew his creepy behavior, why wasn't he evicted or asked to leave then? Or was this discovered after the fact?

I think your "speech" holds the key to solving the whole situation. People need to take charge of a bad situation, tell someone what you are thinking, if your freaked out by someone, tell everyone to keep an eye out for that person.

Sometimes horrible things happen, and it is very sad when it does, but pointing at the rangers or lack there of, even if you say it probably wouldn't have helped prevent the situation,it doesn't help matters to point fingers especially at a group of people who wouldn't have been able to prevent the problem without someone telling them. They are there to help the people, but only if people communicate with them, IMO there presence or lack there of has nothing to do with this situation since communication would have solved it either way. Hind sight is twenty twenty.

AnnaMaul93
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not pointing fingers...

Post by AnnaMaul93 » Mon Sep 06, 2004 9:22 pm

It is not my intention to point fingers here or say it was one specfic weak link. I'm just noting there are times when one (anyone) has a chance to be more aware of what is going on. A gentle reminder that there are creeps out there and there are easy ways to get rid of them. There is a note in our Survival Guide about personal space, etc. If an individual is disrespectful, they need to be put in check. None of what I wrote is intended to be taken out of context as a single slap at any facet of community. The list is not in any sort of order and not meant to place blame, just awareness.
Please take time to reread the post. I did mention that he had no gear, also no aquaintences at the event (to have gear for him), no knowledge of our "rules", etc. If you met him you might understand. He really did stand out.

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theCryptofishist
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Re: kinda long but MAJOR CONCERN please read and pass on.

Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 07, 2004 10:39 am

AnnaMaul93 wrote: 3. COMMUNICATION (most important) within the group. He made A LOT of people feel uncomfortable, but each person thought it was "just them". He immediatly came on to women and made a few boyfriends/husbands upset, but no one said a thing.
Read an interesting book a few years back called The Gift of Fear (Gavin Somebody). He talked about how sometimes when you are in a dangerous situation you get a gut instinct and when you get that gut instinct--you should listen. Now, I'm a normal 21st century american, as concerned about inclusion and predudice as I should be, but when someone seems off, I go to my husband, or whoever and ask "Is it just me, or is something wrong with X?" That gets it on the table without making it into an accusation. And I'm amazed by how often my picking up of vibes is consistent with others. Another benefit, I don't have that "crazy making" feeling of not knowing. Note--For many years, I thought I didn't have good instincts at all. Now, I don't trust them absolutely, but I do note whats going on and try and check--a much better system than trying to second guess instinct without enough information.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:01 am

After thinking about it for a few minutes, there's something I'd like to add; I hope it's not too forward of me.

I hope the community rallies around this woman and gives her the support that she needs over the next months. I hope that she has people to call at two in the morning if she can't sleep. I hope that someone will drive her to depositions and that she will have a cheering section in court. I hope that other people will testify to their disturbing encounters with this creep. If she needs a good lawyer, I hope you help her find one. If she needs money for legal expences, I hope you help her raise it. I hope this makes your community tighter and closer. I most of all hope that she doesn't end up isolated from the community, bearing the pain and shame by herself. And that she loses no honor from her community. Take care of yourselves--and take care of her.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:06 am

After thinking about it for a few minutes, there's something I'd like to add; I hope it's not too forward of me.

I hope the community rallies around this woman and gives her the support that she needs over the next months. I hope that she has people to call at two in the morning if she can't sleep. I hope that someone will drive her to depositions and that she will have a cheering section in court. I hope that other people will testify to their disturbing encounters with this creep. If she needs a good lawyer, I hope you help her find one. If she needs money for legal expences, I hope you help her raise it. I hope this makes your community tighter and closer. I most of all hope that she doesn't end up isolated from the community, bearing the pain and shame by herself. And that she loses no honor from her community. Take care of yourselves--and take care of her.

Whoops--missed the part where she doesn't want to press charges. I wish she would--better for everyone. Else that is. Maybe better for her too. But either way, she deserves whole-hearted community support.

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Post by Hotspur » Wed Sep 08, 2004 1:09 am

I think it's a really good idea for every camp to have some sort of recognized leader -- it's not very politically correct, maybe, but it helps a lot in these sort of situations.

Somebody who everybody trusts to talk to if there's a problem. Especially in cases of sexual predators, the very open, communal style of decision making that many BM camps seem to practice is counter-productive -- it results in lots of whispering, rumors, and then often big whole-camp discussions where victims feel put on the spot in front of a lot of people and may downplay their feelings out of embarassment. (Or, conversely, they can turn into a witch-hunt in which a party who's innocently crossed a line --obviously not the case here -- can feel like he's being crucified for something he didn't know he did).

But if there's someone in your camp who everybody feels they can talk to privately and say, "I'm really uncomfortable about blah..." a lot of these problems can quietly be resolved. Not all of them, of course. But it helps.

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Post by olivia » Wed Sep 08, 2004 11:59 am

Hotspur wrote:I think it's a really good idea for every camp to have some sort of recognized leader -- it's not very politically correct, maybe, but it helps a lot in these sort of situations.
i think of this person as less the leader and more the bouncer. that one person who is willing to be the asshole for the rest of the group. that person has the hard talks with people who disturbs the peace and lays down the law whenever needed. groups fall apart and bad things happen in the absence of a bouncer.

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Rob the Wop
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Post by Rob the Wop » Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:22 pm

olivia wrote:
Hotspur wrote:I think it's a really good idea for every camp to have some sort of recognized leader -- it's not very politically correct, maybe, but it helps a lot in these sort of situations.
i think of this person as less the leader and more the bouncer. that one person who is willing to be the asshole for the rest of the group. that person has the hard talks with people who disturbs the peace and lays down the law whenever needed. groups fall apart and bad things happen in the absence of a bouncer.
Amen. Sometimes just the 'idea' of a bouncer is enough to prevent assholeness. When I did the PDX SantaCon last year, I made sure people knew that there was a 'Secret Santa Security Squad'. No names, but there was a small group of larger folks that had signed up to stop things if they went out of hand or when shit hit the fan. The previous year vandalism had the electric light rail stopped and the cops called on us. This year- no one attacked the public, blatantly vandalized anything, or fucked with store security. I think it was partly making sure the group exercised SOME self-restraint and (for those unable to do this) partly the idea of a group of large, disgruntled Santas kicking their ass to the curb to prevent the Wrath of Authority from permenantly disbanding the whole group due to one individual.

Or as my elder bro used to tell me, "Well, the only thing some people understand is a severe beating."
[b]The other, other white meat.[/b]

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anticdevices
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Post by anticdevices » Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:24 pm

olivia wrote:
Hotspur wrote:I think it's a really good idea for every camp to have some sort of recognized leader -- it's not very politically correct, maybe, but it helps a lot in these sort of situations.
i think of this person as less the leader and more the bouncer. that one person who is willing to be the asshole for the rest of the group. that person has the hard talks with people who disturbs the peace and lays down the law whenever needed. groups fall apart and bad things happen in the absence of a bouncer.
Bingo! I would like to second this suggestion. However, in my experience it's not 1 'bouncer' per camp but 1 'bouncer' per group, even if the group is only 2 people. If the camp goes in 5 different directions, you need 5 'bouncers'. One person needs to stay straight and be ready to speak firmly for the group. Physically 'bouncing' someone is very rarely necessary (not to mention undesireable). I say this not based on any experience at BM, but based on my experience on Bourbon street. As Yahoo-infested as the whole thing is, it is still quite possible to find yourself in some wonderful scenes/situations there even during Mardi Gras (much less during Halloween or Decadance). But having a bouncer available for the group seems to make all the difference between having fun in public and not. I suppose it's sad that someone's gotta watch the borders when the group is playing but if everyone can play more happily as a result it seems worth it.

my 2 cents
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society

Post by pippster » Wed Sep 08, 2004 3:43 pm

and so we see the evolution of a social order

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:35 am

I wish I could remember where I picked this up and since it was a side arguement in a different book it didn't go as far into this as I might have liked. But the idea that when a sociaty is small (hunter/gatherer/tribal) then everyone behaves because they are mutually dependent and control themselves. (This is putting aside for the purposes of discussion teh fact that there is inter-tribal warfare so blood thirsty that what we have now with Iraq looks vaguely civilized.) In larger groups conflicts are negociated by people who have family or friend connections with both parties. And in larger sociaties still it goes to the police in one form or another. This is simplified and probably distorted, but the basic lesson I took from it is that we can't sort of pretend to be good anarchists and hope for the best--we have to have some sort of *police* and sooner or later you get to Cicero--who polices the police?
In a city of 35,000 there are millions of potential connections between two people. That's pretty darn complicated--more than is possible for one person to keep in *his* head.
I would like to disagree that the idea of "leader" is synomonous with "tyrant." I think that there are different types of leaders and different manners of wielding power. Especially in a small group, the leader can be more of a "focuser" keeping agendas and behavior on track. And having someone around who's recognized as having responsibility might mean that they take it seriously and don't pass the buck.

Just a few thoughts.

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Police involvement

Post by eapvar » Wed Sep 15, 2004 2:52 pm

I'm not sure how to say this, but you knew this guy raped someone at your event and all you did was kick him out? Rape is still a felony, right? I don't know anything about where this event was, but is it out of cell phone range? 911? The five of you escorted him out? Couldn't the five of you hold him until the police arrived?

It sure sounds like he was a creep and didn't deserve to be among you, but if you knew he was a rapist and you didn't get law enforcement involved then you have a good amount of guilt to bear. I read how this victim didn't "want to press charges" but it isn't her call about that. It is her right not to testify against him, but if he assaulted someone, the police are the ones who "press charges".

Furthermore, he masturbated in public? I'm sure you can "press charges" for that. I find it unlikely Texas wouldn't have a law against that.

That you didn't get law enforcement involved in what your post says is a horrible issue makes me wonder about this whole incident.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Sep 15, 2004 3:15 pm

Yes, rape is a felony. I too expressed a wish that he had been prosecuted. Unfortunately, the police don't have a case if the victim is unwilling to testify. Please, don't be so hard edged about it. Look what happend to the Kobe Bryant accuser. The days of the Second Victimization by trial of the rapist are not over, unfortunately.

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soft/hard

Post by eapvar » Wed Sep 15, 2004 4:16 pm

Yes, I do realize nothing could make the trauma of sexual assault worse than being wrung through the criminal justice system. However, if she was raped as the original post stated, this burner "community" is a poor excuse for one.

As I think is common knowledge, victims of sexual or any other type of assault are often too grief stricken or shocked by the event to be able to think clearly in the immediate aftermath.

That is why I don't understand why the people she told this story to didn't immediately run to the house by the gate to the entrance to Rec. Plantation and call the police. (I looked up the Web site since my first post.) Rather than castigating the victim I hope that I expressed my horror at those who did nothing to help her. Where was her "community"? Wouldn't they want to make sure this guy is brought to justice? Shouldn't a decent community want to make sure this guy never rapes anyone again?

How did they know she was in the right state to make such a monumental decision that I'm sure will haunt her for the rest of her life. Will she be able to face herself later when she realizes this man will probably victimize another woman? 5 people made a decision to do nothing more than to kick this guy out of their party.

Also, this incident has nothing in common with the Kobe Bryant case. This creep isn't a millionaire, she didn't go to his tent, she reported it immediately, Kobe Bryant wasn't harrassing several women all night long, etc.

Let me finally add sarcastically, instead of being hard edged, should I take a soft edge towards rape?

eapvar
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soft/hard

Post by eapvar » Wed Sep 15, 2004 4:19 pm

Yes, I do realize nothing could make the trauma of sexual assault worse than being wrung through the criminal justice system. However, if she was raped as the original post stated, this burner "community" is a poor excuse for one.

As I think is common knowledge, victims of sexual or any other type of assault are often too grief stricken or shocked by the event to be able to think clearly in the immediate aftermath.

That is why I don't understand why the people she told this story to didn't immediately run to the house by the gate to the entrance to Rec. Plantation and call the police. (I looked up the Web site since my first post.) Rather than castigating the victim I hope that I expressed my horror at those who did nothing to help her. Where was her "community"? Wouldn't they want to make sure this guy is brought to justice? Shouldn't a decent community want to make sure this guy never rapes anyone again?

How did they know she was in the right state to make such a monumental decision that I'm sure will haunt her for the rest of her life. Will she be able to face herself later when she realizes this man will probably victimize another woman? 5 people made a decision to do nothing more than to kick this guy out of their party.

Also, this incident has nothing in common with the Kobe Bryant case. This creep isn't a millionaire, she didn't go to his tent, she reported it immediately, Kobe Bryant wasn't harrassing several women all night long, etc.

Let me finally add sarcastically, instead of being hard edged, should I take a soft edge towards rape?

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Re: kinda long but MAJOR CONCERN please read and pass on.

Post by MoisturePup » Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:29 pm

AnnaMaul

Some burners have decided to form a group to make contacts on the play regarding sexual assault. We are tribe.net just do a search for BRC Sexual Assult Prevention and request to join the tribe. This is still in the formation phase and could benefit from your experiences and knowledge.

Link: http://brcsap.tribe.net/

Cheers,
Rob

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