In my experience, there aren’t any.

Not to say every convention or online community is a weekend at Tailhook. But the pervasive harassment and abuse of women in geek culture is far worse than anything I’ve experienced outside of it. Your mileage may vary, of course.

I expect someone aged about 24 to pop up and comment that there’s never any abuse at shows because she’s never experienced any. Well, I’m glad you’ve never had a problem, but that doesn’t mean problems don’t exist.

Bullying is endemic in fandom, even though fans often claim they came to fandom to avoid the bullies.

Fandom doesn’t like to admit bullying is a problem, or sexual abuse at conventions is a problem, or fannish politics are a problem, or that is has any problems at all. While most fandoms are very cool, supportive, and full of fun, just like high school, some aspects of fandom aren’t so nice. And because the once-bullied-in-high-school sometimes feel pretty sensitive to their image (even thirty years after high school,) fandom has a tendency to cover up and equivocate, rather than address real problems.

After more than 20 years of abuse at the hands of a deranged stalker and his legion of enablers – including a bizarre online screed from a woman blogger who came out on the side of the poor, mentally ill stalker and his buddies (thanks for that, Stalker Enabler,) I know from long, unhappy personal experience how geek culture excuses and enables, and then blames the victim.

See the episode of Stalked, Someone’s Watching featuring an interview with me and my family here.

There’s nothing stranger than the enabling that comes from supposedly feminist women who are so anxious to be seen as understanding nurturers of the underdog – to not exclude – that they will do ontological back flips to accept almost any bad behavior…except when that behavior is directed at them, of course.

One seriously disturbed individual who has a small list of publishing credits, spent well over a decade on a personal campaign to get me to “clean up” my “act” (his words). These are excerpts of some of his letters to me. He sent far more disturbing letters over time, and expanded his crusade to sending letters to other pros, comic shops, distributors, a number of comics industry magazines, my editors, my lawyers, and my family in an effort to correct my behavior.

So today’s awesome, must-read essay is Resistance is Useful:

I have observed geek culture embracing all of those things, that I have been on the receiving end of them, that I have been an observer of them, again and again and again. Stalking, rape, the enabling of rape, rape apologism, sexual assault of various kinds, opportunistic harassment, predation, collusion to trivialise boundaries and consent issues, violation of consent, coercion, marginalisation and broadly, a deep, vile and insidious culture of loathing and sexual violence. This is not theory; this is what has happened and what continues to happen. It happens your cons, in your city, in your gaming groups, on your streets, on your internet, at your parties, in your forums, on your blogs and in your workplaces. And this is my big Fuck You to all of it.

The point of origin of a problem with a woman is not what she wears, or what she says, or draws, or plays, or reads. If you can’t control the way you behave toward a woman, the problem is you.