Safe Space Agreement

The Cambridge group have a safer space agreement in place, which will also guide the moderation of posts on the facebook page and blog.

We want this group to be a space in which all womxn and non-binary people can feel safe sharing their experiences and knowledge, without being the target of gender oppression including sexism, misogyny, transmisogyny, transphobia, cissexism and binarism and prejudice based on gender presentation. We acknowledge that all of us have experienced some form of gender oppression and perhaps additionally another form of oppression, such as discrimination against people who identify within the MOGAI (Marginalised Orientations, Gender Identities and Intersex) spectrum, ableism, ageism, racism, and prejudice based on ethnicity, nationality, class, language, asylum status or religious affiliation. Specifically as women we are also targets to the everyday ‘subtitles’ of these oppressions which surface in the form of bodyshaming, slutshaming, victim blaming, whorephobia and other often undetected crimes intrinsic to the patriarchal order.

We recognise that all of us make use of and benefit from some forms of oppressive structures. If not in any of the forms described above, then at least through speciesism. With human privilege we always benefit from our place in the species hierarchy and thus we cannot stand outside the oppression of our non-human brothers and sisters. Additionally to the intersections that we might suffer from, we also want to recognise the privileges that enable our autonomous existence.

To make this group as safe as possible we ask all participants to agree to abide by the following guidelines, remembering that we are all here to listen and learn and to support one another in our personal journeys to total liberation. Together we want to learn to recognise and dismantle the oppressive power structures that we are all part of.

TRIGGER WARNING: THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES CONTAIN DESCRIPTIONS OF OPPRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR.

Guidelines
These guidelines are always a work in progress.
The term ‘expression’ in the guidelines refers to a person’s active or passive expression, be it within language, gestures and mimics, behaviour, an action or non-action.

We agree to:
1. give a trigger warning / learn when to give a trigger warning.
2. become aware of our own privilege and the power dynamics within the group, i.e. assessing how much space we take up with our gestures and voices and pay attention to others who might take up less space but have something to contribute, too.
3. not make assumptions about other people’s experiences; listen to them and give them the space to articulate their point of view if they would like to; not assume that they owe us a justification of their person.
4. when bearing witness to an account of violence, abstain from apologism, victim-blaming and gaslighting.
5. be sensitive towards discussion topics that might deal with a traumatic subject.
6. invite questions rather than speak in an absolute manner; use accessible language; also share audio/visual materials that would accompany discussions of literature, bearing in mind that not everybody has the possibility to read the literature.
7. refrain from sexist, transphobic, binaristic, homophobic, biphobic, anti-asexual and anti-queer expression; refrain from racist and xenophobic expression; refrain from cultural appropriation; refrain from judging a person’s religious identification; refrain from ableist expression and be aware of our own role in the room’s layout and
accessibility; refrain from ageist expression; refrain from body shaming, slutshaming and whorephobia.
8. avoid making assumptions about people’s pronouns; we define as women and non-binary people which encompasses a wide range of identities; ask rather than guess.
9. refrain from outing people who identify on the MOGAI spectrum, or who identify as disabled, as well as survivors of violence.
10. treat all information (e.g. if someone discloses details about their identity, or details about a traumatic experience or the details about their abuser) with confidentiality and do not discuss them outside the meeting without the person’s consent.
11. share the burden of calling out any behaviour that might not comply with any of the above mentioned points; call out oppressive expression, even if not personally affected; support anyone who has the courage to call out oppressive behaviour. This can be done by turning to a person of trust within the group, or to the person who has violated the guidelines, or by drawing everybody’s attention to it, e.g. through expressing that something uncomfortable, triggering or violent occurred /is occurring, even if it cannot be pinpointed or articulated.
12. learn from our mistakes and become aware of our expressions and the way they influence others.
13. sign this agreement and work on it together by adding more points that might become relevant in the future.

If your abuser is attending our meetings without your consent/permission and/or an agreement between you both that you are comfortable and happy with, please speak to a person/people you trust within the group and your abuser will be removed. If you feel you cannot express yourself within the group because you have experienced violence/harassment within the group or from someone affiliated to anybody in the group, please also share this feeling with a person/people you trust.

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