Dragon Con Safety Advice From Delilah S. Dawson

Delilah S. Dawson, author of the forthcoming Star Wars: PHASMA (9/1/17), The Perfect Weapon, Wake of Vultures, Hit, Servants of the Storm, and Blud, says she loves Dragon Con – but she sure doesn’t make it sound easy to love.

And, yes, I know *nothing* is really “safe”. But I’ve been harassed and groped at DragonCon more than all other cons COMBINED.

Here’s are her tweets about staying safe. She has another tweetstorm on why she likes the con.

[Thanks to rcade for the story.]

40 thoughts on “Dragon Con Safety Advice From Delilah S. Dawson

  1. Sadly, it says a lot about our society that Delilah would have to come up with this.safety advice.

  2. Has anyone published something similar for SDCC? Is it needed, or does DragonCon attract more misbehaving people, or does the scattered space (as mentioned in the tweets) make it easier for lurkers?
    Weird resonance — I just finished the attendee-misbehavior chapter of Kohan’s The Arena; there are jerks at every game, but it sounds like DragonCon is more like a football crowd — without the excuse of tailgating-induced drunkenness.

  3. Note that for the last few years, there’s been at least one big college football game played in Atlanta the same weekend as DragonCon (this year, two, one Saturday and one Monday).

  4. Are they even going to have a ceremony to present the Dragon Award? I couldn’t find it on the program.

    Last year the awards were given out at a panel.

  5. In the light of this, it is even more remarkable how civil this year’s WorldCon was. I’d been a bit apprehensive before, because I’d heard all those stories about harrassment at conventions, but I felt absolutely safe both at the con and in the city in general. I didn’t witness any dodgy behaviour either, which of course doesn’t mean that there was none.

  6. @Chip Hitchcock: A lot of the advice is general in nature, plus the awareness that DragonCon is a very high risk place. I also think that SDCC’s structure in geography and programming makes it less risky. But culture matters a lot.

    @Cora: I’m not surprised that Worldcon went well in this regard (and I haven’t seen or heard about any dodgy thing at-con either). Finndom was built from the get-go with a decent awareness of feminism, and due to the way the Finnish con culture evolved, there have always been lots of minors present at Finnish cons. Finnish law also makes it possible for events to handle their own security, under police oversight.

    So Finndom had a large and clueful volunteer security group in place before they even started to plan for Worldcon.

  7. Cora:

    In the north, we need more alcohol to get the harassment going. At least one gain from being more reserved. The downside: More drinking.

  8. I’ve been going to Dragon Con for 24 years and I’ve never experienced anything like Delilah described except once and that was getting groped by a football fan who asked to take a pic with me. None of the hotels stop checking badges at any point that I’m aware of, and I’m out till around 5am every night during Dragon Con. I’ve also never seen an empty elevator, even in the wee hours. Either Delilah is the unluckiest female ever to attend Dragon Con or she’s exaggerating her experiences just a wee bit.

  9. Cora:

    In the north, we need more alcohol to get the harassment going. At least one gain from being more reserved. The downside: More drinking.

    Well, we should probably be grateful for the high alcohol prices in Finnland then. Though I’m still angry about the 7 Euro bottle of supermarket wine that turned out to be grape juice with colouring and flavouring.

  10. Remember: Georgia is one of the states that (at least used to) regularly run PSAs about not sleeping in the middle of the road.
    Seems a lot of inebriated citizens, chilly following their evening of imbibing, find that the tarmac on the roads has retained a decent amount of the day’s heat and can be quite comfy when the path back home is blocked by curbs, verges, armadillo-infested ditches, the occasional stationwagon filled with less chilly, bat-wielding citizens, and those spins.
    Too many folks were getting run over while napping, which is hell on the suspensions of those pickups….

  11. I’ve attended DragonCon three times (2008, 2010, 2014). My enjoyment went steadily downhill with each year, as the crowds grew bigger and less controlled. I used to at least partly excuse it with, “Well, it’s huge, it must be impossible to manage that many people”–but this year I went to GenCon, which has similar crowds spread over a similarly vast area, and the worst problem I had was one vendor trying to use a pick-up line on me. There were no hour-long lines, no piles of empty beer bottles scattered across the lobby floor in the morning, no moments when the press of people was so intense I couldn’t even force my way to the fire exit. At this point, I’m not willing to make excuses for DragonCon. It’s huge and messy and my time and money are better spent at other events.

  12. Pingback: Dragon Con Answers Safety Concerns | File 770

  13. Either Delilah is the unluckiest female ever to attend Dragon Con or she’s exaggerating her experiences just a wee bit.

    Or, perhaps, “It didn’t happen to me so it didn’t happen to anyone” is bad logic.

    A Google search of “dragon-con harassment” brings up multiple stories of harassment in past years, happening to people other than Delilah Dawson. So either it happens or there’s a conspiracy afoot.

  14. Either Delilah is the unluckiest female ever to attend Dragon Con or she’s exaggerating her experiences just a wee bit.

    Oh, please. Could you be any more condescending?

    I hate people discounting women’s lived experience. You have no reason to disbelieve her. Just stop.

  15. @Karl Johan Norén

    If you want to buy wine (or stronger beer or liquor) in a store in Finland, you have to go to the Alko. Other stores are prohibited from selling wine.

    Yes, I eventually figured that out. And the WorldCon restaurant guide mentioned something about Alko stores, but I thought they were for hard liquor like in other countries, not for wine and beer.

  16. Cora:

    “Yes, I eventually figured that out. And the WorldCon restaurant guide mentioned something about Alko stores, but I thought they were for hard liquor like in other countries, not for wine and beer.”

    I was surprised the opposite way when I saw they were selling beer in the supermarket. Turns out the law was changed last year to allow for that. Was also surprised that there were bars where you could buy alcohol without food being served. Finland seems to be a bit more liberal than Sweden.

  17. Steve Davidson, I’m sorry to see your hate for the south and southerners still runs so hot. You do realize vast numbers of folks living down here are from north of the mason Dixon line and west of the Mississippi. Hell many of us have all our teeth and aren’t married to our cousins. May I invite you to go take a flying leap.

  18. Actually, the fact that there was beer and cidre available in supermarkets (apparently real beer, not alcohol-free) is the reason why I never suspected the wine might not be real wine. Because in Germany, wine and beer are classed as ligter alcohols that you can order or buy from age 16 on, though many stores now refuse to sell any alcoholic drinks to anybody under 18.

    The wine you could order in Finnish restaurants also came in much smaller quantities. In Germany, a “glass” of wine means 25 centilitres. You can also get half a litre or a bottle. In Finland, you could order 12 centilitres and sometimes also 16 centilitres, which is about half a glass. I don’t think I ever saw 25 centilitres or haf a litre wine offered, the next stage was usually a bottle.

  19. I hate people discounting women’s lived experience.

    Can someone have a non-lived experience?

  20. @Cora et al: alcohol laws seem to be a cultural stresspoint/divider all over the western world; a lot of places try some grand idea, then amend it rather than scrap and retry, then amend the amendment, ad infinitum. AFAICT, Boston also classifies wine with beer in both restaurants and in the few food stores that have licenses — but the alcohol sections in food stores have their own hours, so late shoppers find them screened off. There was a great to-do 20+ years ago over creating a ~”liqueur license”, which would have allowed a few restaurants to serve liquids with ~20% alcohol (on a scale where wine is ~12 and “hard” liquor is 40 and up); the one restaurateur I knew said he was warned (by his own lawyer, not threats IIRC) not to be the first to apply, partly due to the fuss but possibly because he was on a tram line between two colleges rather than downtown. More recently there has been a push for inexpensive licenses limited to parts of the city that have no restaurants; owners of existing licenses (which can trade for USD 300,000) are saying this will take money from them. I understand it’s even stranger in other parts of the US; e.g., some bourbon distillers are in counties where hard liquor cannot be sold at retail (including samples, which I found very disappointing after the Scottish Highlands).

    Alcohol isn’t the only divider, of course — I remember finding out afterwards that I’d seen a US-made Western I wasn’t supposed to in Denmark because there wasn’t enough common language to convey that 11-year-olds weren’t allowed into such violence — but it provides much more room for divisions; every municipality, of whatever size, can make its own rules about alcohol where most leave movies/books/… to state law — possibly because it’s a lot easier to point to someone being stupid around hooch.

  21. @Chip Hitchcock
    Coming across unlicensed diners, restaurants, etc… in the US is a common irritation for German travelers, because we’re simply not used to restaurants that don’t offer alcohol. For example, my parents ordered beer at a restaurant in Mississippi once and got root beer, much to their annoyance. I think that experience is the reason why my Mom still has a vehement dislike for root beer.

    Meanwhile, in Germany, the alcohol license comes part and parcel with a restaurant license, which is why you can get beer at McDonald’s or Burger King. Bakeries with a café attached, sausage stands, food trucks, sandwich shops, döner stands, etc… have a different license, which does not include the permission to offer alcohol. But if an eatery has a certain number of tables where customers can sit down, it requires a full restaurant license, which automatically includes the alcohol license.

    Shops require a license to sell alcohol, but if they have one, there is no limit regarding what they can sell. We do have specialist stores, but those are mainly for brand variety.

  22. Cora, there are still parts of the US which are “dry”; that is, they don’t allow alcohol to be sold there. It’s a hold-over from the Prohibition era. I grew up in a “dry” town which, not surprisingly, was surrounded by liquor stores just outside the border. The Chamber of Commerce finally convinced the town to allow liquor licenses in 1984, because the local restaurants couldn’t compete with the restaurants in surrounding towns that could sell beer, wine, and other alcohol.

    Even where alcohol is legal to sell, there are often “blue laws” (you might call them “morality laws”) that prevent alcohol from being sold on Sunday, or before noon, or have other such restrictions. Such laws vary from town to town and from state to state. And by Federal (nationwide) law, nobody under the age of 21 can buy alcohol (although in many states a parent or guardian can buy beer or wine for their teenager in a restaurant so long as they serve it themselves).

  23. @Cassy —

    Even where alcohol is legal to sell, there are often “blue laws” (you might call them “morality laws”) that prevent alcohol from being sold on Sunday, or before noon, or have other such restrictions.

    What has always really amused me is Utah. Naturally, as the home of the Mormons, it’s an extremely anti-alcohol state. But what’s funny is that all the liquor stores in the state are run by the state government. 😉 They have various other odd alcohol laws as well — one just recently repealed required a visual barrier between the liquor-preparing area and the food-selling area in restaurants with liquor licenses (known colloquially as the Zion Curtain).

    I’ve lived most of my life in Tennessee. Not too far from me is the Jack Daniels distillery, one of the largest in the world — and it’s in a dry county.

    No, the US is not always known for logic!

  24. @Contrarius

    I’ve lived most of my life in Tennessee. Not too far from me is the Jack Daniels distillery, one of the largest in the world — and it’s in a dry county.

    Let me guess, the current distillery is not actually the romantic looking small factory with the wood barrels they show in all the ads.

  25. Cora, I lived for several years in west Texas right next to a vineyard. The county was “dry” at the time.

  26. @Cora —

    “Let me guess, the current distillery is not actually the romantic looking small factory with the wood barrels they show in all the ads.”

    Oh, the old buildings are still there. It’s a big tourist attraction — they give tours.

    And yes, wooden barrels are an essential part of making whiskey. You can’t call it bourbon (or in our case Tennessee whiskey) without the barrels!

  27. I have no doubt that the old buildings exist, only that this is where the Jack Daniels whiskey you can buy in supermarkets is made.

    Though the Mackenstedter distillery, which is maybe 4 kilometres from where I live, and was founded in 1750 still is housed in very old and comparatively small buildings. But then, Mackenstedter has a much smaller volume than Jack Daniels.

  28. Oh — yes, it’s made there. You can tour the modern fermenters and see the big warehouse with the barrels aging and so on.

    There are strict requirements for producing whiskey in order to legally label it as “bourbon” or “sour mash” or “Tennessee whiskey” or whatever. So there aren’t often a whole lot of questions about where the product is actually being made.

    I still have a couple of old half barrels stamped with the Jack Daniel label. They used to sell their used barrels all over Tennessee, because the whiskey can legally only be aged in NEW barrels. But nowadays used whiskey barrels are VERY expensive — they got popular for aging other spirits in, like certain kinds of beer and such, so they are much harder to come by than they used to be.

  29. P.S. I realize that what I wrote wasn’t very clear. There are old buildings and newer ones, including multiple barrel warehouses. I didn’t mean to imply that the whiskey was all being produced in the old buildings! But yes, it’s all produced there in Lynchburg.

  30. @Cora: Cassy B’s comment on stores-on-the-border lines up with a particularly USian (maybe North American?) issue: there was a news story a couple of days ago about the elders of a Native American reservation supporting the state where the reservation is located against a suit by the parasites running cheap-hooch stores right outside the reservation (where alcohol sales are banned for obvious reasons). I suspect there’s no place in Europe where history, lack of prospects, and genetics collide so vigorously.

    Borders inside the US have all sorts of peculiarities due to most laws being made by states rather than the federal government; I remember a wall of fireworks stands every June on the DC side of the street running down the border with Maryland (where fireworks sales were strictly ~regulated), and gas (petrol) stations near the northern border of Massachusetts mob the State House any time an increase in the excessively low gas tax is suggested, because taxes are lower in New Hampshire. (No income or sales tax, significant property tax; maybe a cheap place to live, but not necessarily great for raising kids as the schools can be short of money.)

  31. @Chip —

    “Borders inside the US have all sorts of peculiarities due to most laws being made by states rather than the federal government; I remember a wall of fireworks stands every June on the DC side of the street running down the border with Maryland”

    And counties! Like the dry county/wet county thing, and fireworks/no fireworks by county. I think we’ve got fireworks stores out there called something like “County Line Fireworks”. 😉

  32. Liquor stores surrounding a dry town happen in Canada, too, both near some Reservations and near strongly Mennonite towns. (One of my – Mennonite – husband’s favourite jokes: “Why do you never invite just ONE Mennonite to your party? Because they’ll drink all the booze.”) Though in some cases, there is almost literally no way besides illegal distillery to do so, once you get to the north. (a lot of fly-n-only or railway access or seasonal roads). Not usually a problem in the US.

  33. Pingback: Top 10 Posts For August 2017 | File 770

  34. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 9-3-2017 - Amazing Stories

  35. Pingback: Loose-leaf Links #47 | Earl Grey Editing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *