Following our Divine Play AcroChat on Sex and Acro, and Christopher Filkins' inquiry into experiences of crossed boundaries (below), a few things are clear:
We have a strong and resilient community.
Ensuring respected, safe sexual boundaries is vital to our practice.
There are numerous abuses of sexual boundaries of varying descriptions across acro communities.
While on individual levels many of us discuss sexuality and boundaries, it has remained largely unspoken on a broad scale, leaving many new (and not so new) acroyogis feeling isolated and unsure how to act when they experience or witness inappropriate behavior, abuse, or harassment. We need to change this.
We are hearing important stories and questions every day. There is a lot of work for us all to do. I trust that we are listening, we are sharing, and we are all invested in caring for and sustaining our community.
For now, there are two things that have come up frequently. One, I’ve been asked to share suggestions for how to approach jams proactively. Certainly there are a variety of effective approaches. Here are guidelines I find useful when facilitating jams: http://www.bossyflyer.com/jam-like-a-boss.html
I invite you to borrow, steal, ask, add, share, etc.
The second is identifying acro community members and leaders nearby who are committed to offering a safe space to confidentially listen to and support members of the community who have experienced or witnessed inappropriate behavior, abuse, or harassment. Even when not warranting official reporting, it can be overwhelming, confusing, isolating, or upsetting to be subjected to these experiences, and moreso to feel unheard or afraid that if you speak up you won’t be believed, that you will be mocked, or worse, that you will be retaliated against or ostracized. While we all would like to imagine that these incidents never happen, they do, and it is incumbent on us to support each other.
While we are in the process of developing further resources, I would like to ask that if you are an acroyoga community leader or member who is committed to offering a safe and confidential space to listen as a resource for community members, please share your name, contact info, and local community on this thread. Even though we hope others will feel comfortable coming to us, it can be invaluable to clearly and directly offer our support. Please also feel welcome to share any or all of this information on your local acro page.
Thank you for your courage, for your care, and for your unrelenting support of this practice that brings us all to higher heights daily.
Long Beach, CA