Consistent with our Points of Unity, the Shadbush Collective is committed to undermining oppression and maintaining a safe space for everyone to fully participate in the Shalefield Justice Action Camp. Camp organizers will be identified and available to help address conflicts, oppressive behavior, sexual assault or other situations pertaining to this policy if they arise.
The goals of this anti-oppression and sexual assault policy are to 1) create a mutually understood space for the duration of the camp in which all participants are safe, and can act, discuss, and learn fully; 2) help us practice the constant work of anti-oppression and solidarity with marginalized communities as we gather to build the movement against environmental injustice.
We acknowledge the potential within our movements to manifest forms of oppression and domination. Oppressive behavior is not only personally damaging, it disrupts and weakens our movements for social change. We are striving to create an organizing and learning space for this camp which is aware of and undermines all forms of oppression including but not limited to: ableism, ageism, classism, heterosexism, racism, sexism, and transgender oppression.
We also recognize that we all are products of an oppressive society, we all have intersectional identities which may include both marginalization and privilege, and we all have almost certainly internalized many oppressive patterns of thought and behavior. We strive to create an atmosphere in which changing these patterns, towards the liberation of all, is a collective and supported effort. We encourage participants to view challenges to our behavior and difficult discussions as opportunities for growth, not as exercises in character assassination or blame.
Respecting where we come from
Participants will have different communication styles, personalities and opinions, and come from diverse gender, racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. In order to foster this kind of temporary community space, people must respect others and actively look out for the well being of all those attending this camp. We intend to foster a space that is encouraging for people who have been made uncomfortable at other events due to the forms of oppression described above.
Dealing with challenges
We will attempt to challenge oppressive behaviors when they arise, and to create accountability in a way that both contributes to an environment of safety and limits unnecessary divisiveness. We intend to address challenges from a restorative perspective in all cases, honoring the humanity of all involved. We hope that in many cases, mutually respectful discussion can bring about improved understanding and new ways of interacting, and strengthen our community. We do intend to prioritize the safety of participants, and in extreme cases this may require that a restorative process move forward only after physical separation of the parties involved, and/or through intermediaries.
We intend for the camp to be a building space; a space where we build mutually supportive relationships with one another, and share our work, knowledge, and resources in a way that feels good for everyone. We also want to make space for talking openly about process, power, and group dynamics when necessary so that all participants feel safe and problems can be addressed as they arise.
Beyond asking consent (see below), creating a safe and empowering community is a continual process without hard and fast rules; if someone says they feel disrespected or oppressed by your behavior, please respect them enough to attempt to understand their perspective and avoid making them uncomfortable in the future, regardless of whether you believe they should be offended, and regardless of understandings you may have with other people who appear to be similar to them. We hope to create a temporary community during this camp in which individuals are empowered to address problematic behavior or language when they see it, and encourage a restorative model of dealing with conflicts. If you don’t feel comfortable addressing or responding to an issue yourself, organizers of the camp are happy to support you.
Though we recognize that unlearning and challenging oppression is a life-long learning process, some behaviors will not be tolerated. If a participant engages in any of the following behaviors which threaten the health and safety of others in the camp, they will be asked to leave
*Any form of sexual assault (see below)
*Psychological/emotional violence including verbal harrassment and threats of physical violence
*Repeated oppressive, domineering, or otherwise problematic behaviors after having been asked to change them
*Any other behaviors which threaten the health and safety of other participants
Sexual Assault and Consent
Non-consensual physical and sexual contact and sexualized verbal harassment are all forms of sexual assault. Sexual assault will not be tolerated at the camp. Anyone who engages in any of these actions will be asked to leave immediately. Anyone who has sexually assaulted another participant present at the camp at a previous time and has failed to adequately participate in whatever process the survivor requires to feel safe at the camp will also be asked to leave immediately. In any situation of sexual assault we will always trust the survivor and do our best to respond to their needs.
Consent is two (or more) people deciding together to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way with each other- whether its physical, verbal, or sexual. Participants should always ask for explicit verbal consent before touching someone. Consent is the presence of a “yes”, not the absence of a “no.” Sexual assault can occur in an explicitly non-consensual situation of in a state of ambiguous, unspoken, non-consent. Verbal or otherwise clearly communicated consent should be obtained at every level of sexual interaction. Never assume consent, especially if drug/alcohol use is involved. Highly intoxicated people are always considered non-consenting.
Consent isn’t just about preventing sexual assault. It’s also about having clear, positive, and affirming communication between sexual partners – sex is way better when both partners are on the same page and know what each other want and need.
If you have questions or are unclear about any definitions or intent behind this policy, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have resources about anti-oppression and sexual assault that we would be glad to point you to, and we will have these resources available at the camp.