First, sorry for the inadvertent sending of no message.
Second, although I agree with Lisa that it's great to have dancers take
care of themselves and not call them "victims," and, if a dancer tells
me about a specific situation with another dancer, her approach is
commendable. But, two things:
1) When there is a dancer -- most commonly the older man seeking to
"take over" the training of the new dancer -- there's a problem. This
problem is that new dancers has no stake in the dance. If her (or his)
enjoyment is reduced, they have no real reason to report it, and a good
reason to never come back. OK, they may not be "a victim" though they
receive the brunt of a behavior that causes them discomfort. It's not up
to them to discourage such activity -- they have an easy way out: "why
would I bother going there again?" So, it's up to those of us with a
stake in the dance to interrupt such behavior.
2) If there is a regular dancer who's stake isn't so strong, and they
don't feel willing or comfortable with direct confrontation, they, too,
may just stop coming.
So, ultimately it is all of us who need to agree on the range of
acceptable behavior and address each incident as needed. It might be
totally appropriate to encourage a dancer to stand up for herself (or
himself). It might be the best course for organizers to step in and
assist a change in behavior. It might be for a caller to teach a styling
point. And it's good for we with a large stake in the dance to know how
people are feeling, about each other, about the dance, about problems.
Listening to both sides is also important.
I've mentioned this before, but in the Bay Area (SF) we had a woman once
who wrote a letter to the board and had a restraining order against a
man she had been involved with. The board sent out a copy of her letter
with the note that we call the police if the man decided not to leave a
dance when she was present. We got into a lot of hot water because we
included her story, and this was prior to checking with the man. Many of
us became aware later that the woman had a history of crying wolf,
really tried to use the restraining order to hurt the man (like filing a
complaint of him being too close as he was driving out of a parking lot
into which she was pulling in -- their cars passed within the 50 ft
We learned to inform our managers that when a restraining order incident
comes up, call the police and don't take sides, and to listen to both
sides of a case, and not send out one person's testimony...
On 9/10/2015 11:14 AM, Lindsay Morris via Callers wrote:
Great point, thanks Lisa.
On Thursday, September 10, 2015, Lisa Greenleaf via Callers
I am cringing every time I read the word victim. VIctim implies
powerlessness, so why not use the word dancer and encourage
Sometimes dancers approach me because I am an official organizer,
and other times friends of the person approach me because they
know I might be able to help. My first question around complaints
is always, “Did you talk with the person whose behavior bothered
you?” And then I model an “I” statement for them: “I don’t like
that,” “I don’t feel comfortable dancing with you because I don’t
like to be twirled,” etc.
Of course, most people find it difficult to talk directly to the
person disturbing them, but it’s still worth encouraging,
especially if you show them how to do it. You are teaching them a
real-world skill that they can use outside of the dance.
When a dancer approaches me with a complaint, I don’t see them as
a victim who needs rescuing. For one thing, I don’t know the
real situation until I have heard both sides of the story. Yes,
the situation may expand to a larger problem, but even then I
don’t change “dancer” (or more specifically, the name of the
person) to “victim.”
On Sep 9, 2015, at 8:02 PM, Yoyo Zhou via Callers
Taking you at face value: if you have a systemic problem, you need a
policy. If you have a problem with one person, you need to come to
terms with that person. I'm not sure if it's just the board, or if
other dancers also have issues with her. But if you seek mediation,
take notes on your interactions so you have evidence to back
Now, I think the last thing you need is a policy requiring
speak up. It's counterproductive to making a
safe dance space.
discuss that on the other thread.)
Let's say I'm new to your dance and I have a bad experience with
someone. What do I do? I might complain about it to my friends who
convinced me to come. I might just avoid that person. I might
home dissatisfied. One of the last things I might
do is complain to
the management (and I might view that woman as an extension
because who knows if they'll just shrug it
off and not take me
Also, you wrote, "it seems to me that she's committing
I disagree. This totally cheapens the meaning of
words do you use for when punches are actually thrown? (It's
at a dance here.)
On Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 7:42 AM, Ron Blechner via Callers
> Maybe. Maybe not. My point was that we should be very, very
> making a definitive statement about something
being "just an
> especially when in your example, there was a
second problem -
even if it was
> a year earlier.
> On Sep 9, 2015 10:39 AM, "Lindsay Morris via Callers"
>> Appreciate that. Don't think the "where there's smoke there's
>> applies here, though. It would if there
>> complaining about one man...
>> Lindsay Morris
>> CEO, TSMworks
>> Tel. 1-859-539-9900
>> On Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 10:34 AM, Ron Blechner
>>> Hi Lindsay,
>>> I realize this is a tricky topic, so apologies in advance if
>>> comes off as bruskness.
>>> These two suggestions work for Amherst Contra.
>>> As a proxy complaint comes in, a board member would seek out
>>> Anonymous complaints are permitted,
and a high level of
ensuring that we ask
>>> open-ended questions, and not leading
>>> We also wear board member buttons at dances and make regular
>>> announcements about us being available for any reason.
>>> of our board attend any dance.
>>> You might speak privately to Will Loving, our lead organizer,
>>> interested in more specifics.
>>> I would also caution about making such definitive statements
>>> accusation". In my experience,
where there's smoke, there's
fire. For every
>>> accusation, there's five people
who are too uncomfortable to
>>> That said, I have seen the success of proactive addressing of
>>> biggest benefit is simple:
>>> Address it early when it's small, and not a huge deal. Maybe
>>> simple misunderstanding. Maybe the
person needed a clear
boundary drawn. But
>>> wait until there's a pile of
complaints, and you've already
lost dancers and
>>> the resolution will need to be more
severe for the offender.
>>> Best regards,
>>> Ron Blechner
>>> On Sep 9, 2015 10:08 AM, "Lindsay Morris via Callers"
>>>> Chris Weiler's Positive Solutions on dealing with problem
>>>> the CDU Policy are thoughtful and
>>>> We have a different problem here.
>>>> One woman often complains to board members about men she sees as
>>>> creepers or sexual predators. She reports their misbehavior
>>>> their victims. The victims
don't initiate these reports.*
>>>> Many others don't see these men as creepy or inappropriate.
>>>> one of the "victims"
clarified that her discomfort with the
man was a year
>>>> ago and she'd long ago dealt
with it to her satisfaction.
The man in
>>>> question had heard only rumors
that some nameless woman was
>>>> some nameless thing he'd
>>>> This woman also publicly asked that young women who feel
>>>> talk to her about it. We feel
that's the Board's job, not hers.
>>>> It seems that this woman is fishing for - or even inventing -
>>>> "naughty-dancer" problems.
>>>> When a married man gets accused of being a sexual predator,
his wife has
>>>> to wonder if it's true. This
adds to any marital tensions
they may already
>>>> have. So, while this woman is
not actually punching anybody
in the face, it
>>>> seems to me that she's
>>>> How should we handle this?
>>>> I think we need a "No proxy complaints" policy - i.e., the
victim has to
>>>> speak up (and then our process
will usually fix simple
>>>> We need to clearly identify board members, so genuine
>>>> to talk to.
>>>> But does anybody have other ideas about preventing one
>>>> from poisoning the atmosphere of
a mostly friendly dance?
>>>> * I know, victims often have a hard time stepping up and
>>>> advocacy may be a good thing.
But that's a different
discussion. In these
>>>> situations, there's no
victim; there's no predator; there's
>>>> accusation with little to back it
>>>> Callers mailing list
>> Callers mailing list
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