Safety, Consent and Inclusion (SCI) Policy

Values
Who to talk to
Protocol of intervention

The swing dancing community is a friendly and fun space and group of people. However, like in the rest of society, inappropriate and abusive behaviours can occur. We are not immune to it, but we can do something about it!

As with any social situation among adults, we cannot police every person's actions on our own, nor can we promise that every person will behave appropriately at all times. However, our organisation is dedicated to providing a safe and comfortable event experience for everyone, and this works best when we have your help and cooperation.

If you participate in our events, we ask you to reflect on your own behaviour, how it may affect others, and how you can change it to make the community an even better place. To help you, we have listed values you must respect. Event participants, volunteers, teachers, and organizers violating these values may be warned, sanctioned or expelled from the event without a refund, or banned from future events, at our discretion. If you have any questions, please contact safetyots@gmail.com.


Values

Have fun

Dancing can be a sensual activity, and flirtation can occur, on and off the dance floor. However, do not use our event as a pickup joint and be attentive to the reaction to your flirtation. It’s your responsibility to not make others feel uncomfortable. Ask for and respect consent.

Know yourself and your limits. You cannot bring alcohol to the event. If you drink before coming to our evening dances, make sure you are not too intoxicated to dance in a way that is comfortable and safe for others. Providing alcohol to a minor is illegal (and often a form of harassment).

Take care of each other

We are dedicated to providing a safe and comfortable event experience for everyone regardless of their gender, age, sexual orientation, ability, body size, ethnicity, or religion (or lack thereof). We expect you to help.

Be attentive to your dance partner and their comfort, boundaries and safety. If you are not sure, ask them if they are ok. Apologise if you accidentally touch an area of the body that is private, sexual, or just totally out of the realm of legitimate holds or moves of the dance.

If someone tells you that you have hurt them, made them feel uncomfortable or that they are worried something you are doing might hurt them or others, don’t take it badly. They are telling you something about their comfort level, which is different for everyone; they are not criticizing you as a person. They are telling you because they want you to fix it so they can keep dancing with you. So listen to them, apologize, thank them for letting you know and don’t do it again.

Be inclusive

Some people follow, some people lead and some people do both; keep that in mind and respect their choice.

Be aware that some people use gender neutral pronouns. If someone asks you to refer to them with specific pronouns, respect that and use those.

Be mindful of the language you use - at our events and on our online media - and how it might affect others. Everyone has different experiences that shape their relationship and reactions to language.

Be safe

Be attentive to people around you. Be mindful of how much space you have, if someone is behind you as you kick or rock-step, and where you are sending your dance partner. Apologise if you bump another person or step on someone’s foot on the dance floor. This is called floorcraft.

Never do aerials/acrobatics on the social dance floor. You can do them in jam circles if there is enough space, if you have the consent of your dance partner and if you have mastered them with a lot of practice with spotters beforehand.

Reflect on yourself

Reflect on your behaviour, how it might affect others, and how you could improve in order to make the scene (and beyond) a safer place. Be open and receptive when someone tells you that you made them feel uncomfortable despite your best efforts not to. Everyone has a different level of comfort: listen to your dance partners and your fellow community members and respect their boundaries, identities and choices. Be the best person you can be.


Who to talk to

In order to foster a real culture change in our swing community (and beyond), the mutual commitment of all participants to introspection and solidarity in the face of problematic behaviour is essential. The SCI volunteers and committee are here to help.

They will be wearing SCI buttons at the event. If you cannot find a SCI volunteer right away, ask a staff member and they will find one for you.

Prefer to get in touch with us via email? Please do so at safetyots@gmail.com.

SCI volunteers

This is a group of people offering to listen to and support participants who need it. They are comfortable with intervening to defuse tensions and manage conflicts, initiating dialogue and mediation when the situation is appropriate and/or intervening with people who have problematic behaviour.

SCI committee

The SCI committee is a subset of the SCI volunteers. It has the mandate of addressing grave, repeated or unresolved complaints, oversee the general application of the SCI policy, and strategize to make the event a safer place.

Protocol of intervention

The SCI volunteers and committee have expertise in anti-oppressive behaviour and intervention, and have attended discussions and trainings to prepare them.

They will be using this Protocol of intervention to respond to any complaints we receive. We will treat these issues with the strictest confidentiality. We hope to create a group and culture in which everyone will feel safe enough to come forward, so we can keep incidents from being repeated.

SCI people are available for discussion and reassurance, not just formal reports.

Don’t wonder if something is “serious enough” to come talk to us - if you are uncomfortable, let us know. We’re here for you!

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