128 interim safer spaces policy 2013
We aim to make 128 a welcoming and inclusive space where everyone can be safe from all forms of discrimination, abuse, exploitation and oppression.
We acknowledge that we cannot guarantee such a space but hope that this policy will help people to understand what their role is in creating a safer space.
At 128, you need to be responsible for your behaviours and aware of the ways in which they can affect others. You need to be aware of your own feelings and be responsible for the ways in which you react.
Please be aware at all times of power.
Abusive situations are often created when people are unaware of the power they have in a relationship or situation.
Gender, sexuality, size, physical impairment, ethnicity, age, class, education, mental health, who you know and how well you know them can all affect how much power a person has in any situation.
Don’t assume everyone feels as comfortable as you do, or is completely able to inform you if you are saying and doing hurtful things.
We understand that everyone makes mistakes but hurting others isn’t ok.
We hope that this will give an idea of some ways to make things right and take responsibility for mistakes which have hurt people.
Things that can be abusive:
pushing, hitting, non-consentual sexual touching, friendly (but non-consentual) fighting or tickling, threatening behaviors like smashing things and slamming doors, getting in someone elses personal space repeatedly after being asked not to.
Please be aware of your language and body language. Hurtful jokes, making generalisations about minority groups to which you do not personally belong, defining the experiences of said groups, intentionally embarrassing others, using loaded statements, dumping emotional baggage on others without asking if they can listen/support you, talking negatively or inappropriately about other peoples food or bodies. Victim blaming.
psychological manipulation, manipulating situations, coersion, putting people down, talking in ways that make others feel unnecessarily uncomfortable or insecure, passive aggression**
How to respond:
If you are using 128 you have a responsibility to challenge people on abusive or crappy behavior if you are able to, whether or not it directly affects you, or to raise it with someone who can. The idea is to be a good ally, not to make people feel stupid, so sometimes a good way is to imagine you’re friends and you just wanted to quietly point out something embarrassing which they did.
This doesn’t need to be a huge callout and can sometimes be as simple as saying ‘I think women are just as able to fix a bike as men are’ or ‘that sounded a bit racist, could you explain what you meant?’.
In saying that, if you are (for example) a person of colour and someone is being racist its ok to be angry and have an emotional response. If you see this happening, please be aware of the likely power dynamics at play and don’t put all the blame on the PoC.
If you have been hurt:
In a safer space, all allegations of abuse will be responded to, and we also take just being hurtful to people seriously too.
We believe in a survivor centered approach and we want a culture which listens to people who are having a hard time, people who have been hurt, and people who are experiencing abuse.
If someone feels hurt or wronged we will acknowledge and validate their emotions.
Where abuse has occurred we will not blame the person who has been abused, we will do what we can to support them to work out how they feel, and what they need to empower themself with their journey of healing.
Abuse can be a really intense and serious thing to deal with and we are not trained counselors or mediators. We will do what we can to be supportive, with the objective of keeping 128 a space free from abuse and oppression.
If you have hurt or abused someone:
If you make the space unsafe it’s your responsibility to make it safe again for everyone who has been affected.*
If past abuse is making people feel unsafe at 128 you need to raise the issue with the 128 collective and show what steps you have taken to change the abusive behaviors.
You may be asked to attend or not attend meetings about your abusive behaviors, to remove yourself from 128, or to not return to 128.
We believe that people can change their attitudes and behaviors and encourage you to take responsibility for doing this. Any actions we take will be to increase the safety of 128 and to support people who have been abused, not to punish or penalise.
We ask that people identify any problematic behaviors, and their own feelings, and be aware of the power that words like ‘Abuse’ and ‘Unsafe’ hold. Please use these word where appropriate, and never when its not appropriate. We also ask that people differentiate between ‘I think’, ‘I feel’, and ‘I imagine’ (eg, I think person X is a jerk. I feel uncomfortable around them. I imagine that they don’t like me). This is important when it comes to validation of feelings and deciphering our own processes.
Drugs and alcohol:
Being under the influence of drugs or booze is not an excuse for shitty behavior. If you behave badly when intoxicated DO NOT BE AT 128 IN THIS STATE. If you violate the safety of the space, you will still be held accountable.
Note: during open hours 128 is a sober space. The 128 collective can approve events which include drinking at their discretion, but this approval is not implied and needs to be sought.
Children: We want 128 to be a welcoming and safe space for kids.
Please be aware of childrens safety, including keeping the kidproof lock on the front door, closing gates, unplugging power tools, keeping knives, medicines, hot things, cleaning products, allergy foods etc out of reach.
Please also remember to treat children with the same respect and inclusion we show to adults. If kids need things or are bored please make efforts to help them out, get them a snack, show them the toys, movies, art supplies etc.
- Note: Passive aggressive behaviors:
Passive aggressive behavior is complicated.
Often its marked by pervasive negative attitudes and involves expressing aggression in non-assertive, passive, or indirect ways, usually involving disclaiming knowledge of or responsibility for following through on social expectations or responsibilities.
It can manifest as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, hostility dressed up as jokes, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.
Ambiguity or speaking cryptically as a means of engendering a feeling of insecurity in others.
Chronically being late and forgetting things as a way to exert control or punish.
Making chaotic situations.
Victimisation response: instead of recognising ones own weaknesses or issues, blaming others for ones own failures.
Constantly making others responsible for ones own feelings.
Chronic derailing of discussions to avoid taking responsibility or addressing ones own problematic behaviors.
Withdrawing into long silences to avoid confronting or connecting with others.
Sometimes it looks like everything is nice, polite, agreeable and diplomatic on the surface/from the outside but ones actions or words are actively hostile in subtle ways which are felt strongly by its targets.
Passive aggressive behavior can result in sabotaging of projects and creating hostile environments.
Recognising and pinpointing or calling out passive aggression can be really difficult, but using passive aggressive behaviors can be really abusive, and have disastrous consequences.
Note, one of these on its own isn’t always passive aggressive and not all people who engage in passive aggressive behaviours will do all of these things.
If you recognise this list as your own behaviors, check yourself and learn some new tools/skill sets. Its your own responsibility to not be abusive.