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Resources for Creating Safe, Positive Swing Scenes

  • Joined 1/20/99
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  • Featured > News
  • Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2015
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Resources for Creating Safe, Positive Swing Scenes

The lindy hop community for the past week has been struggling with the painful revelations of manipulation, sexual inappropriateness and assault by Steven Mitchell, a well-known lindy hop instructor. While we are wrestling with how to deal with the grief and anger around the specific person, many are also wondering what we can do as swing communities to make our scenes safe, positive spaces for all, but in particular vulnerable groups like teens, newer dancers and women.

Yehoodi has been compiling lists of resources and links that you might find helpful as you and your swing community look to fostering safer spaces for everyone.

Please feel free to suggest others in the comments, which we will review and consider adding if appropriate.

Event Codes of Conduct

Resources on Sexual Assault

Resources Specific to Teens and Children

Places for More Resources and Discussion on Safe Dance Spaces

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  • Post #9
  • Originally posted Friday, January 20, 2017 (2 months ago)

Here is another safety policy which we are happy to share for anyone how would like to adopt one, but not sure what to write...

Expectations promoting safety and comfort for all attendees:

The Boston Tea Party is open to everyone regardless of race, age, level of dance, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, disability, physical appearance, religion, or any other attribute. The organizers of this private event reserve the right to establish and enforce policies that promote a safe environment for everyone.

Guidelines: Be respectful of those around you on the dance floor and of other people’s safety and boundaries. Clarify any boundaries.

Safety First: Dancing in a manner that hurts or disregards the safety or comfort of other dancers is not acceptable. Respect others’ personal dance space and potential physical limitations. Be aware that your partner’s comfort zone may be different than yours. Notify your partner of any limitations. No words? We sell safety bracelets that caution, “Take it Easy!” Prevention: Alcohol and other substances can make it harder to judge boundaries accurately: please be mindful and stay within your safe limits.

Alcohol: The hotel and the event enforce State of Massachusetts laws regarding the purchase and consumption of alcohol at the hotel. NO alcohol is permitted in any ballroom area unless purchased from the hotel bars. The bartenders will not serve patrons who appear intoxicated. • Please enjoy only hotel purchased drinks in the event spaces.

Firearms: The event prohibits firearms of any kind in the event spaces. Both the event and the Marriott have security staff in attendance and we also employ additional professional security personnel in the evenings to ensure the safety of our guests.

Respect ‘No’: Every dancer has the right to decline to interact with another dancer, on or off the dance floor, without explanation or repercussion. Persistently ignoring or challenging another dancer’s expressed wish NOT to interact during the course of an evening is harassment*, and is not acceptable. Predatory or intimidating behavior is grounds for exclusion from the event.

*Harassment can include offensive verbal comments directed toward another’s attributes, sexual images, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, disruption of workshops or other events, inappropriate physical contact, or unwelcome sexual attention.

Clarify Boundaries: Dancing should be fun and enjoyable for everyone. If anyone makes you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, hurt, endangered, or embarrassed, please don’t hesitate to let them and us know immediately. Avoid isolated areas alone. If you witness behavior occurring that might seem unsafe for another, or someone seems uncomfortable or distressed, please check in with them or just ask them to dance. Please also make a staff member aware of your concerns. Everyone has a role in prevention.

Report Concerns: Feel free to approach any member of the registration or security (door) staff to report risky conditions or for assistance addressing concerns with another dancer. If registration is closed, please ask the DJ, event, or hotel staff to contact one of the event directors. If you are concerned about a sensitive situation, ask to speak to a director, you do not need to specify why. We promise to listen and to treat you with respect and confidentiality. We will ask you how you wish the situation to be handled.

Personal Responsibility: Our goal is to make the event as fun yet safe as possible for everyone. We cannot achieve this if we are not made aware of safety concerns. Please tell us. Again, confidentiality and respect for our guests is our first concern. Awareness of any situation is helpful so we can better protect you and other guests from any type of safety risk.

Purpose: The above policy was designed by the event organizers to increase awareness and support for respect and safety during the event. In reality it takes all of us working together to decrease risks. This policy is designed to encourage all attendees to take responsibility for the safety and comfort of self and others in the community. The event attempts to provide a safe environment to the best of our ability. We encourage everyone to stay aware and sober enough to recognize and avoid risky situations and to ask for help if needed.

Consequences: Any attendee or staff member failing to adhere to the above guidelines will be approached about the problem assuming the organizers are notified. Depending on the severity of the issue, the organizers may first speak to the offending person and give suggestions to correct the problem (to do or not do something). Participants asked to stop any dangerous or harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Repeated or blatant disregard for these guidelines will result in the person being asked to leave the event immediately and without compensation or refund.

Disclaimer: This policy also does not limit or in any way affect the ability or responsibility of any person who feels threatened or harassed to directly notify authorities. Response to any issue depends upon the prompt reporting of any concerns and upon any limits imposed by Massachusetts law. Although the event has no authority to remove anyone from hotel spaces outside those we contract for event use, we promise to our best ability to support our guests’ continued enjoyment of the event without fear of further harassment or reprisal.

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