UMSU Women’s Safe Space Policy

Please note: the Women’s Room and Women’s Collectives are safe spaces. To make sure all students are safe and comfortable, remember that transphobia, racism, ableism, classism, fatphobia and misogyny are not acceptable, as well as any other form of discrimination not listed. If you engage in any form of disrespectful behaviour, we have the right to remove you from the Women’s Room and our collectives.

Do Not Assume:

  1. You know anyone else’s experience of gender and sexuality, or other details about their personal background. Do not make assumptions or statements about what is ‘normal’.
  2. We have the same level of background knowledge. Try to clarify when someone makes a mistake. Avoid insider language like acronyms.
  3. We have the same values of what is inherently wrong or right.
  4. That it is the responsibility of other individuals to police your language.

Do assume:

  1. That all women are welcomed and valued in this space, including trans women.
  2. That sex workers use this space and are entitled to respect.
  3. That we welcome women of faith to use this space for prayer. Please be considerate where prayer practice may require silence.
  4. That we all come from different backgrounds and we all have an equal right to the freedom to be self-expressive without fear of being uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe due to one’s gender assigned at birth, cultural background, age, mental/physical ability, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, gender expression, class.
  5. That everyone in this room is entitled to respect on the basis of the respect they extend to other perspectives and experiences.

Use of Trigger Warnings

Please make sure to use trigger or content warnings during online or verbal discussions of sensitive topics to ensure that people won’t be subjected to anything that might be harmful to their wellbeing.

Here’s how.

When you are in a conversation and know you will be saying something sensitive:

  1. Say that you are giving a trigger warning.
  2. Clearly mention the themes you will be touching on.
  3. Leave enough time for someone to opt-out.

If you are posting on social media and know that your post contains something sensitive:

  1. Start with the abbreviation:

CW or TW

  1. Add the two slashes:

CW // or TW //

  1. Add the keywords clearly, without censoring (make these clear enough so people know what to expect, but without being too descriptive that it itself can trigger a reaction): 

CW // nudity  or TW // sexual violence

  1. If you are writing a caption, go to the next line and add a full stop. Keep doing this until the description is hidden, so those who are okay with continuing can click on “read more.”

 TW // sexual violence

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Read more.

Here are some common triggers/content warnings to list.

  • Homophobia, transphobia, sexism (any kind of discrimination)
  • Police brutality
  • Talk of dysphoria, body image and appearance
  • Sexual violence or rape
  • Eating disorders
  • Paedophilia
  • Violence/murder
  • Suicide or self-harm