Some dance organizations have multiple organizers that change periodically. It can be hard to keep track of what happened.
I recommend keeping a record of every incident and actions taken, so that it can be passed on to other organizers.
It is also really useful to keep track of follow-up conversations. You can find a model of such a document in the kit!
Informing your community
People are often reluctant to inform the community about what happened, and it is important to keep the anonymity of the people who endured someone’s bad behavior if they have requested it.
I am also not in favor of public shaming for bad behavior. I don’t think it’s conducive to change and growth.
However, I like to think that if a community reaches a point of permanently excluding someone, they have come to the conclusion that this person was too unsafe, and too unwilling to change, to remain in the community. I think it is therefore important to inform everyone of this decision. It will help them stay safe when interacting with this person outside the events. I recommend making a very factual public statement along the lines of “We have made the decision to permanently exclude XX because they did YYY (make sure the information doesn’t identify anyone else). While we regret having to take such drastic measures, the safety and comfort of this community is our priority. We recommend using caution around this person outside of the dance events”.
Informing other dance scenes
When a dance group decides to remove someone from their events, that person often times goes to other dance scenes and reproduces the same behavior. Other scenes are particularly vulnerable, due to the fact that they usually don’t know that person and therefore are unable to take measures to protect their own communities.
It’s also really hard for the organizers to reach out to every dance scene in their area, plus the ones that organize big exchanges.
So! I have created a tool to inform other organizers about who they have removed, and I’ll detail a bit more how I’d like people to use it, and why.
Values and rationale
The three most important aspects to me are:
- Protect the anonymity of victims
- Protect the liability of the organizers
- Allow for conversations and change
The rationale for this list is:
- The reason this list exists is because I’ve seen too many abusers take advantage of scenes’ ignorance of past patterns of abuse, and reproduce the same behavior.
- The reason this list is public and not accessible to organizers only is that I think everyone should be able to make their own choices. Some scene leaders might want to allow someone in, but I think participants should be able to know too and make their own decisions. Moreover, sometimes the abuser is a dance organizer and their community should know.
- The list features only the fact that people have been permanently banned from a dance scene. It is an easily provable fact and therefore reduces the liability for defamation lawsuits. The caveat here being that you should find out details about the situation before making decisions.
If your organizing team decides to remove someone permanently from their events, it’s likely they’ve reached the conclusion this person is too dangerous to be allowed into their community. I think that anything that doesn’t reach that point can stay private.
Once the decision has been made, you can fill out a form to report the situation. It will include the name of the individual you’ve removed, your dance organization and your location, but no details of what happened. This allows to both protect the anonymity of the victims, and to protect against legal action from the individual, because their removal is factual and easily proved.
I require that you have permission from at least one of the people affected to add this name to the list.
I strongly encourage you to inform the individual that their name will be added to this list, and offer them the possibility to provide contact information. I strongly encourage you to provide your own contact information. I will reach out to them in any case.
Due to legal considerations, to make sure the content will stay in the database and is factual, your submission should include a testimony of removal, which I’ll provide a model for below, signed by 3 organizers in your scene.
Other organizers will be able to display this list, and can choose to be informed when the database is updated.
Criteria to be included on this list
While I will use some judgement about who should be included in this list, I will follow as well as possible the following guidelines:
- The individual has been banned from one or multiple dance scenes for a substantial amount of time (a year and above).
- The complaints are either very severe or repeated, despite the perpetrator being confronted.
- If the individual hasn’t engaged in a meaningful accountability process.
How to get off the list?
I will remove individuals from this list if any of these 3 conditions are met:
- There’s clear and unambiguous evidence that someone was falsely accused.
- 10 years have passed since the individual was last reported breaking a dance code of conduct.
- The individual has been engaged in an accountability process for at least 6 months. This can take many forms: therapy, local restorative justice center, self education online with accountability buddies, assault prevention workshops, etc. If two people can vouch that the individual is committed to change and has invested time and energy into doing better, I’ll remove this individual from the list. I am also working on developing an online program to assist with rehabilitation. Contact me if you’d like to help!
What to do with the list?
Our society tends create a false dichotomy between consensual acts and sexual assault. While there are clear cases of consensual interactions and assault, there are many shades of grey that create complex situations. We should embrace this complexity.
Therefore, I don’t recommend using this list as a forever black list. This is a tool to communicate, inform each other, and make better decisions. Moreover, the standard for permanent ban is different for each scene, and while false accusations are rare, they happen.
I would recommend that when an individual who is on the list signs up for your exchange or shows up in your scene, you reach out to the organizers who can fill you in on the situation. You can also have a conversation with the individual to hear what they have to say, and tell them they’ll be under close scrutiny if you decide to allow them in your scene.
I advise taking into account how long ago the removal was, if the individual is taking responsibility for their actions, and the reason for the removal.
You can also make the choice to guarantee that your space won’t allow in any individual on the list, which would be a great way to inform survivors they won’t run into their abuser in your space.
We have to remind ourselves that we’re always losing someone. Either we’re losing an abuser, or we’re losing their targets.
By clicking this link, you acknowledge that you understand that this list only informs you that the individuals listed have been banned from a dance scene. It is not any indication of the action they’ve taken. The situations are vastly different, and the reasons people have been banned can be anything from emotional abuse, assault, and/or rape, as well as misunderstandings with organizers or being the target of false accusation. Please, do your due diligence and contact the organizers and the individual before making a decision.
Content warning : the list contains pictures of the people on it.
If you’re a dance organizer and need to add a name to the data base, please contact me.
If you feel like the information contained in this database is erroneous or needs to be updated, you can contact me too!
If you’re an event organizer, and you want to match your attendee list to the current list, here is a google sheet template that will allow to do that. Make your own copy of that sheet. Copy and paste your attendees to the first sheet, and the latest version of the list in the second sheet. It should highlight the names that match the list.