Safer Spaces Policy

The Women’s Department seeks to build a culture founded upon mutual respect and a commitment to learning and growing as individuals and as a community.

As such, we have a Safe Spaces policy aimed at framing what we, as a community, believe is acceptable behaviour.

ANU Women’s Department Safer Spaces Policy

Principles

At the ANU Women’s Department, we want to create a community where undergraduate women are free to be themselves without judgment or discrimination. We use the language of Safer Spaces because we believe that spaces are not safe simply because we designate them as such – it’s a goal that requires the constant and unceasing effort of the community. What this Policy is fundamentally about is treating one another with respect. When attending a Women’s Department event, visiting the Rapunzel Room, or posting/commenting on our Facebook Groups, it is expected that you will act in a respectful way towards each and every person you encounter.

Some Specifics

By entering our Safer Spaces, you agree to:

  1. Respect people’s opinions, beliefs, and differing points of view
  • This includes recognising that as individuals we have been exposed to a specific set of ideas and experiences within different social and cultural contexts, and that our views are formed by these complex backgrounds.
  • This includes only ever speaking for yourself, and not claiming to speak for certain groups you may identify with.
  • This includes not judging or dismissing others’ views out of hand, but exercising empathy and imagination in conversing with others, even when respectfully disagreeing.
  1. Respect the physical and emotional boundaries of others, and limits of understanding someone might have at a point of time.
  • This includes providing content warnings before discussing distressing topics, and make sure that there are no image thumbnails, which are prominent and unavoidable before the content warning. (Consider placing the content in the comments.) An example of a content warning – CW: Sexual Assault and Self Harm.
  • This includes refraining from discussing topics in a way that might promote risky or unsafe behaviours (e.g. methods of self-harm, drug-taking, suicide etc.)
  • This also includes being particularly careful when engaging in explicit discussions on sensitive issues in depth and/or personal experiences of them online, whether you are engaging with the thread or disclosing your personal experience. You must respect that individuals have the right to define their experiences themselves.
  1. Respect everyone’s right to live without intimidation, harassment, or discrimination
  • This includes not engaging in any behaviour that is ableist, racist, sexist, ageist, transphobic, homophobic, queerphobic or sizeist.
  • Critique that occurs in discussion should be aimed at deconstructing themes and issues, not victimising certain individuals.
  1. Respect people’s right to privacy and self-determination
  • This includes not disclosing another person’s disability, sexuality or other personal information without their permission. No screenshots.
  • Do not reveal people who are part of the group, (safety). It is an individual’s right to self identify within the group and that identification to remain within the group.

This Policy is not an exhaustive list of every single thing people ought to do or not do. As such, there are going to be times when each of us make mistakes. These mistakes are opportunities to learn from each other, and grow as individuals and as a community.

Below, you’ll find our dispute resolution procedure, and the moderation processes when the Policy is breached.

Dispute Resolution

Where you feel someone has done something that contravenes the Policy, you have a variety of options, including; approaching the person, removing yourself, or reporting a dispute.

  1. Remove yourself from the event, space or conversation

If you feel uncomfortable approaching the individual, or don’t have the energy to do so, you may decide to remove yourself from the event/space/conversation. Seek self-care. If you’d like to attempt to approach the individual, but don’t feel comfortable doing so by yourself, you may ask the Officer or Deputies to accompany you.

  1. Report the act to the Mediation Team

We encourage members to try and have a discussion where possible, but if that is not an option you may report the act to the Mediation Team – which includes the Women’s Officer (Laura Perkov) & Deputy Officers (Priyanka Tomar and Juliette Baxter). Include details of what the act was, who did it, and why you feel it was against the SSP. The Mediation Team will contact both parties, and make a determination.

Online Spaces – Facebook Groups & Page

The Women’s Department Facebook Groups and Page are spaces for open, intelligent, and respectful exchanges relating to women. When you participate in these spaces, be aware that many women share this space, and although they may not choose to directly engage through comments or likes, your words may have an impact on them.

At the discretion of the Mediation Team, comments and posts considered to be breaching this Policy can be deleted without any prior warnings. The person who made the breaching comment/post will be informed that their comment/post has breached the Policy. Where the person ignores the direction of the Mediation Team, and continues to perform the breaching act, the individual may be banned or blocked from the Group & Page.

Some specific online rules:

Do’s

  • Place Trigger Warnings at the start of posts where appropriate.
  • If you are going to put triggering content in a comment, consider asking the original poster to put a content warning on their original post.
  • Ensure that graphic images are presented in link form, don’t have them in the main post

Dont’s

  • No taking screenshots of the content in the safe space
  • Targeting individuals