Code of Conduct at events [and 1 more messages]

Adrian Bunk bunk at
Thu Nov 11 18:14:46 UTC 2010

On Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 02:14:06PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Adrian Bunk writes ("Re: Code of Conduct at events [and 1 more messages]"):
> > Woman accuses man of sexual assault or rape.
> > Man denies it or says it was consensual.
> > No witnesses.
> > 
> > You cannot set any clear guidelines for figuring out in this case which 
> > person is the offender and which person is the victim.
> Is this kind of thing common at Free Software events ?  I suggest not.

It is a common pattern in cases comparable to the one that triggered 
your suggestion.

And these are the cases that would be a real problem for an organiser. 
You don't need a code of conduct for knowing what to do when one 
participant smashed a bottle on the head of another participant.

> Ultimately, I think it is up to the conference organisers to make a
> decision about who they believe and how strongly convinced they are.
> If they are sufficiently convinced by the alleged victim's version of
> events, given all the information available, then they should
> expel the alleged attacker.  Surely you agree ?


They should call the police.

And it is interesting that you don't even mention the similar likely 
option of expelling the alleged victim if the organisers believe the 
alleged attacker more than the alleged victim.

> If they are not sufficiently convinced then they should still make
> sure that this serious allegation is communicated to the next
> conference.  Most rapists are serial offenders, and if a similar
> incident occurs in the future then the information about the previous
> event will be invaluable to the conference team who have to deal with
> it then.

"Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed 
 innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at 
 which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence."

In case you don't know, that's a quotation from the United Nation's
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Either you can prove someone's guilt (and in the cases we are talking 
about that implies a conviction at court) or you have to treat him as 
non-guilty and not pass discriminating information about him to others.

> Ian.



       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed

More information about the Spi-general mailing list