Erlkönig's Daughter
About my SDCC volunteer shift…

So I was assigned a 4 hour shift (as opposed to the three hour shifts outlined in the volunteer info, fuck you SDCC — one day I’ll learn my lesson to not work for this con). I was assigned to the “Fulfillment Room” — which needs to change it’s name very badly. There was the opportunity to work in the room, exchanging tickets for prizes from panels or vouchers for volunteer/staff shirts or standing in the hallway holding a sign pointing to the room and yelling to direct people. I did not volunteer to work in the hallway, but got stuck out there because other people wouldn’t and someone who had fucking skipped all the way to the room suddenly had a “bad knee” and couldn’t stand for long periods. Damn my near-inability to lie.

The organizer people were nice enough for the first couple of hours, sent folk out to give us brief breaks for the restroom, and brought me a granola bar around noon since I was scheduled where lunch fell right in the middle of my long shift. Then they seemed to forget we were out there. They stopped sending people out to let us take bathroom breaks occasionally (not a big deal for me, but other volunteers had to abandon post a couple of times). I only got off shift when I saw multiple people from my shift who had been working in the room leave, and they were leaving late. I had to just abandon post and go back to the room and simply tell them I was leaving. They got new volunteers in and didn’t bother to dismiss the prior shift. Yeah, standing in a hall for 4 and a half hours yelling at crowds and being harassed by skeevy dudes is my idea of fun. Asshats.

Speaking of skeevy dudes. When someone is obviously on assignment to stand in a certain spot in a hall holding a sign and yelling at the crowds, their lack of ability to leave is not an invitation to keep hitting on them when they don’t initially respond to you. This wasn’t just me, another girl who was on the same assignment further down the hall was getting harassed so badly she briefly left her post to talk to me and make sure she wasn’t alone with the harassing dudes and so she could disappear until that particular group moved on. Skeevy dudes. “Fulfillment Room” does not have an unspoken “Sexual” in front of it, and especially the one dude sidling up to within less than six inches of me to whisper that you didn’t have a ticket but you wanted “Fulfillment” and surely I could give it to you right there right now anyways is so incredibly creeper-tastic I have no words. I try to sidle away, and this shithead follows me. There are no other staffers in sight, and his group of 3 male friends are standing off to the side watching and grinning. I’m on-duty, practically a captive audience, have to be polite because I am representing the con, have no back-up, and you are a foot taller than me. GO FUCK YOURSELF CREEPER. None of you are being unique, creative, or clever with that “Sexual Fulfillment Room” BS — which several clearly thought they were. I heard it more times than I could count.

Also, a lot of people were really upset that they couldn’t just walk in there and get free stuff without a redemption ticket. Like I can change the rules for you. The sticker says “Volunteer On Duty” — I do not have decision-making power. Even if I did, why would I change the rules just for your unique snowflake ass?

P.S. “Fulfillment” no longer sounds like a real word by the way.

EDIT: The big issues here was the total lack of information on what the volunteers could/should do when faced with sexual harassment and the not relieving the volunteers on duty when their shift was up. Standing in one spot and yelling for 4 hours is far from comfortable, and it should not have turned into four-and-a-half hours because no one could be bothered to manage the volunteers after the first 2 hours.

We were only given direction of where to stand, what to yell, not to abandon our post under any circumstances, and not to lean against the wall or sit down (even if there were chairs nearby). The staff surely know that this sort of shit happens, and they should either not send females out to stand by themselves or should have told us what to do if it got as bad as it did (Mr. Less-Than-Six-Inches-Of-Personal-Space).

The stupid comments don’t phase me so much. I’m a cosplayer, so you learn to deal. The guy invading my personal space and asking for sexual favors (while he had back-up and I did not) was beyond the deal-able norm for me. I was more concerned for the younger (clearly a minor) girl down that hall that panicked enough to seek refuge with me for a couple of minutes.

EDIT 2: Since this post is being referenced by an SDCC harassment article, a few updates. Please see follow ups to this post here, here, here (note that my friend and I both emailed and never received a response from the convention), and here.

I find it alarming that SDCC has no publicly posted harassment policy, and that the only training volunteers receive is one unlabeled page in a general orientation email attachment sent months before the con and is never mentioned again. (This is the 2013 edition.) Fun exerpts:

All harassment complaints should be documented in writing and submitted within twenty-four (24) hours, or as soon as it is possible.

All submitted complaints will be promptly and thoroughly investigated and appropriate action will be taken. The investigation will be as objective and complete as reasonably possible. Upon completion of the investigation, a determination will be made and the results will be communicated to the complainant, the alleged harasser and, as appropriate, to all others directly concerned.

If inappropriate conduct is proven, prompt and effective remedial action will be taken.

You must submit any reports of harassment in writing within 24 hours and wait an undetermined amount of time to see if they decide you have sufficiently proven that something bad happened. Then they will take unspecified “appropriate action”. This achieves nothing in regards to non-staff or non-volunteer harassment cases as the attendee harassers will be gone and not care and there is no hint that anything will actually be done save for the victim of harassment will be subject to as much scrutiny as the perpetrator.

Since there will inevitably be the question of “what were you wearing?” What a person is wearing is never EVER an invite nor justification to harass. You’re human beings and I expect you to exert the same self-control over your libido that I am am expected to do so over mine. That said, I was not dressed particularly provocatively, nor should it have made a difference if I were [see photos]. I am still a sentient fellow human being.

I have a history since 2006 with SDCC, as attendee and volunteer, there has never been a year when I was not sexually harassed at this con, and I cannot make that same comment of any of the several other cons I attend every year. #SDCC

  1. harechanart reblogged this from elfgrove
  2. geeksforconsent reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
  3. fangirlandproudofit reblogged this from elfgrove
  4. elfgrove reblogged this from elfgrove
  5. strawberrycitrus reblogged this from elfgrove
  6. quaisior reblogged this from elfgrove
  7. maxsfellwalker reblogged this from elfgrove
  8. dxoverdt said: Gross. I am sorry you had to deal with that BS. :(
  9. peppers-pray reblogged this from elfgrove
  10. crab-cakes reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    Man, you need to let the con know this bullshit happened, because this is beyond excusable. The safety of everyone...
  11. walking-love-incarnate reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    So disgusting. I’m sorry this happened to OP. I’m signal boosting this and I hope you guys read the full story because...
  12. vocallife reblogged this from elfgrove
  13. angelcreations reblogged this from savvyliterate and added:
    Ditto. Anyone who thinks this is ok behaviour does not deserve to be able to attend cons. All volunteers should be...
  14. wanderindreamr reblogged this from elfgrove
  15. savvyliterate reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    Reblogging as a signal boost. Because sexual harassment of anyone at cons is not OK. As a potential seller and con-goer,...
  16. asatira reblogged this from eastofthemoon
  17. eastofthemoon reblogged this from elfgrove
  18. eveshka reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    Signal Boost. Because harassment is never acceptable and this needs to be Known.
  19. xaynie reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    I sent a letter to Comic-con: Dear Ms. Maturo (Volunteers), Mr. Davis (Logistics and hopefully security), and Mr....
  20. cheylani reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    Was this before or after I stopped by and said hi? D: That’s not acceptable at all, and the volunteer department needs...
  21. whitedarryl reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    As a whole the way SDCC handles most stuff is beyond stupid. I’m sorry that happened to you and I wish I could’ve known...
  22. danoftomorrow said: That’s fucked up. I’m sorry that happened to you.
  23. fronteriza reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    Not having good volunteer management for a convention this size is totally crucial. It’s ridiculous you were harassed...
  24. xaynie said: Fuckers. Would you mind if I tweeted this and emailed comic-con regarding this? I want to do something about it instead of letting this shit happen again but I don’t want to do it without your permission.
  25. strexcorp-synernists said: uggggh that sounds terrible, i’m so sorry :(
  26. gabzilla-z said: I’m sorry that happened to you, bb :(
  27. asatira said: Ugggh!!
  28. anonymitydisturbed reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    You fuckin with me right now? For being such a huge con you’d think SDCC would have a better way of dealing with sexual...