|August 31st, 2022|
Overall, I think safety committees can be positive, but there are also a lot of ways you can accidentally make things worse. For example, in BIDA's case, when we first started we did not do a very good job laying out what people could expect from us. A group of amateur volunteers is, for example, not generally going to be able to get to the bottom of disputes, and by leading people to expect service beyond what we could provide we let them down. Which is quite bad: sharing traumatic details is generally painful, and you really don't want to leave someone wishing they had never come to you.
I think the current version of our "How We Can Help" page does pretty well here, but earlier versions didn't, and we also didn't do a good job in conversations with people reporting issues. I wrote some about this re-evaluation at the time.
Other resources, for people who are thinking of starting doing this kind of work:
Julia Wise's The community health team's work on interpersonal harm in the community. She does this work professionally in the EA community, and this post both lays out some of how her team thinks about this work and gives a long list of situations they've handled. While the EA community is not a dance community, there's still a lot that's relevant.
Dennis Merritt's Tales of a Dance Monarch. He walks through eleven different situations he was involved in over the years, and I think the post is very helpful for getting a sense of what sorts of situations come up in a dance context.
Tales From the Front Line of Ombuds Work: Handling Sexual Harassment Cases. Twelve anonymized cases in a university context. Somewhat less applicable, since it's such a different setting and framework, but it's still helpful to read example cases.
If anyone else has resources to recommend, please share!