Harassment in the pits

Personally being a shy guy I don’t have much experiance with trying to pick up girls at events and competitions, but I find it rather disturbing what some guys do at FIRST competitions. Girls on my team have complained about not being able to walk through the pit area without being given random people’s numbers, being hugged by people they don’t even know and even followed around by random guys. Personally that would freak me out. I’m not againts people hooking up at FIRST, it’s a great group of people, I just see this as a bit extreme. I’m wondering why guys do this and wondering if there is anything we can do to make girls more comfortable. Or maybe I’m totally missing the mark here and girls don’t really mind.

What do other people think of this kind of behaviour?

I have heard of people giving free hugs…could that have been some of the people?

A lot of us feel just like the way you do. But did you ever think about the girls who goes after guys too? Its not just “guys” or “girls”, it’s a lot of FIRST members. If one doesnt like it, it can be easily ignored by not responding. If it gets out of hand there is always someone called “Mentor” of your team.

… I have a feeling that this thread is going to turn into an arguement thread. So moderators, if you would, please keep an eye on this thread. thanks.

Well, from experience last year, yes, some guys do come up and offer hugs etc. etc. But I don’t think it is “just because we’re girls”. I think it’s because they offer everyone hugs, guys included, but the girls don’t realize this and can be offended by it. I have also been offered people’s numbers, sometimes even without names, which is a bit strange… especially when sometimes it’s not even the person’s number that’s giving it to you. Often a friend will come up and give you a number, and point someone out to you whose number it supposedly is. I’m not sure whether to take those people seriously and the guys are too shy to say something themselves, or if they’re just playing jokes on their buddies. I have also been seeked out by the same people multiple times, if you would call it “following”. Last year it was turned into a competition between some of the teams about who could have more of their teams buttons on me… a bit odd, but they were all very friendly and nice, not offensive at all. And, as Arefin stated above, there are also girls who do the same to guys. However, i wouldn’t really call it harassment; FIRST is supposed to be a family. Everyone is just being forward and trying to make a few new friends, and sometimes people interpret these friendship overtures as something else and are insulted by it. This would also explain why it seems to be mostly girls that feel “harassed,” as they are more sensitive to such things than males are. If girls are disturbed by this, they should simply be straightforward and tell people that their behavior is making them uncomfortable, and also state why; this could solve the issue much more quickly, and the girls would not suffer. I don’t see anyone in FIRST intentionally harassing someone else at a competition, so if you ask them to please cease doing something, I’m sure they will gladly comply and apologize as well.

Some of my former teammates have had problems. One of our team members was the topic of discussion of another team and the boys were making bets on who was going to sleep with her first. She had never expressed any interest in this idea and was rather annoyed/upset/insulted. Also once when I was our alliance captain I heard a few not-quite-flattering comments but really if you don’t like a person I think you will always find some way to make fun of them.

These kinds of stories are not fun things but FIRST was never guaranteed to be jerk-free and I do not think that these stories represent the majority of the males in FIRST.

I think the only thing frequent enough to really worry about are just simple time and place problems. For example last year at championships we found we had to switch out both drill transmissions within 30 minutes for our next match. A guy decided this was a great time to come up and talk with me. That was not a very good time.

Personally I don’t like it when people from other teams randomly come into our pit area as a basic rule. It feels like strangers are walking through your house. The front of the pit is open obviously and so the front edge is rather social but I think of the rest as team space. That place in the back away from traffic is where I take work when I don’t want to be bothered and if I had to “draw a line” that would be it.

I am sure that girls do the guy-chasing thing in the same way that some guys chase girls but actually more frequently I hear girls joke about how many guys are chasing them in a semi-bragging method…a “stalker count.” I really don’t like that…and I would just like to put that factoid on the table for whatever it is worth.

Second factoid for the table…I don’t think the comment “Do you know how to use that tool?” gets whatever effect was intended. Guys stand there and grin as they say that as if it was witty and offer to help show you how to run very basic power tools. I understand that might be somebody’s way of starting polite conversation and it wasn’t intended as an insult but it just usually makes me very mad. The other effect is to confuse me as I check the tool to see if the person was pointing out a genuine problem.

Third factoid…If we could somehow make it a social rule of FIRST that you can hand people your phone number if you want but not chase people around demanding theirs (same of screen names etc) I think that would make life easier for everybody. Last year at the championships party a guy walked over to our team and explained he was collecting girl’s phone numbers and asked us to write them on his arms. We thought it was funny but it made all of us nervous and we didn’t want to do it. The result was I watched him get eight numbers in a row with area codes not even from our time zone.

I don’t think random hugging or conversation to be harassment…or even the very random telephone number once in a while. That is just how people are. I think if we could just all leave each other to their personal spaces (such as the back of the pit), not follow people around, and not interrupt people who are working we would solve 90% of the problems. Still…I don’t think the behavior at FIRST regionals to be abnormal or notably bad/annoying.

Well this is a very interesting thread and i feel the need to post on this topic

Everyone goes to a competition to watch the robots, but yet i feel that there is more then this and we all know that alot of people, guys and girls alike go to find someone for the weekend or even longer. Now from a guy point of view yes i can say i been apart of this(…waiting for arefin to chime in), but there is a time to draw the line. Harassment is a big deal, i have seen harassment in FIRST but yet i think its very minimal. What i mean is sure in each regional there are girls and guys alike that get harassed but it could be alot worse. Now my advice to everyone. If you are a guy on a team watch over the girls to make sure they are not getting harassed and if you feel that they are, before you do anything ask the girl if she feels like she is. If she says yes then maybe just talk to the other individual and tell them that person is not interested, BUT BY NO MEANS SHOULD IT GO ANY FARTHER, SUCH AS A CONFRONTATION! If you are a girl remember the guys on your team are there for you and don’t be afraid to ask for help, because the last thing you want is it to go farther then harassment. After confronting the other individual, if the harassment continues that is when you should approach a mentor on your team or theres and tell them, and that should solve the problem. But lets not get discouraged about this whole situation, FIRST is a great place to meet friends or even a boyfriend/girlfriend. Its brings people together that have the same interest. Lets just remember that robotics comes first and to have respect for each other, because in the end we are all trying to accomplish the same goal

How about this angle (this is a thinly veiled attempt to get both sides to yell at me instead of at each other in this thread)? You are participating in a team-based robotics competition, in which the team needs strong contributions from all of its members in order to be successful. If you aren’t helping your team at a particular moment in time, then are you helping someone on another team? Chasing members of the opposite sex around the arena is an individualistic - some would say selfish - act that in my book is at the absolute bottom of the list of things you should be looking to accomplish at an event. The standard excuse will most certainly be that you are all hormone soaked teenagers and you can’t help it. I’d then ask you to look around at the hundreds of other people your age in the arena who are diligently helping their team repair their robot, talking to the judges, or just sitting in the stands simply cheering their team on. Before you unleash your hormones on the unsuspecting teenage masses in the pits - ask yourself if there is anything more beneficial you can be doing with your time at that moment instead of chasing after people, flirting, and potentially harassing those on other teams who aren’t looking for that kind of thing? If you can honestly answer no to that question, then go ahead and socialize, but be respectful, lest ye offend the female driver of the #1 seeded team, who then forgets your team ever existed during alliance selections! At a competition, you are representing your team at all times, even when you are acting on your own, so behave accordingly. You can always socialize with other teams at the wrap party, at the hotel, or at some other location in the evening once all the responsibilities of the day have been fulfilled.

Personally I know a lot of guys on my team are always joking around about picking girls up at competitions, but none of us ever do that. Well I’m usually in the pit so I don’t know what a lot of the other people do, but personally I’ve never done it. Why do we not do it? I’m not really sure, but mostly I think its cause it’s not what we’re there for. I know why I do not do it though, I don’t do it because I don’t have time and I’m too shy. I’m there to see the robot compete not to get girls.

I agree with those that have said, however, that it is not just the guys. Many times I see girls who seem to be trying to pick up guys - as in wearing short skirts and stuff like that. It may just not be noticed as much because there are fewer girls, and people may just look over it.

With the starter of the thread, I agree somewhat that its wrong, but everyone in FIRST is old enough to make there own choices, and should be mature enough to respect the choices of others. If the girls do not mind then go for it, but people should also remember that while some girls may not mind, others probably will.

I do not think its as much of a problem as you perceive it though, and if the girls on your team think it is (which is totally up to them), they should probably talk to a mentor about it and tell those that are bothering them they’re not interested.

i dont think it is a big deal. some kids might take it too far, but its not the issue made out to be. its fun meeting girls involved in the same thing you are. on top of that, its not harassment. if a girl is pretty, any guy with confidence will talk to her…i know i will

I haven’t ever seen this first hand, and when I was in high school I was always at competition for the pure love of competition and the robots. However, I wouldn’t be so fast to attack the guys, and I’m not saying that they can’t be to blame, because I know how they think, and I have heard enough stories in my days. This past weekend though was my first competition from the ‘adult’ viewpoint, and it was a shock. To see and hear girls “scoping” out guys, and wanting to take off from the team area to follow them or watch them was a shock. Seeing girls trying to get their team shirts tied as tight as possible to make their shirts smaller and shorter, and make themselves “stand-out”… hmm, maybe I’m just getting older, but they are asking for trouble if they draw that kind of attention to themselves.

I would hope the amazing individuals in FIRST can begin to acknowledge and correct this problem themselves.

It is important to differentiate between a polite comment or question and a concerted effort to be a pest. Anyone who comes into your pit area to harass any member of the team, be they male or female, should be asked to leave by a mentor. Also, any team member that is walking alone in the pits should not be considered “fair game” by anyone who is sitting on their duff in the pit watching the world go by.
I have a few rules for the male and female members of our team:

  1. Don’t travel alone. Go with a buddy/mentor at all times.
  2. You are at the event for the competition and the learning experience of FIRST not to score phone numbers, AOL addresses or the like.
  3. If you don’t have anything to do either find something to do (constructive obviously) or I will find something for you to do (scouting, Alliance building or sorting the tools or matching nuts and bolts if nothing else comes up).
  4. Report any inconsiderate or uncooperative people to me and I will speak to the other team’s mentor and give them a head’s up on the event.
  5. Finally, follow the Golden Rule and you should have absolutely no problems, either in FIRST or in life.

I have heard of this before…oddly enough, never on chiefdelphi…

ANYWAY…on the subject. I have seen guys trying to pick up girls at competitions, and vice versa. I personally, along with many of the girls on my team will never go looking for boys, unless we’re really bored (doesn’t happen often) If we happen to notice a cute one, that’s nice, and we’ll be happy if we see him again, somtimes talk to him, but there is in no way stalking. While i’ve never personally had to deal with guys blatent picking me up, i believe that most guys if not all would respect the “you’re making me unfortable”, “please go away” or “i’m really busy right now” If they’re really freaking you out, there’s plenty of great guys on your team or other teams that you know that are more than willing to help you with anything, whether it be with power tools or protecting you from the creepy guys next pit over. Guys asking for phone numbers, or handing them out…wow, impressive. I’ve seen it but never experienced it. I believe that guys aren’t creepy, and if they are acting so, just tell them they’ll knock if off. And if they aren’t stopping, mentors are always there to help.

I think it’s plain stupid to go to a robotics event to try to hook up with a member of the opposite sex. This is FIRST, there are robots - check them out for a weekend, and then go back to the hormonal rages of teenagehood. This is some once in a life time opportunity stuff - meet new people that you wouldn’t have a chance to meet, but don’t take it too far.

yeah sometimes girls get hit on and vice versa–but i never seen it as a huge problem–yeah it’s sad to think u can hook up with a person at these events…they only last 3 days and how many times do you get to see the other person especially when you aren’t geographically close…dating in FIRST has happened and will happen…but I believe everyone does care what’s going on…if one person on a team is being annoyed by a member of another team something will be done…and being in FIRST we all follow gracious professionalism so that of course include relationships between teams whether or not it’s a guy and a guy or a girl and a girl or girl and guy getting be friends…

just have fun…be kind to everyone…if we all respected each other in this world…there wouldn’t be wars and disagreements…(too bad it can’t be like that)

A number of years ago, I had a class at work on sexual harassment, which is most of what this thread is about. The gist of what we were taught is:

  1. If you are “hit on,” or whatever term suits you, by another person and if you are offended, don’t like it, or just aren’t interested, you should inform the person to to that effect. Then, if the person “does it again,” that is harassment.

  2. Basically, that means that you can be made to accept one “incident” without officially being harassed.

Of course, this was more than 10 years ago, so maybe the rules have changed. In any case, being made uncomfortable by other team members should not be part of a FIRST competition, and a FIRST competition is different from a work place anyway. Hopefully there are few cases where this becomes serious, but if a student is being seriously annoyed by a member of another team, they should probably tell someone like a mentor from that team.

I agree with Kit wholeheartedly.

I want to remind everyone that harassment is typically defined as being “in the eye of the beholder.” So before we judge too hastily what the definition of harassment is, we must realize that certain boundaries exist between “harassment” and “being friendly” or “flirting” - and that these boundaries differ from person to person. What may be considered “flirting” to one person may be considered “harassment” to another.

I want to encourage all of you to try to be sensitive to each individual’s interpretation of these boundaries. It is ok to try to get to know someone better, but in doing so, be cognizant of how they are feeling about the experience. Never assume that someone will accept brazen overtures as being comfortable and fun to them, even if it is for you. If you sense that the person is uncomfortable, don’t push the limits of their boundaries. Make them feel comfortable…if you do, they will be even more willing to get to know you.

If you are being harassed, I second what others have said here already. Like Kit said, the most important thing to to is to tell the person to stop. If they continue to bother you, tell a mentor or some other figure of authority whom you trust.

To those who may be looking to meet someone special, DO NOT act in a way that might make someone else feel embarrassed or awkward. Get to know that person better… talk to them and be friends. Show them that you respect them. This will give you a better sense of what their boundaries are, and they will be WAY more likely to like you as a friend and to build a good relationship with you. Trust me on that one! The best relationships are formed on friendship and trust, not inappropriate or demeaning actions.

Use good sense.

– Jaine

Well, this problem is faced in the real life too. Meeting people, making friends etc is good stuff… I won’t say no to socializing at events or anything of that sort. I think here’s where people skills comes into effect. If you feel uncomfortable by the acts of any individual, as others have mentioned earlier, just tell them you feel uncomfortable. It might also be a good idea to be with a friend from this point on if you know this certain someone is really after you. I know many teams face problems with self-centered guys/girls who just want to go to competitions to have some fun. Another thing people should keep in mind is, whatever you do at competitions reflects back on your team. Things get around eventually and you will not be able to do anything about it.

Some kids are mature enough to make their decisions while others are not. Sometimes its necessary for team mentors to step in because their team members are a little stupid. Liability issues await if things go wrong.

Well, I find this all very interesting.

Personally I dont have a problem with it.

You can choose whether or not to give someone personal info. You can say no thanks to a hug…
Or you can make really awesome friends that all have one thing in common with you… a love for FIRST.

Everyone at the regional i went to was so nice and funny, and I had an awesome time and talked to alot of people from other schools. There is nothing wrong with making friends. Okay, I admit sometimes I am a little flirty, and I absolutely love hugs! But that doesnt make me bad as a person. Or anyone else for that matter
[not that any of you guys said it did]

basically i feel that if you do your job and you have the spare time, why not make new friends, a cheer on another team. Its all about having fun, afterall we are still young.

i agree. we’re young, we dont know much, we try to have fun, we sumtimes mess up but as long as you didnt hurt anyone/thing its all good. try again.

A few girls on our team this year claimed they were being harassed…I never heard anything though after the one instance. (Of course, I never leave our pit area except to talk to allaince drivers/coach and to go out to the field for our matches.)