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OhioSMART Consent Policy

OhioSMART believes that all kinky/sexual interactions should be between consenting adults. Consent must be obtained prior to engaging in any kink activity. Negotiation and Consent go hand in hand to create good agreements. Both are a key part of what it is that we do. It is important to note that consent is not the absence of a “no”, but a mutual co-creation of a non-coerced and enthusiastic “yes”.

To this end, OhioSMART focuses on education and prevention to alleviate consent issues. However, despite the many precautions that reduce the risk of issues during interpersonal interactions, there is the possibility that a situation may occur. This document serves as a guide to what you should expect when reporting a consent incident and our general process for investigating the incident.

OhioSMART approaches every concern and consent incident on an individual basis. Each consent incident is unique, and therefore requires us to examine the nuance and circumstances thoroughly. The outcome of any review may change based on the information presented to us. We treat every report with the utmost care and strongly encourage any member or attendee to bring issues to our attention.

Please be aware that our primary goal is to continue to create and maintain safe and consensual environments for our attendees. Our actions are limited to Mediation, Re-Education, Sanction, and Removal. Also note that OhioSMART Leaders are not law enforcement and if an issue is at the level of a crime, we will assist, accompany, or advise in reporting at that level.

Reporting a Consent Issue

We understand that consent incidents or issues can be a traumatic and confusing experiences. It may take some time to process and understand fully what has occurred. However, we do encourage individuals to report these instances to us as soon as possible. We request this because the sooner we are made aware of an issue, the quicker we can address it.

Consent related issues are handled directly by the organization's Board of Directors, and may also include the Consent Representative.

There are a few circumstances you may find yourself in when reporting a consent issue is necessary. To make this process easier for you, we have broken it down into sections.

Reporting an Issue That Occurred at an OhioSMART Event & The Review Process

We ask that you immediately let us know of any consent related issues that occur during an OhioSMART event. To do this, please get the attention of any OhioSMART Board member and/or the consent representative. You may locate any board member or other SIG leader in the following locations at any of our events:

Educational Demos and Play Parties:

We have multiple leaders present at these events, and we invite you to reach out to any of them should you need their assistance. If you are unsure who you should speak with, please visit the volunteers at the registration desk. If there is no one at the desk, please find a Play Space Monitor and ask to be directed to an OhioSMART Board member.

Classes, Munches, Intensives, SIG events and OutSMARTs:

Again, we have multiple leaders present at these events. If the consent representative or Board members are not in attendance, there will be a SIG leader overseeing the event. Please speak with them should any consent issues arise. If you are unsure who they are, other attendees will be able to assist you in locating them.

Once you make contact with the OhioSMART leaders responsible for handling consent related issues, we will speak with you in private. (Should you need a support person, feel free to bring one. However, we ask that they do not contribute to or interfere with the discussion) When reporting the consent issue, we ask that you include the following information:

  • Any negotiations that took place prior to the incident. If the negotiations took place in print, we will ask to review it.
  • Prior relationships or interactions with the other party
  • If any intimidation or threats were utilized during the exchange
  • If any renegotiation took place during the scene itself (if one took place)
  • If safewords were utilized and any response during the exchange
  • If you spoke with the offending party after the issue
  • What solutions would be acceptable / desired

We may ask additional questions. It is important to note that our reason for wanting this information or asking additional questions is to gain a full picture of the situation and circumstances leading to the consent issue.

We will ask if there were any witnesses to the issue and will request to speak with them privately as well. Additionally, we will speak directly with other individuals involved. Please note, that we will ensure your privacy is respected when we are questioning any other individuals.

Once we have gathered information from all parties involved, we will compare it against any previously obtained information. We make every effort to be aware of individuals who may be problematic but have not broken any specific rules or been involved in any consent related issues.

The outcome of our review will depend on a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Severity or type of consent incident
  • Any previous concerns or conversations with the involved parties
  • Power differentials between the individuals (example: experienced individual exploiting newer individual)
  • Positions of authority (example: individual committing the consent incident is a presenter, group organizer, etc...)
  • The safety of and effect on the people involved
  • The needs and preferences of the target of the inappropriate behavior
  • The response of the accused to the accusations
  • Protecting others from future misconduct by the accused
  • Keeping people safe from similar misconduct by others
  • OhioSMART's commitment to safeguarding the personal information of our members and attendees
  • OhioSMART's ability to continue to provide a safe space for our communities

Note - We do NOT alter our approach based on:

  • Someone's popularity, real or perceived
  • Someone's standing within OhioSMART or in the community, real or perceived
  • Whether someone volunteers, works at, hosts an event at, or is any other way affiliated with OhioSMART
  • Rumors, alleged facts or information that is not based on first-hand knowledge or experience

After reviewing all of the information presented to us, the OhioSMART leaders will reach a decision, with input offered by the consent representative. Once a decision has been reached, we will speak with the individual that has reported the issue to ensure they are satisfied with the result of our review. Should further assistance be necessary, we will assist the reporting individual in working with local law enforcement and local victim advocacy services.

Reporting an Issue That Did Not Occur at an OhioSMART Event & The Review Process

It is typically OhioSMART's policy to only monitor the spaces that we have full control over. That being said, we realize that situations happen outside of our control that may require our attention to keep our spaces as safe as we can.

There may be consent related situations that happen in private or at other events or unrelated locations that we may not be able to directly influence or control. Despite this, we still need to be aware of these situations, so we can stay informed of potential threats to our event attendees/members or in our spaces.

Unfortunately, there are some individuals that commit serial infractions, and jump from community to community once they are discovered. It is our greatest desire to prevent such individuals from entering our spaces and putting our attendees and members at risk.

When bringing these situations to our attention, we ask for the following information:

  • A way to contact either leadership of the organization, if the incident occurred at one of their events
  • We may request the individual directly impacted by this incident contact us if you are reporting a third-party issue
  • A detailed account of what took place
  • If possible, a way to contact any witnesses to the situation
  • Any correspondence that took place between the individuals

The outcome of our review will be heavily influenced by the direct threat the individual poses to our spaces, the severity of the consent issue, and if this is habitual behavior.

Reporting Outside Issues with a Presenter

We believe that those in voluntary authoritative positions should be held to a higher standard. As such, we will only select presenters that share our values related to consent, negotiation, privacy, and personal autonomy.

We make every effort to be aware of potential issues surrounding presenters and any community related issues. OhioSMART works closely with community leaders and event organizers in other parts of the country, and often requests information from these individuals about any issue we should be aware of regarding presenters. That being said, there are occasions where issues are not brought to our attention.

If you have any information regarding a scheduled presenter's involvement in a consent issue, we ask that you contact us immediately. When contacting us, please be prepared with the following information:

  • Where this issue occurred, including contact information for that event’s organizer(s) so we may speak directly with them
  • We may request the individual directly impacted by this incident contact us if you are reporting a third-party issue
  • Specific information regarding the issue (We need specifics, not hearsay, to make educated decisions)
  • Links, if any, to public discussions regarding this issue. Due to some social media policies of not allowing individuals to be named in consent-related issues, it may not be readily apparent that some reports are regarding a presenter.

Reporting Issues Involving OhioSMART Board members and SIG Leaders (Leadership Team)

We can proudly say every member of our leadership team shares our core values of consent, respect, safety, and privacy. Additionally, we believe our staff has a duty to provide the best possible example of acceptable behavior when engaging in BDSM. We recognize that other organizations throughout the national kink community have experienced issues with their staff or leadership taking advantage of their positions to cover up non-consensual activity. We have created this section to assure our attendees and members that no one, not even people on our team, is exempt from the consequences of non-consensual behavior.

The Leadership Team believes it is imperative to hold one another accountable for unacceptable actions and behavior. We will swiftly investigate and handle any consent related issue in which any of our leaders is involved.

If you experience a consent issue with any of our leaders, please directly report these issues to a member of the Board or the Consent Representative. We ask that you do not report these issues elsewhere so that we may quickly investigate the issue while maintaining your privacy.

Actions Taken at Conclusion of a Review

Aside from keeping our spaces safe, the primary goal of OhioSMART is to provide fun and educational experiences for our attendees and members. As such, there are multiple actions we may take after a review. Those actions include, but are not limited to: Mediation, Re-Education, Sanction, and Removal.

We stress that OhioSMART is not law enforcement. While we are a private organization and are able to restrict individuals that seek access to our events, we are limited to what we can do within the legal and justice systems. If you chose to pursue legal action or report the incident to law enforcement, we will continue to support you and assist in whatever manner we are able to.

At the conclusion of our review, we will determine the appropriate course of action for the situation at hand. Below, we have included a short summary of some possible actions that we will take.

  • Mediation - Consent incidents can include a wide range of actions. While we often think of major violations when we hear the term, consent incidents may also include less severe conflicts, actions or miscommunications. In these circumstances, if both parties are interested, we can assist with (or recommend a neutral third party for) mediation between the different parties. We believe that in some cases, supporting and fostering communication between the two (or more) parties in a neutral environment can be a worthwhile course of action.
  • Re-Education - As we often say to new individuals to our organization, “You don't know what you don't know.” Our culture can be tricky for some individuals to grasp when they first enter our community. Depending on the severity of the incident, we may choose to educate or re-educate the offending party.
  • Sanction - In situations where full removal of an individual may not be best, but action is still required, we may instead choose to sanction or restrict their access to our events. The exact nature of the sanction will be individualized to the situation at hand and may incorporate re-education and/or mediation as well.
  • Removal - While we prefer to look at removal of an individual as a last resort, it is something we will do without hesitation should the situation require this level of action. Removal of an individual may range from a 90 day, one year, multiple years, or a lifetime ban. They will no longer be able to participate in any OhioSMART online and offline activities, parties, events, and classes.

Please note, these are the most common actions OhioSMART will take in situation involving consent incidents. Actions taken will be based on each situation, and more than one action may be taken. Should very unique or unusual situations arise, OhioSMART may take actions outside of what is listed here.

Privacy Disclosure

OhioSMART will not share your personal information with anyone outside of the organization without your expressed permission. This includes posting specific information regarding your issue online. Depending on the incident in question, OhioSMART may share details with an attorney. Should you choose to escalate your report to law enforcement, health care professionals, or advocacy groups, OhioSMART will continue to support you and will assist them with their investigation.

In an effort to assist multiple communities, general information may be shared with other leaders and promoters of other organizations. We would like to stress that your personal information will not be shared in these instances. Instead, we may share pertinent information regarding facts discovered related to the reported individual. While we may include an overview of what occurred, we will never share specific or identifying information, and the focus will be on the reported individual’s actions. Your privacy and security are of utmost importance to us.

Policy adapted with permission and consent from AIS and The Columbus Space

Contact Us!


☎  440.732.8317

OhioSMART is a 501c(7) non-profit organization.

Mailing Address:
PO Box 602643
Cleveland, OH 44102

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