a Barak & Sheba Article

Consent Concerns, Issues, and Reporting ...
Tuesday Feb 05, 2019

I would like to believe the best in people. I really would. I'd like to believe in a world that is safe for every person's individual expression. Where people can negotiate and the spirit and intent of what is discussed is respected. An existence such that all interactions initiate, proceed, and conclude in a manner that upholds and honors the consent of each person.

To my great sorrow, I see daily examples that affirm this is not the state of our reality.

There always have been - and mostly likely will always be – people who do non-consensual things to others. People who take advantage because of strength, or experience, or status, or intellect, or any other differential. People who consciously or unconsciously prey on those who are susceptible to their wiles.

When discovered or reported, they will proceed with any number of strategies to avoid consequences. Sometimes its reciprocal accusations, other times denial; some try to shore up their supporters to isolate or demonize the victim or suppress the accusations. Some simply take some time off – until people forget. There are so many different games played by the violators in an attempt to save their reputation, muddy the waters, and/or shift the focus.

Some offenders, if they have the means, will travel far from where they were exposed. Many are aware that frequent lack of communication – or inconsistent (sometimes non-existent) centralized reporting – between groups and/or geographic kink / alt communities, can lead to the obfuscation of a questionable or non-consensual history. Even if communication is in place, it takes time for those who are investigating to piece together the truth.

In other instances, some malefactors even learn from their past and become more efficient at their wrongdoing. Some purposely seek out those who have influence and attempt to get close – perhaps to create favoritism, hear rumors before they start, manage perception, or worse - manipulate the facts.

Adding insult to injury, there are those who misrepresent their relationship with community leaders (or even worse – are leaders themselves) and manipulate / intimidate their victims to prevent or subvert the reporting of consent issues or violations.

Sheba and I, along with the AIS team, are dedicated to maintaining safe spaces. One of our primary goals is to educate people about Consent. We have done our best to cultivate and sustain a consent positive environment. Over the years we have worked together with the NCSF and other agencies to help develop and explore consent based policies and topics.

Last year we instituted a more forward consent policy, and assigned MsDemanda to our Consent Liaison position. Hitting the ground running, she completely revamped and documented the AIS Consent & Incident Reporting Policy, which has been up on the AIS Website - http://adventuresinsexuality.org/AIS_consent_policy.html and is now on Fetlife as a Sticky - https://fetlife.com/groups/1913/group_posts/12659300.

In summer 2018, the Columbus Space held it's first Consent Town Hall - which we hope to be making at minimum, an annual event. In conjunction with the NCSF, The Space and AIS held the first Midwest Regional Consent Conference in November 2018 - and hope to make it an annual occurance.

It is imperative to keep our community safe. Please know that there is no relationship that would cause us to hesitate gathering information and/or acting decisively for the safety of the community. If you, or someone you know, experiences some form of consent issue or violation, regardless of who the offender may be, please encourage the victim to report the incident. (While many organizations will put a reported person on a “watch list” with second or third party complaints, a victim's direct report is the most actionable.)

We know that incidents happen most often at private spaces, such as hotel rooms, residences, etc… where people can be isolated... but also in more public community events. Regardless of location, reporting it helps track issues and offenders. To protect the anonymity of the reporting party, there are numerous outlets for reporting, and methods by which a report can be made. If an incident happens at an AIS event, we prefer a report be made directly to us (or an AIS Staff member). We will always make time to hear you.

Here are some ways to report to AIS -

Barak –
Via Fetlife – https://fetlife.com/users/53452
Via Email – Baraknsheba@gmail.com

Sheba –
Via Fetlife - https://fetlife.com/users/53684
Via Email – BratSheba.AIS@gmail.com

MsDemanda –
Via Fetlife – https://fetlife.com/users/304720
Via Email – MsDeminquiry@gmail.com

Via Snail mail –
Adventures In Sexuality
PO Box 274
Blacklick, OH

Or you can anonymously slide it under our doors or mail it to –
The Columbus Space
180 Outerbelt St
Columbus, OH

If for any reason you do not want to report to AIS - there are other very good options.

Here are some of the best –
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) Incident Reporting –
Link – http://ncsfreedom.org/key-programs/incident-response-97241/ir-report-incident/view/form

Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Org (BRAVO)
Phone –
Email – Report@bravo-ohio.org
Link – http://www.bravo-ohio.org/resources/report-violence-helpline

Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO)
24 Hour Hotline – 1-614-267-7020
Email – SARNCO@ohiohealth.com

This originally was a post to the AIS Fetlife Group - https://fetlife.com/groups/1913/group_posts/12659339 - however, I wanted to place it on my page, so it has been adapted and updated as a writing to make sure it wasn't lost. We also made it a sticky on the AIS Fetlife Group.

©2019 Barak & Brat Sheba

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