SAFER SPACES

Do you need to report an incident? Please click on the button below to complete an incident report form. Only our Safer Spaces team will have access to the information you give us, and your privacy will be respected.


INCIDENT REPORT FORM

INTRODUCTION


We at Cape Town Swing believe in creating safer spaces. These are spaces where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome regardless of their age, gender, skin colour, sexual preference or level of ability. An essential part of making this reality is building a culture that is diverse but also kind, generous and accepting of differences. This includes encouraging and promoting respect amongst our dancers.

When it comes to any form of discomfort, the first prize is prevention, for which we have three strategies:

  1. Educating our dancers about boundaries, respect and to look out for each other. We are building consent into our classes and culture and have a comprehensive Code of Conduct that you implicitly agree to if you join any of our events.
  2. We have a safer spaces team that will be looking out for you at our events and stepping in if they see situations being uncomfortable.
  3. We have a ‘Swing Sisterhood’ WhatsApp group that is a male free zone for sharing and support. Send a request to one of our team members to join.

Equally important, however, is establishing structures that protect our community members in the case that our values of care and inclusion are not upheld. The aim of this document is to outline the processes we have created to allow for reporting of incidents and the actions that will be taken to support those that come forward.

DRAWING A LINE


Physical contact is an essential part of partnered dancing. This does, however, make it possible for non-consensual, inappropriate or even abusive contact to take place, even in a public, social environment. We also acknowledge that it is possible to make someone uncomfortable without any physical contact. While everyone has different boundaries and comfort zones, we have defined 3 "levels" of incidents to make reporting easier and to help guide us in the appropriate action to take.

Level 1: Uncomfortable

There is a wide range of behaviours that we would include under level one and this may differ person to person, but the main criteria is: I feel uncomfortable.

If you feel uncomfortable in any way, at one of our events or from an interaction with one of our regular dancers, we strongly encourage you to report it to us. It may be the case that the person was not aware of their behaviour and a simple conversation with one of our safe spaces reps may be able to prevent a repeat of the scenario. However, these may be flags for more serious issues and if dealt with immediately, could prevent the situation from escalating. You might think it is only you, that you are being silly, that it was probably nothing. You may be right. But you may also be one of many who have experienced the same. By reporting these situations, you could save someone else from experiencing the same, or worse.

Some examples of behaviour that fits under level 1:

  • They held me too close when we danced and didn’t respect my space
  • They repeatedly asked me to dance after I said no
  • Their body odour/sweaty shirt/bad breath was really unpleasant
  • They constantly stared at me
  • Their hand brushed my breasts, my buttocks and/or between my legs when we danced and they didn’t apologise
  • They made me feel uncomfortable/unwelcome based on my age/gender/race/sexual preference/ability etc.

Your comfort is important to us and we have an anonymous reporting platform for these sorts of situations. You can fill out this simple form on the Cape Town Swing website, and the report will be logged on a private database that is only accessible by our Safer Spaces team. If multiple reports are raised about the same person, one of our team will take them aside and have a conversation about appropriate behaviour. If the behaviour persists, we will take it further, with more substantial action such as banning them from our events.


Level 2: Harassment

Your safety is important to us. The main thing that differentiates level one incidents from level two, is the feeling of danger. The main criteria for level two is you are feeling uncomfortable with their behaviour AND you felt that you (or someone else) might be in danger.

Some examples:

  • They followed me to my car
  • They sent me inappropriate texts
  • They propositioned me
  • They cornered me
  • They wouldn’t let me leave
  • They threatened me
  • They pressured me into drinking too much
  • They repeatedly touched me
  • They didn’t stop when I asked them to
  • They used a racial/gender-based/sexual orientation-based slur against me

These are only some examples and other more subtle actions could also qualify. These all qualify legally as harassment and will be taken extremely seriously. It only takes a single report such as this to trigger a response from our team. The best channel to report this would be either by phone call, text, email or in person with one of our safe spaces reps. The response will depend on what you are comfortable with, but we may need to take action to keep the rest of the community safe. With your consent, we would hold a disciplinary hearing for the individual and they would almost certainly be banned from all our events. Their name would be recorded on our private database and communicated privately to all other regional dance groups. We will also support you in any way that we can to help you feel safe in our community once more.

We would like to stress that anyone coming forward with this sort of complaint will be believed. The onus will be on the perpetrator to prove their innocence. In certain cases, we may recommend that the issue be taken up with the relevant authorities who can offer more substantial protection.


Level 3: Violation

Although it is our strongest hope that this sort of event never happens, we have to be realistic and prepare for the worst case scenario. Level 3 includes any incident that goes beyond fear, to physical harm but may also include attempted harm and other severe situations.

Some examples:

  • They raped me
  • They assaulted me
  • They tried to hurt, touch and/ or rape me
  • They forced me to touch them
  • They hurt me

In the case of a level 3 report, we will:

  1. Take the report seriously and take action
  2. Support and comfort you
  3. With your consent, take immediate action (such as removing the individual from swing dance events) to protect you and our community from the person, while respecting your anonymity and protecting your name
  4. Support you in a legal or restorative process based on your preferences

SAFER SPACES TEAM

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Shimara Govender

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Jaimie Andrews

+27 (0)63 715 0579


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Samuel Sserwanga
+27 (0)76 893 3604

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Jessica Ferguson

+27 (0)76 235 6186


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Brendan Argent

+27 (0)72 956 2336


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Sarah Boyd

+27 (0)78 804 3009


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Muriel Argent

+27 (0)74 110 1828


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Clint Jones

+27 (0)71 328 0200


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