If you are a member of PASS, you probably got an email from our President, Thomas LaRock. I interpreted his email as essentially a reminder that when attending PASS events we should all be professional and responsible for our actions. The email was very well written and wasn’t pointed towards just men or women, but all of us.
Along with Tom’s email, PASS Board member Wendy Pastrick bravely put out a post about one of her own personal experiences at the 2015 PASS Summit. I consider Wendy a friend and I’m very proud that she reported her incident. It’s not easy to do that but that was the right thing to do. Wendy deserves a lot of kuddos for doing that. Well done Wendy.
In a Previous life…
Those that know me, know that in a former life I was a volunteer fire fighter & EMT. In that role, I would sometimes be placed into a situation where I didn’t have a choice if I reported something or not. For instance, any suspected evidence of child or elder abuse; I was required under state and federal laws to report it to authorities. Not reporting it wasn’t an option. Granted, the actions of individuals at recent PASS events are not necessarily on the same plane as child abuse, but nevertheless I think that it should be handled in the same fashion.
Additionally, in one of my other former lives I was a bouncer. I know, big shock, right? Anyhow, being in the role of people depending on me to protect others makes me want to jump in a take action when I hear of situations like this. I’d like to think that I’m the type of guy that can be trusted and will take care of business when needed. Not to mean that I would initiate physical fights (although I was in a couple) but rather I know how to handle people in such a way to resolve the issue.
That all being said. At the 2014 PASS Summit, I was notified by a friend that she had received questionable social media messages. She showed me the messages and I too agreed it was of an unprofessional nature.
At the time, I was a Regional Mentor. I had a duty to act and to uphold the code of conduct that was passed by the Board of Directors. So to make a long story short, I consulted another regional mentor that I trust (with my life) and we agreed that it was our job to report the incident. So we did.
We both recognized it was NOT our job to be the judge and jury.
It was NOT our job to confront the perpetrator.
It WAS our job to make the issue known to the proper authorities. Note that my friend was very capable of talking to correct people on her own, however she was unsure whether she was over reacting and was worth reporting. So we took action on her behalf, we found out about the incident, we acted.
Let me be honest. I’m tired of hearing of my good friends having issues with mis-conduct by members of PASS. I am also tired of feeling like I don’t have any way to help and I know others do to. I’m a firm believer that things cannot be fixed if the people that can fix it aren’t made aware of it. Therefore I resolve that:
- If you bring it to my attention, I will report it to the proper PASS authorities, whether you want me to or not.
- If I observe such actions directly, I will report it to the proper PASS authorities.
- I will make myself available to anyone who finds themselves in an uncomfortable situation, male or female. Just get my attention and I am there.
Just so I am clear. I will not physically engage anybody in any way shape or form. I do not and will not condone any type of physical intervention unless it’s a matter of safety.
To My Fellow Men
Given that most of the perpetrators are most likely men I have a few tips for you from my bouncer days. From talking to my female friends that attended Summit one of their biggest issues was men’s roaming hands in a crowd. I’m not a small guy (I’ve been called a bull ox a time or two) so I know a thing or two about moving through a crowd:
- Put your hands up. If you have to move through a crowd of people, both men and women, put your hands up so that you don’t “accidentally” brush up against someone.
- If you have to get someone to move, say “Excuse me”. If they don’t hear you, say it louder.
- Get the attention of people that they might be talking to. Most individuals when they see you trying to get by will get the attention of the person in your way for them to move.
- Find an alternate path through the crowd. Crowds are like waves of grain in the wind. They move and flow as people move around and enjoy the event. If a particular path is congested with people, back off and look for a different path.
- As a last resort, if you have to touch someone to get their attention, tap them on the shoulder while again saying “Excuse Me”. With a single index finger. Not your whole hand. A finger. DO NOT TOUCH THEM anywhere else.
Fellow #sqlfamily member Erin Stellato put out a fantastic post about being the change. Her article is well written and is spot on. We all can be the change that is needed. Be that change.
It’s our job as PASS members as well as just being human to make it a better place for everybody. I take great pride in our #sqlfamily as well as being a member and I am here for anyone who needs me.
© 2015, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.
5 Replies to “Resolved: A Duty to Act”
Excellent article John! I especially feel compelled to comment on moving through crowds. I’m a pretty small guy that can move through a crowd without much problem, but I’ve always put my hands up across my chest just so I don’t accidentally touch someone. No one told me to do that in the past and I’m glad you pointed it out. For me, I don’t want to make someone feel uncomfortable nor do I want to put myself in an uncomfortable position. I wish more people would think about how their actions make others feel.
Thanks Shawn! I appreciate the feedback! I don’t know where I learned that just always seemed like the right thing to do. Definitely easier to avoid the accidental touch by doing so.
Nice write up, this whole sorry incident is disappointing to be reading about but glad people are voicing their support.
If someone is being too aggressive, I wouldn’t get physical with them, but I would get in their face and give them the opportunity to choose between getting physical with me or walking away. This is true whether the person they are harassing is a friend or not. I have no tolerance for a bully.
Great post! I was thinking of writing something similar, but couldn’t wuite work out how to say it in my head. You said it much better than what I was thinking.