Fighting Dream Killers: Sexual Assault, Pt 1/2 *CONTENT WARNING*

how to handle sexual assault in larp communities podcast

When the monsters of mundane society lift their fearsome heads in our dream, the chivalrous will fight them with all their arts.

Part one of a two-part episode with special guest Angela Aylward, a sociologist who focuses on the study of culture in insular groups. We delve deep into the uncomfortable topic of sexual assault, walking through the phenomenon step by step and discussing the issues that arise around it. In this portion of the conversation, we discuss common responses people have to hearing accusations of sexual assault or harassment, explain the “missing stair” analogy, and have a very basic discussion about handling sexual assault in gaming communities.

Show Notes

If you’d like to read more about the “Missing Stair” analogy for sexual predators, harassers, and other people with not ok behaviors, Cliff Pervocracy originated the term in this context in 2012.

“The Missing Stair and the Necessary Bastard” by Emma Hart offers some ways of dealing with problematic people you encounter who you may not have to deal with long enough to need a more permanent solution.

“A Long, Cold Look in the Mirror” by Misha Magdalene addresses issues of sexual assault in the pagan community, and her follow-up article does a great job of identifying exactly who is responsible for doing the work to stop sexual assault from happening in our communities.

“‘How Could This Happen Again?’ Why This Catholic Abuse Scandal Seems Worse Than 2002” by Daniel Burke, CNN (2018)

“19 Truths about Harassment, Missing Stairs, and Safety in LARP Communities” by Maury Brown, posted on is the authoritative article about how sexual assault, harassment, and rape affect LARPing communities. Outside of an SCA specific examination on the topic, this is the closest sort of community to the SCA.

Of course, no discussion on this topic is complete without referring to the missing stair of the SCA founders. It’s worth thinking about how Walter Breen’s motivations as a sexual predator may have shaped the development of early SCA culture, especially as he is known to have used the SCA as a hunting ground in his search for young boys to molest and rape.

Breen’s wife, author Marion Zimmer Bradley, turned a blind eye to the pedophilic abuse that took place under her own roof, of children that she informally adopted and her own biological children. Even more chilling are the accusations by her children that she raped and assaulted them as well. Bradley is on record as the person who gave the Society for Creative Anachronism it’s name. She and Breen were so active in the society that Bradley is asked by the police to list their persona names in her deposition.

Read more of the poems of 13th c CE Persian scholar, jurist, philosopher and, mystic at Rumi’s World.

Read more of the elegaic poems of 1st c BCE dilletante Gaius Valerius Catullus of the Veronian Valerii during the Roman Republic translated into English and several other languages. You can search his poems, compare them in different languages, and discuss them with other Catullus fans on this crowd-sourced database.

Please support Angela Aylward in her work studying and educating about the societies we create, live in, and rely on.

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Part two will be posted to our feed on September 26.  In it we discuss false accusations, the tactics predators use to abuse their victims, walk through the SCA grievance process step-by-step, offer suggestions on how to improve the process, we acknowledge how easy it is to cross the line, what to do when you realize you have, and how to know when someone truly is a predator. Available now as an early release on our Patreon.


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Episode Credits

Sound Engineering: Evan Meier

  • Intro Music: The King of Denmark’s Galliard, written by John Dowland and published in 1604 in Lachrimæ, or Seaven Teares. Perfomed by I Solipsisti. Provided by MusOpen. Sounds provided by ZapSplat and AmbientMixer.
  • Courtesan Theatre: Concerto for 2 Trumpets in C major, RV. 537 (Rondeau arr.) – I. Allegro, written by Antonio Vivaldi. Performed by Michel Rondeau. Provided by MusOpen. Mistress Nichols Almand, written by John Dowland and published in 1604 in Lachrimæ, or Seaven Teares. Performed by I Solipsisti. Provided by MusOpen. “Mystery Bazaar” Kevin MacLeod (
    Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

Podcast ambience provided by ZapSplat and Tabletop Audio.

Edited with Audacity.

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