After hearing reports about the man who brutally held his ex-girlfriend he met at a con captive for two months, and news earlier this year about the convicted sex offender who coerced an underage girl he met at a con, I’d like to stress convention safety.
Anime conventions are some of the most fun places to meet new people. For many fans, fitting in doesn’t always come so easily. To spend a weekend being open and honest with one’s fandom, along with thousands of others, is quite liberating. That’s why a long-time con-goer like myself finds it extremely unsettling to hear news like this. Anime conventions are not as withdrawn from the world and its problems as attendees may think.
Some Guidelines for Attending Conventions
- Room with friends you trust.
- If you venture on your own, make sure your friends know where you are, and check-in regularly.
- Pay attention to your surroundings, especially during the rave and walking between hotels at night.
- Young attendees should be accompanied by a parent, older sibling or relative.
- If you’re receiving unwanted attention, notify IRT, con staff or hotel personnel.
- Report dangerous actions, illegal activities and creepers to the authorities.
- Look-out for fellow attendees in need and offer help if your spidey sense is tingling.
In the case of the young woman held captive, my sincere sympathies go out to her. Hopefully she gathers the strength to resume a normal-ish life and finds solace in the anime community. If you think someone you know is tormented by domestic violence, seek help now.
We need to look out for each other. Be vigilant to help convention staff maintain safe and friendly environments for all guests. Incidents like these can be thwarted by honing our street-smarts. Anime conventions are a bonding experience and I’m proud to be an anime fan.
And lastly, I hope news media outlets won’t twist our fandom into something it’s not.