ALA Council

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  • 1.  Star Khan report of sexual assault at vendor party

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 11:09 AM
    I expect some of you have already seen this elsewhere, but in the interest of increased discussion on connect and knowing that some are travelling and seeing this on phone or other small device, I'm copying the entirety of a Facebook post here and providing link at the end.

    Post follows:
    *** WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT TRIGGER***
    I've been thinking alot about what happened to me in DC, especially after my daughter called me pretty upset about it. I keep finding myself trying to play it down or justify it, and I shouldn't. What kind of example would I be if I pretended it wasn't wrong and did nothing about it? If I didn't speak up?
    I was at a library vendor party when I was assaulted by a man. He put his hands on me, in places I didn't like and he tried to force his tongue in my mouth. He was rough about it and did it while pinning me in a chair against the wall. I was in shock but was able to kick and push him off. I was ok, a little shaken, but ok.
    I was outside alone. I texted 2 people and within seconds, groups of my friends came rushing out of the building. And they kept coming. I think librarians are the BEST souls. It took all of 10 minutes before I was surrounded by safe people. Completely surrounded. They did some research to find pictures of this man, alerted the vendor and never left my side. I kept trying to make excuses....Had I been too friendly?.....Maybe it was my dress? Was it me? I kept playing it down like nothing happened because I was embarrassed. I didn't want to get in trouble. I know that's not rational thinking but it is my automatic "survival mode" reaction. My friends refused to let me fault myself. They're right, it wasn't me. I just couldn't help feeling bad about ruining everyone's night and I felt so DIRTY.
    While this was going on, I was heartbroken to hear that 2 other women in our group had also had experiences with aggressive men.
    Security did nothing.
    It hit me in the middle of the night. I woke up in a panic. This had triggered memories of a previous sexual assault where I hadn't been so lucky. I was tense, my chest and neck were sore from where he had been clawing at me. It was 4am so I got in the shower, under the hottest water I could tolerate, to wash that feeling away and cried my fucking eyes out. I felt so pathetic.
    I want to know why? I don't understand why some men think that we are just here for their pleasure. I literally rode with this guy in the elevator for a minute and made, what I thought, was friendly conversation. Where you from? What brings you to DC? He took that as an invitation for him to wait until I was alone to corner me and do what he wanted. Who knows what would've happened if I had frozen and hadn't kicked him off of me. And what about what happened to my sisters?? Why were there men there just waiting to prey on us? This was supposed to be a ticketed event for Librarians yet security was not following proper protocol by checking tickets. I have so many questions and I want answers. The vendor wants to talk to me, to get more information for their "investigation" We'll see how that goes. I have little faith but I will see the process through. I have to. I owe it to my daughter, my nieces, my sisters and all the others that look up to me. If it can happen to me, it can happen to any of them. I want them to know that it is NOT OK. You'll feel dirty, embarrassed and all sorts of things. That part is normal. What happened to you is not. Don't ever blame yourself for being assaulted. Punto.
    Jordan was pretty upset when she found out. I found myself, once again, trying to play it off. I kept asking her if she was ok and do you know what she said?? "Of course I'm ok, I'm Star Khan's daughter" My heart just exploded. I knew right then what I had to do. I'm my daughter's champion and I need to lead by example. So here I am, sharing my story so that other's that may be too scared to come forward know that they are not alone. I will follow through with the vendor investigation. I will be in touch with ALA to see what can be done about better security at library events. I will advocate for accountability.
    Now, I'm mad so it's ON! Lol:)
    I am always a safe person to talk to. Please don't ever hesitate to reach out to me if you need help or someone to lean on. I am always here.
    And a huge thank you to everyone who was there to support me. Y'all have no idea how much that helped me.

    https://www.facebook.com/star.khan.75/posts/pfbid031EWbd6AfHmLoJApmBN95noudACwJNxi8cs96BgsMCzoi4JHE5MXqxia7ANsuAbBsl

    Jules Shore


  • 2.  RE: Star Khan report of sexual assault at vendor party

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 12:40 PM
    Wow.  I did not hear this.  Thankfully this woman had people come to her rescue.  It is inexcusable that security did nothing and I hope ALA EB/Exec. Dir./President demand an investigation.

    Kari R. Mitchell, MLIS



    Sent from my iPhone
    Please excuse any typos





  • 3.  RE: Star Khan report of sexual assault at vendor party

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 02:38 PM
    Greetings All:

    I have just been alerted to this and will ensure board and staff visibility as well as reach out to all parties to perform necessary due diligence. 

    The safety of all conference attendees is paramount. We are following up immediately. 

    Thanks to those who supported Star after the incident and those who ensured that it was brought to our collective awareness. 

    T. Hall







  • 4.  RE: Star Khan report of sexual assault at vendor party

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 06:36 PM
    Thank you, Tracie, for the quick response. Is it clear to attendees what to do if there is a serious “situation” that needs immediate attention? I, and I trust leadership, would like to have taken action immediately.

    Kari R. Mitchell, MLIS



    Sent from my iPhone
    Please excuse any typos




  • 5.  RE: Star Khan report of sexual assault at vendor party

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 08:37 PM
    Thank you Tracie for supporting Star making sure that ALA addresses this heinous attack. I hope that if/when the culprit is identified we take swift action to hold him accountable.
    kp





  • 6.  RE: Star Khan report of sexual assault at vendor party

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 12:49 PM

    Thank you, Jules, for sharing this. I hadn't seen it prior to your posting.

     

    I expect that we will hear from Executive Director Hall and/or the Executive Board soon about next steps.

     

    Sent from Mail for Windows

     


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  • 7.  RE: Star Khan report of sexual assault at vendor party

    Posted Jun 28, 2022 01:22 PM
    This is horrific!  Do we know yet if the man was an attendee, a vendor, an employee at the venue, or someone unconnected to the conference who was able to sneak in?  Ultimately, no matter who it was, we need better security.  If nothing else, to ensure that people are checking (or blocking off) any areas where someone might be isolated from help.   If it's a vendor or an employee... well, I was going to say we should see if we do background checks (or their companies do), so many people seem to be able to get away with this stuff without it marring their records.

    I truly hope they were able to identify the man and see that there are repercussions.

    ------------------------------
    Sonnet Ireland
    Library Director
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------