Consent and Power

 

Content warning: mentions of non-consensual touch, gaslighting, sexual assault

 

The Art of Consent is collaborating with Wilrieke Sophia on an ongoing project to provide education about situations where power dynamics can undermine consent.  Our current focus is on abuses of power by some facilitators of intimacy and sexuality workshops and festivals.

NEXT WORKSHOP:  Monday 15th March, 7pm-9pm GMT

Consent, Power and Abuse in Sexuality Workshops and Festivals

Facilitated by:  Rupert James Alison and Wilrieke Sophia hosted by Vermilion Community.

Tickets are on a sliding scale, please pay what you can afford: £5/£10/£15

NB - this workshop is hosted by, and open to members of, Vermilion.  Vermilion is a sex positive, community, creating spaces where consenting adults can learn, explore and play together.  It's easy to join their private Facebook group to attend events (and leave again whenever you wish).  https://www.facebook.com/groups/vermilioncommunity

Just as in many other areas of life, stories have emerged about teachers of tantra, yoga, spirituality, sexuality, and personal development who have abused their power.  Listening to these stories, it becomes apparent that the same unhealthy power dynamics - from the relatively minor to the seriously abusive - are played out again and again, in many different organisations and schools.

This workshop is offered to support workshop participants to keep themselves safe, empowered, and in consent when they step into new and unfamiliar learning experiences. It is also intended to help facilitators avoid the pitfalls of falling into shadow power dynamics with their participants, which is often not included as part of their training.
 

We find it useful to frame this material by introducing a system of coloured flags:

 

Red Flags - Serious malpractice, avoid. Signs of criminal, abusive or highly manipulative teaching styles and group dynamics.

Orange Flags - Approach with caution. Major issues and/or teaching styles which might be okay for some people if they know what they’re getting themselves into, but might be upsetting or traumatising for others.

Yellow Flags - Room for improvement. Many well-meaning teachers and schools operate within a ‘murky’ zone of vague agreements, lack of transparency, and unclear boundaries. Most teachers have a few yellow flags!

Green Flags - Best practices. Including: awareness of power dynamics, including cultural oppression, trauma-awareness, gold-standard consent practices and clear ethics and accountability.

 

You can download this free pdf booklet describing the flags in more detail below:

 

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The flags are intended as a starting point to encourage awareness, provoke discussion, empower participants and offer self-reflection for facilitators. Depending on the size of the group, we may use optional breakout rooms to facilitate sharing opportunities in smaller groups.

 

Rupert and Wilrieke are not ‘experts’, but we have some experience in this field.  In our workshops we describe each of the flags, giving real-life examples from our experience. There is also space for questions, reflections and group sharing.

The workshop is not intended as 'therapy' - but we will encourage and support self-care as we approach this potentially challenging material. We will provide links to further resources, and we may follow this workshop with further educational workshops, sharing circles, and/or a survivor support group.

NEXT WORKSHOP:  Monday 15th March, 7pm-9pm GMT

Consent, Power and Abuse in Sexuality Workshops and Festivals

Facilitated by:  Rupert James Alison and Wilrieke Sophia hosted by Vermilion Community.

Tickets are on a sliding scale, please pay what you can afford: £5/£10/£15

NB - this workshop is hosted by, and open to members of, Vermilion.  Vermilion is a sex positive community, creating spaces where consenting adults can learn, explore and play together.  It's easy to join their private Facebook group to attend events (and leave again whenever you wish).  https://www.facebook.com/groups/vermilioncommunity

Our workshops last anything from 1 hour to 3 days.  Please contact us to find out more

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