Cultivating Consent Policy
There is often an unspoken power dynamic between musicians and fans in the music industry. We acknowledge that these dynamics, coupled with music festival culture can enable unsafe conditions. This Consent Policy is one way to practice harm reduction, create a safer space and shift culture. If you have questions or ideas, please contact our team below. This is an evolving document, and we value your feedback!
By entering Farm Block, you are agreeing to the community guidelines below. To report consent or boundary crossing situations and inappropriate behavior, please find a Consent Team member by their black lanyard, or fill out our Farm Block Incident Reporting Form. *You can find QR codes to both this document and the reporting form at the medic tent and on your program insert.
The Consent Team is prepared to take action—up to and including expulsion—if anyone’s behavior significantly threatens others’ safety. The Consent Team will support individuals involved to report and address the situation with compassion and care for everyone involved, with a goal of keeping everyone in the community. The team will document incidents and support individuals toward creating accountability, reconciliation, and restoration of safety.
Please note: Our Consent Policy and our Incident Reporting Form were adopted from Sarah Taub & Indigo Dawn’s Interfusion Festival Consent Code Of Conduct and their incident form. We added to it and consulted with Consent Beyond Yes to co-create this policy.
- CONSENT POLICY PURPOSE: The purpose of this document is to help create safer spaces. In order to uphold standards of safety with integrity it is necessary to have guidelines and provide processes of accountability for our community.
- DEFINITION OF CONSENT: Consent is an empowered decision rooted in personal agency. It is the giving of permission or agreement to participate in an interaction or activity without abuse or exploitation of trust or power. Consent is active not static, which means that at any point during an activity or interaction, one’s consent may be withdrawn, even if it was given at the outset. Consent is given freely and wholeheartedly with autonomy; it is not hesitant, manipulated, or coerced.
This definition is a melding of the definition provided in the Interfusion Festival Code Of conduct, and their video titled, “Consent: 7 Guiding Principles”
RIGHT TO CONSENT AND SAFETY
All staff, volunteers, guests and performers have the right to feel safe and exercise their consent, so attendees must adhere to the Consent Policy. Those who don’t will be held accountable through the process outlined in the protocol section. As much as possible, we aim to facilitate restorative/ transformative conversations and provide education so that everyone can learn, heal, and continue enjoying the festival. In the case of major incidents, though, the person who violated consent may be escorted out of the festival, expelled from future festivals, and/or released to authorities—the first priority is maintaining a safe environment. All incidents involving violations of the Consent Policy will be handled with compassionate care and professional integrity.
CONSENT INCIDENT PROTOCOLS
There are various types of boundary-crossings, and such experiences exist on a spectrum; however, for the purposes of our protocols and procedures we will place them into 2 categories:
Minor Consent Incident: Not checking in, or accidentally overstepping boundaries. This often involves a dynamic where there was an ambiguity in what the participants’ boundaries were, or a lack of clear communication. Interactions proceeded in the absence of a clear “yes” or “no.” The person whose boundary was crossed may not have had the opportunity or ability to articulate that they were not comfortable with an interaction before it happened, leaving them feeling uncomfortable, violated, or unsafe.
Major Consent Incident: A forceful crossing of boundaries after explicitly being told “no,” either verbally or nonverbally. A violation of this sort is characterized by an attempted overpowering of an individual—of their ability to leave the situation or to set their own personal boundaries easily, freely, and with personal agency. This may include (but is not limited to) harassment, assault, or abuse. In the case of violations of sexual consent it may include: fondling or unwanted touching, up to and including penetration, or forcing someone to perform sexual acts of any kind.
Farm Block is committed to creating a container for creativity and connection. In community, we encounter stuff. Here’s what we’re striving for and continuing to learn. This is an agreement to be guided by these principles, so everyone feels safe and “at choice.” If anything happens, find the Consent Team!
- Aim for Mutual Desire: The best way to prevent a violation is to focus on what everyone involved truly wants! Use these guidelines to help everyone have a great time, not just to avoid missteps.
- Consent First: Participants must receive explicit verbal or non-verbal consent before interactions with physical contact or involving the use of personal property.
- Yes & No: “Yes” means yes. Hesitation or “maybe” means no, or that there’s something to clarify. These exact words (or any words at all) do not need to be used, but the meaning must be clear. If it isn’t, check in and get more info.
- Talk About Communication Styles: When you’re with someone new, talk ahead of time about how you each like to communicate. Do you like verbal check-ins? Are you comfortable with nonverbal communication? Are you confident asserting your boundaries if I get close to one? Ask questions like, “How do you like to communicate consent” or “How will I know if you’re having a good time?”
- Talk About Boundaries and Desires: Things can change over the course of an interaction, but if there are things you know you don’t want or you know you like, tell them! The less you’re each worried about a boundary accidentally getting crossed, the more you can relax and enjoy yourselves. And the more you can focus on what you both/all really want, the less you will have to worry about those boundaries. If it’s about sex, this is a good time to mention any other partners, relationship agreements, STI testing, etc.
- Check In: Check in during physical activity. Ask Q’s, or clarify when ambiguous. “Yes or no Q’s are often focused on the desires of the person asking. Open ended Q’s are more revealing in terms of showing mutual desire, and assessing whether someone is in a compliance response, which is a trauma response. (e.g. What would feel good to you right now? What would make this better for you?)” – Consent Beyond Yes
- Consent Resets: A “yes” once does not mean “yes” in the future, or to any activity other than the one specifically agreed to. Don’t make assumptions.
- Say Stop, Wait, Pause, etc: Want an interaction to end, or need some time to figure out what you want? Use words like STOP, wait or pause. However, know that not everyone can say “stop,” especially if they’re in a trauma response, so do not rely exclusively on hearing these words.
- Be Attentive: Respecting consent even in the absence of words. Watch for cues in body language which may communicate that someone is hesitant or uncomfortable (i.e. averting eyes, nervous laughter, frowning, freezing, pushing or pulling away, non-response). If you pick up any cues, ask for clarification.
- Be trauma-aware: We don’t expect you to be a trauma expert, but watch especially for signs of a FREEZE response, in which the person becomes largely unresponsive and unable to act or speak up for themselves, or COMPLIANCE response (aka fawning or appeasing), in which they act purely in the interest of the other’s happiness without regard or awareness of their own. Trauma responses often come with dissociation or numbness, disorientation, or a sense that the person isn’t present.
“Compliance responses can be hard to pick out. People might be used to feigning being okay, believing, “I stay safe by keeping this person happy.” If they are saying yes to everything but not initiating anything, those can be signs that they’re in a compliance response, and that their consent isn’t genuine. The best remedy is open-ended questions about what they want, backing off to create space for them to initiate, and assuring them that you don’t want them to be uncomfortable. Better yet, ask your partners ahead of time if they know they have any trauma responses and what kind of support usually helps.” – Consent Beyond Yes
- Respect Individual Agency: Do not try to convince, coerce, or manipulate another to engage in an activity or interaction when their answer is “maybe”, “no”, “stop”, “wait,” etc., or when they are unresponsive, moving away from you, or otherwise seem uncomfortable or unenthusiastic.
- Communicate: If something doesn’t feel good, consider talking about what happened with the individual to build and spread awareness. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, ask a consent team member or another trusted person for help.
- Contact: Contact a Consent Team member (they’re wearing black lanyards and colorful tags) if you think you may have crossed someone’s boundaries, had your boundaries crossed, or gotten into a questionable situation around consent. Contact the security team for serious violations and immediate threats. Use the Incident Reporting Form to report after camp hours, if you can’t find a Consent Team member, or you wish to remain anonymous. Even if you don’t need help or want to follow-up, please report incidents so we can track patterns and make the festival even safer in years to come.
- Bystanders: If you see or experience consent behavior that is inappropriate or out of line, report it immediately. The Consent Team aims to catch consent breakdowns as soon as possible, so we can prevent more serious violations (e.g. physical coercion, you’ve said STOP more than once, you feel unsafe) before they happen.
- Substance Use: Are your choices at X number of drinks or hits consistent with your regular choices [ones you will be happy with when you’re sober again]? Know thyself. If you or the person you’re with are trying a new drug, it’s probably not a good time to also try a new physical activity or partner until you’re familiar with its effects. In an altered state, ability to consent may be altered, too. Be extra careful when interacting with someone under the influence. Note that altered states are not limited to substances, but can include sleep deprivation, low blood sugar, etc.
ACCOUNTABILITY & RECONCILIATION
We will work with the ‘4 A’s of Accountability,’ a framework for addressing consent incidents and creating accountability, reconciliation, and restoration of safety.
- Acknowledgement: Both parties are encouraged to acknowledge that a boundary was crossed and, if possible, to establish an account of the consent incident that both parties can agree is accurate.
- Apology: The person who crossed the boundary is encouraged to give an appropriate apology to the person whose boundary was crossed. In the case of minor consent incidents, this step may be enough to bring about reconciliation.
- Amends: If appropriate, we will encourage the person who crossed the boundary to make amends or in some way make up for the damages caused to the person whose boundary was crossed.
For example if damage was caused to a physical item they owned, amends could consist of offering to repair or replace it. If there was injury caused to the body, amends could consist of offering to pay relevant medical costs. In the case of major violations, perhaps providing resources for the person to have access to therapy or counseling with a service provider of their choice.
Regardless of the degree or nature of the amends being made, the person whose boundary was crossed has the right to decide what would be helpful or unhelpful, not the person who crossed the boundary.
- Action: The person who stepped over the boundary of consent commits to take action to change their behavior or mentality in some way so that they do not repeat the mistake of crossing the boundary in a similar circumstance in the future. This requires the person to consider what they could have done differently to prevent the consent incident from taking place, and committing to adjusting their behavior in the future.
For example, in the case of a minor consent incident, it may be a commitment to being more attentive when engaging in physical activities. In the case of a major consent incident, it may be committing to seek professional help, training, or therapy of some sort.
At each stage, the person whose boundary has been crossed will be consulted to see if they would like to go to the next stage or if they are content and feel supported sufficiently with the stage we have reached. (i.e. Is acknowledgement enough or do we need to move toward an apology? If yes, is an apology enough or should we seek amends? Would amends be enough or should we seek action? Maybe you want someone to commit to action, but you don’t feel like there are specific amends that you need made. Each process, and each person’s needs will be unique.
RESPONDING TO CONSENT INCIDENTS – DURING THE EVENT
The Consent Team will be available to receive and address reports of any consent or boundary crossing situations and incidents of inappropriate behavior. Consent Team members will be identified with black lanyards and colorful tags. Below are the protocols the Consent Team will use to respond to incidents. Because of the scale of this event, these protocols are written in a standardized way that may sound formulaic or punitive, but they are designed to support reconciliation, healing, and community membership as much as possible.
- First MINOR Consent Incident Protocol: A Consent team member or staff person will speak to both parties and encourage a conversation toward reconciliation and restoration of safety using the 4-A’s of Accountability model. Consent team or staff will also debrief with each party to ensure they are in a stable emotional and psychological state and can safely continue to participate at the event.
- Second MINOR Consent Incident Protocol: The person who has violated the Consent Policy for the second time will have their participation in the camp’s activities suspended immediately. In order for the suspension to be lifted: A successful reconciliation conversation between both parties using the 4-A’s of Accountability model must take place.
The Consent team must also be able to determine reasonably that the individuals are in a stable emotional and psychological state, and can safely continue to participate, without other participants feeling unsafe. If a second minor violation is reported during the festival, the Consent Directors will be notified to help determine if further action is needed.
- Third MINOR Consent Incident Protocol: The person who has violated the Consent Policy for the third time will be asked to leave, and not allowed back. In the case of a third minor offense, either at one event or across many, the Consent Team may decide to restrict that individual from future access to camp. If a Third Minor Violation is reported at Farm Block, the Consent Directors will be notified immediately.
- First MAJOR Consent Violation Incident: The person who has violated the Consent Policy in a MAJOR way (clear, knowing or willful violation of consent) will be asked to leave. Legal action may be considered. Lifetime expulsion from all future events may be considered. A Consent Team or staff member will spend time with the person whose consent was violated to ensure the person is in a stable emotional and psychological state and can safely continue to participate at the event.
If a Major Incident is reported, notify the Consent Co-Directors ASAP. Farm Block staff will provide the person whose boundaries were crossed with resources and information to cope with the incident and to file a report with police officials, if they so wish. Depending on the judged emotional state of the person whose boundaries were crossed, the Consent Team may encourage them to leave the event and put necessary support structures in place in order to successfully stabilize and integrate the incident.
RESPONDING TO CONSENT INCIDENTS – POST FESTIVAL
If you experienced or witnessed a consent incident (i.e. boundary-crossing, harassment, consent violation) at Farm Block, you have the option to report the incident after the festival has ended. Please use this Farm Block Incident Reporting Form
First, second, or third Minor Incident: When a Minor Consent Incident is reported post-event, a Consent Team member will reach out to the person who has violated our code and inform them of the report. Whether this is the first, second or third Minor Incident reported will determine the course of action that is needed.
The Consent Team will follow the corresponding Minor Incident protocol listed above, if the person would like to continue to attend the festival in the future. A third Minor Incident reported (including post-camp) may result in the camp’s decision to restrict the person who has violated the Consent Policy from future events. We will also follow up with the person whose boundary was crossed to inform them of Consent Incident protocols and offer support resources such as: Outside mediation and therapy recommendations; and Mediation time with the Consent Team if desired.
Major Consent Incident: When a Major Incident is reported post-festival, legal action may be considered and taken. Lifetime expulsion of the person who has committed a Major Consent Incident from all future camp events may be considered. A Consent team member will follow up with the person whose boundary was crossed within 48 hours of receiving the report, to discuss Major Consent Incident protocols. The Consent Team will reach out again one week following the initial report to check in with the person whose boundary was crossed and answer any questions or provide resources.
Sam Cooper & Mel Daacon, Consent Team Co-Leaders
- email@example.com 810.923.5956
- firstname.lastname@example.org 269.568. 8670