Consent Mission Statement
This policy is not here to define consent, nor unnecessarily limit your Tryst experience, nor stand as a legal document. It seeks rather to create awareness and systems that respect and protect all of us—to foster safer places to do dangerous things.
It is our full and earnest intention to move towards a culture of consent; we ask that as we work to improve the safe space that we strive for, our members commit to supporting that same culture.
As is the case in any private event we reserve the right to limit access as necessary. Violation of the consent policy may result in expulsion or banning from the event. No one is exempt from the following rules. If you have any questions on the following rules, please ask a staff member.
1. Never touch people or personal property without explicit permission. Good Samaritan and self defense/defense of another situations do fall outside this policy. We will intervene if someone is safe-wording, and our medics won’t wait for your unconscious self to give permission before performing medical care.
2. Harassment of any kind (emotional, verbal, boundary encroaching, stalking, bullying, coercion, unwanted sexual advances, intimidation, catcalling, sexually explicit compliments, non-consensual physical abuse, and defamation.) is not permitted without *explicit* consent. If you harass a fellow camper in person or another member of the Tryst forums online, the situation can be handled as a Consent Violation.
3. Shaming behavior of any kind that hasn’t been negotiated is unacceptable. Disrespecting or discriminatory words or actions toward anyone based on their sexuality, gender, race, religion, ability or disability, mental or physical health, body, kink, or anything is considered harassment and violates the conduct rules of Twisted Tryst. This behavior is not tolerated at our events.
4. Everyone at Twisted Tryst should be approached as an equal unless negotiated otherwise by all parties involved. For example, you should not refer to someone as “mistress” or “slave” unless it is mutually agreed upon or on their name badge. You should not assume the way someone wants to be interacted with based on your perception of their role unless this is negotiated. Please be especially aware of intrinsic power dynamics if you are on the Board, on staff, an educator, a volunteer on duty, or someone who has more privilege than most people in the world at large - be cautious not to suggest any influence in exchange for sex or play.
5. Negotiate the scope of behaviors you consent to engaging in with an individual or group that would otherwise violate the Consent Policy and the time frames those behaviors would be acceptable. These may be renegotiated at any time both of you are in a fit state of mind to do so. (E.g. Consent given to humiliate them at any time or consent given to spank only during this scene.)
6. Some people can maintain a state of mind where they can clearly renegotiate during a scene, others cannot. If it has been communicated before play starts that both parties know they can safely renegotiate during a scene, renegotiation during a scene is likely fine. Some people know they get into an impaired state of mind mid-scene and others do not know; for these two categories of people, we advise against renegotiating at any point during a scene. When a person is in subspace or otherwise not in a clear state of mind, informed consent can be compromised. Such renegotiation takes place at risk of a consent violation. Trespassing a partner’s boundaries in such a way will be considered a consent violation if said partner reports to the organization and will be handled accordingly.
7. Each participant is responsible for ensuring that everyone involved has the mental and emotional ability to give informed and voluntary consent during their negotiation for the scene. If invited to a group scene, defer to the person/people running the scene.
8. Participants can withdraw consent, make a nonverbal safe-sign, or use the camp universal safe-word “safe-word” at any time. Once consent is withdrawn, the activity must stop immediately. Staff will be enforcing immediate cessation of play at “safe-word” or another safe-word that has been previously shared with the event’s staff. Partners are responsible for sharing which safe-words or safe signs are being used.
9. We are all responsible for stopping if a partner withdraws consent. We are all responsible for being clear and unequivocal when withdrawing consent. We are all responsible for obtaining consent before anything begins. These are both legal and ethical responsibilities.
10. Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort will be made to enforce this policy, but this organization makes no representations or guarantees about its ability to do so, and all participants/attendees retain full, sole responsibility for their safety and the safety of others with whom they interact.
If you experience a consent violation, have concerns about someone's behavior or conduct, or would like to speak with Tryst about a consent related issue or question, please seek out a member of our Tryst Consent team, any board member or the Manager on Duty (MOD). This year’s consent team at camp is: Playsmart, Tweetop, ISO_ , and darthKane (these are their FetLife handles).
During camp, you can get hold of any of these team members by locating anyone with a radio and asking them to contact the Consent Team, or Triple A (code name for Consent Team). You may also ask for the Manager On Duty (M.O.D.), the Board, or for a specific person by name.
If you have a concern needing to be addressed after camp, please email email@example.com (monitored by the entire Board) or firstname.lastname@example.org (monitored by BoringJen and PlaySmart). You should expect a response within three days.
If you are not comfortable with any certain individual - including a member of the board - being involved in the process of gathering information, you may ask that they be removed from the inquiry, and that request will be honored. You are free to contact any member of the Board or Consent Team individually instead.
DEALING WITH CONSENT INCIDENTS
Our intention is to deal with any consent incidents on a case-by-case basis. We will try to keep in mind that limits can be violated deliberately or through poor communication, misunderstandings, technical accidents, lack of knowledge, and/or lack of experience.
Here are some things we will do if there is a consent incident:
1. If there is an injury that requires medical care, we will offer to have a staff member take them to the hospital or call 911, if an emergency.
2. If someone wants to report the incident to the police, we will have them call 911 or offer to take them along with a support person of their choosing to the police station. If a staff member is in attendance with the police, we will not express our views on what has occurred nor discuss the incident except to (a) respond to medical questions about the person’s injury and (b) to answer — factually and truthfully — police questions.
3. If no emergency care is requested, we will move to a space that is comfortable for the person making a report and locate a second camp staff member to listen to the report. Two people listening give our staff members confidence that they have actively listened to all details and can record an unbiased report. This is also to offer reassurance that no one staff member could alter, edit or add in information that is inaccurate.
4. We will record names and contact information for everyone involved in the consent incident, and if appropriate, we may talk to witnesses to the incident who were directly involved or saw what happened clearly.
5. When we talk to each person individually, we will ask them what happened, and what they would like to have happen now.
After a report is made
Whether a consent incident happens at Twisted Tryst, or we receive a report outside of camp, the following are some things we intend to consider when trying to determine if further action from us is warranted:
Reporters wishes - Reporters can wish for a variety of outcomes for their report:
to be heard, but no further action taken.
to ensure Tryst leadership are aware of problematic behaviors, but no further action taken.
to have a full investigation, where all those present, and all participants, are asked for their perspective on the events in question.
to have that person stay away from them for the rest of the event.
to have assurance that person never be at a Twisted Tryst event again.
Although the ultimate decision of how to proceed may not line up with a reporter’s wishes, the reporter’s wishes are taken into careful consideration when deciding consequences, if any.
Seriousness - If the act involved physical injury, or criminal assault, or sexual assault, especially if they had to get medical care, then all camp attendees are at a potential higher risk.
Intent - Was the act done deliberately or was it an accident, misunderstanding, miscommunication, a lack of skills or knowledge? If manipulation, coercion or maliciousness is involved.
Multiple Accusations - When someone is involved in multiple consent incidents, we understand they are a higher risk. Often a similar pattern emerges in the activities or circumstances. When we become aware of a pattern of behavior, this is a merit for taking action on behalf of the wellbeing of all of our campers. If we take action based on a pattern of reporting against a particular person, we will notify all past reporters of the action that we are taking, particularly if someone asked for no action to be taken.
Police reports and Restraining Orders - There is a serious penalty for filing a false police report, so it rarely happens. If there has been a police report made, we will take it very seriously.
Ownership and reparative actions - People sometimes publicly accept responsibility for violating someone’s limits or safeword. We do not encourage or discourage these types of public communications, although we understand they may help an individual make reparations. We are cautious of apologies laced with excuses or justifications. We would encourage anyone looking to pursue this route to be mindful of the reporter's comfort level and wishes regarding privacy and further direct communication. If asked, we may facilitate resources for this to occur.
We will not suggest that everyone involved get together to discuss the incident. If the person reporting the incident would like mediation for a minor consent incident, we will only do so if the person who committed the act is eager to apologize and rectify the situation.
At the time the report is made, someone will be made available who is empowered to make an immediate or very quick decision, even though the ultimate decision will be made by the board at a later date. We are committed to taking into account what the person reporting the consent incident would like to have happen.
Immediate actions may be contacting emergency services if needed, and/or providing a place out of public view for the involved parties if they want privacy, and/or gathering resources to begin an inquiry immediately if the reporter is ready to tell their side.
Even if a board member does not participate in the investigation at the request of a participant, the board is ultimately responsible for all final decisions regarding the actions taken based on a consent report.
If the incident being reported is regarding a board member or staff member (or partner of), we will take great care to ensure that the report takers and any person involved in decision making are as unbiased as possible, up to the exclusion of related parties from the process. We aim for transparency in the process as well as accountability for all of our board and staff equally.
People often ask what we can and will do when someone makes a consent report. Some outcomes can include just making a record of the incident for future reference and knowledge, mediation if both parties think a repair can be made, or sanctions including: warnings, ejections for an event, being banned from the event pending reparative process, or permanent ban from all Tryst functions.
Twisted Tryst will handle all sanctions privately. The person(s) reporting the incident and the person(s) being reported about will always be informed of the final decision. Other people interviewed as part of the investigation may or may not be informed of the final decision.
Twisted Tryst refrains from making any post about any consent report or incident on a public platform to protect the safety and privacy of anyone making a report, all camp attendees, and our event venue. The only time a public statement will be made is if someone posts something which the board feels is both inaccurate and important to be corrected, then the board may post a statement clarifying findings or decisions, but will make every attempt to preserve the privacy of those who wish to retain it.
When consent is broken during an event, we will attempt to provide education or enforce consequences immediately, depending on the seriousness of the infraction. We are committed to treating staff and volunteers and board members the same way we treat member who are involved in consent incidents.
WARNINGS: we may give a private warning to a member who is involved in a consent incident. Depending on the severity of the consent incident, here are some additional options:
1. We may implement a strike system to be used for minor consent incidents during the education process, although no strike system is currently in place.
2. We may request that someone take consent and negotiation workshops before they can return.
3. We may put someone on a watch list and let them know that Tryst staff will be watching their public play and/or listening in on their negotiations.
4. We may ask someone to leave the event, to avoid an area of the event, or to avoid contact with specified person(s).
5. We may keep someone from presenting.
6. We may remove a volunteer from a staff position or position of authority.
7. We may suspend someone’s ability to attend Twisted Tryst for a set number of camps if we believe a time-out will help get a message across.
8. We may limit someone’s access to all Twisted Tryst related events including but not limited to Twisted Tryst, Slack Chat, Fetlife Group Boards, Tryst Holiday Party, etc.
A group or private event can refuse attendance or membership to anyone for any reason or no reason, and ban anyone for any behavior that violates the group’s consent policy whether or not the incident took place at your event.
Twisted Tryst reserves the right to refuse entry to Twisted Tryst for any reason. We are not obligated to prove a reason for refusing entry or membership to our events or groups.
To refuse entry to a Twisted Tryst related space or event, we are not obligated to share anyone’s name or state any allegations of criminal acts as factual events. We may simply say “It’s been reported to us that you’ve committed a consent violation that goes against our Consent Policy. For this reason we are taking _____ action. ”
If someone is banned from Twisted Tryst, but not from another group who is co-hosting an event with Twisted Tryst (for example, the Twisted Tryst Holiday Party at GD2), the leadership of both events will jointly decide whether or not the person may attend the co-hosted event.
Twisted Tryst has decided to base our consent policy, and consent incident procedures, on NCSF's writing Incident Reporting and Response, and on their Sample Consent Policy and Procedures. However, the Consent Policy and Procedures on this page are specific to Twisted Tryst.