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A Message from your PEER Rangers: Don’t stand by, stand up!

At Burning Seed, you will experience a range of sights, sounds, smells (patchouli infused bacon anyone?) and touch. Some of these will be familiar to you and some may be challenging to you or push your boundaries.

Burning Seed encourages radical respectful interactions at all times. We also believe that everyone should be looking out for everyone's safety to ensure that Burning Seed is a safe event for everyone to radically express themselves. If you see something that you believe is not okay, you can say something. Calling this behaviour out in a simple way, can prevent something more serious from happening. It can also make it easier for other people to call this behaviour out in the future.

The P.E.E.R Rangers have compiled a list of six tips for anyone at Seed who notices that something or someone is not okay. It could be someone being catcalled while walking past a theme camp, or that creepy burner who is dancing too close to that unicorn on the dance floor. We can look out for each-others safety on the paddock. Intervening may give the person you’re concerned about, a chance to get to a safe place and leave the situation. You don't need any special training to help someone out of a difficult situation and by doing so, you could have an impact on the situation and potentially change the outcome.

Here’s how: 

Tip 1: The Fake Friend

An effective and safe way of intervening in any harassment situation is to become a ‘fake friend’. However, make sure you ‘check in’ with your friend before you intervene, to make sure if your friend actually needs assistance. You may ask your ‘friend’ if they need a drink, or remind them that they needed to meet your other ‘friend’ back at camp. If you are unsure if they need assistance, do not leave them alone.

Tip 2: Call out the harasser

Most people stop once their behaviour has been acknowledged and scrutinized. Use these three simple “I” statements to call out perpetrators -

1) State your feelings: This is making me uncomfortable.

2) Name the behaviour: The way you’re talking to this person doesn’t seem ok to me.

3) State how you want the person to respond: Could you please change how you’re behaving?

Remember to focus on your feelings rather than criticising the other person.

Tip 3: Make Your Presence Felt

Let the harasser know that you can see, recognise and condemn their behaviour. Remember, you don’t have to speak to communicate. Sometimes a disapproving look or stare can be far more powerful than words. Also spilling your kool aid in front of the harasser, asking them for directions to a theme camp can work wonders in letting them know you’re aware of how they’re behaving.

Tip 4: Check In With The Target

One question alone can deter a harasser who believes no one will intervene. By doing this, the target then knows you have their back, creating a safer environment.

Some questions you can ask are:

  • “Are you okay?”
  • “Do you need any help?”
  • “Is that person bothering you?”  

Tip 5: For Bystanders

Become the distraction! Use humour if you can, as humour reduces the tension of an intervention and makes it easier for the person to hear you. Try intervening between the target and the harasser, or create some form of commotion to allow the target to leave the situation. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own - enlist the help of other burners around you.

There is safety and power in numbers - group intervention!

Tip 6: Be A Role Model

This  is the most effective tip to end harassment. If you treat others with radical respect and look out for fellow beings, this will start the motion of a positive cycle set for your burner family and paddock friends.

In cases where you have tried all of the above, or if the situation has become too dangerous to intervene - you can always call for a Ranger to help. You can do this by asking another bystander to find a ranger on duty (they will be roaming in pairs wearing orange vests with radios), or for more serious cases of harassment or sexual assault, the victim can seek the emotional support of our P.E.E.R Rangers (wearing purple armbands and trained to deal with distressing situations). Rangers are available 24 hours every day of the event.

Posted in Community, Participation.