While we focus on preventing harassment and abuse as key components of safety, there’s a bigger picture. The safety of your group or event is built on trust, communication, and action. It’s the environment you actively create.

Why don’t more people speak out?

The Risk in Speaking Up

Being a person in the minority and/or challenging the way things have always been comes with a lot of risks. We weigh these risks everytime we speak out: “choose your battles”, “is this really worth it?”, “what will I gain from this?”, “how will this hurt me in the long run?” are all things that regularly go through our minds.

While [naming and shaming] may sound like a great idea in the long run, doing this can expose yourself to even more harassment, especially if the person is a well-respected member of the community. Their voice - and “army” - can quickly overpower yours and you can be punished for daring to shed light on this person’s poor behavior.

Safe vs. Safer

Coalition for Safer Spaces

We say ‘safer’ realizing that not everyone experiences spaces in the same way as others, so any one set of guidelines established to create safety may not meet the requirements of everyone and there may be complications or lapses in fulfilling those guidelines in practice.

Rather than trying to create a complete, static sort of safety, we work actively to make our spaces safer.

Working toward safety makes us stronger

Psychological safety is a key aspect of working well together. In an environment where people are respected and listened to, we can all feel welcome to contribute.

It is not enough for a few team members to feel comfortable speaking up, even if one of them is the team leader. If others on the team remain hesitant to contribute their views, the team is still likely to suffer the consequences of a psychologically unsafe climate.

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