you should know that I'm a Survivor of sexual assault. This makes me super emotional about these issues. I want to see evidence because I know how emotional I am on the issue. It also means that if I find an allegation to be false I become livid beyond imagination. Because those false accusations make it harder for people to believe the true ones. Anything that causes people to doubt a Survivor makes me ridiculously angry.
Dave spent 20+ years in the military where an accusation (false or not) could ruin your entire career, and he's understandably sensitive to the repercussions of a false allegation. This means that he wants evidence before taking any action.
You should also know that statistics show that no more than 2-8% of allegations are false. (NSVRC) Roughly for every four people, 3 never talk to anyone/report sexual harassment after they've experienced it (EEOC Report, pg. v, First paragraph).
we are not empowered to be investigators, that is a task for officials. Our goal is always to find out if there has been a violation of our policy and then act on that knowledge.
We are also looking to create an environment that encourages reporting and confronting unacceptable behavior. One of the top reasons that sexual harassment and assault aren't reported is fear of retaliation. To this end we're never going to reveal the identity of a complainant and we won't divulge any specifics that could identify them. I understand this makes some people uncomfortable, but this entire topic isn't one for comfort. For us, the protection of a victim outweighs the comfort of people who are not involved or the comfort of someone who is violating the policy.
Patterns of Behavior
Typically, we won't issue a Refusal of Service (RoS) for a first time offense. Now, I'm not saying there aren't some first offenses that can be done where an RoS is our immediate response - cause there are.
That being said, what we watch for the most are patterns of behavior, because that's typically how you spot predators. They push boundaries slowly and in small ways, testing the waters to see if they can get away with larger violations of boundaries. They also like to live in the gray areas and ask for you to explain to them where the line is. If you say that an 8 second hug is too long, they'll argue that they only did a 7.5 second hug and so weren't violating any boundaries.
So Dave and I receive a complaint. We speak to them and ask for any screenshots or witnesses that they can provide. If we are given evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the perpetrator has committed this act - we determine what the appropriate punishment is and send them notification. We are, at it's core, a victim oriented organization and our primary goal is the safety of the community.
This is the part that a lot of people are uncomfortable with, because we're not speaking to the accused before levying punishment. We understand why that's uncomfortable. The idea that people could be found guilty without a chance to speak for themselves isn't something we're used to in America - because barring the military, that's the opposite of our court systems. So I'm going to get a bit more in the weeds than I usually like to, in hopes of giving you a glimpse of how we operate and our thoughts on these.
So Dave and I argue - and while yah, married couples argue - I mean we often end up on opposite sides on issues and we discuss and argue until we can reach a middle ground. This sounds pretty easy - but let me tell you that both of us are REALLY stubborn people. When it comes to these situations, at the first I am typically on the side of the complainant and Dave is hitting the brakes and asking for hard evidence.
So in the end,
it comes down to trusting our judgement and knowing that we hold the safety of the community as our most important task. We will share as much as we can without risking identification of the victim.
We won't share information publicly, although we do give a summary to the members of our Marshal Team. We do this because we know it's more likely that players will reach out to them with questions, than to us and we want them to be informed when they give ya'll answers.