What Happened After I Reported: Elise Matthesen, WisCon, and Harassment

Shauna Aura Knight:

This is an account of a mishandled sexual harassment complaint at a scifi convention. I think that this is a great model to look at for future Pagan events–and a cautionary tale about how to properly manage complaints of harassment. Many Pagan events don’t even have a way to handle complaints like this; next steps are getting policies in place, and the final step is actually properly dealing with them.

Originally posted on Whatever:

My friend Elise Matthesen last year filed a report at the WisCon science fiction and fantasy covention, because she believed that (then) Tor editor Jim Frenkel had sexually harassed her. Harassment policies are not only about what those policies say, but how those policies are administered and those reports handled. Here’s Elise telling you how WisCon, which identifies as the world’s leading feminist science fiction convention, handled her report. The short version: It did so very poorly.


Last year at WisCon 37, I told a Safety staffer that I had been treated by another attendee in a way that made me uncomfortable and that I believed to be sexual harassment.  One big reason I did was that I understood from another source that he had reportedly harassed at least one other person at a convention. I learned that she didn’t report him formally, for a lot of reasons that aren’t…

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Let’s talk about sex, part one

Shauna Aura Knight:

I’m reblogging this post from The Serpent’s Labyrinth. It’s an excellent overview of what sex positive is–and is not–and the particular way that the notion of being sex positive gets a little twisted/bent out of shape in the Pagan community.

Originally posted on The Serpent's Labyrinth:

So one of the things that seems to be bandied about in Paganism 101, especially if you’re coming into it through some permutation of Neowicca, is that paganism is “sex-positive” and “we don’t have the hangups that Christianity does.”

Welp, that word “sex-positive”. I don’t think that a lot of folks in paganism really understand what this actually means.

Sex-positivity =/= lack of boundaries and understanding of appropriate behavior.

So, just about every pagan I know, of any tradition, myself included, has had at least one experience with another pagan who was a total creeper and used paganism to justify being a creeper.

There are a couple different ways I’ve seen this go.

The most common is the poly pagans who think poly = fucking anything that moves and that pagan = “free” and if you are pagan you too should be poly and willing to have sex with them…

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Roundup: Sex, Ethics, Predators, #YesAllWomen

9046129_xxlSo there’s more that needs to be discussed on the sex, ethics, harassment, predators, abuse, and consent front. There’s the #yesallwomen movement, and there are a lot of conversations happening. I’ve written more blog posts on the topic–but I’ll be honest, I haven’t published them. Why?

Well…I know I tend to go raw with my posts, but the posts I wrote may be too raw. I’m not sure if I want to go there. Maybe I’m not sure I want to reveal that much, or be that much of a bummer. Maybe I’m sick of triggering people.

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Walking While Fat and Female – Or, Why I Don’t Care Not All Men are Like That

Shauna Aura Knight:

Insightful post about the bullshit involved even in just walking down the street. I’ve endured things like this too.

Originally posted on Courtney Meaker:

I started walking between 5 and 12 miles a day about year after I moved to Seattle. The main motivator was a crippling anxiety about being late coupled with an inconsistent public transportation system (that will now become less consistent, yippee). Additionally, working in an industry with late nights (I house manage for various theaters) means that if you’re reliant on public transit, you will be waiting for an hour at a scary bus stop with Mr. and Mrs. Meth Addict at 1:30 in the morning. Walking became a way for me to take control of my commute. It was my time. Four mile walk to work. Four mile walk back. In the rain. In the dark. In the cold. Every season. Sometimes with tunes. Sometimes with “Stuff You Missed in History Class.” Sometimes talking to myself. And sometimes with silence.

When I moved to Seattle I weighed 260 pounds. Because…

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Beltane and the Union of Opposites


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I’m joining the Tarot Blog Hop on the theme of the Beltane and the Union of Opposites.

More and more I have a challenge with opposites, or more specifically, binaries. Here’s what I mean. I think that they can be useful way to frame things, and in fact, I think people naturally think in binary terms. However, binary also creates black/white thinking. We humans get too used to the boxes, the pendulum swing…and we forget about the spectrum in the middle. This causes us no end of problems; typically when I write about that it’s in one of my leadership blog posts, but it finds its way into our magical and personal growth work as well.

On the other hand, there is some seriously powerful magic when we find that centerpoint, that balance of opposites.

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What is Magic? Part 3


I think that, with magic, we want proof. We want flash. We want miracles.  And when we don’t get those, we wonder what magic is. When we see how magic works, it doesn’t seem very flashy…or, we realize how unimportant the flash really is.

Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to put my finger on magic. Because magic is, at its core, one of the mysteries. You can’t work it til you experience it, and it’s really hard to put it into words.

People try. They write spell books that read more like recipes, they create informational graphics like the Kabbalistic Tree of Life to explain how the universe works…but that doesn’t teach what’s going on beneath. It’s a map, but it’s not the terrain. Nor is it the only map. It’s not the actual underpinnings of the universe, just one map to it that may or may not work for you or for me.

And at the core, I think that word magic has so much bound up in it. It’s a powerful, loaded word all on its own.

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What Is Magic? Part 2

9181063_xlI think the word magic has different meanings in different contexts. I think across the board, it tends to mean “the hidden.” Or, things that happen in a way I can’t easily see/unravel.

A related definition might be how I see most people use it in terms of spellwork. “Magic is doing a spell and getting what I want without having to do any work.” I think the idea is that you set your intention, light the right colored candle, and the universe brings you what you want if you’re cool enough.

Obviously there are some problems with that concept. But if you haven’t read Part 1, you might want to go to the previous post and check that out so that this one makes a bit more sense.

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