1. SITUATIONS COVERED BY THIS DOCUMENT
3. CODE OF CONDUCT
3.1. OUR VALUES. WHAT IS OK.
3.2. WHAT IS NOT OK. EXAMPLES.
4. LINES OF ACTION IN THE EVENT OF SITUATIONS OF VIOLENCE
This document proposes two lines of work: Prevention or awareness, creating and disseminating a code of best practices, and Intervention, introducing protocols to handle assault or harassment.
1. SITUATIONS COVERED BY THIS DOCUMENT
What do we mean by aggression? A physical, verbal or symbolic assault directly or indirectly exerted on a person because of their gender, race, sexual orientation, ability or their physical appearance, in relation to cultural standards, that prevents that person from developing and taking pride in their diversity.
What do we mean by harassment? Here are some definitions of the different types of harassment identified.
- Downward harassment: Systematic and long-term pressure exerted by a person of a higher hierarchical level on one or more workers.
- Horizontal harassment: Systematic and long-term pressure exerted by a male or female worker or by a group of workers on one of their peers.
- Upward harassment: Systematic and long-term pressure exerted by a male or female worker or by a group of workers on a person considered their hierarchical superior.
We also take environmental harassment into account. The main characteristic of this type of harassment is that the active subjects maintain a conduct whose desired or undesired consequence is the creation of an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment. In this case, what is affected is not the job or the working conditions, but rather the actual working and collaborative environment, which may entail a health risk for the person concerned. The active subjects are colleagues, customers or third parties related to the space, that is to say, it doesn’t necessarily come from someone of a higher hierarchical level.
To better understand the circumstances in which a situation of harassment or aggression may arise, we need to analyse the power relationships that govern our society and which can indirectly legitimise these situations. We therefore believe that an examination of these situations is essential.
We are all subjected to a multitude of interactions that are governed by social norms. In addition, certain social positions have greater or lesser social recognition and enjoy a certain degree of impunity in the face of certain behaviours that compromise the observance of human rights. These positions are materialised on individuals, whose social recognition varies depending on whether or not they share a number of conditions: economic, labour, sex, race or religion. That is why our Constitution, [in the spanish case] for example, specifies the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of sex, race or religion because these are some of the factors that determine that someone can be discriminated against. By way of illustration: a highly affluent, working white man has greater social recognition and prestige than an unemployed, poor black woman. This is why this latter person is more likely to suffer discrimination, and that is what we are trying to avoid. We must be aware of our social position to treat others as equals.
As prevention measures to ensure a safe space for everyone, we will:
➔ Coordinate with the local resources and integrate actions and activities that promote a feminist approach.
We will work in relation to all those public spaces that promote activities, practices and policies in favour of equality. We will be able to schedule joint activities and actions that will clearly highlight and publicise the need for a feminist and gender approach in the programming of such activities, as well as in all actions carried out with the public. That is why we propose carry out during the year a minimum of three actions to achieve the visibility, recognition and enhancement of the contributions of women to different fields: cultural, social, political, economic, scientific, technological, etc.
➔ Specific measures within the space
◆ Ensure that the establishment is an accessible, inclusive, safe and enjoyable space for everyone, paying special attention to groups that have suffered greater oppression on the grounds of sex, race, religion or beliefs and under the most scrupulous respect for human rights.
◆ Use inclusive language that is non-discriminatory toward women in the different media: letters, menus, advertising, social media networks, web site, management documents, etc.
◆ Respect the labour rights of women working in the establishment and promote equal opportunities with their male peers in professional development through promotion and recognition at work, equal wages, ease of access to conciliation measures, etc.
◆ Determinedly reject gender-based violence through the implementation of measures for its prevention and denunciation, and making the establishment a space of protection and security against gender-based aggression.
◆ Respect and defend the sexual, cultural and religious diversity, etc., of the users of the establishment.
◆ Make available to users a Visitors’ Book in which to garner information on their experiences in the establishment related to gender issues.
◆ Promote spaces for dialogue where people can think about how they can intervene in situations of violence or aggression; conflicts that lead to conversations on how to act and how we would like to act.
◆ Provide information on where to go or who to talk to in order to explain situations of violence. That person must be clearly trained, identified and easily reachable.
◆ For our space to be a “Space free of gender-based aggressions”, we need the support of everyone, men and women alike.
➔ Specific measures in connection with the activities carried out in the organisation:
◆ Use criteria of equity and equality both in the design and in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of the activities. Among others, these may include the following:
– Equality in the choice of mentors, speakers, workshop participants, etc. for meetings/workshops. Ensure that the coordination of projects that are going to be carried out is based on parity criteria.
◆ Add someone with experience in gender approach to the mediation personnel, and to the mediation of the space.
◆ Explain the difference between telling on someone and reporting. When it comes to protecting victims, there’s no such thing as a tell-tale. Only brave people who report a situation.
◆ Add the code of conduct and the protocol to all documentation relating to the convening of workshops/meetings/seminars, etc.
◆ Establish clauses in contractual documentation (contracts, activity undertakings, e-mails to communicate terms and conditions, etc.) or a paragraph referring to the code of conduct and stating that compliance with the code is obligatory.
➔ Communication of the code of conduct and protocol to users:
◆ Reserve a space in each workshop or meeting to specify the code of conduct and to state that compliance with it is obligatory. Also, that in the event of non-compliance, the organization reserves the right to act to ensure the safety of the space for everyone who inhabits it. Anyone who harasses, assaults or intimidates anyone else will find their access restricted, as will those people who have behaved in a harassing way or who have shown disrespect to other users outside the space.
◆ Make printed leaflets available that get the message over. These posters will explain that the venue, festival or hall is involved in and committed to the promotion of sexual liberty and will make it known that there is a protocol for responding to any attacks that may occur. Example: “This venue defends free and consensual sexual relations. In the event of any harassment or sexual assault, let the mediators know”.
◆ Disseminate within the establishment and on social media networks, web sites and other media, materials to promote good treatment guidelines.
◆ Explain in depth to those involved what steps will be taken, so that they are not afraid to stand beside the victim.
➔ Resources available to our members and/or staff for awareness, planning and the implementation of activities.
◆ Implement training actions and the development of resources to activate the code of conduct and the protocol to ensure safe spaces.
◆ Establish an early reaction committee or Coexistence Committee in order to safeguard a space that is safe and free of violence.
3. CODE OF CONDUCT
As an open, flexible and welcoming space that understands the diversity of its members as a value, a code of conduct has been developed in a collaborative manner that establishes the foundations of behaviour that are considered inappropriate and that will not be tolerated within the space, together with what resources will be made available to users so that they can report possible situations that violate the principles contained in point 1.1 of this document.
In addition to defining what values are indispensable and what behaviours will not be tolerated within the space, this code of conduct is intended to be a tool with which to articulate reflection processes that foster joint responsibility in the prevention of and action against misogynist, racist, homophobic, transphobic aggressions and which as a result can turn people into agents committed to the defence of diversity, respect and guarantees.
This code of conduct and the associated protocol are based on the principle of care and protection of victims of oppressive and discriminatory behaviour as a fundamental principle of action. This means that priority will be given to providing care for victims that avoids or diminishes situations of vulnerability or insecurity, paying heed to their emotional and physical situation, assessing the risk they face, respecting their timescales, guaranteeing and respecting their informed decision and ensuring they are accompanied and taking into account that people who have been attacked are not passive subjects and that every response must therefore have their consent and approval.
3.1. OUR VALUES. WHAT IS OK.
As a public space that any person can inhabit, a series of values are specified that make our organisation an open space and a meeting place for different communities:
- Diversity: We can use the acceptation coined by Gimeno Sacristán (1999: 12 and 13) which says “Diversity refers to the circumstances of subjects who are distinct and different”. It is the quality by which one thing is distinguished from something else. Difference is not only a manifestation of the unique being that everyone is, but also, in many cases, it is a manifestation of power or of becoming, of having the potential to be and to participate in social, economic and cultural assets.
Therefore the term diversity descriptively refers to the multiplicity of reality or the plurality of realities”. Diversity is not shackled by values, by judgments about what good or bad it may have or generate; it lacks motivations that relate it to or that make it play one role or another.
- Inclusion: Inclusion means a commitment to welcoming general diversity, without any manner of exclusion, not even for reasons that have to do with discriminating between different types of needs. Inclusion begins by accepting differences, celebrating diversity and promoting the equitable treatment of each and every person. The process of inclusion is intended to minimise barriers so that everyone can participate, regardless of their physical, mental or social characteristics or their cultural contexts, etc.
- Transversality: Is a pedagogical concept which means “crossing from one side to the other” and refers to that content, subject, goal or competition that “spreads through” every process of teaching-learning-work. This means that it sets out more favourable conditions for the content to be assimilated throughout the whole process, not only in part of the process.
- Equity: Equity has its origin in Natural Law and is related to social justice. It involves equal treatment for all, taking into account their differences and respecting each person. That is to say, it defends that all individuals should have the same conditions and opportunities, taking into account the historical and social perspective we start out from, which requires adaptations in specific cases. This means that depending on the position each person occupies, he or she will need more or less support to achieve equality of conditions with respect to others.
- Equality: Equality is the condition in which two obviously different people are recognised the same status. Equality poses a situation of fully proportional equivalence; in addition, it implies a fair distribution of rights and obligations. To talk about equality, implies talking about a universal legal principle which states that all people are equal, that there are no differences in value regardless of race, nationality, gender, sexual preference, age and other considerations. Social equality would be, for example, the characteristic of those states in which every citizen without exclusion effectively achieves the realisation of all human rights, particularly civil and political rights and the economic, social and cultural rights that are needed if we are to achieve true social justice.
- Recognition: Is to distinguish one thing, a person or an institution among others because of their characteristics and traits. It also serves to express the gratitude that is experienced as a result of a given action, favour or benefit.
- Respect: The special consideration and esteem you have for someone or something; recognising someone’s value simply because they exist. It is based on the recognition that consists in distinguishing one person from another because of their characteristics and traits. Humiliation is when others -society- refuses to recognise someone. For Honneth, a person who is despised, humiliated and unrecognised, loses their integrity, their rights, their personal autonomy and their moral autonomy. Many forms of respect are based on a relationship of reciprocity (mutual respect, mutual recognition, etc.). However, insofar as the respect of people toward objects, customs and social institutions is concerned, they are based on considerations other than reciprocity.
- Joint responsibility: Responsibility is the awareness of the consequences that everything we do or fail to do has for ourselves or others. Joint responsibility is when that consciousness is collective; being aware of the environment and of our companions. Through it we deal with the injustice implicit in certain habits, such as the fact that girls have to take care of spaces. It assumes, therefore, that we are all equal and that there are no responsibilities that should not be shared.[US1] So if you see any situation in which a person is being compromised, notify the staff of the Centre so they can take action.
- Sisterhood: Inequality cannot be tackled from an individualistic standpoint[EL2] . The word sisterhood is derived from the fellowship there is among women, feeling as equals who can bond, share and, above all, change their reality. This concept is closely linked to the concept of solidarity. The idea expresses how important cooperation and solidarity among women is.
- Dialogue: Dialogue is a form of verbal or written communication in which two or more people communicate in an exchange of information. The so-called interlocutors (the transmitter – the receiver) need to exchange their roles as one person cannot hoard just one of the roles.
- Collaboration: Any process involving the work of several people working together, both to obtain a result that would be very hard to achieve individually and to help someone achieve something they could not manage on their own. It is an intrinsic aspect of human society, and it applies particularly to various contexts such as science, art, education and business; it always goes hand in hand with similar terms such as cooperation and coordination.
- Genuine and active participation. (Backing up the complaint). Alert coordinators, participants, mediators or Centre staff if you see anyone in a situation of danger or vulnerability or any violations of this Code of Conduct, even if they seem insignificant.
- Consideration and respect in discourse and individual actions.
Medialab is a safe space. Our goal is to ensure that this space meets the guarantees so that those who inhabit it, irrespective of their status, can feel it is a safe place in which they can be themselves.
3.2. WHAT IS NOT OK. EXAMPLES.
Some examples that we will divide into blocks:
◆ Publish, display and share material that is sexually explicit or violent.
◆ Publish, or threaten to publish, the private information of other people.
◆ Share images with sexual content among people in the company in an unsolicited and unjustified manner.
◆ Take pictures, videos and recordings without the consent of the people who appear in them.
◆ Deliberately calling someone with offensive names.
◆ Voice opinions on another person’s appearance, sexual orientation or heritage, without their consent.
◆ Discredit a person, turning them socially or professionally into a victim through “affection”.
◆ Any one of the situations referred to above is a violation of the Code of Conduct whether carried out in person or using digital tools, mobile phones, etc.
◆ Offensive and/or degrading comments, insults, mockery, derogatory comments, unwanted compliments, and any attitude that aims to ridicule a person or group.
◆ Sexist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language or language that discriminates a person on the basis of their abilities.
◆ Humiliation or abusive use of language or tone of voice.
All of us can be an aggressor if we overstep the limits of another person. Yet we live in a system of patriarchal socialisation that generates power relationships in which men receive rights over women that place them in a position of superiority. This is not to say that all men exercise the power that is given to them but it does mean that they may believe they have the right to exercise it. Therefore we should pay special attention to prevent men from being aggressive to women.
◆ “Drooling” over somebody and being insistent is not a technique to get off with someone, it’s sexual harassment. Even when out partying, NO MEANS NO. Even if she said yes earlier on. Even if you’ve already started.
◆ Sexualise a woman’s body. Comment on or criticise their body or physical appearance without being asked. Comment on or criticise their sexual behaviour or attitude. The same thing goes for a person’s cultural, religious or economic situation.
◆ Unwanted physical contact. Touching, encircling a woman or a group of women, that embarrasses or displeases the person or group suffering them.
◆ An aggression is when someone feels attacked: Everyone has their limits, which vary depending on the experiences of each person. We should not question those limits. Aggression is an abuse of power by one person over another. It is not a misunderstanding or an exaggeration.
◆ Malicious jokes or comments about the intimate life or the sexual condition of a person.
◆ Trying to have an undesired relationship (sexual, emotional, friendly, professional) and asking third parties to mediate on your behalf to achieve such a relationship.
◆ Attitudes that imply extraordinary and continuous surveillance.
◆ Request/Order or attitudes that attempt to promote the isolation of a person and to prevent them from communicating.
◆ Unequal treatment based on sexuality, transsexuality.
◆ Any unfavourable or adverse treatment due to the sex, race, economic status, religion, etc. of the affected person.
◆ Keep in mind that glances and lascivious behaviour, touching someone’s body without permission and degrading or offensive comments are also forms of violence against women.
◆ Humiliating or discriminatory behaviour or harassment.
4. LINES OF ACTION IN THE EVENT OF SITUATIONS OF VIOLENCE
An Early Intervention Committee or a Coexistence Committee will be set up.
When any non-compliance with the code of conduct is reported by any person, the Committee may:
- Meet and summon the people involved in order to interview them, separately, and to obtain a thorough understanding of the facts.
- Protect the victim and implement the measures needed to ensure their safety.
- Suspend any contractual or commercial relationship.
The areas of action of the Committee are:
- Channel the efforts of all sectors to improve coexistence and mutual respect, and to promote a culture of peace and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
- Take the necessary preventive measures to ensure the rights of all persons and compliance with the rules of coexistence
- Develop initiatives to avoid sexism, establishing positive action plans that will enable the integration of everyone.
- Mediate in such conflicts as may arise.
- Know and value the effective implementation of the corrections and disciplinary measures in the terms that have been imposed.
- Perform a follow-up of the commitments of coexistence undertaken by the Centre.
Photo: Javier Allegue Barros