SDCC 2008: Four incidents of harasment at SDCC 2008

Cross-posted from Bully’s Comics, Originally Posted August 15, 2008.

Overheard at San Diego Comic-Con while I was having lunch on the balcony of the Convention Center on Sunday July 27: a bunch of guys looking at the digital photos on the camera of another, while he narrated: “These were the Ghostbusters girls. That one, I grabbed her ass, ’cause I wanted to see what her reaction was.” This was only one example of several instances of harassment, stalking or assault that I saw at San Diego this time.

1. One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked by a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night. One of her co-workers chased him off the final time.

2. On Friday, just before the show closed, this same woman was closing up her tables when a group of four men came to her booth, started taking photographs of her, telling her she was the “prettiest girl at the con.” They they entered the booth, started hugging and kissing her and taking photographs of themselves doing so. She was confused and scared, but they left quickly after doing that.

3. Another friend of mine, a woman running her own booth: on Friday a man came to her booth and openly criticized her drawing ability and sense of design. Reports from others in the same section of the floor confirmed he’d targeted several women with the same sort of abuse and criticism.

Mary’s Story: Nottinghill Carnival 2014

Cross-Posted from BBC UK, originally published on August 28, 2014.

“A student [Mary Brandon] who was punched in the face at the Notting Hill Carnival for telling a man not to grope her says she would do the same again. Speaking to BBC London, Mary Brandon said although she was having trouble sleeping she refused to let it get the better of her. Ms Brandon said since posting the image of her bruised face on social media, she had received much support. The Met Police said it was reviewing CCTV footage of the carnival.”

Click through here to see the images of her injury and video of her interview with BBC.

Brandon’s Facebook post with image and details below:



Alicia’s Story: Anime Oasis 2008

I’m well aware how I appear physically, I’m tall with a rather buxom figure, and I’m proud of who I am. The convention that I was attending at the time I decided to cosplay Tsunade from Naruto, I had done the work! Put time into my costume, I made sure my wig was perfect, that I had my makeup and attitude down for when it came to photos or cosplay skits etc. I was excited to go nonetheless and see all my friends. The day of the convention I arrive in style! I’m in cosplay as I head in, sign up, recieve my badge, and go off to enjoy the rest of the three-day con. It was only till the nearing evening hours I was approached by a guy.

I had plans to go to dinner with my friends, and I don’t take the offer of him treating me out to dinner as what was wrong. It was only after I declined to go to dinner with him that it took a turn for the worse. It was at once I was met with a barrage of questions as to: why I didn’t want to go, was he not good enough for me, was I already sleeping with other attendees, why not have sex with him, I’m just being a prude and prefer jerks over nice-guys. After I had that thrown in my face I retreated, and decided to enjoy the convention at the OTHER END OF THE CONVENTION! Despite myself literally walking away, I found that he was following me… maybe 8 feet behind me at all times. This made me feel that I was not safe anymore at the local convention; at one point I had gone in with a group of girls to the restroom and he had followed and waited outside for me. I asked the girls inside if they could check to see if he was still there, when they told me he was, and that he was asking for when his girlfriend was coming out, I knew security needed to be involved. After leaving with a group of girls, I made my quick escape with him RIGHT BEHIND ME!

Sadly, con-ops is located at a rather secluded area of the convention area, at this point he tried to come in and say, “I thought you were going to dinner? Knew you lied to me. Come on, I’ll be gentle.” I turned away from him, found a friend that was working security and told him EVERYTHING! Thank-Odin for security as they told him if he doesn’t stop he will be told to leave, and any physical contact with me could result in police involvement. The matter was settled, but it left me shaky for the rest of the convention and changed my outlook on cosplay and conventions. After that, I always travel with someone or am not far from my husband.

Rae’s Story: ComiKaze 2013

There were a few people who held on for a little too long when grabbing a pic with me, and a few creepers who came up and asked me for a hug. Frankly I’m so a fan of people touching me after catching a vicious case of ConSars (103 fever for 3 days) after ComiKaze last year, but the pictures come with the territory, and even the huggy guys were mostly respectful and more just having a laugh.

It wasn’t a fellow attendee. It was a female security guard that really humiliated me beyond measure. She walked up to me while I was standing in a large group of people chatting, mostly men but a few children, and said, “Where the hell did you get those tits? Are they real?” At which point everyone who hadn’t been looking at my boobs now was. I tried to ignore it but she asked again if they were real and in an effort to make the spectacle stop I told her they were. She then asked if she could feel them. At this point a lovely gentlemen, dressed as a particularly sinister looking Joker, intervened and told her that just because we were dressed up does not mean we were not people under our costumes and makeup, and her comments were unacceptable, especially considering that as security she was one of the people that we were supposed to go to if we were experiencing people harassing us.

Apparently she did not appreciate the feeling of embarrassment I was experiencing because she then proceeded to attack me and insinuate that it was my intention for everyone to stare at them, she said, “if I didn’t want people to comment then I would have found a costume that covered them better.”

I will admit that my costume was rather boobalicious, and I was already feeling a bit exposed. I had gained 12lbs. since I made it, made the mistake of not doing a run through prior to arriving in San Diego, and the corset made me pop a bit more than usual. Strangely though the minute I hit the convention center all self-consciousness was erased by a couple who asked me to take a photo with their kids, and then a woman who asked to take a photo with me. Considering that a convention hall of however many thousands of people had managed to not obviously stare them down for two days, most people were more fascinated with my contacts, or if they did they were subtle and didn’t make any comments, I would have thought a female security guard would have been better than that.

I ended up taking a not inexpensive taxi ride back to my hotel rather than the free shuttle because I was so self-conscious after the exchange that I just wanted to crawl under a rock. Not to mention for the first time ever I was afraid to get on a bus by myself with a bunch of men. The wait for the taxi was the longest 8 minutes of my life. Luckily I had just made a bunch of purchases and I was able to kind of hide myself behind the giant bag from the t-shirt shop until I got back to my room.

I can say is that I’m thankful for a couple of things: # 1 that it happened on Sunday or I might not have dressed up again for the rest of the Con and #2 for that Joker, whomever he was. Batman can suck it the Joker’s my hero now.

Miko’s Story: BronyCon 2014

I’m telling this story on behalf of my 14 year old friend Haley. She went to Bronycon as a chaperone for her mlp obsessed younger sister. She was sitting alone at a bench while her sister was buying something when an older man approached her and kept talking to her, asking about her and telling her about himself. He asked her to be his date to the pony gala tomorrow. She was looking for an excuse to get away but he wouldn’t leave her be. He kept asking for her number. She got away with just getting his email and saying she’d contact him later. But he still said he would come looking for her tomorrow. I told her to tell a staff member if he came up to her again.

Claudi’s Story: Gencon 2013 (Indianapolis, Indiana) and NashCon (Nashville, Tennessee)

I’ve had similar incidents happen (in and out of costume) at previous GenCons, Games Days, and even at NashCon (Nashville, TN – HMGS tabletop gaming). When you tabletop game you can expose some cleavage, especially if you’re busty (which I am). I’ve had several guys walk up to the table and straight up take a shot of my breasts. Last year at GenCon some of the other gamers (guys) who were at the table with me actually yelled at the photo-taker and called him an asshat (which he was).

I don’t always notice, b/c I’m moving pieces and into the game. It really sucks to see tagged posts later that include your cleavage. At the after parties, there’s a real problem with guys grabbing your ass, rubbing against you, and saying whatever they please whether you’re in costume or not. They seem to think that if you’re a woman at a Con, you’re part of the display like a game piece. In fact, they get into more trouble by picking up a game piece without the refs approval then they do from grabbing another Con-goer’s ass or verbally assaulting a “booth babe.” I was with a group of women at the WOW booth and a guy walked up to one of the promo models and yelled “Got to FUCK it!” to her (South Park “Got to Buy it!” parody-style.) The security guard who was inches away did nothing. We yelled at him to STFU and he called us “lesbian whores.”

I’ve seen the same sort of thing at other Cons and I’ve even had my ass grabbed at games stores. Unless I’m with friends, I don’t go to games or comic book stores at night. If I’m alone, I’m always getting propositioned by mouth-breathers and if I say anything to the management, they tell me that “they were just joking, can’t you take a joke.” I’m fairly certainly they’d change their tune if they had some random guy lean his boner into their ass while they were going thru the comic bins.