On October 11th 2018, we made a statement addressing an incident in our community. We have seen some of the same concerns being expressed on social media and within our community and we want to re-address it. Since that statement, the team at WomANZ has persevered to refine our procedures, policies and improve transparency both within WomANZ and the greater community. We have increased the size of our support team and actively sought resources and tools to improve the quality and consistency of the support we can and are able provide.
We have been clear that the Admin and Support teams are not trained in dealing or providing support for mental health or serious issues. We have a wide range of resources and tools available to provide if these situations or issues are brought to our attention.
Our stance has always been: “we do not get involved with personal conflicts” unless there is a direct breach against our code of conduct. We want to always focus on the growth and opportunities that we have to uplift members of the community and provide experiences to better aid women in their professional careers.
We always do our best to respond to situations and sometimes under stress and pressure from varying factors, we may not choose the best wording or outcomes; we are human after all. We deeply apologise if the response to this situation came across in any form as victim blaming. While that was never the intent, we understand that, at the time, it was phrased poorly – creating a lot of confusion and further problems. We’re sorry that the person who came forward did not feel supported. We recognise the courage in speaking up and the toll these situations can have on individual well-being and we deeply empathise with anyone who has ever experienced any form of harassment or assault.
We did our best to investigate the situation and those are the details that we are not at liberty to discuss. To note, the situation did not occur at a WomANZ hosted event, nor did it happen on our moderated discord server. We still, however, assisted in the situation regardless of the fact we were not liable to do so.
Since then, no further information has come to light which would change our stance on the situation. At the time, the accused attempted to reach out to the person who came forward and did issue an apology to this person for anything that may have made her uncomfortable which was facilitated by one of our teams. The apology was acknowledged. One of our team members also did offer to meet with the person coming forward but backed out due to feeling unsafe due to ongoing targeted harassment. We will not exile a member from our community based on hearsay and in turn ruining their reputation.
We acknowledge that we did not initially handle the situation as best we could. As stated, we are only human, we’re capable of making mistakes and we ask for patience and understanding as we continue to grow both as a community and an administrative team, and learn from it.
After a year, we have grown a lot. We champion diversity and aim to provide an inclusive environment. We are tirelessly working behind the scenes to create a community that we – and hopefully you – have longed for.
We will continue to do the best we can to realise this goal and we thank each and everyone one of you that has helped or continues to help us in this group effort. If you have not, please read through these important guidelines that we have since put in place for each and everyone’s protection:
Finally, to those who have exacerbated this problem through harmful and hurtful comments across social media, regardless that the situation was resolved; this behaviour is toxic and harmful and isn’t conducive towards positive change and it doesn’t provide an open space for discussion.
Please be kind to one another.
The WomANZ team.
If this matter needs to be discussed further, our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.