Consent Conversations

DC Regional Contacts thought it appropriate and relevant to repurpose an announcement we made in the DC Burners Facebook group in August, 2019, after a discussion around consent violations esclated to the point where it was a clearly distressing conversation.

We share this with the hope it provides a framework to have compassionate discussions oriented towards moving forward together, and doing so because of our diverse perspectives, experiences, and knowledge. You can find the post as it appears on Facebook below:


Hello DC Burner fam,

This post is in direct response to recent posts and comments about sexual violence, assault, and rape, as well reports and feedback which the admins have received, particularly regarding the most recent post and our lack of timely action and responsiveness. We want to hold ourselves publicly accountable and respond transparently, as Regional Contacts and admins of this group.

Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources. And at the same time, our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

As Regional Contacts, it is through the lens of these two particular principles, Communal Effort and Self-Reliance, that we try to err on the side of not acting and intervening (and in this case moderating) until it is necessary. This means sometimes we step in sooner than we should and other times we do so later. We have this digital space to hopefully reflect the spaces we create face-to-face, as a place to talk amongst ourselves, to share a variety of opinions, perspectives and experiences.

In particular, and because we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, this particular excerpt from a relatively recent Scorched Nuts statement resonates with us:

“The hope is that we have all had the chance to share space with people who hold different views. That we can share those views and have civil conversations that lead to growth and a stronger community. We share ideas, some of which turn out to be failures, but in the end, it’s a place where we can be open with each other.”

And there are levels of candor but also respect that this shared space is based on. Sexism is not a stranger to many of us. patriarchy and toxic masculinity are also all too familiar. And we say this acknowledging that four out of five DC Regional Contacts are men and one is a woman.

That being said, a post and following exchange was flagged by members of this group, and continued to be flagged while admins were observing and deliberating if, when, and how to intervene. We took too long to do the latter, and for that we are deeply sorry. We saw the exchange escalate to a degree where people were clearly being hurt and traumatized by the exchange, and were not feeling heard, especially those who have direct and personal experience with sexual violence, assault, and rape. And we apologize for not stepping in sooner to keep the discourse from escalating to that point.

While we believe collective learning is important, it should not come at the expense and against the will of members of our community that are of more marginalized identities and traumatized experiences than others. At the same time, we don’t expect people to be experts in talking about this, or any other challenging issues like this, from a place that is trauma-informed, gender-inclusive, etc.

Moving forward as a community, DC RC’s need your help. As mentioned, we are reviewing the guidelines for this group, to see what we have and what is missing in terms of making sure that this is a space that is oriented towards community building, especially because of and not despite our diverse perspectives. We also want this to be a space where people are free to make suggestions and mistakes, for people to share questions and experiences.

And even though we are all wonderfully unique individuals, we also want to acknowledge that we still operate and interact within systems that privilege some of our identities over others, and not necessarily privilege regards to opportunity and success, but even simply perspective. We ask everyone to be aware of how they make and take space, even in digital conversations, and to especially keep this in mind when you share perspectives that are not necessarily your own.

We also want to elevate the idea of radical care, not just self-care but communal-care. As Regional Contacts, a lot of our discussions around consent are through the lens of how can we better take care of each other and therefore our community.

In the meantime, we want to acknowledge that there is no quick fix when it comes to sexual violence, assault, and rape in our community...other than people should just stop raping people, not just women but folx of all gender identities.

We also don’t want to discount some very tangible context and information that was shared in the post and its comments, so we wanted to make sure to capture and share that here (thanks to Chainmail for many of these):

[See Consent Resources Page]

And we share this final one below because the men who are Regional Contacts want to acknowledge that unless we are aware of our own unconscious biases, that we are complicit in reinforcing a culture in our community that allows consent violations to occur. And although victims and survivors can be and are made up of people of all gender identities, unless we ourselves have done the work to unpack sexism, toxic masculinity, and patriarchy, that we cannot effectively be a part of working towards solutions and a way forward. So we want to do the work together in a meaningful and intentional way.

And we invite other all masculine-identifying people, especially those in leadership positions, to join us when we coordinate a Rethink Masculinity workshop with local organization, Collective Action for Safe Spaces.

And, through that lens, we encourage further and ongoing discussion of what we can do, individually and as a community about continuing to cultivate and elevate a culture of consent. We want to make sure we support those who report individuals who've acted in ways that have violated others consent and made people feel unsafe.

You can email all of us in general at or about consent and conduct specifically at, as well as any of us individually at our email addresses below.

We hear you, we love you, we’re here for you,

Your DC RC’s, Charles, Mowgli, Nexus, Secret, and Spacious

Charles, he/him/his,
Mowgli, he/him/his,
Nexus, he/him/his,
Secret, she/her/hers,
Spacious, he/him/his,