We’re over women being preyed upon when they go out. Women have the right to a good time that is independent of men or male involvement. Women are not lacking or deprived of something if they go out alone, dance alone, drink alone, walk alone. They do not require men. Men you need to get a fucking grip. You are not intrinsic to the female experience.
In answer to the objection to this that says: “Right, so now a man can’t even talk to or flirt with a woman, etc etc…” Did we say that? No, we didn’t say that. Sexual harassment is not interaction, flirtation or friendship which is mutual or consensual. Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination.
Women are not to be fucked with. Women can expect to enjoy their space, in conversation, on the dance floor, at the bar and on the footpath. It is not okay to leer at, to touch, to make overt and unwelcome remarks. When in doubt about what is acceptable here is the overarching and abiding caveat: Any behaviour that can be reasonably assumed to make another person feel uncomfortable, unsafe or imposed upon is harassment. If it’s unwanted, it’s harassment. Yes, this works both ways. In fact it works in every direction. It’s unilateral. We’re making a point of it with regard to how men are with women because women, and people of diverse gender and sexualities, are primarily the target of sexual harassment and assault by men. This must be actively fought and its up to all of us to care about it, to be awake to it, and to do something about it when we see it.
This is our ethos, our stand. This is what we abide by at Machine and if you walk through our doors this is the contract you agree to. This is the policy that we will enforce. There is no wriggle room on this. Harassment is not acceptable. If you experience it please speak up to any staff member. If you see it, ask the person who is experiencing it if they are okay. If you see something that makes you uncomfortable take action, if safe confront the offender, ask questions, find out and report.
Gender non-conforming, queer, female, people of colour, people of all kinds and all abilities, people of all ethnicity, people of any sexuality and sexual preference; all enjoy the same rights to freedom from harassment and imposition by gaze, intent, words and action. It is not okay to impose oneself on another in any way that assumes any of the above is not true. It’s simply not acceptable. The same zero tolerance will be applied. Please speak up and report.
We have clear procedures for handling harassment complaints that take into consideration common concerns that can result in women not speaking up. Our starting point is to believe the complaint, and our commitment is to be discreet. Evidence shows that many women don’t report harassment in the club environment. There are many reasons for this: fear of not being taken seriously or believed and fear of repercussions and reprisals among them. Let us be really clear here: if you experience harassment we understand that your night has been hi-jacked, that you may be afraid, Un-nerved, angry, humiliated and unsure about what to do. But if you can we really want to know about it so we can care about you and take action with the perpetrator. If it’s happened to you it may well be happening to others.
Furthermore we ask and encourage bystanders who witness harassment to call it out. We’ve said it before and we’re saying it more: we need to care about one another and function as a community. This creates the strength to stand up and bring about change.
We talk to the victim how this has left them feeling and if their preference is for the offender to be removed from the club. If that is the case we will remove the offender from the club immediately. We prioritise marginalised people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. This means we believe the victim and if there is dispute we will continue to believe the victim. The stakes are low on a false positive, and incredibly high on a false negative.
If the victim is open to remediation and depending on the severity of the offence we will speak to the offender about our standards of behaviour and if they respond appropriately and with contrition and real willingness to change we will offer them another chance. This really depends on the severity of the offence, the effect on the victim, the preference of the victim and the attitudinal response of the offender. In the best case this scenario creates opportunity for growth and results in one less creep out on the streets or in another club. Our community responds to a negative impact and effects change. But this provision will not be at the expense of the person who has been victimised and it does not apply to instances of sexual assault. In these instances the matter will be handled by the police.
We reserve the right not to act on complaints regarding