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Example Consent Policies

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The purpose of this page is to collect Safer Space and Consent policies form a diverse array of events and collectives, so that organizers have a resource to find ideas, wording, and policies that fit their needs and context. Note that a lot of these poliies are centered around preventing and responding to sexual assault, but many contain much broader suggestions for making spaces safer and more accessible to all people.


Thank you to the Denver on Fire Collective for first collecting many of these policies.

Large summit demo: G20 Summit, Pittsburgh 2009Edit

'G20RP Sexual Consent Guidelines: No Perpetrators Welcome!

Perpetrators of Sexual Assault, Abuse, and Harassment Are Not Welcome in G20 Resistance Spaces

Perpetrators of sexual violence/assault/harassment are not welcome in Pittsburgh or any G20 protest organizational spaces. This includes people who have perpetrated in the past*, people currently engaged in or running away from accountability processes, and people who refuse to respect the ResistG20 consent guidelines. People who violate consent guidelines will be directed to leave G20 organizational spaces and housing arrangements. Given the short time frame, lack of people resources, and likelihood of state repression we don’t have the ability to deal with these situations in this artificially constructed community.

Perpetrators' presence should not hinder survivors' participation in G20 mobilizations (Perps: You are not welcome regardless of the survivor's plans). We are resisting the G20 in large part because the G20 acts WITHOUT accountability to or consent of the people it fucks over. Don't replicate the same paradigm of domination and abuse that you're claiming to want to smash.

Note: We understand and respect that other communities have engaged in their own processes around these incidents. If you have gone through an accountability process and the survivor, joined by the community, feels you have sufficiently dealt with your shit, this statement does not include you.

Support Structure for Survivors of Sexualized Violence and Assault
If you experience harassment, abuse, sexual assault, or any other kind of consent violation while resisting the G20 this September, or if a perpetrator of sexual violence is interfering with your participation in the G20 resistance movement, or for any other reason you need support to deal with sexualized violence, please come to us.

There will be trained and experienced advocates and support people for survivors of sexual assault at the WELLNESS SPACE (located in the
clinic). People staffing housing and other spaces, as well as medics and (A)-minded legal observers (note: not the ACLU kind) should also
be able to put you in contact with us.

We can offer you:

  • Support, caring, and listening
  • Advocacy on your behalf, including the removal of perpetrators of violence
  • Emergency housing changes to quiet, safer space housing
  • Transport to the Pittsburgh rape crisis center
  • Medical, herbal, and wellness (massage, acupressure, music therapy) resources
  • Resources for further support and/or action
  • Support, with the legal team, to document sexual abuse by law enforcement

Consent Guidelines for G20 Resistance Spaces and Housing
Consistently asking for consent and listening to your sexual partner at every step in every sexual encounter, regardless of length, history, or specific situation, is the only way to prevent sexual assault from happening. Consent includes asking, listening, and respecting; it does not include coercion, expectations, or assumptions.
Consent: Consent is actively and voluntarily expressed agreement. Doing personal work to consistently seek consent and respect the times when it is not given helps to combat rape culture, and informed consent, sexual and otherwise, is necessary in the building of strong, healthy anti-authoritarian communities. The following do not qualify as consent: silence, passivity, and coerced acquiescence. Body movements, non-verbal responses such as moans, or the appearance of physical arousal do not, necessarily, constitute consent. Further, if someone is intoxicated, they may not be in a position to give you consent. Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity, regardless of the parties’ relationship, prior sexual history, or current activity.

Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is any non-consensual sexual interaction. Sexual assault happens, and it happens in activist and radical communities as much as anywhere else. Sexual assault can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, but is often perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the survivor and community. Sexual assault is a tool of domination, of taking power, and can rob someone of their self respect, self worth, and autonomy. Sexual assault is rooted in broader systems of oppression- such as patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, homophobia, and colonialism- and is not separable from them in how and why it is perpetrated, experienced, and dealt with.
Rape Culture: Rape culture is the culture in which sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence are condoned, excused and even encouraged. Rape culture is part of a broader culture of violence, wherein people are socialized to inhabit different positions in hierarchical relationships, to commodify their fellow human beings, and to relate to each other through violence and coercion.
We are survivor centric and survivor oriented. When a decision needs to be made to give “benefit of the doubt” to a perpetrator or support to a survivor, the preference will be to support the survivor. State language which serves to cast doubt onto survivors experiences (eg referring to experiences as “allegations”) has zero space in radical support and communities.
Thank you G20RP, Antioch College Consent Policy, Denver on Fire, Unconventional Denver, and the RNC Welcoming Committee

Large summit demo: G20/G8 Summit, Toronto 2010Edit

Toronto'Community Mobilization Network ' Statement/Guidelines on sexual assault and consent
Information on Prevention and Support Structures for Survivors for the G8/G20 in Toronto
*please disseminate widely*
The Toronto Community Mobilization Network recognizes that organizing and activist spaces are not always spaces liberated from sexual and gender based violence and assault. We believe it is important that as a community we create spaces that acknowledge this reality and fight the structures and persons that create and sustain rape culture within our society, but that we also establish prevention and support mechanisms for individuals who experience sexual assault/gender based violence while attending the summit in Toronto.

We will do this by:

  • Actively discouraging persons with a known history of perpetrating assault from attending the summit/being present in organizing spaces
  • Having trained medics/volunteers experienced with sexual assault present throughout the convergence to support survivors
  • Having guidelines for consensual sexual activity to be abided by, especially in G8 & G20 Housing/Organizing spaces

We know, see, feel and acknowledge that women of colour and Indigenous women, trans folk, people differently abled, non- status women, psych survivors, women using substances, and poor women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence and this is the product of the racist, colonialist, ableist, capitalist, misogynist system within which our society exists.
We invite members of all such communities and/or those skilled/trained in working with these communities to join the sexual assault medic team. We hope that a more inclusive membership will allow us to have medics available that are able to provide skilled responses that are respectful and cognisant of the intersections of violence that are faced by (and overcome) by people.

Some working definitions…
Consent: is actively and voluntarily expressed agreement. Doing personal work to consistently seek consent and respect the times when it is not given helps to combat rape culture, and informed consent, sexual and otherwise, is necessary in the building of strong, healthy, and anti-authoritarian communities. The following does not qualify as consent: silence, passivity, and coerced acquiescence. Body movements, non language-based responses such as moans, or laughter, or the appearance of physical arousal do not necessarily constitute consent. Further, if someone is intoxicated, are not legally able to give INFORMED consent. Consentis required each and every time there is sexual activity, regardless of the parties’ relationship, prior sexual history, or current activity

Sexual assault:is any unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault happens, and it happens in activist and radical communities as muchas anywhere else. Sexual assault can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, but is often perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the survivor and community. Sexual assault is a tool of domination, of taking power and can rob someone of their self-respect, self worth and autonomy. Sexual assault is rooted in broader systems of oppression such as patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, transphobia, homophobia, and colonialism – and is not separable from them in how and why it is perpetrated, experienced and dealt with.

Rape Culture:is the culture in which sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence are condoned, excused and even encouraged. Rape culture is part of a broader culture of violence, wherein people are socialized to inhabit different positions in hierarchical relationships, to commodify their fellow human beings and to relate to each other through violence and coercion. In North America, we live in a culture of rape.
Support Structure for Survivors of Sexualized Violence and AssaultContact us At: sarah.p.reaburn@gmail.com
If you experience harassment, abuse, sexual assault, or any other kind of consent violation while resisting the G8 & G20 this June,
Ifa perpetrator’s sexual violence is interfering with your participation in the G8 & G20 resistance movement, or
If for any other reason you need support to deal with sexualized or gender based violence…
Please contact us.

There will be trained and experienced advocates and support people for survivors of sexual assault at the wellness space.

We can offer:


  • Support, caring and listening,
  • Community agency referral
  • Advocacy on your behalf, including the removal of perpetrators of violence
  • Emergency housing changes to quiet, safer space housing
  • Transport to the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre
  • Medical, herbal and wellness resources
  • Resources for further support and or action
  • Someone to support you while you are making a statement to police/law enforcement

Perpetrators of Sexual Assault, Abuse and Harassment are not welcome in G8 & G20 Resistance Spaces!!!
Perpetrators of Sexual Assault, Abuse and Harassment are not welcome in G8 & G20 Resistance Spaces. This includes people who have perpetrated in the past, people currently engaged in or running away from accountability processes, and people who refuse to respect the TCMN consent guidelines.

People who violate consent guidelines will be directed to leave G8 & G20 organization spaces, and housing arrangements.
It is no way acceptable that the presence of a perpetrator hinder the particpation of a survivor during the G8/G20 mobilization. We encourage survivors, and allies of survivors to identify ways in which we can assist them if they feel that their participation in the G20 is being obstructed by the presence of a perpetrator.

The G8/G20 guidelines are in place to discourage the replication of the paradigms of domination that exist within our society. If you are here to protest the paradigm of domination that the G8/G20 represents, practically engaging in deconstructing and de-practicing learned patriarchal, misogynist behaviours of abuse includes following these guidelines.

To identify someone perpetrating abuse, to get support for you or a friend, please contact us at: xxxxxx
-We understand and respect that other communities have engaged in their own processes around these incidents. If you have gone through an accountability process and the survivor, joined by the community, feels you have sufficiently dealt with your shit, this statement does not include you-
'Consent Guidelines for G8 & 'G20 20 Resistance Spaces and Housing:
Consistently asking for consent and listening to your sexual partner at every step in every sexual encounter, regardless of length, history, or specific situation, is the only way to prevent sexual assault from happening. Consent includes asking, listening and respecting. It does not include coercion, expectation, or assumptions.

We would like to re-iterate Perpetrators of Sexual Assault, Abuse and Harassment are not welcome in G8 & G20 Housing, and Resistance Spaces, and will be removed.
We are survivor centric, and survivor oriented. When a decision needs to be made to give benefit of the doubt to a perpetrator or support to a survivor, the preference will be to support the survivor.

Large summit demo: Democratic National Convention, Denver 2008Edit

Unconventional Denver Sexual Assault Policy


This sexual assault policy is a work in progress- with the complicated issues around sex and consent no one policy can detail all the best responses to the crisis of sexual assault. We intend this to be the guidelines that we follow in all of the organizing around the DNC in Denver, and hope that other communities can take this and use it as an adaptable tool to fight rape culture and further our struggle for a society equipped to confront assualt and rape. We welcome and encourage input from people and groups as we are NOT experts on this and believe that we can only further our understanding of resisting rape culture through sharing our experiences, difficulties, and pains around this issue. Many thanks to the RNC Welcoming Committee for creating such a strong and useful policy, off of which much of this is based. Thanks also to the community groups and individuals around the country who helped us form this policy.


Terms

The definitions below are meant to provide a useful framework for understanding and dealing with sexual assault. However, we recognize the limitations inherent in trying to define complicated experiences.

Consent: Consent is actively and voluntarily expressed agreement. Doing personal work to consistently seek consent and respect the times when it is not given helps to combat rape culture, and informed consent, sexual and otherwise, is necessary in the building of strong, healthy anti-authoritarian communities. The following do not qualify as consent: silence, passivity, and coerced acquiescence. Body movements, non-verbal responses such as moans, or the appearance of physical arousal do not, necessarily, constitute consent. Further, if someone is intoxicated, they may not be in a position to give you consent. Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity, regardless of the parties' relationship, prior sexual history, or current activity.

Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is any non-consensual sexual interaction. Sexual assault happens, and it happens in activist and radical communities as much as anywhere else. Sexual assault can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, but is often perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the survivor and community. Sexual assault is a tool of domination, of taking power, and can rob someone of their self respect, self worth, and autonomy. Sexual assault is rooted in broader systems of oppression- such as patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, homophobia, and colonialism- and is not separable from them in how and why it is perpetrated, experienced, and dealt with.



Rape Culture: Rape culture is the culture in which sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence are condoned, excused and even encouraged. Rape culture is part of a broader culture of violence, wherein people are socialized to inhabit different positions in hierarchical relationships, to commodify their fellow human beings, and to relate to each other through violence and coercion.


Why a sexual assault policy?

Sexual assault happens at mobilizations just as much as it happens in our communities, often times more due to having thousands of people together in high-stress and chaotic situations where emotions and passions run high. We want to be proactive and have guidelines to prevent and deal with sexual assault when it arises in a manner that not only creates safer spaces in Denver but also create a process to continue when we leave and return home, even if the survivor and perpetrator live on seperate sides of the country.


In establishing a specific sexual assault policy, we do not mean to suggest that sexual assault trumps other forms of violence, nor that other acts of oppression aren't equally important to deal with in the building of healthier radical communities. In fact, we see this sexual assault policy as a small part of building a larger anti-oppression framework, and look forward to engaging around other issues through policy and action, as well.


It is important to note that we do not have the capacity to create spaces free of perpetrators. Most perpetrators are not known beyond survivor and sometimes their closest friends. Of known perpetrators, we must also take into account their status within their accountability process. Perpetrators who have not/refuse to go through an accountability process are not welcome within the organized spaces at the DNC. Also, perpetrators whose accountability process states that for one reason or another they are not welcome in the spaces are not welcome.


It would be dishonest to suggest that anyone can provide an entirely "safe" space for radical organizing or living. This is true because we cannot identify and exclude all perpetrators but, more to the point, because the presence of perpetrators isn't the only, or even the primary, thing that makes a space "unsafe." However, we are committed to always seeking and creating safer spaces in which to organize.


Unconventional Denver’s role in responding to sexual assault is more than just one of providing safer spaces, helping the healing process of a survivor, and helping a perpetrator transform their behaviors to prevent future assaults. It is direct action to create solutions outside of a state legal system that re-victimizes and re-traumatizes the survivor, and criminalizes and imprisons the perpetrator; it is returning the power for local communities to address the needs and desires specific within their communities.


We are asking the questions: “When sexual assault happens in our community, is there a safer and more effective means for us to deal with it than calling the police?”, “What role does the state play in creating and fostering rape culture?”, and “Why do the predominate models for addressing sexual assault fail to prevent it from happening again, fail to address the needs a survivor and their community have from a perpetrator , and not support the survivor in reclaiming the space and emotional stability lost in their lives due to the assault?”


These are difficult questions and there is no single right answer. It is through dialogue that we can find a solution most suited for our community and we hope that by publicizing this policy, along with the work of other groups and policies from the present and past, communities around the world can further our understanding and practice of preventing sexual assault and rape culture. This is not a policy for which to imported to your home town and implemented; it is one framework of many out there from which to read, learn from, and talk about what your community needs in a process of dealing with sexual assault.


Our Response to Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault will not be tolerated at the DNC protests or other related events. Unconventional Denver sees two different situations arising at the DNC: 1) An assault happens during the protests/related event. 2) A survivor comes to Denver and their perpetrator is present. We have two different plans and guidelines to be followed for each situation. We will have an Accountability/Mediation Team (AMT, who will be publicly identified at all events) that survivors/empowered representatives can approach to assist and support the survivor in their needs and requests.

An assault happens during the protests/related event. Due to the short term nature of all the DNC events and the immediacy of the situation, the requests of the survivor are foremost important. We will also take into account the risk the perpetrator poses to the rest of the community present and whether they constitute a threat that needs to be expelled. Only secondary (and on the request of the survivor) will we confront the perpetrator and begin an accountability process that can then be carried on in the perpetrator’s home community.

A survivor comes to Denver and their perpetrator who has not been through an accountability process is present/accountability process states that they are not welcome in spaces where the survivor is. We will respect and enforce the needs and requests of the survivor. We will begin the accountability process that the perpetrator will take part in back in their home community.


We encourage survivors to seek out whatever support they need from both the AMT and their community yet we realize how difficult this can be. We hope that the formation of this policy the AMT and publicly presenting it will help create a safe enough space where survivors can come to us if they need our support and assistance in addressing their situation.


The Accountability/Mediation Team

The AMT will be a crew of at least six people. All are highly trusted members of our communities and have dealt with issues around sexual assault, whether personally, through groups, or both. Many of us are survivors ourselves and know how difficult it can be to be a survivor. Direct contact information for the AMT will be made public to facilitate getting in touch with the AMT. We will do our best to provide the resources to continue the process of healing and accountability beyond the DNC and will follow up with survivors, perpetrators, and the communities supporting them in the process to ensure that the process is being continued and carried through.


If you want to learn more and/or have resources available about dealing with sexual assault, let us know, as we would like to facilitate an exchange of information on the topic. Lastly, if you have specific questions about aspects of this policy, how it's being implemented, or the process that led us to it, don't hesitate to ask.


Prevention

Unconventional Denver is working to create a plan and process to prevent sexual assault in both the anti-DNC events and the actual protests. This is difficult because we do not know who the perpetrators within our communities are and because we can’t be everywhere all the time. Even then the disempowering nature of sexual assault and its accompanying violence makes it near impossible to prevent every incident. Unfortunately the only options available to us are education on what sexual assault and consent are, ensuring that perpetrators known to us are participating in their accountability processes, and combating the oppression and violence that allows space for sexual assault to happen.


One thing that we can do to prevent sexual assault from happening is preventing an atmosphere where sexual assault is acceptable. This means that we all must commit to excluding rape culture from our language, actions, and ideals. Sexual assault is rooted in the oppression within ourselves and our communities, and therefore must be approached from these perspectives. The commodifying of bodies, using oppressive language and imagery, denying that sexual assault is a problem in our community, and unwanted repeated sexual advances are all examples of rape culture and make sexual assault acceptable. Sexual assault is an expression of the belief that you and your desires are more important than someone else and their needs. Reducing our friends to bodies or using language that reinforces hierarchical systems denies them their right to determine their own lives and destinies; denying sexual assault as a problem means that survivors were never assaulted and perpetrators did nothing wrong. We must act within ourselves to combat these behaviors and call out these behaviors within our community when they happen.


Rape culture is also embodied in the fear of being raped. Fear is a primary tool used by oppressors to enforce hierarchical structures. Fear is a coercive tool used to achieve domination and compliance through threats of violence and intimidation, and through threat/fear of neglect. Even fear and similar emotions that stem from completely outside sources can lead to an atmosphere where sex and/or sexual encounters are not safe or welcome. The responsibility of communicating one’s fear or other debilitating emotions does not rest solely on the one feeling the emotion- both parties must take careful notice of their own emotional state and ask of the other person’s emotional state before true consent can be achieved.


Education

We will publicize this policy widely before all events and include with it resources on sexual assault and consent, with emphasis placed upon consent and what that looks like in a sexual relationship. For many, seeking consent before reaching each “base” is a turn off and unsexy, and others fear rejection. Yet consistently asking for consent and listening to your sexual partner at every step in every sexual encounter, regardless of length, history, or specific situation, is the only way to prevent sexual assault from happening. Consent includes asking, listening, and respecting; it does not include coercion, expectations, or assumptions. We all agree that sexual assault is much worse than the temporary sting of rejection.


Survivor Safer Spaces

Unconventional Denver is creating safer spaces for survivors attending the DNC protests this August, as well as safer spaces for people of color, womyn, and trans/queer folk. These are spaces where only survivors (or people of color, etc) will be present in order to provide spaces safer from oppression.


Police, the State, and Sexual Assault

Unconventional Denver is interested in starting a dialog on how to deal with sexual assault perpetrated by the state, its agents, or other incarcerated people. At every major mobilization since Seattle, and most definitely before than as well, the police have sexually assaulted people within the walls or looked the other way while other jail residents perpetrate sexually assault. All too often, these assaults are targeting trans and queer folk, singling them out from others in jail for abuse and assault. We have no idea as to what this would look like. While we are familiar with supporting survivors and helping the healing process, confronting the state on sexual assault it perpetrated or facilitated is a completely foreign subject to us and we are interested in creating a policy and framework both for our organizing and for others to use within their communities and at mobilizations beyond the DNC. What does a post-action legal support team who supports survivors’ rights and is a safe group for survivors to report the incident look like? What types of facilitation between survivors and lawyers (ours and theirs) is needed? Is there something we can do to confront the assault beyond just a lawsuit afterwards? We have no idea what form this will take and need input from the wider community in order to create a successful framework to work within.


A Consent Primer- from Philly’s Pissed

Consent is an agreement that people must make if they want to have sexual contact. The issue of consent can be a complicated and ambiguous area that needs to be addressed with clear, open, and honest communication. Keep these points in mind if you are not sure consent has been established:

  • All partners must be fully conscious and aware. The use of alcohol or other substances can interfere with someone’s ability to make clear decisions about the level of intimacy they are comfortable with. The more intoxicated a person is, the less they are able to give conscious consent.

All partners are equally free to act. The decision to be sexually intimate must be without coercion. Both partners must have the option to choose to be intimate or not. Bother partners must be free to change a “yes” to a“no” at any time. Factors such as body size, previous victimization,threats to “out” someone, and other fears can prevent an individual from freely consenting.

  • All partners clearly communicate their willingness and permission.Willingness and permission must be communicated clearly and unambiguously.Just because a person fails to reject sexual advances does not mean that they are willing. Consent is not the absence of the word “no”.
  • All partners are positive and sincere in their desires. It is important to be honest in communicating feelings and desires. If one person states their desires, the other person can make an informed decision about the encounter.

Many people find consent and consistently asking their partner for consent before “going to the next base” as unsexy and a turn off. The truth is that with consent comes an openness and willingness not found in situations where consent is not sought and achieved first. Many partners are turned on by the other’s willingness and ability to check for consent and often opens new possibilities within the sexual relationship. Many of the great relationships out there today truly took off because of one partner’s willingness to ask the other for consent. And there is nothing that says one can’t ask consent for crazy, off the wall, uninhibited sex.

Consent means:


  • YOU ARE NEVER ENTITLED
  • communicating
  • hitting on them before they are drunk
  • knowing your own boundaries and asserting them
  • asking they want to be touched, and yes, asking how
  • stopping in the middle of whatever you are doing if they say so
  • asking “is this ok?” or “do you like this” throughout the encounter
  • never assuming that just because they had sex (or a specific sex act) with you before that they want to do it with you again
  • being responsible
  • not punishing them because they won’t have sex with you
  • paying attention, and stopping when you realize that something is wrong/not right
  • many different things to different people- establish what consent is before sexual contact
  • enjoying yourself and your partner
  • more than what can be defined on a piece of paper


STAND UP TO RAPE CULTURE!!!

-in solidarity

Unconventional Denver


Multi-day convergence: Bash Back Convergence, Chicago 2009Edit

Creating Safer Spaces at the 2009 Bash Back! Convergence[1]

Safer Space is an essential part of every radical event. We believe that Safer Spaces are inviting, engaging, and supportive environments in which all people feel comfortable behaving genuinely. BB! Convergence participants have different communication styles, personalities and opinions, and come from diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. In order to foster this kind of temporary community space, people must respect each other and actively look out for the well being of all those attending this convergence. Supporting the most vulnerable members of our community is one of our goals. This is why we define safer space as survivor-centric space (which is a space that prioritizes survivors’ needs). We choose to say “Safer” Space rather than “safe space” because we acknowledge that no space is entirely “safe” for everyone. Some events may push people’s boundaries more than other events. It is important that folks listen carefully to others experiences and act on what they hear. It is our hope that the guidelines below can enable us to support each other in exploring our own experiences and boundaries. Bash Back! strives to allow participants to learn new things at their own pace. We’ll provide a Quiet Room for folks to use when they need some quiet time to process or rest. Practicing active consent is essential for Safer Spaces. For the duration of the convergence, consent is defined as a clearly asked question followed by a clearly stated yes.

Guidelines for Creating Safer Space at the 2009 Bash Back! Convergence

1. Respect your own physical, mental and emotional boundaries.

  • Stay attuned to your own needs
  • Feel free to leave workshops at any time, for any reason
  • If something doesn’t feel right to you, please speak up. You may not be the only one who feels that way.
  • If you don’t want to talk or answer a question, say so
  • Don’t wait for someone to “get the hint.” Try to vocalize what you need.
  • Be assertive if possible. Speak to the person you have a concern with and be direct
  • If you need help negotiating a situation, find a Vibes Watcher to assist you.

2. Respect others’ physical, mental and emotional boundaries.

  • Always ask for explicit verbal consent before engaging or touching someone. Never assume consent, especially if drug/alcohol use is involved. Highly intoxicated people are always considered non-consenting.
  • Don’t assume the race, sexuality, gender, history with violence etc. of others. Instead, ask if someone is open to engaging in dialogue about identity. Don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t want to answer a question. Try asking a Vibes Watcher instead.
  • Special note on gender assumptions: This convergence is a place where everyone should feel empowered to choose their own gender. If at all possible, find out what pronouns people prefer or use neutral pronouns such as ‘they’ or ‘z’. It is also important to separate terms for peoples’ genitals from their gender. We’re born with our genitals but we get to choose our genders. Genitals can be referred to on an “internal/external” continuum as opposed to a “male/female” one.
  • Respect the confidentiality of others. You are welcome to share what you learned at this convergence, but not names or identifying details of other convergence participants.

3. This convergence is a cooperative learning environment

  • We are all here to learn, and we all have something to offer
  • Clarifying questions are encouraged
  • Respect diverse opinions, beliefs, and points of view. Share ideas rather than judgments.
  • Use ‘I’ statements as much as possible to state your reactions or your experiences.
  • There is no such thing as a totally Safe Space. In attending this convergence you are taking a risk in order to learn. You may find yourself outside your comfort zone.
  • Assume positive intent
  • Everyone (including you) will make unintentional mistakes
  • Be aware of the effects your behavior has on others and accept responsibility for it.
  • Expect to be confronted by others if you make a mistake

Guidelines for Vibes Watchers and other volunteers

It’s preferable for folks to work in pairs representing more than one gender.

  1. Before the workshop begins, be sure you have backup and remember to practice healthy self-care. Check in with your fellow vibes watchers. Check in with the presenter, review the content of the presentation and discuss how active the presenter wants to be in maintaining Safer Space.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the space. Keep vigilant about potential blind or trouble spots.
  3. When the workshop begins, clearly identify yourself as a Safer Space provider and make it known that you are there to give help and support. Also, be sure that the Guidelines to Creating Safer Space are read and/or understood by all participants, especially the presenter, and that everyone agrees to them.
  1. As well as responding to direct requests for support from participants, check in with the group or individuals when you think there is a need. You cannot always sense the “vibe”. Feel free to ask.
  1. When in a Safer Space provider role drink responsibly, if at all.

Guidelines for Interventions

Individuals

  1. Check in with the person who feels unsafe. Sometimes you will need to pursue a participant who leaves a workshop to find out if they need help. Focus on the needs of the person requesting help. Ask them what would make them feel more safe or comfortable, and get consent from them before any intervention begins.
  2. Often the best solution is the simplest one. Sometimes a short talk, a drink of water, a few deep breaths, some caring attention or a few minutes in the quiet room will work wonders.
  3. Get Help! You cannot care for someone, decide on next steps and watch a workshop all by yourself. Get Bash Back! Organizers and other folks input before taking further actions.

Groups

  1. Assess your comfort and the vibe of the group as a whole. Try to keep the Guidelines in mind. Do not wait for things to get really uncomfortable. If necessary, stop the workshop to address your concerns. Safety and respect are much more important than the content of any workshop.
  2. If possible, restore good vibe by reminding the whole group of specific guidelines.
  3. When necessary, remind individuals, as unobtrusively as possible, of specific guidelines.
  4. Repeated problems should not be addressed with repeated reminders. Stop the workshop to address the group as a whole, confer with fellow vibe watchers and/or ask to speak with an individual away from the group.
    • Try to remain impartial/non-judgmental of all parties involved during an intervention.
    • Stay calm. Try to deescalate, rather than escalate a situation.
    • Do not act alone. Get Help! Consult with BB! organizers and other folks and try to reach consensus before deciding on a course of action.

Feedback

Creating Safer Space requires active community feedback. Gathering feedback and putting it into action allows us to continue to improve as Safer Space providers. Please feel free to talk with us about anything concerning Safer Space. Thank you.

Long-term group: Pomegranite Health Collective, Chicago, ILEdit

Safer Space Protocol - Pomegranate Health Collective, Chicago IL

We recently hashed out this initial draft of safer space protocol, practices that we wish to adopt in order to make our events more accesible for a wider range of people. We detail routines and tips for planning effective, responsible events and meetings. It is not yet complete, but we wanted to post it, in order to get your opinion. If you have any suggestions or comments on the safer space protocol, please check out our contacts, and drop us an email!
Meeting Protocol

Ask for preferred name, pronoun, and emotional check-in. Give new members safer space protocol in full in pamphlets and repeat the Space Guidelines at every meeting. Assure that the conversation is not being monopolized. Include an emotional check-out at the end.
Event Planning Protocol When available, make sure that there is at least one safer space provider that is not planning or hosting the event. Assure that the events themselves are within our points of unity and are not inherently exclusive or triggering toward survivors. Make sure that all presenters know our points of unity and safer space protocol, so that they know what is acceptable at our events, and answer any question they may have. Make sure that all events are wheelchair accessible and child friendly, and translated when possible unless otherwise stated. Check with the bathrooms, whether there is one that is gender free, or one that has a changing table, and coordinate a buddy system with safer space providers, etc. If the event is large enough, ensure that there is a 'quiet space' for people to take refuge from noise, excessive lights, crowds, etc with a safer space provider in them, and include quiet hobbies. If there are going to be refreshments, make sure that people bring accessible a nd available ingredient cards. Events should be peanut-free, and try to assure that the top-ten major allergens are accounted for in refreshments (wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, sea food, dairy, soy, corn, eggs) and be aware of ethical or health restrictions (ie- vegan, organic, diabetes-friendly, hydrogenated oils, refined or bleached sugars or flours, ETC). Assure that events are designated as "No one turned away for lack of funds." Fundraisers will be taken on a case-to-case basis, but when possible should also abide by this rule.
Event Protocol If we ask for donations, have the greeter make known that it is no one turned away. They should assure that we are not exclusive on this issue, and make everyone feel welcome. Begin each even with a safer space provider identifying themselves and reading the Space Guidelines. Make known that the guidelines and full safer space protocol are posted. Have the provider announce any potentially triggering moments or topics that will be addressed, and announce the available resources mentioned in the event planning protocol. Have provider mention the event reviews, which will include safer space issues. If it's not an interactive workshop, assure that the host/presenters introduce themselves with preferred name, pronoun, and check-in. If it is interactive, have all participating members do this. Assure that greeter, host, presenter, and providers are monitoring the crowd for any potential problem. If an issue arises, abide by the conflict protocol. At the end of an event, have re p's check in with as much of the crowd as possible to assure a positive experience.
Protocol for Publications/Website Must follow points of unity, must inform of possible triggers in a prominent place.
Conflict Protocol

We must respect the survivor's decisions regardless of our personal opinions.

  1. If an abusive situation is brought to our attention: A survivor or friend will bring a situation to the attention of a Pomegranate member. The member will coordinate them meeting with the safer space provider and inform other Pomegranate representatives, in case of escalation. The provider will meet with the survivor and should follow their provider guidelines in handling the situation. They will then take aside the alleged abuser, explains to them the situation as the survivor requests, and ask them to leave, as well as requesting further communication in the future. After the abuser has left or the event is over, the safer space provider should check in and make sure the survivor is okay.
  2. If we previously know that someone is abusive/disrespectful: At meetings, make aware those who are deemed not allowed in our spaces. The greeters should not let them in the space, and state why. We should contact them, stating our position and giving them a list or resources. Ask the survivors to give us any details they are comfortable with disclosing, and a list of demands of us and the community at large. If they do not want us to contact the perpetrator or ban them from our spaces, we should follow their requests.
  3. If someone becomes abusive/disrespectful in an event/meeting: This is the part we're still trying to figure out. we're talking to social workers, mediators, etc. any ideas?

Possible Triggering Topics:

  • Ableism
  • Animal Abuse
  • Authority Abuse (police, institutions)
  • Classism
  • Discrimination
  • Drugs/alcohol
  • Eating disorders
  • Gore
  • Homophobia
  • Imprisonment
  • Mental Health Issues (being dismissive of; suicide, self-injury)
  • Racism
  • Sexual Assault/trauma/violence
  • Sexism/misogyny
  • Sizism
  • Traumatic Reproductive Events
  • Violence/Abuse

Activist space: 22 Enmore, AustraliaEdit

Draft Safer Spaces Policy - 'NewQ, Black Rose and Little Fish' (22 Enmore Road)


This is a draft policy because we recognise that it will be in flux for some time. Draft status does not imply that we don't intend to honour it. It just means that we are going to revise if possible. A SAFER SPACE We hope that everyone at 22 Enmore Road ("22") is made aware of the idea of "Safer Spaces". We say "safer" realizing that no space can be entirely safe for everyone. Although there is often discourse on `equality' we realize that not everyone experiences spaces in the same way as otheIdlers.
Safer spaces are welcoming, engaging and supportive. We want "22" to be a space where people can take care of one another. We want people to feel that they can let their hair down (or cut it all off) and be themselves, knowing that they will be supported. We are asking people to be prIdleoactive in creating a safer space at 22.
People at the 22 space are asked to be aware of their language and behaviour, and to think whether it might be offensive to others. This is no space for non-consensual violence, for touching people without their consent, for being intolerant of someone's religious beliefs or lack thereoIdlef, for being racist, ageist, sexist, ablist, homophobic or any other behaviour or language that may perpetuate oppression.
What we need to do to create a safer space at 22:

  • Respect people's physical and emotional boundaries;
  • Always get explicit verbal consent before touching someone or crossing personal boundaries;
  • Respect peoples opinions, beliefs, differing states of being and different points of view;
  • Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions do have an effect on others;
  • Take responsibility for your own safety and get help if you need it;
  • Look out for kids at all times and try not leave anything around that would endanger kids;
  • The space is non-smoking.
  • Alcohol consumption is permitted on a limited basis. Ask a member of one of the collectives if it would be OK before drinking;
  • Be aware that illegal activities and illegal drugs can bring our spaces under suspicion and make them less safe;
  • Be aware that people have different perspectives based on their experiences and personalities, but also based on their mental state, stress, level of intoxication etc. Be aware of physical cues that you are dealing with somoene who is drunk, or mentally fragile. Act accordingly.

Any group or individual engaging in non-consensual violence (including sexual violence and harrassment) will be asked to leave 22.

The space at 22 aims to be survivor centric and survivor oriented. When a decision needs to be made to give "benefit of the doubt" to a perpertrator or support to a survivor, the preference will be to support the survivor. EXAMINING OUR OWN SUBTLE AND NOT-SO-SUBTLE PREJUDICES
If we profess to be concerned about issues of race, gender, (dis)ability and sexuality, etc, we need to live our lives in a way that actively seeks to subvert prejudice, to undermine the very possiblity that someone will feel discriminated against. This means treating people equally and expecting that everyone has something amazing to contribute. It means not being tokenistic. It means working towards being honest with people if you feel awkard or don't know what to say because of some perceived difference. 22 aims to explore/acknowledge the subtle (and not so subtle) forms of prejudice within the space and tackle them head on.
We may like to think of 22 as an `alternative' space where people reject the prejudices of `mainstream' Australian values. However activist communites often carry the same prejudices as the so-called mainstream and we all need to address this. We are part of the broader society. Our goals should include engaging with others outside of a "radical clique" and relating to all sorts of people in honest, radical, and non-discriminatory ways.

COPS


An important part of making the space safe (both practically and emotionally) is keeping the cops out, so I think it’s worth adding something to the safer spaces policy so everyone’s on the same page. Here’s a very rough draft.

Unless the cops are specifically called*, we will not let them in.

If they ask to enter, but can not show a warrant, we will not let them in.

If cops enter, we will ask them to leave.

Everyone using should be aware of this.

[get a legal person to write something about what our rights, when cops can claim a right of entry, and advice about not saying anything. And maybe a legal contact number?]

  • [I don’t know if this qualifier is needed] While our safer spaces policy is about trying to create an autonomous community in which we take care of each other, we recognise that there might be emergency situations in which someone chooses to call the cops for their own immediate safety. There might also be other situations in which we collectively decide to report an incident to the cops.

On undercovers & security

We want to create an open and inclusive space. No one should be assumed to be a cop because of their appearance, dress or behaviour.

We should think about ways of creating a general culture of security so we don’t have to fear undercover cops. Suggestions:

  • don’t give out anyone’s name / contact details without checking with them first. Point people towards publicly available contacts, or take and pass on a message.
  • keep contact lists secure
  • don’t talk about individuals’ involvement in particular actions or plans
  • don’t ask or talk about someone else's, or your own, participation in any action that was illegal
  • let’s assume that this isn’t a safe space to talk about secret plans

NEED SOME ASSISTANCE?

There are lots of places you can go for help either at the time you experience an incident, or afterwards.

You might consider
  • Talking to a collective member at the space. If you don't feel able to talk to someone who is there at the time, you can talk to another collective member later.
  • contacting Thunder (a community response to sexual assault group). Thunder have agreed to be a first point of contact for incidents and can help support in some cases
  • Calling 000 for emergency
  • Calling the Rape Crisis Centre hotline if you have experienced sexual violence
If something happens at an event, we may ask the offending party to leave to encourage a feeling of safety. This doesn't mean that would be the end of it. We can talk about it later when tensions have cooled and people have sobered up and had time to think about their views, actions and expectations.
Safer spaces is everyone's responsibility -

If you experience or witness any behaviour that crosses your boundaries or makes you feel uncomfortable or if you feel like you would like to talk to someone, please contact the Thunder Collective.

http://www.myspace.com/thundercollective


About Thunder We're a collective meeting and discussing community response to sexual assault. It's a broad topic. It's a hard topic. It's one that we're passionate about. Part of what we're doing is amassing resources for support, whether it be from the collective or its members, from books and zines, discussion groups and skill shares, to referrals, or "gee, let's look for info on that". When we way support, we meant for anyone who feels like they can use some. We have a sticker campaign if anyone is inclined. It's an open collective and anyone is welcome to join. We strive to be transparent in all thin gs we do.

Further resourcesEdit

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