Our Continued Commitment to
Explicit Consent Culture
A message from our organizers.
November 11th, 2020
Dear BeachBind Community,
As you know from our August 2020 email, we have been working through a consent process for the allegations brought forth about a BeachBind founder. As of last week the Consent Committee review is now complete, and wanted to update you with full transparency about the process and outcome.
In early August, the Consent Committee had begun their formal inquiry into these allegations and the accused organizer stepped back from all involvement with the event and organization. Both Tara and Diana, the current organizers, committed to managing organizational activities with Diana, our newest organizer, primarily focusing on information gathering to relay to the Consent Committee. This included communications with those willing to come forward with statements on their experiences with the accused, obtaining statements from those who are part of the accused’s current process, current and former partners, as well as providing the accused a list of accusations made against him. A few national third-party consent organizations were also consulted to help better this original consent process created by two previous BeachBind organizers, as well as with input from our long standing staff manager.
The consent committee and its members were created and chosen, by two of the three individuals in this consent process. The committee members were selected based on their qualifications both in the community and in professional experience. While this created a unique and unprecedented situation, the Consent Committee members, Diana, and Tara committed to be as transparent with information sharing as possible to maintain an unbiased and clearly delineated process.
Over the last two months information was received by Diana from those willing to come forward, it was shared with the consent committee for them to read over, digest, and ask questions for clarification if needed. Last week, the Consent Committee scheduled a closed-door meeting with Tara, Diana, and the staff manager to share their thoughts and recommendations on how to move forward.
After review of all the information the Consent Committee made the unanimous decision that DireWo1f was not a threat to those attending the event. To quote a member, with their consent, “I knew this was going to be difficult and emotional. It was very important to me to gather as much information as possible to get a clear picture in the situation. There was substantial information submitted from numerous individuals. The information was thoroughly reviewed before any decision was made. I feel the decision that was made is one that the majority of my peers would have also come to had they received all the information.”
This process has been a huge learning experience for this organization in the matters of consent, conduct, organizational structure, and crisis management of the implications this situation brought. Diana and Tara will navigate as organizers for the Beachbind 2021 event and beyond. While DireWo1f will still stay on as an organizer, his role will be focused on a more backend business position as intended and will continue his commitment to personal growth and personal life. Consent situations are incredibly complex; we recognize this personally, philosophically and as an organization. In this situation, with the completion of a consent process, with DireWolf having already stepped back previously, and with new leadership in our mix, we know that all of us here at Beachbind are choosing to grow, choosing to learn, choosing to make changes as needed. We want to continue to promote and foster an environment of safety, integrity and uphold ourselves to the standards and respect that we have had the privilege of gaining.
One of the first changes we plan to make is to review our event rules to revamp and implement an 'Organizer and Staff Code of Conduct', setting the precedent for all leaders in our organization. This situation is a reminder to our organization on the importance of reviewing our existing consent culture practices consistently, and thus we will review this annually. The Code of Conduct will be posted on the staff application page of our website and will be effective for our December 2020 event.
Finally, this process has taught us that the importance of privacy as an organization cannot be underscored. BeachBind is committed to upholding our strong standards of consent culture by taking accusations brought to us seriously, respectfully, and without bias. We want every attendee, staff and presenter to feel comfortable bringing issues to our attention, knowing that privacy and confidentiality will be maintained, as an unbiased process with our Consent Committee cannot exist without privacy. Thus, all information that was shared with the Consent Committee will be kept confidential and will not be open for discussion. Any sharing of this information, by anyone other than the composer of the statement, would be done without the consent of BeachBind, its organizers, consent committee, staff, and all others involved in this process.
We want to thank each of you that had the strength to come forward and speak your truth during what is such a mentally and emotionally taxing time for our world. We want to thank the members of our Consent Committee for their thoughtful read of an unprecedented situation and the emotional labor you all provided to come to a unanimous conclusion with all the information we received. We thank our third-party organizations for the advice and guidance given on our process. Finally, we want to thank our attendees, staff, and presenters for sticking through it with us, with patience as we completed this process and the continued growth as an organization and humans. We hope for healing for all those who are deeply affected, we hope for reflection and change, and we hope to overcome pain, division, and to find a path forward as a community.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns.
Tara and Diana
August 6th, 2020
For our BeachBind Family,
In the last few days, we have received information on allegations of consent violations and issues with a BeachBind founder. BeachBind is committed to promoting and fostering an environment of safety, integrity and to uphold explicit consent culture. We believe this standard extends to all people, especially those in leadership roles within the organization. In the interest of transparency with our presenters, staff and attendees, we want to update you on the actions we have taken thus far and how we intend to move forward.
Below is a list of things we have done in the past few days:
Contacted and have ongoing discussions to collect information with those who have come forward. They have provided statements about their interactions with DireWo1f. We would like to thank those who have made time to speak with us and are acutely aware of the enormous mental and emotional effects of this type of dialogue.
Suspended the person from all BeachBind responsibilities. This includes any responsibilities he was to retain after stepping back due to the family reasons he outlined on the BeachBind FetLife page.
Have reached out to national third party consent organizations for guidance on this situation.
Responded to questions from the community that have been directed towards us.
Committed to open, transparent communication regarding this situation with the BeachBind community.
In addition, a formal investigation with the BeachBind Consent Team has been started. The creation of the team was done in 2019 to carry through on our commitment to consent culture. The Consent Team is responsible for ensuring physical, mental and emotional safety of BeachBind goers by maintaining adherence to consent and mediation policies. The team takes reports of policy violations, mediates disputes if needed, conducts preliminary investigations, provides resources to all parties involved should they be needed/wanted, and makes recommendations to organizers on consent and mediation policy, procedures, and actions.
Due to the unique circumstances of the accused’s position within BeachBind, the change of organizers, and the risk of bias, we have asked members of the consent team to step down if they feel their connections to the accused could alter their actions taken in this process. One has chosen to do so; the others believe they can uphold our consent culture without bias. Our current goal is to add at least one and ideally two more individuals to the committee and are striving to find people that have no connection with BeachBind or any individual involved. In addition, to show solidarity with those who were affected by the accused, we have asked for input and recommendations of unbiased people to join this Consent Team, by those who have come forward, should they have the capacity to do so; AND will get explicit consent from those involved with the process before sharing information with the new members of the team. We will also keep you posted about the final team members on our website and in follow-up emails, along with additional updates as we receive them.
Diana has taken on the role of information gathering to present to the Consent Team as they are the newest member of the organization team and do not have an established connection with the accused outside of BeachBind. Our current process for this Consent Team is:
To look over the information with plenty of time for them to ask questions and request more information.
Meet with the organizers and staff manager, for a closed hearing where:
They all will discuss the information received.
The Consent Team will vote on a decision of action.
Once a majority vote is reached BeachBind will make those actions.
Note the organizers and staff manager do not have a vote in this process.
The organizers are present at the meeting to answer questions.
The staff manager is there to keep the meeting on track.
If more information is needed from the individuals involved before a majority decision can be reached:
The additional information will be collected by Diana.
Time will be given for the team to review the information.
An additional meeting with the team, organizers, and staff manager will be scheduled.
The organizers are 100 % committed to following through with whatever actions the team decides.
Please keep in mind, we are consulting with national consent organizations and will alter our process as recommended by these groups. We will share the finalized process with you all when it is complete.
As newer organizers to this event, please know that we are always available for questions, issues and concerns; we are committed to creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable to speak up and be heard. Once the Consent Team has been re-formed, they are also accessible and approachable, and we encourage you to reach out and provide any information you feel is pertinent to the process, ask questions, and voice concerns.
Finally, we recognize that there are additional questions and concerns that you may have, perhaps about the event, our commitment to diversity, or other important issues. As of right now we are dedicating our full efforts to this present issue, and will address other questions and priorities as time allows in the upcoming weeks.
We thank you for your patience as we navigate these times. Again, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have. We will keep you updated as much as possible through the next few weeks.
Tara (she/her) & Diana (she/they/her/them)
Your BeachBind Co-Organizers