Examples of good anti-harassment policies & procedures?
October 26, 2015 10:03 AM   Subscribe

I am a leader in a local hobby community and we are trying to deepen our existing policies for dealing with harassment and related issues in our scene. I'm looking for examples of policies and procedures from other communities that we might be able to adapt for our community, rather than starting from scratch. Can you suggest any good examples?

We already have a "safer spaces" anti-harassment policy. It states that we value safe spaces and that we have the right to kick people out of specific events or out of our scene altogether if they are engaging in harassing or abusive behavior or are making others feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

But of course things get complicated when it's a real-life situation. We had to kick someone out recently and it was a divisive process. We realized that although we have this anti-harassment policy in place saying that we CAN kick people out, we don't have anything to guide us in how that process should unfold.

I'm on a small subcommittee tasked with addressing this and creating more procedures/policies to guide us on this in the future. I'd like for us not to have to start from scratch, since there are examples of thoughtful and smart policies out there that we can adapt for our purposes.

This is for a social-dance scene, but I think we can usefully draw from policies from other kinds of communities.

Can you point me to some examples of:
* Good policies/procedures on creating safer spaces in general, especially in relatively informal hobby communities. (We do already have a basic policy in place but I think it could be improved.)
* Good policies/procedures on how to deal with accusations of harassment or abuse when they happen. I'd particularly like to see guidelines for what to do when there is disagreement among leaders as to what happened, what to do when the accused person is themselves one of the key decision-makers, etc.

If you know of a community that has a good policy but it isn't posted anywhere public, I'm also willing to reach out to people to ask them if they'll share their policies with me. (And we will get permission from all original sources before we adopt anything they created, of course.)
posted by aka burlap to Human Relations (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Juliet Banana wrote a great article on Imagining a Safer Space [related FPP link].
posted by melissasaurus at 10:34 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Take a look at Geek Feminism's missing stair and captain awkward's 322/3 posts.
posted by brujita at 11:09 AM on October 26, 2015

Best answer: The Geek Feminism wiki also has a list of anti-harassment resources primarily for conferences, but it includes a sample policy and a section on how to enforce it.

This livejournal post covers a harassment incident last year at Arisia, a Boston convention, but it mentions how its staff were trained by a local rape center "on how to respond to disclosures of sexual harassment and assault, among other topics."
posted by zix at 7:48 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You don't say which social dance you're talking about, so apologies if you already know this, but there was a lot of discussion about this in the lindy hop/swing dancing scene earlier this year, off the back of a famous teacher turning out to be a serial harasser.

Some scenes immediately went and found the anti-harassment policy from ForkMyDongleCon '15 and put it on their website. This shows willing, but I'm not convinced (self link) this is the best thing. A social dancing environment is and should be a more liberal environment than a professional conference: people legitimately go dancing to meet romantic partners (though there's a right and wrong way to go about it), we play songs that are more or less obviously about sex, and partner dancing necessarily involves touching another person, so we need specific guidelines on what is OK there and what to do if you accidentally touch somewhere you shouldn't. It is not a "safe space" in the usual meaning of the phrase (a highly restrictive space where the wellbeing of victims of various sorts of oppression can be pretty sure they won't encounter it or even reminders of it).

Holy Land Lindy's nice poster combines etiquette stuff with anti-harassment. Mobtown, Baltimore has a good stab at a policy which acknowledges it's a space for grownups but not a pick-up joint, although it lapses into SJ jargon in places. Safety in Swing Dance has a model code in plain English, good notes for scene organisers/teachers and a good FAQ (though the site's a bit unusable: it's all accessible from the menu bar on the right).
posted by pw201 at 2:13 AM on October 28, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks guys!

, yes, I am aware of those discussions in the lindy/swing world. I'm glad people are thinking about this right now, but it's tricky to get the execution right. Thanks for the links! And good point about being careful with not overpromising with the "safe space" language.
posted by aka burlap at 7:55 AM on November 3, 2015

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