Iris Classon
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Iris Classon - In Love with Code

Stupid Question 107: Shhh… Harassment Not a problem? Strong content warning

You might not read the whole blog post- it’s a lengthy one I know. So I’ll say the most important part right now.

If you EVER harass me you WILL be published on the blog, twitter, facebook and whatever media I have. I don’t back down, I don’t back of. And I’m sure my friends won’t either. And girl, if you have ANY problems with ANYBODY - please reach out to me. Now

A long day

It has been a long day. I just came back from the police station. I feel drained. Tired.

“What happens now?” I asked

“Nothing. If he makes a physical approach then we might have a case” The policeman said

I have a case and I’ll chase the person down. I already have a lot of information, and I don’t need the police to fight this. A part of my fight is making publicly all the details. I know some of you will be able to help, so contact me if you recognize the phone-numbers, the person or anything else.

Sitting in the car my mind drifted, my last year and a half as a developer spun in my head. It has been a crazy year and a half. Good and bad. But I’ve been quiet about the worst.
By no means do I consider myself a role model, a martyr, or a woman’s right ambassador. I didn’t want that role, it was a battle and I felt unprepared. I was closing my eyes, and my mouth. Being hit in the face with a “Nothing” after everything that has happened the last 17 months has changed that. How do you gain control over people?

You keep them scared and keep them quiet.

I’m not scared, and I am sure as hell not staying quiet.

How do you worst manage problems? You pretend they don’t exist

How do you control people? Keep them scared and keep them quiet

I was interviewed by the most known computer magazine in Sweden about my career change. The interview is short, two pictures and a video. As soon as the article is posted extremely offensive comments are posted as well (you can read some of the translate comments here, unfortunately many comments were already remove when I took the screen shot). Barely an hour in the comment feed is closed. Three hours in all offensive comments are deleted, my images removed, and the video removed on one article. The title of the article is changed not to indicate my gender.

And article about a strong woman that looks different that creates strong reactions from the male developer community is suddenly an article about a person captured by code (so it’s not an active choice), and everybody is cheering for her. A few weeks later the same newspaper writes an editorial about this, and how shame it is they had to close the comment feed, and how we need more women in CS. Nothing about removing my identity, and pretending the problem doesn’t exist.

But my blog has the evidence. Comments after comments not approved due to their vulgar language. Some have made it though, and you’ll find them here and there.
But my inbox has the evidence. Email after email with profane comments and suggestions.

Would you tell young girls to not tell? What message are we sending?

I ignored – I ignore no more.

Cause you see, I even got myself two stalkers.

Incidents

Let’s go back to in time. The say you should record all incidents. Time, place and what. Let’s have a look at some of mine, and don’t worry I’ll tell you everything about the police incidence. First things first. And it always starts so subtle. Is there really a problem?

EDIT (from Stupid Question 108: After Q107, what now Iris?)

The incidents I encountered were just a few, writing about everything would make for a rather long blog post so instead I chose a sample, and made sure that the ‘seriousness’ of the incidents varied- so more people could relate and also because I wanted to ask the question: where do we draw the line? I don’t know, but I want to know how others feel. Some of the incidents, taken out of context and standing alone, seem insignificant (and might even so be) - but when put together I wonder what the connection is and if they OK the next action and next incident. You can agree with all, parts of it, or none of it- but your options matter and I wanted to hear them. I might have gotten more than I bargained for…

Record all incidents

During first UG I attend I get tagged on FB with a comment: look we have female developers. I win a T-Shirt for being the only woman there. Does not feel like an accomplishment, nor a compliment.

Not a big deal?

During the opening of a conference girls dressed as cheerleaders, called the Azure girls, sing about penises and drugs.

Still not a big deal?

Later that night a band sings about watching TV and wanking of, getting all the guys to sing along. The lead singer is wearing a T-Shirt saying dolphins are gay sharks.

Still not a big deal?

During the same conference, in the evening, male developers are placing bets if a guy will succeed or not to hit on me. While a guy runs up to me and rudely addresses me, his mates are cheering in the background. I leave in tears and I leave early.

Still not a big deal?

During a live rehearsal of my session ‘Stupid Questions and N00bs’ talking about how women in computer science was at 50% during the 80’s but has since declined I get a comment that since they were using punch cards it was a job even women could do.

Still not a big deal?

I’m approached during a conference by a young developer, he scans me from top to toe and says: What are YOU doing here, because obviously you are not a developer. The look on his face as he turns my name tag around and it has Speaker written in red on it, priceless.

Still not a big deal?

I’ve been getting inappropriate emails that are making me very uncomfortable, they are of private nature and subtle suggestive.
Still not a big deal? Here is my day today

The sms’es I got today

Today

08:30 am– My husband leaves for work. First time I don’t go with him- I got a few things to take care of at home before I head to work

08:35 am – Phone call from a number I don’t recognize. Breathing on the other end. Person hangs up after a 10 seconds. I get a weird feeling. I go to my computer to look up the number.

08:38 am – My phone plings. It’s an MMS with a video. The video is of a man masturbating, video is shot from the hipbone down to mid-thigh. It’s a white male, overweight, small chubby hands, no dirt under his nails and he is circumcised. He is aroused, breaths heavily, but has a problem with his erection. The video is recorded just a few minutes before it was sent.

08:42 am – SMS: “Are you kind of horny? Maybe craving a big hard cock..?” Text is in Swedish

08:43 am – SMS: “Or maybe just some arousing phonesex? With video call?” Text is in Swedish

09:03 am - I text back: “ Fuck of. I’m on my way to the police right now, with information from your phone carrier Telia and meta data from the video. I’m married, so the answer is no, and don’t you fucking think that you have the right to do this you fucking idiot. Do you really think you can be anonymous when you send a video through sms? As soon as I have your address the police will knock on your door and hand over an Idiot of The Year diploma to you. Congratulations. No you keep wanking of, but do it on your own. “

09:20 am – phone rings, a different number (turns out to be another phone carrier, Comviq). Following conversation takes place.

Him : “I want to fuck your pussy, I’m going to…” – he is making his voice hoarser and darker, breathing heavily but also sounding nervous
Me: “Look dude, if you want to talk to me you got to speak up. I can’t hear a shit because of the whole breathing thing you got going on”
He pauses. Complete silence for a few seconds. Then repeats what he said, word for word, louder. I can better hear his voice.
Me: “Really? You can’t talk louder? I’m telling you I really can’t hear what you are saying. Turn it up”
He repeats, loudly this time, sounds nervous as hell and not that aroused anymore. His voice cracks mid-sentence and he hangs up. He doesn’t call back.

Still not a big deal?

Wish I could say it was the first time. Wish I could say it usually doesn’t happen. But even a quick google will let you know that this is very common for female developers to experience. There is even a timeline where you can read about some documented incidents, and I think some of the things I’ve witnessed are even represented here.There is even a site where (I assume) female gamers can upload creepy comments in RE to playing, and the offensive nature of the comments is shocking, and scary.

Still not a big deal?

.

Image borrowed from the site-!

What scares me even more, is the advice and response some of you have given me.

The advice and response I’ve been given that I dislike and disagree with:
Ignore it- most studies actually conclude that you should not ignore
Hide – rather impossible, and it also gives the impression that the problem does not exist
Take it- I should kind of blame myself for looking the way I look I had a comment or two say

And then the advice I Iike
Fight it – not take it, not hide, and not change who you are

My question to you, **Still not a big deal?**

Comments

Leave a comment (via email)
Richard Campbell
12/20/2012 2:05:20 PM
It's a big deal. Feel free to blog every harassing statement. The more public the better. 
Daniel Forster
12/20/2012 2:05:24 PM
This is sick... really disturbing. And also very sad and shows what a crazy world we live in. If I can help in any way just holler at me on twitter or facebook. I really hope this bullshit comes to an end. 
Charles Nurse
12/20/2012 2:13:22 PM
Iris - this is so sad.  
I am speechless - you are an awesome person and don't deserve this crap.  As a developer who is a father to a daughter who is starting out in the Industry, I know that it is hard for women in this industry - but this is absolutely disgusting.
I totally agree with you - fight it as hard as you can.  And know that this male developer is on your side. 
Anders H
12/20/2012 2:28:13 PM
I'm so sorry to hear that this has happened to you. It's just horrible. I'm glad you went to the police with it as it's really the best thing to do in regards to a specific incident like this. However the problem, as you very well illustrate, is larger than a single sad individual who can't keep his fantasies to himself.

I just looked up the Azure girls and I can't help but feel down right ashamed for being of the male gender. I would feel extremely weirded out if I was at a conference and something like that happened. I thought NDC and other big conferences were for grown up people and not teenage boys. Jesus! I guess part of the problem is that heavily male-dominated areas (or for that matter areas that are believed to be male-dominated but really aren't, like gaming) is that crude sexism is normalized and accepted. It's a very self-proliferating problem. That last screenshot is actually of one of the most famous Starcraft 2 players in the world, which really says a lot. I can't believe he would speak like that when he knows most of his games are recorded... unless of course if would be completely acceptible to behave in that way in the arena he's in. Which it is, sadly.

If it's of any comfort, my wife is in a business where she gets stuff like you got today (although not as sexually oriented) every now and then and not once has any of it spilled over into real life in terms of people trying to approach her. It's actually extremely rare that people like this would move past the safety of a keyboard/phone. That doesn't make it any less creepy or infuriating though. If I were you in this situation I'd like nothing more than go to town with an aluminum bat... 
Sumit
12/20/2012 2:29:19 PM
Shocking and Sad!!! Name and shame the retards! Don't back down...

That said, be careful. 
Teach
12/20/2012 2:31:53 PM
This is nasty! Do as Richard suggest and publish everything. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Keep fighting and use/accept any support you are offered. 
Keith Baker
12/20/2012 2:38:28 PM
Keep up the fight. As a father and developer with daughters I need people like you to fight. 
Amy Palamountain
12/20/2012 2:48:42 PM
Iris, you are so strong to post something like this. It makes me sick every time I hear stories like this, and your right, these stories generally stay quiet. 

Unfortunately, these kinds of interactions are about power plays. They are designed to make the receiver of the harassment feel powerless, small and worthless, and the increase the offenders feeling of self entitlement and importance. Staying quite gives these people what the want - to remain in the position of power. 

Power plays come in all shapes and forms, from publicly questioning a woman loudly and repeatedly on why she is wearing makeup today, or wearing a nice dress, to the outwardly vulgar and disgustingly low acts you have posted here. Its all designed as an attempt to make you feel weak and vulnerable. Some men simply can not cope mentally with the concept of a strong woman. They ruin it for all the great men we know.

I'll say it again, because its true. You are so strong to post something like this. Keep being the strong woman you are. I really hope this doesn't happen again. 
Shane Charles
12/20/2012 2:50:18 PM
I'm happy you went to the police. These are absolutely disgusting and reprehensible actions by some sick people. This stuff should never be ignored. You give them hell and fight. You have a lot of support behind you. 
Bronwen Zande
12/20/2012 2:50:34 PM
Terrible to hear but seems not that uncommon in our industry sadly. I've quite often been asked at conferences if i'm lost and looking for my boyfriend or told i'm only a speaker to be the token female to appease the feminists by other attendees.

Good on you for not ignoring or hiding from it. 
Ralph Moritz
12/20/2012 2:52:26 PM
As a man I find this extremely embarrassing & I'm really sorry that it had to happen to you. Why do there have to be so many neanderthals in our profession? 
Michael Lund
12/20/2012 2:53:00 PM
This is not ok. And you rock for taking it on and fighting it. 
Even though you don't want to be a role model, you are one, because you are a welknown female developer and speaker. Therefore it is an extra important fight  you are engaging in here. And I believe most of the dev comunity is standing behind you! Just shout and help will come, because we will not have it! 
Cori Drew
12/20/2012 3:12:17 PM
Iris,
As a female developer who did not get into this industry until I was older, it deeply saddens me that you've experienced all of this. 

I've experienced the opposite in such the extreme that I'm strongly urging both of my daughters into this industry because I love it, and the people, so much.

Admittedly, most I've met have been [older than 30], but the support & respect I've felt from the ACTUAL community has been astounding. Like this post is doing, I OH'd a conversation at /BUILD/ where the (dev) GUYS were actually sharing war storied about how they publicly embarrassed guys who behaved badly around a female dev at an event & they taught them a lesson. Like I said, I just can't elaborate enough on how good to the core the devs I've met are - just really good people. 

Ironically, where I've had issues, has been from the ones just outside the community. By that, I'm not talking about the awesome spouses & family. I'm talking about the non-technical "event supporters." 

For example, when I was at the first /BUILD/ conference, it was unbelievable how many [waitresses / hotel employees / booth workers] asked me if I was a "wife or a girlfriend," and/or what I did for a living, which also happened to me at the first CodeMash I attended (I'm resultingly, admittedly, a bit neurotic about wearing my event badge EVERYWHERE, no matter what time of day it is). For a while, that question was really offensive to me, but I realized that I'm NOT the "norm" at an event like that (I even blogged pics of the restroom line here http://truncatedcodr.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/my-week-at-build-part-2/ ).
 
The saddest thing about all of this is, we have THOUSANDS of wonderful, respectful people in our awesome dev community, and those two stalker a-holes are giving a bad name to all men. It only takes one. 

Thank you for being brave enough to make this public. Hopefully those few will realize how much they impact the reputation of the many. 
Andrew
12/20/2012 3:16:14 PM
Iris,
Disgusted to read of this behaviour. I would suggest that being a female developer is irrelevant.
It is the fact that you are a prominent and obviously strong female and these weirdos probably feel inferior to you, and they would be right.
Well done with publicising this and I hope the police help you but I wouldn't hold your breath. Hold your head high cause you have done nothing to warrant this harrasment. I wish you all the best in all your efforts. 
Jon Davis
12/20/2012 3:26:56 PM
I think the only reason why some might say to hide it or ignore it is because there is an assumption that the harassers are trolling. Trolling is all about trying to get you worked up just for the sake of getting you worked up, creating a fight for the sake of creating a fight, etc. If you publish it, the theory goes, they are getting exactly what they want.

I think that such trolling comes more from bored haters than horny harassers. Meanwhile, honestly, some of them might simply be uneducated about how they should interact and not realize that what they are asking are making you uncomfortable. Please consider that if there is any level of being unsure, it might be best to give them the benefit of a doubt--in which case, please do publish and broadcast it, but do so with a teaching manner and not with spite and anger because honestly some people don't know.

Also, please, *please* make it clear if you haven't made it clear already (obviously you did in this article) that you are happily married. Put it in your bio. You will instantly gain a lot more respect, just because so many guys would otherwise be thinking without realizing they're thinking it, "I might have a chance," and then idiotically proceed to engage in the worst imaginable behavior. 
Kevin Major
12/20/2012 3:37:22 PM
I want to applaud your bravery.  It's all too easy to ignore wrongdoing.  It seems like women are always taught to let things go, to ignore the bad with a smile.  As though that actually accomplishes anything.

It saddens me that a far too large number of my gender still treat women as though they were trophies, whose worth can only be measured by crass metrics.  I mean, we're about a couple of weeks from the year 2013.  We should be beyond this kind of thinking, let alone this kind of behavior.

I'm not sure what else to say other than I hope you never feel like you have to be silent over anything again. 
Adron
12/20/2012 3:38:01 PM
Blog it. Never stop. Don't change who you are. Don't change the way you want to dress, wear your hair/cloths/shoes or whatever. Fight back. You've got the vast majority of people behind you. Just because there is some utter shit, don't forget that there are more of us that aren't.

I've worked with a lot of women in the industry. It is unfortunate that women have had to learn to fight this type of shit. I stand beside them, I help when I'm needed, and I crack down on this behavior every time I get a chance. Rarely though, all I need to do is set an example for other men in the workforce. So keep kicking ass, do not stop, and keep taking up for yourself. I've no doubt you'll have a huge army of devs, people and majority on your side if these people don't go away and leave you be.

If I can ever help, don't hesitate to ask. 
Rob Collett
12/20/2012 3:42:37 PM
Shit that's horrid. As a father of a young girl I had hopes my daughter would follow in my footsteps and do the whole dev. thing. I read the crap you've gone through and it makes me question that  life for her. I guess as a male this stuff isn't in my face and isn't something I'd ever appreciate but it's desperately sad. You are so right though - why the f&ck should some dregs of humanity question your right - name and shame them. 
Jochem Bökkers
12/20/2012 3:43:28 PM
Iris, thanks for speaking up and opening our eyes once again. Over the years you read about this stuff happening and somehow in the back of my mind I always believed stuff like this happens only in the more 'chauvinistic' cultures... somehow this happening in Europe (Sweden) seems surreal and hopefully is the acts of a lone nut and not symptomatic for our cultures nor the dev community.

Like Michael said, speak up and we'll stand behind you as a united community of which we're honored to have you as a member. 

Lots of strength and courage to you and your family in dealing with this horrible ordeal.

Jochem,
Sitefinity MVP 
Jean-Denis
12/20/2012 4:50:32 PM
Oh my. I am breathless. How despicable these... PoS can be. You have my full support from France. 
Dave Nicolette
12/20/2012 4:52:33 PM
I am shocked to hear your story. Although it must seem overwhelming from your point of view, I don't think this behavior is representative of our profession. You have the support of your colleagues around the world to end this. Whenever we hear such comments from co-workers we all should speak out about it immediately and make it clear that it is not acceptable. 
Craig
12/20/2012 5:29:25 PM
Keep fighting the good fight. These sad-sack cowards are pathetic and all too common, unfortunately. From what I can tell, nothing brings these terminally under-sexed losers out of the woodwork like a woman standing up for herself, so you might have a horde of these creeps knocking on your website's proverbial door soon enough. Looks like you've got the determination to fight it though, so give 'em hell! 
D.M. Hendricks
12/20/2012 6:05:35 PM
This behavior is reprehensible and I hope the police are able to identify and prosecute the person or people engaged in it.  We have amazing technology available to us--and some choose to pollute it with vile behavior most of them would never display publicly.  

Strength to you and your family.  I hope the idiots harassing you are exposed soon. 
Giles Bowkett
12/20/2012 6:20:09 PM
Fight it, and here's why. I've seen people doing sexist stuff at meetups and been the only one to push back. I've seen people doing sexist stuff and not getting any push-back at all, because I didn't decide to fight it. I've even done sexist stuff by accident myself because I was so used to going along with it. Not proud to admit, but it's true.

But when I fight, people stand with me. When I see someone doing the right thing, I give them my support. You have to fight so that other people remember that they can do the same thing. Someone has to be the one to go first. But choose your battles wisely. :-) Otherwise you'll just end up exhausted. 
David Starr
12/20/2012 6:55:56 PM
I am sorry this happened to you. Sadly, this isn't just in tech. It's everywhere. And that's not acceptable.

Good for you, not going quietly. 
Andy Dent
12/20/2012 7:04:37 PM
This sadly reminds me of working at the CSIRO, government scientific organisation in Australia, where all the female scientists resolutely avoided makeup & didn't dress up, so you could see at a glance they were scientists. The female admin staff got to wear a "uniform" of makeup and smarter clothes. 

My fabulous daughter is a primary school teacher so isn't exposed to this techie immature idiocy. Please keep on setting a strong example and publish as much as you can of the personal details of these people to shame them online! 
Chris
12/20/2012 7:21:11 PM
It amazes me that anyone can act like that. As far as I'm concerned, if you track them down, ruin them. Tell their families what they've been doing, tell their employers what they've been doing.
We don't need people like that in the developer community. 
Benji
12/20/2012 7:30:37 PM
Boo hoo. I'm drawing attention to myself in order to gain sympathy and attention.

I don't doubt that some of this a truth but as a good looking male developer I've had females stalk me too. Unfortunately when I take about it I don't get sympathy. Consequently I don't create blog posts about it to gain twitter followers. All I'm saying is that your style of bringing up this concern is self-serving. 
John
12/20/2012 7:31:39 PM
I'm not condoning any of the actions you have discussed here but as a 27yr old male I have been told online that someone is going to rape me and rip me head off and fuck the whole... I doubt those 2 examples were targeted directly at you as a woman, its just what immature little gamers say.  They also want to fuck my mom. 
Mike
12/20/2012 7:42:21 PM
Ok, at first I was pissed and couldnt finish this article. I stopped before I got to the ACTUAL harassment because my first reaction was this:

Socially awkward geeks give only girl T-Shirt = Trying to encourage more women to become devs.

Taken as = ZOMG this is sexual harassment!

Anger level hits about a 7, I feel like entering the harassment. 

Then "nasty" comments on a thread. 

Oh lawdy me, not comments that can be deleted! what eva shall a girl do? POLICE!!!!

So I stopped reading. Some legitimate devs that I respect tell me I should keep reading, and assure me she is a legit dev, so she is probably not just looking for attention because of her lack of competency. 

I continue reading, and there are some legit complaints here. Def worthy of going to the police. The guy(s) involved deserve worse than a slap on the wrist from the police, and my first thought was 4chan. Then after thinking that I realized, it probably WAS 4chan. 

The development community takes a hit because of some 13-15 year olds with access to proxies and VPN's. 

The truth is, this is not isolated, this is everywhere, every occupation, sad but true, I do not think the dev community is over flowing with chauvinistic pigs, leering around every corner ready to rape the next woman that comes along. 

Maybe this article was understated but in my opinion over reaction, and possibly even exaggerated. If the police know who the guy is, then sending pics of yourself jerking off is illegal, last time i checked. 
Suz
12/20/2012 7:46:27 PM
Wow, this is horrifying. I'm a 49 year old woman who has worked in IT for 30 years now (was developer and now DBA)  and I've not ever been on the receiving end of anything like this mercifully.
When I was a child in the 70s we were told that if a man tried to rape us not to resist, but to simply let him do what he wanted as we were less likely to get hurt. A lot of women died as a result of that. My daughters were taught (officially and privately) to fight back if attacked. Mercifully none of us have ever had to deal with that either.

This is similar, you must fight back, otherwise women will get hurt. 
Niffe
12/20/2012 8:11:47 PM
Huge deal. 

Unfortunately we all have a lot of work to do here, each at whatever end of this they are on. 

I will keep trying to do my part, and I hope you will keep having the strength and energy to keep doing yours. 
Doug Hemminger
12/20/2012 8:29:26 PM
As a developer in the United States, I have several female developer friends that report experiences that are not much different than what you describe here. The problem is rampant. It is abhorrent. Not only do we not have enough women in the industry, but they are regularly paid less and frequently mentally and sometimes physically abused. The abuse sometimes takes the form of obviously inappropriate (and sometimes criminal) advances. But it frequently takes the form of more subtle jokes, innuendos and inappropriate remarks. It ALL has to stop. The battle does not start and end with women, though. Men should not--CANNOT--accept inappropriate gender-biased behavior from their coworkers (regardless of whether women are present), their peers, their children, their friends or from anyone else that breathes. 
Caleb Jenkins
12/20/2012 8:38:59 PM
Holy crap Iris! I have no idea how you put up with this sort of thing, and yet you still have the ability to function and absolutely shine the way you do! Don't change, don't back down, not for anyone. I have 3 girls at home and a shotgun. My prayer is that they don't have to put with this sort of thing when they are older. Keep fightin' the good fight, and know that the decent people of this world have your back 100%. 
Maggie Longshore
12/20/2012 9:12:04 PM
Reply to: Jon Davis
Jon, I'm sure you mean well, but Iris should not have to advertise that she is married.  This behavior is unacceptable and would not be more acceptable if she were single. 
Robbie Coleman
12/20/2012 9:26:54 PM
Thank you for having the courage to stand up and not back down to the madness. I have a wife and two daughters and want them all to have the same opportunities that I have had without having to endure any mistreatment. In order for my hopes for them to come true, it is going to take a lot more women like you to stand up and shout out loud to the world that this is NOT ok. I truly hope that your 2013 brings you better things without scared and never-matured males distracting you from what you want to do.

peace,
-- robbie 
Michiel de Rond
12/20/2012 9:34:50 PM
After reading your blog, there is so much I would like to say, but everything has already been said above. Still, this should never ever happen, no matter what kind of work you do or how you choose to (hair)dress. Unfortunately this kind of people can be found anywhere, and what you're doing is probably the only way to deal with it. Be stronger and don't hide! Don't let them get away with this. Even if the police can't or won't do anything, the publicity might help.

As a male I am totally embarrased for this behaviour, and as a father of a (tech-interested) eleven year old daughter this scares me.

Take care, and keep up the fight! 
Jeremy Morgan
12/20/2012 9:37:32 PM
Iris, 

I am shocked and embarrassed to hear about this. I'm glad you're blogging it, this NEEDS to be put out there and it needs to stop. I sincerely hope this doesn't discourage you in any way, and I have a feeling it won't.  

Guys, we can't let stuff like this happen. These idiots do not represent the majority of developers and when this kind of stuff happens we need to make THEM feel marginalized and left out. They need to be shunned in every way possible. I don't attend many as many conferences as I'd like but I'll be one of the first who will stand up against this childish and idiotic behavior. It won't happen in front of me, and I'm asking fellow men to stand up to it too. 

Any man that is against women developers is likely just feeling insecure about either his manhood or abilities, or both. I've met so many women developers and worked alongside them (even currently) and they are every bit as good or better than the rest of us. And with the caliber of people I work with we don't have to feel insecure about ourselves and don't treat them any different. That's what we all need to strive for. 

Keep your head up, and just be you, and keep embarrassing these guys. You've got a lot of us here behind you now. They're the odd ones out. 
H. Alan Stevens
12/20/2012 9:46:10 PM
I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I'm not. http://halanstevens.com/a-culture-of-potential-assholes-sexual-harassment-in-it/

One thing to remember is that the people that act in the ways you describe are not your run-of-the-mill, socially awkward geeks. These guys are extreme assholes.

Please keep speaking publicly about this. I know some awesome female developers, but we need more of you.

++Alan 
Sherman Woo
12/20/2012 10:04:04 PM
I am shocked, embarrassed, ashamed, saddened, and shocked all over again. Rinse, repeat. This makes me sick...

I hope it does not exist in the SharePoint Community (but I don't know for certain it does not; my guess is, it does to at least some extent) where there are many well-known and very respected female specialists/experts. At the SharePoint Conference in November, I guesstimate that there were 30-40% female. I suspect that's a lot at a tech conference. And this is what makes the SharePoint Community awesome. In fact, I don't know if I've ever even heard anyone in the SharePoint Community make note that someone is male/female/black/white/red/green/yellow/blue. It doesn't matter. 

Why do I bring this up? I'm proud to be a member of this Community. As a father with two young girls, I am constantly looking for strong female role models, and am happy to be able to say to them, "Look, one day you can be just like her!"

So I say to you, I'm sorry for what you have and are continuing to go through. I believe you know, and some comments echoed above, that not every male in the IT industry is like this. Sadly, *we* have to also know that there *are* some males that haven't yet matured (yes, I know I'm putting it mildly). And we have to continue to support others that are trying to get into the profession, male or female, but especially the women. 

Keep plowing through. Stay strong. Fight the good fight. For what it's worth, *I* stand by you. (I'd love to be one of the guys mentioned in another comment who have shamed douche-bags; sounds like fun!)

We support you. We have your back. 
Slampen
12/20/2012 11:09:27 PM
Sick people.
I Think you do the right thing. 
jgauffin
12/21/2012 12:07:54 AM
It really saddens me to hear things like this. No one should ever have to go through things like that. Please do not let this stop you. We need more girls like you. You are amazing.

Those who do all that are sick lonely bastards who do not belong in this community. 
Lars Wikman
12/21/2012 12:12:26 AM
I'm all for exposing the bastards. Hope you can get the Police on many of them but I keep hearing that this doesn't work. Net threats are way to safe still.

I'm plenty angry right now. Women in code are rare and it is twisting the culture into a very entitled bunch of majority white middle class boyish men who have an angry view of women from their teens. I want this shit to stop. 
Hasen Ahmad
12/21/2012 12:20:05 AM
Damn, reading this made totally pissed! I've been following your blog for a while and I kinda forget that you are a woman sometimes (since you focus on the coding ;p) and probably deal with these kinds of horrible dudes.  It sucks, I can't relate and have no advice. All I can say is keep knockin' these fucks back! You got the power here, any guy that acts like that is just a weak little boy. 
Andreas M.
12/21/2012 12:28:06 AM
Meet the guy and cut his fucking dick off! 
Joachim Isaksson
12/21/2012 1:43:24 AM
This _is_ a big deal and not a way to treat _anyone_ under _any_ circumstances.
I hope the police take it seriously. 
Daniel Widegren
12/21/2012 2:17:30 AM
Sadly stalking is way to common out there, even my family have had the need to deal with it many years ago luckely that passed but back then there was nothing you could do about it.

It's estimated that over 200 000 is being actively stalking right now in Sweden alone, only possitive thing about it is that the new law since last year... thought dunno how effective it is but we can always hope.

But anyhow good luck and hope this person stops as I know how horrifying it can be. 
LykeX
12/21/2012 4:09:04 AM
Reply to: Jon Davis
@Jon Davis 
I'm not happy about your last bit of advice. We should treat women decently whether they're married or not, so it comes off a bit like the kind of practical advice that puts all the weight on the victim rather than criticizing the abusers. It pushes the problem under the carpet because whole some guys might not harass Iris if they know she's married, that doesn't means they won't be harassing others; probably people with less opportunity to speak out about it. 
Rebecca
12/21/2012 4:30:28 AM
Hejsan, 
Först vill jag bara säga att jag har aldrig vart inne på din blogg tidigare, min pojkvän och jag bor utanför Liverpool i England och han är system developer, och jag jobbar på hans kontor, och det har pratats en del om dig. Inget så illa som detta, killarna här är ganska normala om jag ska vara ärlig. haha.

Men jag tycker verkligen inte att du ska ignorera detta eller gömma dig på grund av det här, det är det dummaste jag hört. om man inte gör något kommer det aldrig att sluta, jag vet att det kan vara svårt, är själv enda tjejen på kontoret, och det är endast 3 tjejer på hela företaget. Men om jag ska vara ärlig så vet jag faktiskt inte vad jag hade gjort. 

Det måsta vara väldigt svårt att inte ta åt sig eller typ ta till sig av detta. Jag hade förmodligen inte vart lika stark som du när det gäller detta, men det är bara att stå på sig. Vet att det låter illa, jag menar INTE att du ska behöva ta detta. elelr att det är bara att vänja sig. för det tycker jag verkligen inte. Men iallafall, vet inte vad jag ska säga mer riktigt, 

Men jag jag vet hur det känns, kanske inte haft det riktigt såhär illa, men jag vet vad känslan du talar om är, Stå på dig och gör som Grynet, Ta inge skit! :) hoppas verkligen att idioterna lägger av. När jag tänker efter tycker jag mest synd om dom, jag menar vad har dom för jävla liv liksom? Ringer upp en främling på telefon och stönar? Det är ju jävligt normalt..... 

Ibland undrar man vad det är för fel på folk alltså... 

Ahja, det var väl det, hoppas det lugnar ner sig snart. och jag älskar ditt rosa hår btw. :) 
Puss hej. 
Maureen Brian
12/21/2012 4:50:27 AM
Stop making excuses, Jon Davis.  This is disgusting behaviour and your attempt to explain it away makes you part of the problem.  Do something about that, pronto!

And why does Iris have to erect the magical protective veil of "I've got a husband"  -  none of your damn business or anyone else's what her domestic arrangements are.

She's a human being therefore she get treated with respect  -  no ifs, no buts, no bullshit. 
Anders Abel
12/21/2012 5:03:26 AM
Reply to: Benji
Being harassed this way is not okay for anyone. I think Iris is really strong in going public with this and she deserves our full support.

If you have been stalked yourself you should know what it is like and support Iris instead of insulting here. 
Mark Seemann
12/21/2012 5:06:17 AM
That's... appalling!

Keep fighting the fight! I have a daughter, and while I think she's not inclined to software development, I would love to see her grow up and become a programmer. I still do, after reading this article, but I hope things will get better soon. What can I do to make this happen? 
Anders Abel
12/21/2012 5:06:41 AM
Reply to: John
If you think that this is just a problem of some "immature little gamers" you miss the whole point: The open sexism in our industry. As adults, it's our responsibility to fight any harassment we see and create a community that is open and welcomes anyone that has the technical interest. 
Nick GoNtts
12/21/2012 5:12:12 AM
Reply to: Benji
You're nearly as vile as the men harassing Iris Classon. If what you say about being stalked is true, then it's up to you how you choose to deal with it. It is not up to you to tell other people how they should do so. 
Christian Wattengård
12/21/2012 5:28:33 AM
Of course fight it!!! And +1 for outing phone numbers :)

Kald hilsen fra Trondheim :) 
Rinman
12/21/2012 5:35:01 AM
I agree, the only possible reaction is to fight this! With more women coming out in the open with stories like this, making ppl aware, we should be able to fight it, together!

Thank you for sharing, I really hope it will become better in the future! 
Paul Speranza
12/21/2012 6:28:03 AM
In over 25 years of software development/engineering I have never seen nor heard of anything like the conference that you describe. I hope this is not a new trend. Absolutley disgusting behavior.Just keep on doing what you do, but please keep the proper authorities involved. 
Tim Beadle
12/21/2012 6:38:58 AM
Horrible, absolutely horrible.

As a man, I am appalled at how low my gender can sink. As a father who hopes his daughters at least consider going into tech when they're older, I applaud you for standing up to these sad, twisted bullies. 
Magnus Stråle
12/21/2012 7:19:41 AM
Jisses... att behöva skämmas så för en yrkeskår (som jag själv tillhör) och det manliga könet (som jag också tillhör). Jag tror och hoppas att jag talar för en majoritet av oss (manliga utvecklare) när jag säger att jag hoppas du lyckas komma åt de idioter som trakasserar dej. Stå på dej! 
Mook
12/21/2012 8:23:44 AM
Horrific.  Hope they're caught, and I'm disturbed that this might not be uncommon. 
Alessandro Dal Grande
12/21/2012 8:43:03 AM
There is not a torture merciless enough to punish this ugly bastard. Respect to Iris. 
Sean Kearon
12/21/2012 10:23:59 AM
That's completely terrible.  You or anybody else should not have to put up with any of that - nobody should.  I absolutely applaud your strength for writing and fighting.  More power to you! 
Jacob Beard
12/21/2012 10:27:38 AM
This post makes me sad. As a male developer, I would like to apologize on behalf of my gender. 
Tom Hall
12/21/2012 10:40:53 AM
You mean back off in your TL;DR 
Erik P.
12/21/2012 10:41:49 AM
I'm sorry to hear about how you are being treated. I don't have any advice for you because I've never heard of such a thing (I lead a sheltered and happy life). I will say that the world is chock full of fucking losers. I hope they will not succeed in derailing your life or distracting you from your own success and happiness.

Best wishes to you. 
talking about
12/21/2012 10:45:41 AM
Talking about women respected and not seen as sexual objects...

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150317478148987.364626.15849483986&type=3 
Tom Hall
12/21/2012 10:47:03 AM
Wow, what a shocking story, I would like to think it is rare but I fear not. 
Mike C
12/21/2012 10:54:47 AM
Thank you for posting this, and thanks for being strong.  Not all of the industry is like this, but we need efforts like yours (and everyone else's) to help clean things up so that none of the industry (or anywhere else in society) is like this.  I've always enjoyed your articles, but this one is probably one of the most important ones you've written.  You've got my support from Canada.  Keep blogging! 
Wendy
12/21/2012 11:03:35 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience - it definitely makes me feel, as a woman in tech, that I should NOT keep quiet. That I should fight back, even if I end up with harassment (as apparent in some of the comments in here from guys who DON'T think it's a big deal). Thank you and stay strong! 
jupiajupijupitaur
12/21/2012 11:05:04 AM
Reply to: Mike
If you think she wants attention for being harassed you're an idiot. 
Wendy
12/21/2012 11:06:33 AM
Reply to: Jon Davis
@Jon I don't agree with your "make it clear ... you're married" advice. I make it pretty blatantly clear I'm married when I am at tech conferences (wearing a ring, absolutely bring up my husband when conversations get awkward/weird), but it doesn't make a difference. It only seems to attract a whole other demographic of tech guys who are interested in the "challenge" of a married/taken woman. 
Glenn Block
12/21/2012 11:35:17 AM
Iris

I am really sorry to hear you are going through this! This totally reprehensible and unacceptable. Sadly, you are not the first person I have heard of that has experience this kind if thing. You didn't do anything wrong and you should fight! Because if you don't it will never change. I know it is easy to say, especially when I am not in the same situation. Be strong and keep doing what you are doing. I'd advise you to see if there are other groups out there that are taking on this fight. If not, create one! 
Rob Conery
12/21/2012 11:54:02 AM
Reply to: Jon Davis
Jon, I'm sure you mean well, and I'm sure you think you have some interesting ideas. Can you please shut the fuck up because you're ruining it for the rest of us guys.

Trolling? A guy whacking off in text message is "trolling"? Give him the "benefit of the doubt".

This is a crime, not a troll. Please extract your head from your ass. 
Ed Drain
12/21/2012 11:55:19 AM
Reply to: Andrew
I disagree with comment about Iris being a developer being not relevant. Software rules the world and some insecure, misogynistic, guys feel like it is their right and duty to harass women who have dared to enter their realm.  Sexual harassment of any kind is WRONG and I applaud Iris for calling it out.  If I understood her entry right, and she was at a company function where girls sang about penises, I'd say she has grounds for civil action against the company.  Iris: three cheers to you for standing up and calling out those jerks! 
Ed Drain
12/21/2012 11:57:02 AM
Reply to: Maggie Longshore
agree! 
Fredrik Björeman
12/21/2012 12:03:24 PM
Benji, if everyone acted like Iris nobody would have to go through what she is going through now. If you have had similar things happen to you, you should speak up about it too. That's the only way we can make the world better. The other path only means bad things for everyone. 
Ed Drain
12/21/2012 12:03:40 PM
Reply to: Benji
Benji, 

Wow!  So you are pissed at Iris for having the spine you lacked?  You would have her be quiet so you can feel better about yourself?  I can see why you said you were a male developer, but good looking?  You really felt you had to say that?  I think women reading this, if they knew it was you, would probably do there best to steer clear of you forevermore.  Then again, with your level of misogyny, they probably do already!  You are a real bastard complaining about a woman who has been sexually harassed.  One has to wonder why you are on the side of the harassers -- unless you are one of them! 
Rob Conery
12/21/2012 12:05:31 PM
Reply to: Mike
"I do not think the dev community is over flowing with chauvinistic pigs"

You just can't make this shit up. Oh, and fuck you Mike. 
Chris Sells
12/21/2012 12:08:53 PM
Iris, keep fighting. You can count on my support. No harasser is going to like me when I'm angry. 
MNb
12/21/2012 12:16:44 PM
Being whitel, male, overweight and Dutch I only say:

Keep your head up. 
Charles
12/21/2012 12:17:28 PM
Reply to: Anders H
DuckloadRa is indeed a famous Starcraft2 player, but that's not a Starcraft 2 screenshot. And DuckloadRa is unlikely to say something so horrific  - he's a married man, very polite, and has never shown any such behavior before. Had it been him, he would have probably lost his sponsorship (Duckload is a corporate sponsor, his actual "name" is WhiteRa:
http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/White-Ra)
Most likely this is a fan of his, or someone adopting his name in a different game hoping to be mistaken for him. 
Not excusing the behavior, or saying such vitriol doesn't exist in professional gaming (there is ample evidence it's actually quite bad in professional fighting games, for example) - but the Starcraft "circuit" is one of the least-sexist out there, still has sexism but not this sort of shit. 
And it's something the professional organizers and pro players are fighting. It's extremely unlikely it was Aleksey who made those comments. 
Ed Drain
12/21/2012 12:19:44 PM
Reply to: Mike
Mike,

You stopped reading. Wow, you are so brave.  

Now, you, the HERO of the day, is explaining how really it was Iris's response to being singled out, on stage, that is worthy of anger.  Wow, thanks for that cause I NEVER would have thought of that.  While I was trapped in thinking about all the in-justices women endure ALL OVER THE EARTH, you were concerned about some boys (men would have known to ask another woman how she would feel if put in the situation she was put in, before putting her in that position) feeling bad about their awkward "gift".

Male developers get a bad rap?  How about being concerned first about justice to the victim and letting the perps take the blame.  I never heard her ONCE say all men are to blame.  Sounds more like you have a problem yourself. 
Pete
12/21/2012 12:27:35 PM
Reply to: Mike
@Mike, I don't get where you are coming from.  You admit that you couldn't even get through the entire article, yet you start picking her apart.  Did you follow the links? Did you see what kinds of things she dealt with regarding an article that was done on her?

Can you imagine if people automatically assumed that you weren't hired for your ability because you happened to be an attractive person? That you must "do favors" or "put out" and not that you are qualified?

New graduates get jobs all the time, but somehow Iris - who threw herself into development with a passion that is commendable - is unique because she was able to find a company to take a chance on a junior dev?  That doesn't make sense.

Maybe it is 4chan, maybe it is some idiot dev she ran into some time, who knows?  What does it matter?  Men don't often understand just what women have to try to overcome in a male-dominated industry, weighing in that someone is over-blowing things that you have no idea about is just trolling at best or moronic at worst.

I'm not speaking as someone who wants to curry favor with Iris or the dev community at large, I'm speaking as a husband of a wife and a father of two daughters who I never want to have to experience something like this.  If some creep tried to harass my  daughters this way, I'd show Jack Bauer some new tricks if I ever got my hands on them. 

We cannot tolerate this as a community. 
Shawn WIldermuth
12/21/2012 12:28:31 PM
I am perplexed by the backlash to this post. Most of us have seen this happen or been a part of it. Pretending that there isn't a 2nd standard for women in development is silly. Women tend to get shoe-horned into jobs where they are either doing sustaining engineering or just UI development. This perpetuates the stereotypes of the different genders and isn't helpful.

When flames come to posts like these I have to ask what sort of backwards thinking is going on. My guess is trolls are going to be trolls. I get this on my site from time to time when people don't agree with me. Instead of debating the merits of the post, I'll get "But you're just a fat &*()" which doesn't help the discussion...and as if I've never been called fat. 

I don't get most of humanity, I admit. 
acv
12/21/2012 12:29:49 PM
Reply to: Mike
1. The t-shirt comment doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but it is quite patronizing to essentially say she deserves an award for being an engaged developer _despite her gender_. That's the (admittedly, probably unintentional) subtext she was trying to illuminate. 

2. The fact that you jumped to attention-whoring to get noticed since she wasn't likely a competent dev *proves her point* that the assumption of a female dev by many male devs is that she got there based on her gender's under-representation instead of on merit.

3. Why would you take so much time to let everyone know how you were dismissive of the article before it took someone else to convince you to finish reading it? Are you trying to erect a bro-shield to deflect trolling from the same segment of douchebags harassing her and other women? Then you are, once again, proving her point.

4. You are acting like a jackass. The fact that you got mad about her expressing anger and pain over exclusionary behavior from men and *not the fact that she was being excluded and made unwelcome by devs at dev conferences* is appalling. 

You are part of the problem. 
Darren
12/21/2012 12:31:30 PM
Reply to: Benji
My recommendation to you would be to converse with the stalkers, as when they quickly realise what a dick you are, they will likely leave you alone! 
Tombatron
12/21/2012 1:03:09 PM
Reply to: John
I would suggest that as I male someone threatening to rape you has a little less significance than if you were a female. 

Gavin de Becker a noted threat assessment expert has this to say on the subject: “Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect while most women fear rape and death.” 
Ingo
12/21/2012 1:05:22 PM
What  t h e  hell!!
I'm truly embarrassed to be a man. 
Joel R
12/21/2012 1:47:14 PM
Hello Iris,  

The only way this type of harassment gets solved is people standing up to it.  Don't ignore it.  Don't hide from it.  Speak loudly that this behavior is not acceptable.  Get the police involved with anything that is criminal.  Shine as much light on these people and this issue as you can.  Good for you for posting this.  Thank you.

Joel 
Judah Gabriel Himango
12/21/2012 1:49:40 PM
Fight it. Shine some light on those basement-dwelling idiots. 
H
12/21/2012 1:54:10 PM
If you could find their moms, send them the pictures and sms....ask them if this is their little darlings. 
GG
12/21/2012 2:25:54 PM
I feel ashamed of my gender. 
Rachel Nabors
12/21/2012 2:26:07 PM
Reply to: H
"Asshat-shaming." I like it. 
Rachel Nabors
12/21/2012 2:30:57 PM
Stories like this make me not feel bad for calling out my peers and superiors on casual and blatant sexism. Zero tolerance. Peer pressure can make big changes.

Also, speakers and attendees, men and women, boycott conferences that do not provide a solid harassment policy. And let the organizers know loud and clear that you want to see that. 
OJ
12/21/2012 2:47:09 PM
This makes me sad and embarrassed about my profession, and I'm utterly disgusted that you're having to deal with this shit.

The idiots out there who either think that this doesn't happen or that it's not an issue need to seriously reevaluate the situation. We should have moved beyond this kind of behaviour centuries ago.

I am sorry on behalf of the developer community that you are most definitely a valuable part of. Please don't let these morons put you off. Definitely fight them. Make LOTS of noise. Scream anywhere and everywhere. Get as many people reading this as possible.

I hope you track these fuckwits down and they end up publicly humiliated. Let's make an example of them.

PS. The conference sounds like the last NDC. I wasn't there so I can't be sure. 
Mark Carr
12/21/2012 2:50:07 PM
To tell the truth, I’m so shocked at this. It’s a rightfully sensitive issue, but  I’m not so sure this as a developer problem; all the developers I know are extremely clever, thoughtful people. This seems to be the unfortunate fact that you are a female in the internet land full of teenage nerds. And what I mean by nerds is, socially inept weird oddballs, who should (quite frankly) be locked up/put down. Because, they have spent or are still spending too much time playing with themselves and they are beyond help.
This issue is not about computer programming, it’s about, I think, that you are a celebrity techie female on the net, where you are unfortunately at risk from attracting the more (shall we say?) disturbed minds.
More importantly, I hope this never deters you from using the Web as a means of communicating your ideas and programming computers. You’re an inspiration to many programmers. Don’t let the fact that idiots also have access to this wonderful World Wide Web deter you.
Although, it’s not easy for me to understand what it must be like to have these problems. I am shocked that this is happening. Hope it gets sorted soon.
Carry on coding. :) 
Marcelo Emmerich
12/21/2012 2:53:38 PM
To the male IT people out there: you can actively help to make shit like this a thing of the past. Don't restrict yourselves to words. Take action. How many times have you been one in a group of males talking or behaving in a discriminating/aggressive way to women? I bet a couple of times. Did you feel uncomfortable? Most probably you did. Did you stand up against the rest and made them stop? Most probably not. This is what we *can* do. Iris does not fear the confrontation, why do you? Will this kind of confrontation cost you a couple of so called friends? Probably. Does it matter? No. Send them to hell. Someone who discriminates/harasses others because of their gender,race,religion,whatever is not my friend. 
John Atten
12/21/2012 3:00:27 PM
Reply to: Benji
@benji - I believe the point of the post is to bring attention to the PROBLEM. What are you, 15? No one should have to feel, unwelcome, or otherwise uncomfortable, simply due to their gender/race/religion etc.

If you don't see why this is an issue in need of recognition and redreess, then you are part of the problem. 
Warren
12/21/2012 3:22:10 PM
Don't tolerate it, not for one minute. Go public with it and expose every single one of these creeps. 
Adam
12/21/2012 3:58:57 PM
Please don't ever stop fighting these idiots!! They win if you don't so you must!
Keep strong and keep shaking things up Iris. 
Lucy
12/21/2012 4:21:34 PM
I am a longtime quiet female developer. I have both female and male developer friends, and to be honest there are more males than females. I respect all of them regardless.

I respect those who travel and go to conferences, but never expect big conference as NDC is like THAT!!!

As usual, I would prefer online resources, not getting myself exposed to the world like you are in.

So sorry about what happened to you and I admire you can be so strong.

I support you!!! 
/\/ate
12/21/2012 6:29:23 PM
Hey Iris,

Every man that has replied has apologised and I want to add my voice to theirs. The world has some people in it who are sick and who aren't getting the help that they need, this however is no excuse. Aside from that, the general attitude is wrong, but I don't think it's just in IT, it's just it is concentrated enough in this area to make it's presence felt.

The main thing I wanted to say is directed at the Men. The change starts with us, those who read the story and the stories in the past. We need to BE the change in order to make a change. This may mean putting yourself out for another human, but I believe that it is worth it to make this a world worth living in.

The second message is to Iris. Sorry it's been so tough, but it can get better. Your voice inspires others and can be the catylist for some lasting change. 
Dirk Strauss
12/21/2012 8:28:46 PM
I agree with GG... I feel ashamed of my gender. The sad fact is that in South Africa, a woman is more likely to be raped than educated in school. That statistic is horrific! But rape doesn't have to be only a physical assault, but also a mental one. One that those pieces of shit perpetuate by thinking they can treat a woman the way they do (be it inappropriate calls, jeering, chauvinistic comments or simply treating a woman as lesser to a man). 

My wife has also had to deal with similar attitudes as she too works in a male dominated industry. All I can say is NEVER just leave it. Never give up fighting, Never keep quiet, Never make as if it didn't happen. And to the rest of the guys out there (the decent ones), if you hear a colleague or fellow dev/male make inappropriate comments about a woman you need to challenge them on their inappropriate behavior. If you don't, then you're no better than them.

Bring the fight to their doorstep Iris! 
Matt Bridges
12/22/2012 12:04:14 AM
Iris,

I am appalled and ashamed of the things men do to women in any industry, but especially my own industry. I am newly married and can't even imagine the thought of my her going through what you are going through. I'll admit, I personally believe women should pursue a career from home and are very well equipped to do so (an entirely different topic altogether), but I also respect the fact that women _are_ in the workforce and _should_ be treated respectfully, as anyone, regardless of gender, race, nationality, etc,  should be.

Hearing things like this just causes my heart to sink. I hope that you are able to resolve these carefully and judiciously.

Best regards from a fellow developer,
Matt 
Karin
12/22/2012 3:17:50 AM
Hemsk läsning men bra att det sprids. Heja dig! 
Kenneth Clark
12/22/2012 5:40:42 AM
Speechless ... the perceived anonymity of digital communication makes people brave :( honestly, I have no words ... 
lif bar
12/22/2012 6:40:29 AM
Well good part of your post IS harrasement. Mixed with few spoons of paranoja:
"During the same conference, in the evening, male developers are placing bets if a guy will succeed or not to hit on me. While a guy runs up to me and rudely addresses me, his mates are cheering in the background. I leave in tears and I leave early."
And I thought I am bad at social interaction...
a) harmless game, he drawn short straw and had to hit on you 
b) (happens more often than you think) dude was with friends, was interested to speak with you (or really was interested in you), but too afraid his friends will make fun of him, so he tried to make betting game out of it (ffs I know shy fellow that found his wife that way, it's also easier for shy people to make first contact that way - if something goes wrong they can laugh it off and cry at night).
And dealing with that is easy, you not interested - you send them to hell. Or you can play along and maybe get few new friends.
It's scary how women feel victimised all the time, if you would have seen how women harrases men in some conferences.
Sorry for broken english - fat non english speaker typing on tiny phone (before someone harrases and voids what I wrote on "neckbeard can't speak english" grounds). 
Pete Jordan
12/22/2012 11:54:38 AM
Silence is no answer to this. We need to all challenge this sort of shit whenever we see it happen; silence implies acceptance, tolerance, collusion with harassment.

Thank you for your courage. 
stuart hough
12/22/2012 12:24:01 PM
Fight it, always.  Don't forget you have a lot of friends who love and admire you.  Don't think this is just because you are a dev though, happens to far to many people.  also don't think you are weak if you do need to hide for a while, as long as you back come out swinging. 
Johan
12/22/2012 3:19:55 PM
It is a big deal. Fight back. Do not hide. Do not change. 
Alexander
12/22/2012 3:40:51 PM
In no way at all is this acceptable. These people behaving in such a disgusting and reprehensible way should all be named and shamed. Keep fighting. 
Scott Barnes
12/22/2012 4:39:05 PM
My son was at his new school a few months back & there was some bully behaviour that got out of control. All of us Parents were called to an assembly with the children and we weren't told what it was about (I suspected it had to do with bullies given my son was a victim of a couple given he was new etc). The principle got up to the Microphone and told the kids "If I call your name, please come up on stage beside me & remain standing"... she then went on to read 8 kids names.

These kids got up, walked slowly over to the principle and stood there wondering why the hell they were on stage. The principle then went on to address the parents and told us these where 8 bullies in the school who constantly hurt other kids in the school. She then asked the kids "hands up if you have been bullied by any one of these kids" and soon enough a lot of hands went up.

It knocked the wind out of me, as not only did I notice that all of these kids got an amount of power back but the kids who were the bullies felt immediately ashamed of their actions whilst the parents of these kids who watched on were absolutely livid with anger (some turned it towards the principle for humiliating their child like that  - yeah, you cant fix stupid).

My point is, I'm not going to apologise for being a male, i didn't do the above & it repulses me to think someone thought that was ok. I am however wondering why not build a website "fightforIris.com" or something like that. You take the above behaviour and dump into this site, catalog it, log it, give over as much details as you can to the horde. As the more you can dominate them with firstly not caring (which is hard) and secondly showing that you're not alone, that there is a crowd watching and the more information we all have the more we can help identify and treat these clowns for whatever mental defect they suffer from.

I only met you briefly at Oredev and all I remember was how red your hair was in person so yes you stand out, yes you will probably confuse a lot of single guys out there just as i do with single ladies (haha, that was me..doing my neutral joke..yeah i got nothing)... but that's not an open invite for the above behaviour. I have a 4yr old daughter who i'd like to not see go through this, so can we put some much needed chlorine in the gene pool  so that we can cull this behaviour? 
Jason Pollard
12/22/2012 6:27:27 PM
Iris, please keep fighting with all your might.  

Thanks RobCon for pointing me over here.  Any of you who think Iris should "let it go" or not out these folks are dead wrong.  If she "accidently" points the finger at someone who may be getting spoofed, too bad, she's going on the information she has.  If I had to go through the kind of day she does, I'd probably go out of my mind--just doing dev work is hard enough. 
Miss Andrist
12/22/2012 10:24:58 PM
Hey, from one girl dev to another - you're not alone. :/ Unfortunately. From geekfeminism.org -

http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/30910472373/troll
http://www.explodedsoda.com/2012/09/boundaries-and-penis-incident.html?spref=tw 
Michael Washington
12/24/2012 9:32:07 AM
I am just another person who is appalled at what you you have gone through. Our industry will not be mature until it has a much higher percentage of women, period. 
lif bar
12/25/2012 1:02:11 PM
Reply to: Michael Washington
Wery interesting. And how would that stop some random idiot from harrasing random woman? If you are speaking about other incidents blog owner wrote about then I would say that woun't help either. Industry, just like whole world, needs more intelignt, rational people. Saying that industry needs more of one or other gender is missing the point IMHO. Also blog owners other incidents are not harrassement or sexizm, just stupidity of some people that managed to somehow offend her. 
Guy Sherman
12/25/2012 9:37:44 PM
I am appalled that stuff like this goes on. Men who think it is ok to treat women like that don't deserve to call themselves men. Well done for speaking out about this, and well done for fighting back. Stay strong, and remember that these males are only a small minority, and are not a good representation of the rest of us men. 
Damien Thouvenin
12/26/2012 7:03:18 AM
This is so incredible and shamefull. I've never heard or witnessed any conference like the one you describe but, alas, I very much believe it can be so. This is a total shame for the community of software developpers and I don't even understand the organisers could let it happen. As for the direct phone or e-mail harrassment you are perfectly right to fight and keep pressure on the authorities so that they'll do something. You might want to contact the press people at the phone operators so that they undertake some actions. I don't know sweedish laws but under the french law the man could be prosecuted. 
Another fight is to have more women in IT. When we're back at parity I hope this will cease. The jerks will still be there but won't feel allowed to speak up. 
Thank you for sharing. 
Absolutely shocked
12/26/2012 7:53:51 PM
Iris, don't let this get you down or stop you from speaking and blogging.  I've been following the "stupid question" series and have enjoyed it.  There were even a few things that I learned, even with 20 years experience.

Fight the ignorant jerks that do harass you.  They truly are bullies and deserve to be exposed. 
Vivien
12/27/2012 12:21:39 PM
Reply to: Marcelo Emmerich
Thanks Marcelo for this thoughtful comment. While I think it is really important that Iris (and other women in a similar situation) fight back, I find it particularly frustrating that often when I encounter discrimination or blatant sexism, bystanding men ignore the comments (and the following argument when I counter the attacks) rather than supporting me. 
Fredrik Wendt
12/28/2012 5:33:47 AM
Kudos for being open about this! Really, you're helping surface an issue you don't see much but all to often here about. 
I hope next year (and the rest of the future) will bring less of this shit. No-one deserves having to deal with this stupid behavior, I really feel sorry for you and at the same time I'm grateful (for my daughter's sake) that you're handling it this way! 
femdev
12/28/2012 5:40:20 AM
As a female developer, I've experienced similar "not a big deal" things at nearly every geek gathering I've attended.  Having people assume you're not a developer because of the way you look is undermining and infuriating, and I hate it.  

I don't personally mind being asked on a date (if I weren't happily married already, I would have gone out with a couple of the people who asked).  But when you say that you're not interested, decent men stop right there.  For me they always have -- I've been very lucky it seems.  I can't imagine how awful that phone harassment would be.  I hope the police take it more seriously as soon as possible.

To the people saying "I've never heard of such a thing," it's because you haven't paid attention.  
http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_incidents

You absolutely have heard of such things, but chances are you chose not to believe them.  Julian Assange is accused of sexual assault by two different women, but much of the male geek community, never having heard of such a thing, assumes he is so innocent that he shouldn't even be investigated, and the two women who were *possibly raped by him* should be ignored, just as the police are ignoring this story.

Saying you've never heard of such a thing is not supportive.  Instead, say it is awful and you will pay attention and do what you can to make sure women and other currently marginalized groups don't feel undermined and threatened at conferences you attend. 
Fredrik WendtFredrik Wendt
12/28/2012 6:46:12 AM
Reply to: lif bar
Dear lif, It's scary to see that you actually defend this behavior. If I saw this, I would've asked the guy in question to talk to the conference organizer in order to properly address Iris, probably starting with a "I'm really sorry that I offended you" and hopefully he'll give a lame explanation to why, hopefully he'll cry it out over night, grow up and next time not get into this kind of silly childish games but instead know that are better ways to meet new friends.

"Feel victimized" - you're spot on, actually. You just don't see it from the right point of view. It's always the "receiving" part in a communication that needs to be considered, not the active part that initiates the communication. If the receiver of the information felt bad, then the way the information was delivered (or the info it self) was inappropriate. The sender, the active part, clearly made bad judgment on how to address the other party respectfully and successfully.

One can only hope that the sender realized his mistake and learned from this failure. There really is no reason for anyone, like Iris in this case, to have to feel offended in order for the schmuck to learn and grow up. 
lif bar
12/28/2012 10:50:06 AM
Reply to: Fredrik WendtFredrik Wendt
“you actually defend this behavior” Stop right here. Read my post again. I was not defending (implying you speak about incident in bar), I was saying that is stupid, yet considered normal behavior and owner of blog overreacted (sadly she did not write full story, what happened after she told him to back off? Did she run away in tears right after he rudely addressed her? ). And he had nothing to apologize for (unless he kept on bothering her after she told him to back off). And this incident, in the way it was described, is not harassment nor it is sexism.
“You just don’t see it from the right point of view.” Should I tell you my story? Story of how woman in club sits next to me, starts hitting on me, when I explain her I am not interested and stand to leave she requests me to pay for her cocktail, when I refuse she calls bouncer, accuses me of harassment, how I get beaten up by bunch of white knights like yourself?  Maybe story about working in 80% female work place and harassment I got there? One of these is harassment and one is white knights not thinking, can you identify them, of course not – there is no harassment against men, and I deserved to be beaten up (after all, I offended woman by not buying her drink.). I know what is harassment.  
By the way – “. If the receiver of the information felt bad, then the way the information was delivered (or the info it self) was inappropriate.[SNIP} The sender, the active part, clearly made bad judgment on how to address the other party respectfully and successfully.” And that is not harassment, that is miscommunication/stupidity of “active part”. Blog owner had all rights to fell offended, but put that next to serious harassment and say it’s same – no.
“One can only hope that the sender realized his mistake and learned from this failure.” Let’s hope you will get “pleasure” of seeing world in it’s all shining glory, and not just four nice walls you grew up between. Remember – if you did not meant to offend, but other part got offended, you have to explain yourself not apologize. 
Fredrik Wendt
12/29/2012 2:48:38 AM
Reply to: lif bar
I'm sorry you got beat up. I'm even more sorry you still think that it's OK to "run up to a girl, say something so rude that she leaves in tears".

I just talked yesterday to a very good friend of mine that testified to the same story you told - girls wanting first to hang out, then to get all expenses paid and a club (or restaurant in this case) backing the girls up. He later learned that this had happened to at least two other co-workers of his, same restaurant. (The HR department now inform new employees/people flying in for work of this restaurant and scheme.) 

My point is: This girls-and-club-story does not in any way make the bar incident Iris refer to any better. They're both bad and not sure why you brought this up.

Btw, I've never implied male in general are worse - there are idiots on this planet, both genders. My ex father in law worked in a 95 % female workplace, I've heard a couple of sad stories from him too.

Second topic: So where do you draw the line? When do you have to apologize for your behavior and when do simply have to explain yourself so the receiver "understands" your point of view? I mean the guy that sent Iris the "sexy" video sure didn't mean to offend her, she simply doesn't understand his point of view, right?

My point is this: if you managed to offend the other party, then the basic assumption should be that YOU just made a mistake. Start by apologizing and then try to make your point if you think there was a misunderstanding. There's really no harm in an extra apology, it simply shows you actually respect the other party and didn't mean any harm and that if you did cause harm, you start by demonstrating that this was not intentional and then try to make your point better understood/come across. 
Michael Washington
12/29/2012 12:17:15 PM
Reply to: lif bar
When there are more women in the industry there will be more people to apply peer pressure. Yes some men will also jump in to object to this sort of thing, but the final solution comes when she is not just 2% of the people in the room. 
lif bar
12/29/2012 2:55:20 PM
Reply to: Fredrik Wendt
“I’m even more sorry you still think that it’s OK to “run up to a girl, say something so rude that she leaves in tears”.” And that’s why I hate speaking over the internet. Everything is so much easier to explain speaking eye to eye… What my point was all along is – from what blog owner wrote this incident is not harassment and should not be next to harassment story.
“They’re both bad and not sure why you brought this up.” My story is and blog owners story – both not harassment. But it was answer to your “oh but you don’t know what is harassment”. Also as a point that you IMHO would have been one of these beating me (let me explain – you do not check for missing details in blog owners story, you just assume that her “offender” in betting story is guilty). (Also about “HR department” way of solving problem –might save someone from paying for some random woman, will not save them from being beaten up by bunch of white knights.)
“Second topic: So where do you draw the line?” I would like the owner of blog to intervene right here. Without full story and exact words that “offender” said I can’t say if he HAD to apologize or not . From her story it seems like someone was interested in her (for whatever reason) and his friends decided to cheer on him and place bets (something women do too, so I am guessing it’s not the part of incident that made her cry). And I guess it was not rude words that made her cry, maybe he was not backing off when told to back off? If it was just the rude way of addressing her then it had to be I can’t even imagine what or blog owner has serious sensitivity problem. (Or my explanation is – she wrote this blog post when angry and was just venting everything that even slightly offended her). And for line of apology – if you know you did something wrong that really did harm then you apologize. Obviously you can apologize for breathing same air as they if you want. “There’s really no harm in an extra apology” If you drop apology everywhere you can, what is your apology worth? Do you even mean it or is it just your way of showing how “good” of a person you are? (both questions rhetorical, not aimed at you. Just something you must keep in mind when analyzing people and their interactions).
The problem with sexy video – if someone sends such video and when told to back off does as told - I see no problem (someone must be completely “out of orbit”, but one video is not harassment and even though might be offending it does no harm). The problem is that he is constantly harassing her.
“then the basic assumption should be that YOU just made a mistake.” I have seen more than one instance where person that got offended had to apologize for overreacting (as they were intelligent enough to understand what really happened). And what do you know, according to story, she did run away right after he addressed her so maybe he did a mistake and was about to apologize (nervous slip of tongue)? But yes, mistake is yours MOST of the time. 
With so little details this story is not harassment story. With more details it might become one (unlike song story, gay sharks t-shirt (sounds hilarious. How is that harassment of blog owner?), name tag: SPEAKER story…). 
lif bar
12/29/2012 3:18:27 PM
Reply to: Michael Washington
Final solution comes when there is no difference if she is 2% or 98%. Final solution is when people in industry stops putting people in male/female buckets. (Still, nor your nor mine idea will stop from harassment that is main story of this blog post. Only making everyone on this world intelligent will solve this.) Solving things with "peer pressure" of trigger happy peers is not a good solution. 
lif bar
12/29/2012 3:57:41 PM
Reply to: femdev
off topic:
"who were *possibly raped by him* should be ignored". Rape is no joke, false rape accusations are not joke either. Also speaking about him and not knowing that charges were dropped is also not smart. Whole Assanage story is "fishy" to tell the least.
Sadly links can't be posted.
About his "rape" allegation youtube -> watch?v=wFcsf4t6Uxc

About jumping trigger in rape accusations (one of many stories) google about Brian Banks  false rape story. 
Michael Washington
12/29/2012 3:57:50 PM
Reply to: lif bar
I see this much like the Civil Rights movement in the United States or Apairtied in South Africa, you do not wait until 'others' decide to treat you better. 
femdev
12/30/2012 12:35:34 PM
Reply to: lif bar
The police aren't investigating this phone harassment, either.  Do you think it isn't true? 
Carlos Perez
1/2/2013 8:19:48 PM
The thing that annoys me most is that these idiots consider themselves intelligent, while in reality they're not smarter than chimps.  I apologize to the chimps. 
Aditi
1/7/2013 1:17:58 PM
That sounds terrible. As a "newbie" programmer, hearing about this sort of attitude is very detracting. While I am (thankfully) surrounded by more decent and mature colleagues and classmates, it is unfortunate that a substantial part of the developer community thinks and acts this way. 
Andy Dent
1/10/2013 3:09:14 AM
I suggest you add a link to this post on http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_incidents

I considered doing it but thought it would be presumptuous of me to do so. 
lif bar
1/11/2013 5:28:36 AM
Reply to: femdev
My god. Read (or listen to video I provided) about accusation of Assanage. If you can qualify that as a rape then I am sorry, but you are one of people that would do this -  you are part of blind-facts-not-checking-lynch-mob and I am ashamed to be in same field as you. Why are developers not taught to check facts and think anymore?

And police are not investigating blog owners harassment claim because:
a) Not quite enough to sue someone and win (from what is written here - few calls, one video of masturbation, few messages is not quite enough to claim harassment and win in court)
b) wasting resources on such small case when these resources can be used on more serious crimes (yes yes, "Oh you pathetic pig, how is that not serious!" well drunk drivers are bigger and more pressing problem than this as someone can get killed. Also lets invert sexes - if same harassment happened to man from woman or other man, would this blog post have gotten as much attention? No. If you say "yes" you are lying. There once was blog post of developer with psychotic aggressive wife that used to beat kids and attacked and injured him - not even 1/10 of attention that this got. And no I am not saying that this should be left as it is, if this will escalate then police will take care ("It will be too late then! She will be raped!" 1. someone like that will not have guts to come near her. 2. read about blog owner - claims to be very fit and strong thus can protect herself in case of danger) and my bet is that fat-arse will get bored and go back to 4chan or whatever.)

And about this not being true - I believe that this is true. I don't believe any other supposed harassment cases in this blog post can be qualified as "harassment". 
lif bar
1/11/2013 5:31:11 AM
Reply to: lif bar
Oh wow, do I fail at putting links..... Anyhow, where the link started had to be "This is link to article from Telegraph!" But I can't edit now. Sorry for mess. 
Sarah
1/11/2013 8:00:18 AM
Iris,

It is actually quite scary how similar your story above is to the one that got me annoyed and frustrated enough to start Girl Geek Dinners.  The sexism at events wasn't quite as bizarre or obvious as what you have listed there but it is similar.  I did have one guy get down on one knee in front of male friends and thank me for being at an event once. That was weird & bizarre. 

I have had a phone stalker after giving out my phone number on a business card.  I did go to the police too and they tried taking the issue up with my phone contract provider but it turned out that the person in question was also with the same provider and spent more money with them so they refused to release the information to the police and that was all the police could do unless he did something more than phone stalking.  

In the end I threw out my old business cards, created new ones that only had my online contact details but no phone numbers. I left a space on the card where I could write on it my phone number if I trusted them or knew them already.  I changed my phone number and the stalker disappeared.  I did write about it online but no one really took much notice at the time. It caused a lot of worry and distress as it seemed like they knew me and were living somewhere nearby as well. I never did find out who it was.

Whilst you shouldn't have to change numbers and go to that extreme sometimes it is easier to disengage with people like that and move on with things.  You are not alone in this issue and if you look at stats around men vs women and privacy information women not just in tech but in general are much more likely not to give out their home address, mobile or landline number than men.  I suspect it is mainly due to personal safety.  I don't think we are likely to change that unless women are as physically strong as men. 

You aren't alone and I hope that you feel that there is a space in the IT sector that doesn't involve this type of behaviour.  I've worked in the IT sector now since 2004 and it is changing for the better slowly but surely.  Things that are happening that may surprise you men are supporting wanting to get more women into technology especially those who are fathers and they don't necessarily even have to be technologists themselves. The UN are now looking at how to support women in ICT as are many governments.  There are local groups where women who work in the IT sector get together and share their experiences, learn from one another and have social events, they have their own community within the sector. 

If you want to reach out and talk further just get in touch. 
Anthony
2/5/2013 1:20:18 PM
I'm sorry you're going through this. I know I'll probably get a lashing for what I'm about to write, but it's my opinion. I don't see this as a gender issue. This is a humanity problem. Obviously, your gender is the vector of attack. But it's about violence and power.

In my opinion, there was no problem until your second "Still not a problem?" I would personally find the first couple examples offensive and would have more than likely left. (I've done so in similar circumstances.) But, I recognize that my sensibilities don't govern others' behavior -- right or wrong. But, when that guy comes up to you and treats you like that, well that's when that ends.

Some of those things like the joke just need to be taken in stride. It may have been said in your presence to hurt you, but it could very well have just been a joke -- whether right or wrong. Taken with everything else, it was just more to pile on. People like that don't need a woman to make a joke about, they'll find some target to make themselves feel better about themselves.

Don't take any of this as excusing any behavior. I've been the subject of bad behavior in the past. Let me tell you women are just as capable of crap like this. The difference is that like you I stood up for myself. I think you're doing the right thing. 
Andrew S,
10/13/2013 8:03:22 AM
I am so sorry for what you have been going through, and I am really lost for words when I read what has happened to you. Please do not give up, they do not deserve to win!

I once read your blog post about how you started your programming career and basically rekindled my passion for my job, even though my work environment is toxic.
Also your example will encourage others both male and female to speak out and take action against these kind of criminal behaviour.

Thanks again for everything and please keep up the good work there are so many people who are inspired by it (including myself btw). 
Alex Ford
11/18/2013 3:26:55 PM
I'm about a year late to this post but I really wanted to weigh in to show my support. I'm a very stereotypical developer: white, male, slightly overweight, etc. However, I'm not an introvert. I'm a very outspoken humanist and skeptic. Anyone who tells you to do anything other than fight it is completely ignorant and has no idea what it's like to be harassed the way you have been.

You don't ignore or hide from stuff like this. That is the stupidest suggestion anyone could ever give you. Kudos for fighting oppression and double kudos for taking on the even greater challenge of fighting sexual harassment in the software industry. 
Rosie
12/20/2013 9:57:37 AM
Well done Iris, for taking the time and having the guts to post this, you are right, it's time to call it what it is every time it happens, it's sexist, and it's just as bad as racism or homophobia.  One of my bosses once told me "I love having women working for me, they look nice, they work hard and they are dirt cheap...." 


Last modified on 2012-12-19