Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by DanceMentor, Jan 20, 2016.
Thank you for saying what I have been trying to say.
Dunno. Surely the organizer would still want a woman to come forward with a first-hand complaint before the organizer would take action against a weirdo - they wouldn't want to just guess. To me, it still sounds likes it's relying on women in the ladies' room whispering to each other about various "did-you-see-that?" moments and agreeing that "someone" should report the weirdo to the organizer – as long as it's someone else doing the reporting.
Sure, there's no question in that. But the organizer still has to actually DO something...
While I agree with whose responsibility it is (the organizer's), I'm pretty sure the office analogy falls flat. Unlike a business where the parties involved in potential harassment are employees compelled by employment agreements to inhabit the space, for a social dance we're talking about paying customers who specifically paid to socialize with others in the same venue while doing a shared activity. I'm not sure if there's actually a good analogy in the business world for this, but I agree with the general idea that social dances should have a public policy as it relates to harassment claims, though there has to be some due process to it (ex. "he looked at me in a creepy way" is highly subjective and relies entirely on the impressions of one of the parties in the interaction). Basically, I have no idea what a good policy to prevent bad behavior would look like or who organizers should model it on. Especially if the offender is older than the majority age of participants or could otherwise be distinguished on a prohibited basis from the general group, they might have a case against the organizer that they were discriminated against, pinching the organizer in a different way.
You're also taking it for granted that social dance organizers are making money from running a social (and that they're a person). While some surely are (or they're at least turning a profit some of the time), some are just trying to cover costs with the admission fees they charge (ex. one local swing dance is organized by a 501(c)(3) and they aim to more or less break even on their events for the year). So accountability by default gets defused a little more in these instances.
TL;DR it's a lot harder than saying "it's the organizers' job to ban weirdos."
I think you're both right. Plus, even if one organizer magically succeeds at this, it doesn't equip people for experiences with other organizers. And even if all organizers everywhere magically succeed at this, they won't be applying the same rules in the same ways.
I do think it should be *somebody's* job to train people to act correctly towards each other / react correctly when someone's behavior is a problem -- in a way that is well- and very-widely-understood. That's why I was musing about training programs upthread.
We can standardize a syllabus; and it seems weird to me that we can't figure out a standard way to tell all beginner dancers e.g. that women can and should walk off the social dance floor if a guy grabs them inappropriately. It seems to me that that ought to be a standard social expectation, yet there seems to be a lot of reticence around it.
Does no one see the intense double standard of having all these discussions about how to train VICTIMS to stop someone from inappropriate behavior/harassment/assault without creating equally elaborate plans to train or identify the Wierdo/stalker/assailant?
I mean, I'm all for assertive women, etc, but this whole discussion seems to put the onus of prevention onto the offended party.
And this, by no means is limited to this forum or the dancing community. But wow. This kind of discussion is exactly the sort of subtle messages women hear all their life. (And no, I don't want to get into a discussion of rape culture, but look at this thread and then read this article:
Believe me, I understand what you are driving at, and maybe it's a reflection of what wave of feminism each person came of age in. For instance, I, personally, think that each woman is allowed to define offensive/inappropriate behavior *herself* and should speak up for herself and/or ask for help if she needs it. If I, or other people, start to make those decisions for other women whom we *think* are victims, it could actually be seen as taking power away from that person, and that she can't be trusted to make her own decisions. It's very possible to interpret that as patronizing and demeaning in itself.
Maybe approach her and ask her if she needs help, and give HER the power and opportunity to make that decision. Once SHE asks for help – then yes, by all means, have help readily available and step forward.
let's be very clear here...we are not talking about rape.....we aren't even saying that it doesn't matter that the guy is a weirdo or suggesting that he not be dealt with...we aren't suggesting that any of these women are responsible for his behavior...and I take offense to being lumped into the same category as someone who expects a woman to prevent her own rape...these scanarios do not line up
we are talking here about how people should handle POSSIBLE creeps, not certain rapists, and we have offered a variety of notions here;
from being vigilant, to making the studio owners aware, to providing a supportive protective circle for the women who may be experiencing this, to encouraging these ladies to be direct with the guys who MAY be doing this...again, we don't even have proof that this one guy is actually doing anything...a personal protection class is just that, a class that shows women how to put themselves in a strong position...it isn't saying that it is on her to prevent a rape...and neither are any of these conversations...don't get it twisted
I think part of it too is we are discussing a mixture of thoughts of what would be ideal vs what is or could be practical.
For example, ideally, there would be none of this to deal with at dance venues (or elsewhere) -- no one being inappropriate or worse, no one making others uncomfortable in the ways we're discussing here.
Failing that, problems would be thoroughly and appropriately dealt with by management in a timely manner, so the problem would be squashed whenever it comes up. Along with this, all (potential) victims would be comfortable speaking up, know how and where to get help, know they will be taken seriously, know how to stay safe, etc.
Given that neither of the above ideals actually happens all the time, people are talking through ways individuals could help to deal with the problem, either for themselves, or to the benefit of their community.
That this leads us to discuss less than ideal solutions to less than ideal situations does not imply that the situation is a good thing and should be accepted. It is not OK for one group of people (or one individual) to victimize or take advantage of others. But it happens - so how can we deal with it?
Helping women know how to stand up for themselves when something inappropriate happens is part of it.
Creating a culture (in the dance world, and in the world at large) where women are respected for standing up for themselves is part of it.
Knowing who to report problems to (studio manager, someone else in charge, or maybe 911 depending on the situation) is part of it.
Knowing that the report will be dealt with appropriately is part of it.
Watching out for each other in whatever ways we can is part of it.
This last part (watching out for each other) isn't any of our "jobs" unless we are running the place, or we are a bouncer or in law enforcement. But some of the things mentioned in the overall thread above - rescuing each other from bad situations, warning each other of people that may be problems, supporting people who need support and encouraging them to report problems, developing etiquette and training programs to benefit the whole community - can actually help on a practical level. Whether with this particular problem or others, helping each other out despite things "not being our jobs" can be good for the community as a whole.
Just some thoughts. There are a lot of sides to these issues. It would be lovely if the problem didn't exist. But it does -- so I hope we can keep talking about it.
Again, didn't mean to imply anyone was talking about anything more serious than anyone being a Wierdo (although more serious harassment has been mentioned). The had to use the "r" word because I wanted to link the article, because it was a very good description of this thread, that has spent a majority of the time discussing how to get people to protect themselves against unwanted attention vs getting people to stop the action that warrants the need for protection. That in and of itself shows the bias that we have in these situations.
I'm glad so many other folks have clarified with such care, after this comment!
I would like to add that my suggestion, at least, was not the one mentioned above. I suggested training *everybody* as part of initial dance education. At this point, there aren't any dance victims yet. It deserves to be explicitly stated up-front:
what's acceptable and what isn't,
what responses to unacceptable behavior are effective and encouraged,
typical difficult situations that might arise,
how to involve others to help deal with difficult situations,
how to recognize a call for help, and
how to help effectively.
BTW, I'm not talking about "elaborate plans." Just simple direct things, combined with "forewarned is forearmed."
In any case there have been multiple comments here about women who suffer *continuing* bad behavior because they are reluctant to act/draw attention. On this very thread a lady expressed concern over the possibility that my enjoyment of a social dance would be diminished if I found out that some other guy behaved badly towards her. That is, supposing a guy takes liberties with her, her reaction is to protect me from knowing about it. I think that's nuts. Don't we all think that's nuts?
Well, if prevention is successful, there *is no* offended party. What I can do on my own basically is not be a bad actor. If I am to help in the presence of a bad actor, somebody has to have some way to enlist my aid, right?
 I mean the social phenomenon is nuts, not the lady in question.
 The perpetrator no doubt relies on such secrecy to continue perpetrating.
Edits: For spelling, formatting and to add footnotes.
Do you have a practical suggestion as to convert bad actors into not-bad actors?
My way of helping a very small fraction of those women: when, on rare occasions, I bring a lady friend with me to a dancing event, I always warn them, in advance, in full color, who the offending men are and how to recognize them. I tell the ladies not to dance even a single round with them. If they have, however, fallen victim, I tell them how to free themselves quickly. (Of course the ladies understand my message: I am better than many other men!)
They can come to their own conclusions later.
Yes. I have seen this happening. The organizers must speak sternly to the offender, perhaps issue last warning.
I think what stash and dbk were getting at is what I admittedly jumped in grenade style...
The idea of a 5 minute spiel to new attendees of what is and isn't okay is a decent start, but that must go along with a policy that complaints will be handled and people feeling that they will be listened to.
My biggest challenge in this thread was the two pages that focused almost exclusively on pulling aside new women to train them, or give women social dance etiquette, or getting veteran women to watch out for others or how women should send the right signal for help. It took two pages for someone to first mention, "actually, everyone should be made aware of what is and is not okay and what will and won't be tolerated." Dbk' example of hr at a business is what I'm thinking too. one of the best first steps is a clear policy of what won't be tolerated. I'm actually amazed more studios don't have a harassment policy that people either see posted or have to sign. It's like business risk management 101.
Actors are not the people who play in movies?
Sorry, no native speaker here.
In this case, it just means "people who act bad".
I will say, "people who undertake bad actions." I further intended a connotation that the bad actions are deliberate and intended -- backed by some degree of determination that falls short of meriting outright use of the term "evil."
I am all for holding jerk-faces accountable....but, in the original post, it hadn't even been determined whether or not the guy was in fact a jerk ...beyond that, while one can punish a jerk face, or a rapist for that matter, getting them to see the light is another matter altogether....because if they were interested in or capable of that, they likely wouldn't be what they are.....one can often only A) appear to be as difficult a target as possible and B) be responsible for notifying people who are in a position to do something about it....we all agree I am sure, that the burden SHOULD lie with the perp...it's just that the likelihood that is going to have any effect is remote
Businesses (and other organizations) are responsible for the safety of customers as well as employees. Gyms, libraries, bars, cruises -- in any business/organization where people gather, the organizers are responsible for protecting the customers from each other.
This isn't just social responsibility, at least not for businesses. From the EEOC policy on harassment:
The employer will be liable for harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees over whom it has control (e.g., independent contractors or customers on the premises), if it knew, or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.
The dance world is not unique. This kind of uncertainty has to be tackled for literally every harassment policy, and often for every unique situation. There is no easy one-size-fits-all answer.
No matter where the money goes, these socials are organized almost exactly like for-profit socials. Someone is taking money at the door and running the music. Someone is there to enforce a harassment policy.
No one is saying a harassment policy is easy to write and enforce. The fact that something is hard doesn't mean it's unnecessary.
Separate names with a comma.