We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for every individual at our events. No one deserves to be harassed. We take all allegations of harassment very seriously and seek to resolve all complaints with appropriate action and decorum. This document outlines important definitions, procedures, and guidelines that you must be aware of and abide by while attending our events or working as a Silver Phoenix Society employee. We are grateful for all of the responses and feedback we have received on our policies throughout the years.
This policy seeks to take into account all the feedback we have received, if you feel that there is something we missed or could change for the better, please do not hesitate to email us at [email protected] for further discussion.
What Is Harassment?
For this policy “individual” refers to any human or animal attending our events including but not limited to attendees, emergency services personal, event staff and volunteers, guests, hotel management and staff, performers, service and show animals, vendors.
Harassment is unwelcome conduct that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s ability to attend, enjoy, or perform their duties at the event by creating an intimidating, threatening, unsafe, hostile, or abusive environment. In an ideal world, “don’t be a jerk” is all that one would have to say to explain how to avoid harassing someone. Because we do not live in that world, we provide this list of examples which would constitute harassing behavior. Harassment includes, but is in not limited to:
- Touching individual(s) sexually without their express consent.
- Touching individual(s) non-sexually without their express consent. This refers to deliberate unwelcome touch, not incidental touch such as breaking someone’s fall or tapping their shoulder to get their attention. If someone has asked that you not tap them on the shoulder to get their attention you should respect their boundaries and not do so.
Intimidating or threatening individual(s) to socialize with you or becoming physically involved with you; examples include repeatedly asking an individual, threatening with verbal or physical violence.
- Repeatedly violating another’s personal space, this does not refer to crowding which can occur in high traffic areas, but an example would be repeatedly standing close to an individual who has otherwise asked you not to.
Repeatedly making unwelcome sexually suggestive gestures or comments.
- Stalking or following other individual(s) without consent.
- Photographing or recording individual(s) without their express consent (See the photography policy), this refers to individual(s) who are the subject of a photograph; not to random crowds or individual(s) who happen to enter a frame.
- However actions like surreptitiously photographing someone (e.g. “upskirt” photos) is inherently harassing.
- Degrading other individual(s) based on their body type, ability, race, ethnicity, country of origin, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, relationship status, religion or spiritual path.
- Repeatedly and intentionally mis-gendering individual(s).
- Violating other individual(s) consent or established boundaries.
- Inebriation is no excuse. Same standards of behavior apply whether you are sober or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Harassment can take many forms, not just those listed above and can occur regardless of the identity and orientation of the victim or the identity and orientation of the perpetrator.
What can I do if I feel I have been harassed?
If you have fear for your personal safety during the Event: Go directly to the Operations Room, EMS Room, or Registration Desk. They are all attended by Operations, Medical, and Security personnel who can help you.
The safety of individual(s) at our events is our number one concern. Regardless of the who you feel is harassing you, we want to stress the importance that we place on this Policy.
If you have a concern about an individual based on past experience, a hotel staff or management member, or an event staff or volunteer member, we encourage you to contact us at [email protected].
Otherwise should you feel that you have been harassed at one of our events you have a variety of options available to you to help resolve the situation:
- You can talk to the individual(s) whom you felt acted in a harassing manner and politely explain to them what conduct caused you to feel this way and how both parties can resolve the situation.
- If you’re uncomfortable with talking to the other individuals you have the option of contacting event staff as well. There several ways in which you get in contact with us:
- In Person:
During daytime operational hours the registration desk at each event will have radios to reach Operations, Security, and the Harassment Response Team, if you have a concern. At night each event will have a clear marked Public Safety Office/Operations where a Public Safety staff member will be available to talk to in person.
If you have a concern or report that doesn’t need to be addressed at the event but you would like get in contact with us after the event, you can find more information on incident reporting here. If this matter is urgent, please email us at [email protected].
- In Person:
How will the event will respond if I report being harassed?
Silver Phoenix Society takes every complaint we receive seriously, and will make every effort to research complaints to the best of our ability.
After you submit a complaint we will work with you to gather as much information about the complaint as possible.
It is important to remember that this process can take a varying amount of time depending on the nature of the complaint and the individuals involved. We will keep you informed of our research and if you have any more concerns or additional information you can still reach out to Event Staff.
Once we have completed our research we will form a provisional resolution that we feel address the concerns of all individuals involved in the complaint. We will then explain the provisional resolution to you and address any further questions or concerns you have.
Once we have done all this we will work with our event staff to make sure that the resolution is implemented fully.
Resolutions can take many forms and these are just a few examples of actions we might take:
- Explaining to the offending individual(s) the values and norms of consent culture as they apply at our events.
- Asking the individual(s) to refrain from contact with you.
- Removing individuals from the event.
- Banning individuals from future events.
As a matter of safety, Silver Phoenix Society policy forbids staff members from revealing the identity of a complainant to an offender without the express and informed consent of the complainant.
It is important to note that (at any time), this policy does not preclude you from using any resources which are available to you under local, state and federal law. These include things such as calling the police or emergency medical services personnel. If you come to us with a complaint and ask for our help in utilizing these resources we will do everything we can to help you in this regard. It is however important to note that these services are not bound by our policies and under law may have to reveal your identity to the offender when filling an official complaint; we in no way encourage or discourage anybody to use these resources, the choice is yours as a complainant.
How do I avoid being accused of harassment?
The easiest and best way to deal with harassment is to prevent it from happening in the first place. There are three key components of this: education, sobriety, and consent.
Before coming to one of our events, we ask that you familiarize yourself with that event’s rules; these will help guide you.
The majority of harassment complaints at our events involve the over consumption of alcohol. Over consuming impairs both your judgment and impulse control. When first encountering a new community, many individual(s) seek to relieve the anxiety with alcohol. Some individual(s) also feel overwhelmed by an event of this size and scope and seek to ease this feeling with alcohol. While we understand that temptation, we assure you that that strategy is counter-productive.
Finally, and most importantly, is consent. Before touching someone, you should first ask them for their permission, explain what you wish to accomplish, and gain their informed consent. Otherwise, you should refrain from touching other individual(s). If an individual(s) is intoxicated or impaired, they can not give informed consent. If an individual(s) asks you not to touch them, politely respect their request and refrain from doing so. These guidelines also apply to the items and belongings of other individual(s). Remember when dealing with other individual(s), that “No” always means No, and previous consent does not imply current consent.
What should I do if I am accused of harassment?
Event Staff takes all accusations of harassment with the seriousness they deserve, but they do not pass judgment until the matter has been thoroughly researched and they have an understanding of the events that occurred. If approached by Event Staff we ask that you work with us in a polite and civil demeanor, and we will work with you to get your side of the situation and to assess all the facts and allegations of the complaint.
If it has been determined through the research that a boundary was violated out of ignorance or misunderstanding, our staff members are there to help explain and inform you of the policies and cultural procedures of our events so that these kinds of accidents do not occur again in the future. Event Staff also understand that sometimes when these kind of incidents occur, the offenders like to offer apologies for the situation, we are happy to relay spoken or written apologies to complainants in cases where it is appropriate.
In the end, whether you are determined to be at fault or not, we will not tolerate post-complaint shaming, “witch hunts”, or retaliation. Each of these can, in and of itself, result in you being in violation of our harassment and event policies and will warrant more research which may lead to disciplinary actions up to and possibly including expulsion from our events.
Please also keep in mind that unless specifically requested by the complainant(s) in your case, we will not identify the complainant(s) to you. We understand that this seems unfair and is frustrating from your perspective, but anonymity helps to ensure that safety of all involved parties and can prevent escalation of retaliatory incidents.
Regarding False Complaints
We understand that many fear false complaints; they have the potential to harm innocent individuals in very real and lasting ways. Our policy is to research each complaint for the safety of all involved. If through research Event Staff find that a complaint was falsely made with intention to harm an individual, it will be dealt through the harassment policy as an act of harassment itself.
Everyone has the right to an event free from harassment. We will do everything we can to prevent harassment before it happens, address it when it does, and will work tirelessly to keep you safe.