At the Roulant, we want to create a space where everyone can be comfortable taking part in our community and a great way to do that is by upholding the value of consent. But what do we mean by consent? Find out! Consent can be understood as checking in with someone about their willingness to engage. While consent is often understood as consent around romantic relationships, it really begins with communication of any kind. At Santropol Roulant, we ask all of our community members to be mindful of how their gestures, words and actions affect others. This may sound like common sense, but it can be quite different from what people are used to in other groups, families or communities. Here are a few rules of thumb for respecting consent at the Roulant:
Community members have the right to privacy.
It’s okay to be curious about people, their lives and their backgrounds, but we should always pay attention when asking probing personal questions (especially when they are based on our assumptions about their background, accent, race, gender, age, or bodies).
Community members have the right to disengage.
If someone wants to change the subject or avoid a topic, we should always respect that. The Roulant is filled with different generations, cultures and personalities, and people might not share your views, interests or preferences. Discussions about controversial subjects can be great and can build relationships across our community provided people are both consenting to the topic, but we should all take care not to force discussion or topics on others, including bystanders. If someone asks to stop a conversation, you should always respect that limit.
Community members have the right to their bodily integrity.
This includes their own physical bubble. Hugging, kissing, shaking hands or getting physical are all beautiful and important parts of relating to others, but be sure to check in first and see if someone wants to do that, look for enthusiastic consent, and always take no for an answer without taking it personal. Respecting someone’s physical boundaries is the most beautiful form of physical affection that you can show.
If you offend someone, apologize.
Remember, our intentions can sometimes be good and the impact on the other person can be quite the opposite. The harm caused should be the focus of an apology, not your good intentions.
The golden rule of consent is simple: if you’re not sure, ask before posing personal questions, engaging in debate or trying to touch someone, and be open to their answer. By upholding consent, you’re helping to keep the Roulant a safe space where everyone feels that they belong and that their privacy, interests and bodily integrity will be respected.
In the interest of safe space,
The Safer Space Committee