Self Expression and Cooperation require a social contract to make our event a safe place to play. These rules apply to everyone regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Remember that not everyone wants your attention so be courteous and always ask for consent.
What do we mean by consent? Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon activity. The consent has to be ongoing throughout any encounter. While consent is generally spoken about in terms of sexual activity, it extends beyond this at PDF - we apply the same guidelines to taking pictures of others, hugging, entering a camps private space, etc.
While we strive to make PDF a safe place for everyone, assumptions can be made (sometimes from those who have never been to a Burn before) about what is acceptable and what is not. The following is PDFs stance on consent and “best practices” for protecting yourself and others.
- NO always means NO. Only YES means YES. Get an enthusiastic YES before proceeding with anything that might infringe on someone else's boundaries.
- After someone has said NO, cajoling, pleading, or any form of emotional blackmail is UNACCEPTABLE.
- YES can turn into a NO at anytime and that needs to be respected. You or the other person don’t have to go along with something, even if it was previously agreed on. If you change your mind you should speak up, and if someone else changes their mind you should act in accordance with that new boundary.
- Before you assume someone wants your physical attentions, ASK. Being direct is OK. This includes anything from hugs, spankings, kissing, etc. Some people do not want to be touched, and that should be respected. Asking is expected protocol, and sexier than you might think. Not respecting these boundaries can be considered sexual assault, and will not be tolerated at the event.
- Respect the moment. Comfort levels vary at different times and with different people. Even if a person seems comfortable with one person touching them does not mean they are ok with everyone touching them.
- If you’re not sure if what you’re about to do is ok, either where you are, or who you are with, ask. Not everything is a good idea everywhere.
- Being under the influence is not an excuse for infringing on others boundaries. Consider your level of sobriety. Are you able to ask permission and respect an others boundaries? Consider the other persons level of sobriety. Are they able to give consent? TIP: You can say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment before doing anything you may regret later.
- Don't hesitate to check in with others around you. If someone looks uncomfortable, don't be afraid to say hello and ask how they're doing.
- If you are uncomfortable, ask for help. We are a tight knit community and look out for each other. Look around - are there friends close by? Theme camps? Random people walking around? Let them know that you aren’t comfortable in the current situation.
- Rangers are trained in mediation techniques and can diffuse any number of situations. In addition, if there is a violation of your boundaries, Rangers can intervene and will keep a log of the incident in case the offending party continues this type of behavior. Assault or repeated harassment may lead to ejection from the event; reporting incidents helps us spot predators. Rangers are the cool kids walking around in khaki with walkie talkies.
- Practice saying YES as well as no. We know it can be challenging to communicate your feelings or boundaries verbally. And no one should assume they understand someone else body language. Being clear about what you want or don’t want can help avoid situations where boundaries are being violated.
- Remember, respecting personal boundaries includes taking pictures or video, as well as physical and verbal interaction.