Principles of Safer Space

Orbis Principles of Safer Space

The principles of safer space are a way of creating practices that make everyone feel welcome, safe, and included. The safer space principles listed here have been developed by the Orbis board and align with the Safer Space Principles of Humanisticum. These principles are valid for all of Orbis’ activities, in-person and online. They can be found on Orbis’ website and should be made accessible to anyone attending an activity with Orbis. These principles should be updated yearly at the request of the Representation Manager, preferably before the General Board Meeting in December. 

1. Care and take care

Care about the people around you. Care about how they feel and how your words and actions affect them. As a general rule, treat others as you would like to be treated. In addition to people, care about your surroundings. Take care of yourself, others, and the surrounding environment. 

2. Respect others

Respect the diversity of people. Respect their different views, experiences, and backgrounds. Respect other people’s choices, identities, as well as their personal space and boundaries. Respect their pronouns. Also, be aware of your own privileges. Do not make assumption about anyone. Orbis does not tolerate any form of discrimanatory or harrassing behaviour or language, including but not limited to racist, sexist, narrow-minded, offensive, violent, or threatening acts.

3. Think and anticipate

Don’t assume that everyone is comfortable with the same things as you. In short, don’t force anyone to do anything. Always remember that something that is fun or funny for you could be uncomfortable or distressing for another.  Anticipate situations where someone might feel uncomfortable, and try to prevent and avoid them.  This includes but is not limited to not touching anyone without their consent, and being aware of how your words and non-verbal cues (like staring) could make someone uncomfortable. If someone tells you they are uncomfortable, make a genuine apology, and learn from your mistake.

4. Communicate and contribute to a positive atmosphere

Say hello to others. Be kind, polite, and open. Remember that new members or non-members may not know how certain activities operate, so tell them what you are doing so they can be included. Listen, talk, ask. If you do not know or not sure, ask. If anyone asks, try to help. If something bothers you, say so. Communicate about the positives issues, but also problems or ambiguities. Help to promote an open and conversational atmosphere as well as a trustworthy community.

5. Follow the instructions and take action if necessary

Behave matter-of-factly and demand it of others. Do not hesitate to intervene if you see or hear about improper conduct. Do not hesitate to act and do not hesitate to ask for help if you feel you need it in the slightest. If you need support contact the Representation Manager and/or those in charge of the event. In case of an emergency, call the general emergency number 112.

The goal of these principles is to create an atmosphere where people can communicate effectively, participate safely, and be themselves without fear. While the Orbis board is responsible for being role-models in matters of safety, every person should feel empowered to address inappropriate behavior if it arrises. If it feels difficult to intervene, ask a friend or organizer for help. Remember that you can make a positive contribution to the well-being and safety of everyone with your own actions within Orbis. 

(Updated in November 2022)