22 February 2010 | show notes
The above episode of BURNcast is an oldie: it was first posted to iTunes in the summer of 2007. Here producer Quin speaks with Gigi De L’Amour from the Bureau of Erotic Discourse about sexual assault on the playa and what YOU can do about it.
If you're new to Burning Man, the Bureau of Erotic Discourse (aka B.E.D.) is not a theme camp. It is a team of volunteers dedicated to providing information and education regarding rape and sexual assault on the playa. Their goal is to assist individuals to safely navigate the sensual environment of Burning Man through a series of fun, interactive, sex-positive workshops called
B.E.D's even got a terrific informational PDF pamphlet entitled "Sexual Assault and Rape at Burning Man: How To Help Yourself Or A Friend" that's available for download here.
And if you liked them apples, I think you'll enjoy B.E.D.'s Theme Camp Challenge!
This interview with Gigi is now being featured as a repeat even though Burning Man is still months away and despite the fact it was recorded three years ago. The information it offers is still very much relevant today and is worth revisiting if you've heard it before.
I've decided to repost this episode in light of some recent developments in the Los Angeles burner community (hold the "drink!" for a lighter topic -- sadly this is not a game) in which a woman went on Facebook and accused a man of violently assaulting her at Disneyland and warned her entire network that this man is not safe around women and children within our community.
This is a very serious, very public accusation in which the facts of the incident and whether the man is guilty or not is best left up to a judge and jury to decide. I have no confidence in groupthink as I have some concerns about posting such a serious matter like this on a social network without a proper police investigation or due process of law. I am only mentioning this because I feel completely disheartened every time I hear a situation such as assault, rape or battery occur within our midst.
I am a survivor of repeated child molestations. In my early twenties I was an instructor/counselor in rape prevention so I feel I can be empathetic and understanding the anguish the woman in this incident must be suffering. I am not attempting to poopoo the veracity of her experience and subsequent accusation at all. I believe something very serious occurred. However, I disagree with what I feel is her abuse of social media to accuse the alleged offender. As Gigi indicates in this interview: the best course of action is to get appropriate help and there are systems in place on the playa to help anybody who is a victim of a crime.
What I also find of concern: for those of you who are longtime burners this is not the first time a situation like this has happened in our scene and I could go on to name a very, very long list of names of both alleged victims and alleged offenders. It's really disturbing.
But before anybody outside of our circle dismisses in a pious manner "Oh, those burners! They're all sinners with their wanton ways" I feel it's worth noting that incidents like this happen in any community and within any metropolis.
What I think is radically different about "us" is that we are self-regulating as a group. It's typical for us to come together as a community in a crisis or conflict to resolve the situation amongst ourselves with the goal to benefit the highest good of all parties involved as well as the community at large. In fact, this is happening as a result in the aftermath of this incident.
I wanted to post a repeat of this episode of BURNcast to help bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault within our community both on the playa and in our default lives.
I think B.E.D.'s co-founder, the fabulous Gigi De L'Amour, gives an effervescent, informative and delightful interview. I hope this will encourage dialogue and raise consciousness. As somebody who contacted me in an email noted: "Maybe fewer of these [incidences] would occur if there were more dialogue (and nonjudgmental acceptance) in our community."
Gosh, well said. I'll drink to that.