My name is Rachel Edidin. I’m a freelance editor and writer, and an almost-eight-year veteran of the comics industry. I write and speak a lot about feminist issues, especially as related to harassment in the comics community and geek culture.
As a result, over the years, an ever-increasing number of people have contacted me about harassment or abuse they’ve experienced at conventions or the larger comics community. And always, I wish there were more I could do. I can’t keep everyone safe; I can’t singlehandedly change the culture in the ways it needs to change. I’m trying to work out the legal and ethical ramifications of publishing anonymous reports on behalf of victims, but that’s a long and tangled process. I’m working, with colleagues, on long-term investigative reporting related to this stuff, but that, again, is long-term.
So, here’s what I can offer NOW:
I attend a lot of conventions; usually as a professional or press.
This is what I look like. The exact cut and color of my hair changes frequently, but it’s always on the short side, and usually vaguely along these lines:
While I’m not currently doing any work in that capacity, I’m trained and spent four years as a volunteer advocate at a rape crisis center. I’m very persistent and very good at navigating bureaucracy.
If we are at a convention together, and you are harassed or assaulted or otherwise made to feel unsafe; and you can find me—in person or via Twitter—I will do my best to help you.
If you are being actively harassed or are in immediate danger, I will help you find a safe place.
If you want to report what happened to convention staff or law enforcement, I will help you find the right channels and, if you want, accompany you through that process.
If you need medical attention or crisis intervention, I will help you find that, and, if you want, accompany you.
I will listen.
I will believe you.
And I will help if I can.
If you’re a fellow comics professional who is willing and able to offer something similar—to be a go-to person for folks who’ve been harassed or assaulted at conventions—please feel free to reblog this or contact me directly to add your name to the list.
NOTE: While I have nothing but respect and admiration for the intentions of the Backup Project, a friend recently made me aware of concerns regarding anonymity, accountability, lack of training, and potential for abuse that make me reluctant to affiliate with it directly. It’s important to me that there be individual accountability in this: that we have names; that we be verifiable as more than someone who ordered a ribbon to attach to their badge. If you’re interested in participating, please use your real name or professional alias, and I strongly encourage you to post a photo as well.
Rachel is incredible. i would love to do something like this too but i’m hardly ever at conventions, i don’t know how much help i would be.