Consent at the Node/Blivande/Borderland/Small_Burns

Dear community,

For the past two years, I have been opening up my time to support people that have been involved in consent breaches. Both the one who’s boundaries were overstepped and those who overstepped someones boundaries. I am starting to notice, that I feel quite lost in these processes. I am not a professional, rather “only” a person with big heart.

We do not have thousands of cases, but I noticed now, that I do feel quite alone when it comes to supporting the incidences and being there until the support is not needed anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I choose to be there and I want to be there. What I need is a bit more of a community to hold me, when I am not available and thus those that need it in the moment.

I am struggling to find and define the boundaries for the help that we as non-professionals can offer to community members. I am also struggling with the very individual nature of the cases, which makes every case feel like “the first time I am doing this.”

I have reached out to organisations like storasyster and novahuset, who have a lot of experience in these instances and hope that we can get some help finding the boundaries of community involvement possible in consent cases. I hope that we can organize an event/training around this with these groups/organisations, that have been around and handling cases like this for a long time. I wrote them the following:

My name is Diana and I am a very active member in the community in and around House Blivande (blivande.com). I part of the board of Noden (noden.community) a förening that co-creates events, workshop and happenings on a non-profit basis.

We are also closely linked to a nordic festival called the Borderland that is also a non-profit participatory culture event.

I write as I have been stepping up in creating dialogue and information about consent in these communities. I am mainly helping and supporting women and men that were in a consent breach to have communication and support around what happened. It is actually a very energy demanding and time consuming work, that I slowly feel myself unable to do alone. We are a big community and I really would like to receive some help and support in educating others to handle situations where consent was breached.

I am reaching out hoping that we could organize and event together, where we talk about what consent violations actually are, the legal situation in Sweden and how to help and support victims of consent breaches. I wonder what we could do together and if you have someone in mind, that has previously instructed and helped organisations step up to the awareness of consent. We are definitely not doing too bad, but we could be doing better.

I feel that I could probably do with some training myself, where we talk about how to respond a preson that just has been sexually harassed or assaulted. I am assuming you have a lot of experiences on what is the right thing to say, how to support someone and what is actually possible and healthy to do as a volunteer and non-professional and where the line lies of what we can do.

I am really looking forward to your answer and hope to learn a lot from your experience.

All the best, Diana

I know there are some groups and efforts ongoing around Borderland in Denmark. Here in Stockholm however, I really feel alone in my availability and I don’t want to work like this anymore. I am choosing to be transparent to you to find interested humans and state my boundaries openly.

This is to be continued!

Diana

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Hi Diana Your post gives me mixed feelings.
That the Node needs a unit that can handle issues such as members feeling that their boundaries have been ignored.
I think it is extremely important and the board should handle it so it gets organized.
When it comes to inviting other organizations to this, however, it makes me a little uncomfortably affected as I feel that organizations like big sisters have a political agenda in the same way as religious organizations have in these matters, so these organizations should be invited should it first be considered by the board or even discussed at the annual meeting.
Otherwise, we risk that perceptions are not agreed upon and sneak in through the back door without us really supporting their agenda.

Hello Garman,

We are a considerably decentralized organization (something to further discuss soon, check out wikipedia). I strongly believe, that only being a member of the board of an organization, is not sufficient of a qualification to handle ALL topics coming up in a microcosmos, that our organisation has become.

I am inviting organizations to advise and share there experiences, not taking over the responsibilities from us. I think we as a community are smart enough to take advise without having to agree on everything an other organization stands for. So I do not share your consern.

Lastly, while the the Node is a secular place, I would not go so far as to say we are unpolitical. Personlly, I think we are actively political, but this a topic outside the scope of this thread.

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