Nibana Consent Guidelines
Version 1.2. Last updated: 19 Feb 2020
What is consent and why is it important?
Consent is an agreement between two or more people to engage in an interaction, such as hugging, touching, staring, making conversation or taking someone’s photo. Actively checking for consent is a great way to help people to feel more safe. Not doing so can create unsafe experiences.
How do I give or check for consent?
Consent is about communication. Ask questions and pay attention to someone’s body language and facial expression. Look for enthusiasm. If you are not 100% sure that there is consent, assume that right now there is not. This means that no response, “maybe”, “I guess”, or “sure” all mean “no”. Example: if you want to hug someone, you might open your arms slightly and wait for them to approach you. Or simply ask: “Would you like to hug?”
Be aware that you can change your mind at any moment. Honor yourself and the other person by communicating that. Respect it when someone else does. Check actively and regularly if everyone is still consenting. A good question to regularly ask yourself and the other person is: “Are you still enjoying this?” It’s also great to say: “Please tell me whenever you want something different.”
Make sure it’s clear what someone is consenting to. Someone might be super excited about hugging you, but that doesn’t mean they want your hands on their legs. They might enjoy a hug from you now, but that doesn’t automatically mean they want to hug you the next day. Keep checking. They might be super excited about sleeping in the same bed as you, but that doesn’t mean they want sex. Respect that.
Dealing with no
Receiving a “no” (meaning not receiving a "yes") might trigger an emotional response in you. That’s OK. Don’t pursue a change or explanation. A great way to respond to a “no” is by thanking the other person for their honesty. Don’t make it about you and respect their process and their privacy. This is an opportunity for you to support the other person in feeling safer.
Expressing your “no” is not always easy. By doing so, you’re saying “yes” to yourself. You never owe someone else a “yes”, nor do you owe anyone an explanation. Some examples of how to express your “no” are:
- No, thank you
- I don’t want that right now
- I’m not comfortable with that
- I’m not in the mood for that
- Maybe later
- That sounds awesome, but I’m really not in the mood for it
- I don’t want to do that, but I do feel like…
- I’d like to take a moment to think about it
Extra care is required when a power difference between people exists, which could be the case between those working a shift or offering an activity and other participants. Nibana has a dedicated set of guidelines for intimate interactions between team members and participants.
Support during or after the festival
Had an experience you want to reflect on or need help with? Have questions about consent? Depending on which Nibana event you're attending, there are various ways to reach out for support. Please use them if you feel you could benefit from it. You could reach out to the Emotional Support Team, which can offer a listening ear without judgement (and fully confidential). At some events there’s a daily Q&A. At all times feel free to reach out to any team member. Support from fellow participants can also go a long way.
You may adapt and share this document
Spreading awareness about consent is important to us. We hope that these guidelines help more people than just those that are attending the festival. Therefore, you have permission to adapt and share this document to use in your own community, under the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Creative Commons licence:
Attribution: You must give appropriate credit to Nibana Festival, provide a link to the version of this document on the Nibana Festival website and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
ShareAlike: If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
We want to constantly improve these guidelines and very much welcome your feedback. So don't hesitate to get in touch with us and send us your suggestions.