Safer Spaces

Anarcha feminist hui 2010 safer spaces policy:

The organizers for the 2010 anarcha-feminist hui would like to acknowledge that the hui is being organized on colonized land. We would also like to state that we support the rights of tangata whenua to self determination. The safer spaces policy will strive to include and acknowledge the cultural, physical and emotional safety so far as we are able.

This years hui has a marked focus on decolonization and anti-racist organizing. This means that a number of workshops will be triggering as well as challenging to a lot of us there. As organizers we would like to outline some basic principles that will guide us in dealing with challenges that arise as part of the hui.

Recognizing the impact of colonization on aotearoa and respecting the voices of tangata whenua among us.

Recognizing the desire of everyone present at the hui to try to make the world better and freer from oppressions of all kinds.

Recognizing that we all have our own histories and stories and that we are neither on the same journey nor coming from the same places.

Recognizing and challenging privilege in all forms (class, race, gender, sexuality, ability and so on) and trying to create a space where usually marginalized voices are privileged.

What you can expect from the organizing collective:

That they will strive to provide an inclusive and welcoming space free from all forms of oppression, abuse and exploitation.

That there will be space for conflict and disagreement.

That consent will be privileged at all times and in any situation and the absence of consensual interaction will be taken seriously.

That there will be clear boundaries about appropriate behaviour and that inappropriate behaviour will be checked.

That we will be aware of the diversity within the hui and make space for different levels of knowledge, desire, comfort and access.

That we will be open to criticism and listen to concerns in a non- minimizing and non-defensive manner.

That the hui will be organized in a respectful manner and that every effort will be made to mace spaces welcoming, accessible and safe.

What is expected from those attending the hui:

That ground rules will be observed once they have been agreed to.

That each person will take responsibility for their own privilege and strive to keep their interactions with each other non-oppressive and non-abusive.

That if there is conflict everyone involved will be respectful of the space they are in and the manner in which they choose to deal with the conflict.

That each person be open to challenging themselves and take responsibility for their own actions and reactions without denial or defensiveness.

That each person will keep the spaces accessible and welcoming to others.

In the case of sexual, physical or emotional abuse:

The survivors’s word will be believed without question.

The safety of the survivor will be put ahead of any other concerns.

In the case of conflict between one another:

We will acknowledge the power structures between each other

We will make sure that the safety of whoever has less power and privilege in the situation is paramount.

We will not deal with conflict in passive-aggressive, minimizing or denying ways.

We will create space for the conflict to exist without assuming that there is a need to resolve it.

We will strive to resolve conflict if so desired by the person with less power in the situation.

Things to be aware of at all times:


Abusive situations are often created when people are unaware of the power they hold in a situation.

Gender, sexuality, size, ability, ethnicity, age, class, education, who we know and how well can all affect how much power we have in a situation and how safe we feel.

Don’t assume the persyn you are talking to feels as comfortable or as safe as you do, or that they feel safe enough to challange your behavior if it offends or hurts them.

We understand that everyone makes mistakes but hurting others is not ok.

We hope that this will give an idea of some ways to make things right and take responsibility for mistakes and the hurt they have caused.

Drugs and alcohol: Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol is never an excuse for abusive behaviour. If you behave badly when drunk or on drugs, don’t be at the hui in this condituion. If you violate the safety of the space you will still be held responsible.

Children: We want the hui to be a welcoming and safe space for kids.

People need to be aware of childrens saferty and minimise danger to children. Things like closing gates, unplugging power tools, keeping knives/ hot things/ medicines/ chemicles/ allergy foods etc out of reach, as well as remembering that we need to treat children with the same respect and inclusion we would show adults.

If you have been hurt:

We want a culture that takes supporting people who have experienced or are experiencing abuse seriously and supports and helps them to be heard and empowered.

If someone claims to have been abused, we will believe them.

In a safer space all allergations of abuse will be responded to.

We also want to acknowledge that abuse affects not only the survivor of the abuse but the whole community as well, and as such it is the communitys right /responsibility to form a community response.

If you have hurt someone:

If If you violate the safety of the space you must take responsibility to make it safe again for all of the people affected.

If you think you have hurt someone you need to find out.

Where past abuse, including outside of the hui, is making others feel unsafe or unwelcome at the hui it is your responsibility to raise the issue of your past abusiveness with the organising collective and take steps to show others what you have done to change the abusive behaviors.

If you do not act, we will take action. This may include asking you to attend (or not attend) a meeting/s about your abusive behavior, asking you to leave or asking you not to return.

we believe people can change their attitudes and behaviors, and encourage people to work on these.

Any actions or decisions we make will be to increase the safety of the space and support those who have been hurt by the abuse, not to punish or penalise.

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 an organiser 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.

*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


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