During the ICANN 55 meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco my office became aware of two complaints of sexual harassment.
The first of these complaints has already been referred to in a previous blog entry.
The second complaint came in shortly after the meeting closed. I received an email relating to a particular incident and accordingly opened an investigation on behalf of my visitor. I contacted the person who was named as the individual who behaved in a manner which my visitor found offensive. The person did reach and take the name badge, an intrusive and unwelcome act, and made comments which my visitor did not welcome. During the course of the investigation, another person made a statement about the incident, supporting my first visitor.
As a result of the complaint, I then approached to the person named. The person responded at first instance seeking time to reflect and respond. After taking some time, (with a reminder from me) the person then made an apology to both my visitor and to the supporting person. I discussed this with my visitor and the supporting person, and they were satisfied with the apology, and I therefore closed the complaint on that basis.
I support the courage of my visitor in making the complaint, but I am also grateful for the other person for recognising that the behaviour was not appropriate and making an apology, rather than putting my visitor and supporter to a more difficult investigation. This enabled closure, and a better template for resolving such issues if they occur in the future. My visitor commented that, “The solution to this issue is acknowledgement, discussion, education, and action by the entire community.” I agree and hope this conversation can continue.
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