SAFER SPACES POLICY: JURA COLLECTIVE
30TH July 2008
A Safer Space
No space can be completely safe and free from oppression. What this policy aims to do is increase the awareness of all Jura Collective members / trusted friends, and all Jura users, to make this space as safe as possible. We hope that everyone will feel welcome and comfortable in this space, and also respect the general politics and principles of the Jura community. We encourage everyone to participate in the activities and structures of the space, to the extent that they agree with the politics and responsibilities connected to different levels of participation. For example, there are more rights and responsibilities that come along with being a Member or Trusted Friend, than those with being a visitor or guest.
Jura aims to be a survivor oriented space. This means that when decisions need to be made, the “benefit of the doubt” will go to the survivor in preference to the perpetrator.
By entering Jura Bookshop, and participating in the activities of the Jura Collective, you agree to abide by these guidelines. Those engaging in non-consensual violence (including sexual violence and harassment) will be asked to leave the space. We welcome the continuing discussion about and improvement of this policy.
Many thanks to all those in our extended communities who have been laying the foundations of this important work over the past few years.
Jura Collective and Bookshop
The events of the Jura Collective, and the Jura Bookshop are safer spaces. Violence, harassment and abuse will not be tolerated in any form. This can be based on gender, sexual preference, race, socio-economic status, political beliefs, physical abilities, class, age, physical appearance, religion, and a myriad of other factors.
If we wish to enact social change, we must implement that change in our daily behaviours.
What This Means in Practice
There can be no definitive list of behaviours / comments / situations which make people feel uncomfortable. The main thing is to concentrate on how your actions are affecting others, and modify your behaviour as appropriate.
Try to remain open to discussion of ways to improve communication in the space, and continually question the privilege you have (e.g. from being older, from being an “experienced” activist, from utilising the space more frequently, from your ethnicity, from your gender, etc). It’s YOUR responsibility to ensure you aren’t taking up too much “space”, and devaluing or disregarding the opinions and experiences of others.
This includes, but is not limited to: speaking loudly and over the top of others, interrupting other’s speech, dominating conversation and not allowing others to speak, assuming everyone knows where all utilities are in the building, explaining concepts condescendingly, making assumptions about the experiences and lifestyles of others, starring at others in a manner which makes them uncomfortable (i.e. “checking them out”) and invading the personal space of others during conversation.
Please keep the following in mind when utilising Jura Bookshop or interacting with Jura Collective:
- Every-one’s physical and emotional boundaries are different. Always ask consent before touching someone in a manner that could be considered intimate, and check if people are comfortable discussing certain topics that may be triggering (e.g. sexual abuse, sexual experiences, physical violence, or encounters with the police).
- Pay attention to body language, as people often use non-verbal clues to communicate a lack of consent (e.g. not making eye contact, making excuses to move away from you, not responding to your physical advances).
- Take responsibility for your own actions, and consider how your behaviour and speech affect others. Remember that not everyone reacts the same way.
- Respect other’s thoughts and opinions. This doesn’t mean we all have to agree, but that discussion is entered into without prejudice or personal insult.
- There may be certain situations when you feel comfortable using language which some may find offensive or derogatory – Jura is not an appropriate space for this. You do not know who will overhear you, and how they will react to this.
- Look out for others, and try not to leave anything around that may endanger their physical safety. This is particularly important when using the kitchen or during renovations!
- No smoking is allowed within the Jura building itself. Please go outside to smoke. Talk about the influence of alcohol and other drugs on yourself and others, and think about limiting your use if you know that you become violent or disrespectful under their influence.
- Be aware of yourself and how you are feeling. If you need assistance, do not be afraid to ask someone or call a friend. Removing yourself physically from a situation can be a great help.
Remember, you are responsible for articulating 100% of your needs 100% of the time. This can be intimidating and scary, but there are ways we can support you in doing this.
Dealing With Grievances
If you feel unsafe, or experience any behaviour which crosses your boundaries, please approach a Jura Collective Member / Trusted Friend whom you feel comfortable talking to. They can talk to you about how you wish to resolve the issue and can act on your behalf if you desire.
The Collective shall have two people with whom grievances can be taken up with, one male and one female (transgender?). They can act on your behalf at the next collective meeting if you do not feel comfortable raising an issue, or can assist you in dealing with more immediate problems. This position will rotate. Contact details for these people will be kept at the Jura desk.
Generally, grievance issues will be discussed at the next collective meeting, and resolved as the collective, in discussion with all the parties, feels appropriate. More urgent grievances can be dealt with by the grievance people as appropriate. Whist we acknowledge the autonomy of survivors of sexual and physical assault, we would prefer to resolve issues without the police or other state institutions. However, we recognise that this is ALWAYS an option for the survivor themselves to take into consideration.
For larger events (e.g. gigs, zine fairs, large collective meetings) a “chill-out space” will be designated. This will be a room for people to have a cup of tea, be alone (or with small, selected company) and recuperate. Please seek this space out if you need it. There will be information available on the day in question.
A suggestion box will be kept at the Jura Bookshop Desk for anonymous comments on this policy. Alternatively, all are welcome to attend collective meetings and have further input.
The Jura Collective committs to holding regular workshops (at least once a year), to re-familiarise people with the safer spaces policy and it’s implementation.
NSW Rape Crisis Centre
24 hour free call: 1800 424 017
Help available online: http://www.nswrapecrisis.com.au/
PO Box 555, Drummoyne 2047
Ph: (02) 9819 7357
Fax: (02) 9819 6295
Leichhardt Women’s Community Health Centre
55 Thornley Street, Leichhardt 2040
PO Box 240, Leichhardt 2040
Ph: (02) 9560 3011
Fax: (02) 9569 5098
NSW Health Sexual Assault Services
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Missenden Road, Camperdown 2050
Ph: (02) 9515 9040
Ph: (02) 9515 6111 (24 hrs)
Fax: (02) 9515 9041
SAFER ACCOMMODATION SERVICES
Homeless Persons Information Service
(Crisis accommodation referral)
02 9265 9087
1800 234 566
Child protection and family crisis (24hr)
1800 066 777
Telephone Interpreter Service (24hr)
13 14 50
Youth Emergency Accommodation Line
(02) 9318 1531 (Sydney Metro)
1800 424 830 (Toll free outside Sydney Metro)
Tenants Union of NSW Co-operative Ltd
02 9251 6590
1800 251 101
See: http://www.wrrc.org.au/emergencynos/ for more info and other organisations to contact.