A Safe(r) Space is…
A safer space is one that strives to eliminate any oppressive actions, behaviours, and language. These include, but are not limited to racism, sexism, ageism, classism, ableism, transphobia, and heterosexism.
Why is it important to maintain Safe(r) Spaces?
- Because all oppressions are related. We cannot work towards ending one type of injustice while perpetuating another
- When people are oppressed or feel uncomfortable, they are more likely to leave the movement
- Splits within a group of people can be exploited by the enemy/state
How to Create Safe(r) Spaces
- Create spaces for specific groups (womyn-only spaces, etc)
- Educate yourself. Attend trainings (male ally training, anti-oppression workshops, etc)
- Educate each other. Don’t be afraid to confront someone on potentially oppressive or offensive behavior. Good activists confront violations
- Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and many people were raised not knowing that certain behaviours could be seen as offensive or oppressive
- Be open. Admit when you don’t know something. Take it as an opportunity to learn and improve
- Work towards creating environments and group dynamics in which people feel comfortable saying when they have been hurt, excluded, silenced, or marginalized
Tips on Dealing with Oppressive Behaviour
- Confront the person privately
- Be kind and understanding. They may not be aware that what they said or did was offensive or oppressive
- Talk to them ASAP after the incident
- Ask a friend to confront them if you are not comfortable
- If the person is unresponsive, they may need to be asked to leave
Note: It is important to remember that priority must be given to the person who feels uncomfortable, offended or oppressed. Everyone should be able to be comfortable within activist space.