Anti-Harassment Policy

OrcaCon’s Anti-Harassment Policy

OrcaCon is dedicated to providing a great convention experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, disability, physical appearance, body size, race or religion. For this reason, we will not tolerate any form of harassment of convention participants. Con participants found to be engaging in harassment may be sanctioned or expelled from the con without refund. We expect participants to follow these rules at all conference venues and conference-related social events.

What is harassment?

Harassment includes:

  • offensive verbal comments about gender, sexuality, impairment, physical appearance, body size, race or religion
  • showing sexual images in public spaces. Discussion or images related to sex, pornography, discriminatory language or similar is welcome if it meets all of the following criteria:
    • (a) organizers have specifically granted permission in writing;
    • (b) it is necessary to the topic of discussion and no alternative exists;
    • (c) it is presented in a respectful manner, especially towards women and LGBTQIA people; and
    • (d) attendees are warned in advance in the program and respectfully given ample warning and opportunity to leave beforehand. This exception does not allow use of gratuitous sexual images as attention-getting devices or unnecessary examples.
  • intimidation, stalking or following
  • photographing or recording someone without their permission
  • sustained disruption of talks or other events
  • uninvited physical contact
  • uninvited sexual attention

Participants asked to stop harassing behavior must comply immediately.

What should I do if I am being harassed?

In some cases you may find the harassment stops if you clearly say ‘no’ or ‘please leave me alone’, or simply walk away. We would appreciate it if a volunteer was still informed to help us identify any repeat offenders.

If you continue to be harassed or notice someone else being harassed, please contact a convention volunteer immediately. Con volunteers will help participants contact venue security or law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe during the con. The first convention volunteer or organizer you report to will take whatever steps they can to assist you in feeling safe, and will put you in contact with or bring you to an appropriate staff member. If you do not feel comfortable talking to a volunteer, please visit our Operations Room in Board Room 1, on the first floor.

You do not have to give us details of the harassment, and can choose whether or not to report. If you wish to report, we will take details of the harassment and work with you to respond to the issue in a way that assists you in feeling safe and maintains the safety of the wider convention environment, as well as enforcing our anti-harassment policy. If you report a serious criminal matter, please be aware that we may be obliged to contact the police. We would however take into account any concerns you may have around involving them.

If you would like to discuss the harassment without making a report, we also offer a listening service staffed by volunteers. Bear in mind that this is for informal emotional support only: our volunteers don’t have counselling training, and we can’t promise confidentiality. You can access the listening service by asking at the Operations Room,  or visit the Info Desk for assistance.

Anti-racism statement

Like society in general, racism permeates geek culture and geek spaces, making them less welcoming and safe for POC (People of Color). At OrcaCon, we want to prioritize the voices of people who are often spoken over or erased in geek spaces, and make OrcaCon as accessible as we can to people from all racial backgrounds. Problems POC attendees of geek events talk about include:

  • People critiquing their cosplay costumes without being asked
  • being expected to be an authority on POC characters in various shows or comics
  • being talked down to or assumed to be less knowledgeable about topics being discussed.Hate Symbols and Associated

As we strive to provide a welcoming, safe environment for all attendees, symbols associated with historical atrocities and current hate groups are strictly forbidden from the convention. This includes (but is not limited to) swastikas, Nazi uniforms, cosplays closely based on Nazi uniforms, and paraphernalia associated with these organizations.

We stand united against white supremacy, neo-Nazis, and the “alt-right.” We denounce their toxic hate, fear, and violence. 

While in an ideal world, it would be easy to separate fictional characters who wear these items from real world events, in our current political climate we do not believe it is possible. Anyone wearing or displaying an item of clothing, prop, or other item considered a hate symbol will be asked to remove it from the convention and refusal to do so will result in ejection from the convention without refund.

This sort of behavior will absolutely not be tolerated. (Thanks to Trae Dorn from Nerd & Tie for the updated language)

Why does OrcaCon need an anti-harassment policy?

We’ve implemented an anti-harassment policy in response to widespread reports of harassment in geek communities and at conventions. Read more about why action on harassment at geek conventions is necessary by visiting the Ada Initiative website.

How can I help make OrcaCon safer?

  • Join our volunteers!
  • Be aware of this anti-harassment policy, of using non-oppressive language, and of folks’ boundaries.
  • Back up others – if you see someone being harassed or appearing uncomfortable, ask if they’re okay.

This anti-harassment policy is based on an example from the Geek Feminism wiki created by the Ada Initiative and other volunteers, and the anti-racism statement came from policies via the NUS and Race Revolt.

  • Convention Executive Director email:
  • Hotel phone: 425-455-1300
  • Bellevue Police: 425.257.8400
  • King County Sexual Assault Hotline 24-hour:  888.998.6423
  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) locations in King County:
  • American Checker Cab: 425-259-3333