How Do You Navigate Consent Violations In The Community?

by Reid on October 11, 2019

How Do You Navigate Consent Violations In The Community?




Cathy: Someone wrote in and said, “How do I navigate consent violations on a group and what about accusations for spaces where I might be in a facilitation role or even brave enough to step into one when no one else can or will?”

I’m here with Reid Mihalko from and Sex Geek Summer Camp, I can’t talk apparently

Reid: Cathy needs food. We’re….we’re shooting these videos and we haven’t eating doing it.

Cathy: It’s like 10:30

Reid: Yeah

Cathy: And he has the green sex geek shirt on and I’m Cathy Vartuli from and it’s a great question. Do you remember it?

Reid: How would you answer it?

Cathy: One, I think it’s really good to have a group consensus and how consent violations might be helped, might be handled. I’m a big fan of…of having it be as openly discussed as possible for the people that are directly involved as possible. I don’t know that sometimes third hand or peripheral people need to be involved at least unless it’s a big violation and involved a lot of people because sometimes that gets to be gossip and sides being taking so I like to solve it if…if everyone’s a yes to get everybody, the people directly involved in a room to talk if they’re willing to. Not everybody’s willing to, not everybody is even willing to have their name mentioned as having reported that so that makes it a little more challenging.

Reid: Yeah, I mean this is a complex there’s not any it’s not a quick or easy solution what is in my experience working in a lot of different communities and you know being somebody who throws play parties and group sexual experiences in different communities, the thing that gets overlooked is “Hey, how are we going to handle consent violations if they happen or consent accident or mistake or a…an intentional predatory violation?” Most communities don’t have those protocols built into their…into their communities and what they’re you know it well, meaning because sometimes you don’t know what’s missing until it appears that it’s missing. You’re just hoping nothing bad happens so you know having a conversation in your community about how violations and accidents and intentional abuses or you know misuses of power or…or privilege or consent, how those things get handled? That can be really useful to start setting the foundation for how things are going to happen. If you don’t have those protocols in place and you start those conversations, don’t be surprised if in starting those conversations you’re going to have people come forward

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: to share things that have already happened before you have the protocols in place and that’s going to make it really tricky because you’re having you have a community that hasn’t been trained or isn’t in agreement with how to proceed when things happen. And I’m just letting you know if you’re if you’re in a community that has had nobody you know nobody speak up, that is not a guarantee that there

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: are no violations

Cathy: There might not…the people may not feel safe or know…even know who to talk to.

Reid: So it’s the beginning of…of a process of building that stuff in. When things happen or people come forward these are the simple things I’ll tell you that I think are good practices, believe the people that come forward regardless of what you feel about the situation, believe them odds are they’re telling the truth or something happened that was off. You…the odds are in that favor that what they’re saying is something that’s true. So the idea of being like “Well you know this people can be lying,” yes it’s possible that could people could be lying, it’s possible that people could have

Cathy: Misunderstood

Reid: misunderstood the situation. However, what you do have is an opportunity to leave people feeling seen and heard who feel like something went wrong or went awry. The second thing is center the conversation around the person who’s coming forward like you want to keep the conversation victim centered, this will be tricky and there will be there’ll be people who think that it shouldn’t be victim centered but it also shouldn’t be centered on the whatever word you want to give the other person, right? The abuser or whatnot. There’s a larger conversation about and different kind of communities about you know how to handle transformational justice like looking it

Cathy: I’m going to leave a link below for on The Intimacy Dojo, you can sign up for a talk that Dr. Liz and Lola and I gave and when I’m on….Heather gave as well Heather Elizabeth on that with some resources for social justice in the community.

Reid: Yeah, so there are some like Star Trek, there’s some warp drive technologies out there around handling you know consent violations and abuses of power and odds are, your community is not ready for that level of…of technology and that has to be like introduced to a community. So the quick things are believe people when they come forward, center the needs of the how you handle the situation on the on the victims or the survivors or whatever words are appropriate there. And then the other thing that I would advocate for ‘coz this is the common mistake, most complaints will come to you in the beginning and they will be years old, treat them as if they are fresh and new. Whenever somebody comes forward with a complaint treat it as if it’s like and just say “Thank you so much for coming forward, please tell me more.” Never ever say “Why didn’t you tell us sooner?” That is not…it doesn’t matter

Cathy: Shaming someone for not feeling safe or whatever.

Reid: It doesn’t matter why they didn’t come forward sooner

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: and actually doesn’t matter and if you steep yourself in in rape culture and…and other forms of geekery around consent violations, there’s lots of amazing reasons why they didn’t fuckin come forward sooner but you’re lucky that they’re coming forward now so thank them and ask them to tell you more.

Cathy: I love using tell me, could you tell me more. Sometimes people use very general words if they’re uncomfortable, they won’t be very specific and we may think we know what they mean but if they’re comfortable telling you more details or giving you more explanation not that they have to explain what happened but just to help you understand, you may find that some words that they used may not mean what you thought they may not mean the same thing to them as they mean to you.

Reid: Yeah and…and tell me more then should be followed up with “How…how can I support you or what…what can I do for you next?” Where people get tripped up is this person is telling me and now I’m going to ask all these questions because I need to be absolutely clear on everything in how it happened.

Cathy: It’s not an interrogation

Reid: that person may not have the bandwidth so when it’s like “Please tell me more” you know it’s really they tell me whatever you have bandwidth for like thank you for telling me and like what else would you like to tell me and how can I support you? It’s not a now that you’ve brought this to me you must now satisfy my needs for knowing.

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: This is what’s so tricky because you’re going to want to understand and it’s not about understanding it’s…it’s not so be okay with that you…you may never understand. Center what their needs are, thank them and then geek out on other stuff but like we can’t I can’t bulk in my milk everything for you in the…in this video.

Cathy: Yeah but hopefully this give you a place to start and I think it’s a great question. I really appreciate that you’re asking it and bringing up this conversation.

Reid: Thank you.

Cathy: Please leave comments below what’s worked for you?

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