Sadly, even in 2014, manipulative behaviour by those in dominant positions of power continue to occur. Earlier in the year, several cases of men exerting pressure on women emerged from the vlogging community, and there is evidence from within the library and information profession that oppressive practices occur in our professional spheres.
However uncomfortable these revelations have been for us as a community, it is important that we can freely challenge, critique, and debate such behaviours. Radical Librarians Collective strongly believes that this is the way a resilient and supportive community can evolve towards true equality, and this cannot be achieved reactively. Radical Librarians Collective believes in creating and propagating safe spaces by consciously examining our relative positions of power.
We believe that the lawsuit launched by Joe Murphy against Lisa Rabey and nina de jesus sets a dangerous precedent of hampering open discussion of such issues. Litigation will put many more women at risk and will alienate those whose voices vitally need to be heard in order to ensure safe spaces. Abuse in itself occurs under domination. Stripping victims of their means of defence amounts to victim-shaming, and that is the message that this litigation sends.
We therefore issue our full support for #TeamHarpy. Litigation in the face of allegations of sexual harassment is an assault on the rights and freedoms of women. We urge that this action be halted and, furthermore, that all conferences and gatherings within the profession provide a strict safe space policy that is stringent and binding to all who attend. Safe space policies must be articulated and consciously accepted by all members present. Anything less amounts to complacency, and allows only the loudest voices to be heard. A recommended policy can be found here, and the Radical Librarians Collective have effectively used this for our own previous meetings.
No matter the setting, everyone should feel not only able to voice concerns about harassment in all its forms, but to expect that such concerns are tackled head on rather than ignored or overlooked.
Radical Librarians Collective 22/09/2014