This is not a joke. This is not satire. This is not a test.
I'm not really going to go around asking anyone if I can kick them in the crotch.
There is a difference between the internet and the real world.
That is an internet solution to a real world problem.
I would like to propose a little real world help for a real world problem.
If you're tech-savvy enough to know about the benefits of open source, then you also know how crucial it is to back your shit up frequently. If you don't back it up, you know, you're going to lose it.
I would like to start the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Program. Here's my pledge: if I see somebody groping you in public, and you're not moaning Yes! Yes! Yes!, I will break through your Somebody Else's Problem invisibility field and come over and ask if you're okay. If your situation looks dangerous enough I can't help on my own, I will call over friends or, if it's a situation in which I think the cops would be on your side, I will call the cops. If you're being harassed by a guy, you can say so to me, even if you don't know me. I pledge I will distract him so you can get away, or I will tell him that he needs to leave, or whatever I can do to the best of my ability. I pledge that yes, actually, because you are a woman I will give you the benefit of the doubt. If you tell me that a guy just did something shitty to you I will not refuse to look at any evidence and tell you that I know him and he's a great guy and you must have been imagining things. I have great loyalty to my male friends but I will not allow that to blind me to the fact that none of us are saints and even my best friends can screw up and may need to be called on it. I pledge that I will walk you to your car if you don't feel safe walking alone at night, and then you can drive me to mine.
Yes, even at Wiscon. I pledge that even if I don't know you, if there is a creepy guy following you around, you can say so, and I will not say to you go hide in your room; I will say to him go find another party, or if necessary, go home. I will come with you if you need to talk to the con organizers. I will not make you feel like your right to control over your own body is not a big deal.
And I will do this whether or not I like you, or even know you. It's not about liking you. It's about the fact that we need to back each other up, and I will need you to do this for me some day.
And I say this knowing that the first thing that is going to happen is that someone is going to start talking about how if everyone did this then women could just lie about men and get them kicked out of places. Well, obviously I don't want that to happen. I realize that this is open to abuse. You know what else is open to abuse? THE FUCKING STATUS QUO. If the choice is between the possibility of men worrying that if they offend a woman she can easily get them kicked out of a con, and the actuality of women quietly staying home from cons in droves because they don't want men to harass them; quietly saying nothing about their harassment because they know people will tell them it's no big deal, or it's never happened to them and so frankly they don't believe in it; I am going to deal with the problem that actually exists first. Should we somehow get to the point where the stereotype of a SF con is wall-to-wall women in razorwire bras, and men don't show their faces because they're afraid of being arrested; we can go ahead and work on that problem then.
And, in a situation in which it seems like a little OSSKBP might help, I pledge to be willing to do some work under a Creative Commons license. If you know what I mean.
Now it's your turn.
What will you do?
ETA: And in the spirit of open source, I pledge to be open to peer review! Yes: "creepy guy" will be defined gender-neutrally. As the linguistics grad student said, "'Guy' is totally gender-neutral now. Even guys use it that way!"
SON OF ETA: "In addition, I think that YCR members should be proactive, following a "Friends don't let friends be Creepy Guys" policy. More than serving as distractions for Creepy Guys or as back to the Backup as described, we YCR men can look at our friends, and say, "Dude, you're being a dick. Stop it." before things get to the point where the Backup has to intervene. And, if a situation warrants it, we can educate them in the wrongness of said behavior, so that they go forth and be Creepy no more."
ebony14 said it. This is what women cannot do for ourselves. We cannot be guys talking to other guys. That is a job only the Gentlemen's Auxiliary can do. Guys. Talk to each other. I promise most of you can be lots of fun. You will enjoy it. There can be beer involved! It is traditional. Go to!
BRIDE OF ETA: For everyone who said they didn't quite know how to help? shaysdays tells you how to start.
AND A ONE AND A TWO AND AN ETA: There's a community now! If you've got ideas, we've got a place for you to put them. Right now desdenova is asking for Frequently Asked Questions, so if you have questions, go over there and ask them frequently!