The Washington Renaissance Arts and Education Society
Updated July 2022
To all of our WRAES community members,
At WRAES, our mission is to educate and entertain the public through performance, sale of wares, and demonstrations of the Renaissance and other similar time periods. Our work introduces children and adults to the rich history of our ancestors so that after we light the spark they will continue to look for other avenues to learn more about this exciting time in history.
Each and every member of the WRAES team is here because we have a deep commitment to this mission and a tremendous amount of love for the community we have created together. Every year, our goal is to create fun, safe, welcoming, and awesome events where faire and festival fans of all kinds can come together and celebrate.
For many members of our community, we know that our events are a place where they experience a sense of true belonging and ability to express their authentic selves, and we want people to be able to find that wonderful feeling year after year. We want you to not only have the most amazing adventure and leave with wonderful memories that will last a lifetime, but to experience that in an environment where you feel safe and accepted. All of us on the team understand the importance of creating a welcoming space for everyone who attends WRAES events.
We have created this anti-harassment policy because we care about our community. All of us, together, make WRAES events truly magic. Thank you for joining us in our commitment to growing as a community, ensuring that our events are the best, most wonderful, inclusive and fun that they can be, and creating enchanting adventures like no other!
Hip, hip! Huzzah!
The WRAES Board of Directors
WRAES Anti-Harassment Policy:
Harassment of any kind is not tolerated at WRAES events. This policy applies to all Guests, Participants, Volunteers, Staff, and Security.
Harassment includes verbal, physical, sexual, and psychological harassment, as well as discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religious/non-religious beliefs, disability, immigration status, military/veteran status, or socio-economic status.
All Participants and Guests should be able to have a fun time at WRAES events – but not at the expense of others. It is in this spirit that, at WRAES events, everyone present is an active participant in upholding this community standard. As a Participant, Guest, Volunteer, Staff, member of Security, or Contracted Vendor, you accept the responsibility to respect others and help maintain safety.
This policy applies to all WRAES sponsored events and spaces, including our social media pages, as well as any other spaces that WRAES hosts, both online and offline. Anyone who violates this policy may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the WRAES team.
What is Harassment?
Harassment is generally defined as unwanted attention or behavior that creates an intimidating, offensive, and/or hostile space for the person or group being targeted. Harassment can be verbal, physical, sexual, and/or psychological. If someone tells you that your comments or behavior are not wanted, you must stop, even if you do not think your behavior was harassing. Harassment is defined by the targeted individual/group. Participation in 21+ spaces, such as the taverns or “bawdy” shows, is not an excuse for harassment or inappropriate behavior.
Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Rude/inappropriate comments about a person’s appearance.
- Sexual and/or vulgar statements.
- Offensive jokes.
- Disparaging remarks about a person’s gender, race, religion, sexuality, identity, et cetera.
- Bullying and discrimination.
- Whistling, catcalling, and any kind of non-consensual flirting or sexual advances.
- Following someone or blocking their path.
- Attending a person’s performance, visiting their booth, or visiting them wherever they are solely to heckle/ harass them.
- Photographing or recording someone if they have asked you to stop.
- Exposing oneself or miming sexual acts.
- Touching someone without their permission.
- Repeated texting, phone calls, or emails, after being told to stop.
- Deliberate misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names.
- Threats of violence (verbal or written).
- Deliberate intimidation (verbal or written).
- Displaying/wearing hate symbols*
- Any persistent action that creates a hostile environment for the person or persons being targeted.
*Hate symbols are not permitted at WRAES events, including as part of costume/cosplay/clothing, displayed in any way, or sold in a vendor booth. (For example, symbols referencing Nazi/white supremacy groups.) This policy applies to Guests, Participants, Staff, Volunteers, Security, and Contracted Vendors at WRAES events. Whether a behavior, costume/cosplay/clothing violates this policy shall be determined by WRAES at its sole discretion.
Costume/Cosplay is Not Consent
If a person is in costume or cosplay, that does not give you consent to photograph* or touch them without their permission. Remember that underneath the costume, make-up, and acting is a real person; they are not the character they are portraying and you do not have the right to treat them as you would a fictional or historical character. This applies to everyone at WRAES events, whether they are Participants playing the part of an entertainer, a character (such as the Queen, a townsperson, etc.), or a Guest in costume.
How a person is dressed is not a valid reason to treat them with disrespect, make sexualized remarks or flirtatious/sexual advances, touch them, or otherwise harass them. Our community is filled with many talented, creative, and wonderful people that should be able to enjoy WRAES events without fear of receiving unwanted attention based on their physical appearance, clothing, or costume choices.
If you like someone’s outfit, let them know! They probably worked very hard on it, and hearing compliments about their craftsmanship, creativity, or cool pop culture/sci-fi/fantasy/historical reference might just make their day. If you would like to take someone’s photo, please remember to ask first.
*A note about photography: WRAES issues a limited number of Press badges for the purpose of photographing and/or recording our events for press, social media, and marketing purposes. Participant contracts include explicit consent in regards to being photographed and/or recorded. However, this does not permit individuals with Press badges to bother, harass, or otherwise act inappropriately with another person, whether that person is a Participant, Guest, Staff, Volunteer, or member of Security. Individuals with Press badges are expected to uphold our community standards and are subject to the same consequences in the event of anti-harassment policy violations.
Breaking it Down: Common Questions and Myths
WRAES acknowledges that this is a complex, emotionally-charged issue, and it is our goal to be as upfront and clear as possible. The intention of taking a firm stance on harassment is to ensure that we are creating policies that are in alignment with our organizational values and culture.
It is our priority at WRAES to do everything we can to help make everyone feel safe and welcome at our events, and this includes addressing the expectations we have for the behavior of Participants, Guests, Staff, Volunteers, Security, and Contracted Vendors. Additionally, taking a clear stance on this issue helps us continue to build a culture and community of acceptance of all. This policy is not intended to make “harsh” rules, take out the “fun” of events, make people question everything they say/do, or seem punitive. Rather, this policy is intended to foster an environment of acceptance, accountability, and mutual respect so that we can all have a good time.
Have questions about what harassment is about? The statements below take a look at some common questions and misconceptions about harassment.
- Only women can be harassed.
Myth. Anyone can be the target of harassment, regardless of their gender. Similarly, anyone can be the person doing the harassment, regardless of their gender.
- Harassment requires touching.
Myth. Harassment does not require physical contact to be considered harassment. Harassment can be physical, verbal, sexual, or psychological.
- If it was meant as a compliment, it’s not harassment.
Myth. Even if what you said was meant to be flattering, the other person might still be very uncomfortable or take offense. Be mindful of what you say to others, and consider whether or not the remark could be considered inappropriate. Read the room. If someone appears uncomfortable or asks you to stop, you need to stop.
- A joke can’t be harassment.
Myth. Jokes can be funny, but they can also be harmful. Even if what you said was intended to be humorous, it could still be offensive to others. Racist, sexist, homophobic/transphobic, or otherwise “off-color” jokes are not welcome at WRAES events.
- Sexual harassment isn’t a big deal.
Myth. Sexist comments, crude jokes, inappropriate touching, etc. are a big deal. Sexual harassment can create a hostile environment, make people feel unsafe, and is not tolerated at WRAES events.
- People invite sexual harassment by behaving or dressing a certain way.
Myth. No one invites harassment of any kind, regardless of how they dress or act. These factors are not an excuse to treat someone with disrespect.
- It’s not sexual harassment if alcohol/drugs were involved.
Myth. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not an invitation, nor does it excuse harassing/inappropriate/assaultive behavior. It is also important to note that a person who is incapacitated due to being under the influence cannot consent to sexual activity.
- The seriousness of harassment has been exaggerated; most so-called harassment is really trivial and harmless.
Myth. Harassment can be devastating. It can be offensive, and often frightening and insulting. Sometimes, people are forced to leave schools, jobs, events, or other spaces to avoid harassment, and they may also experience serious psychological and health-related problems as a result.
Question: Does this policy mean I can’t touch or hug anyone?
Answer: Of course not! We recognize that physical touch is an integral part of human social connection. This policy is not intended to prevent people from touching one another. Instead, we ask that you be mindful of the fact that different people have different comfort levels and boundaries when it comes to touch. If you know it is okay to hug a friend, that’s great! If you are unsure, just ask. If someone says no, respect their boundaries.
Question: Is it considered harassment to give someone a compliment?
Answer: Not necessarily. Compliments are great – they are a wonderful way to show admiration and appreciation of another person. However, some compliments can make a person uncomfortable or feel like unwanted attention. Making unwelcome comments about someone’s appearance or making inappropriate advances are not considered compliments. Lift one another up with compliments, but remember to keep it respectful.
Question: What about “bawdy” humor? Isn’t that part of the Renaissance faire experience?
Answer: While we do have a few shows on 21+ stages that are geared more towards adult audiences, that is not an excuse for inappropriate or harassing behavior. Keep in mind that there are people of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences at our events. We are a family-friendly show! There is a difference between adult-oriented content on designated stages and inappropriate behavior/comments, and we ask that everyone at WRAES events works together to keep things lively and fun, but safe and welcoming for all.
WRAES acknowledges that calling out inappropriate behavior is not easy, and often feels unsafe, especially for members of marginalized communities. If you witness harassment and feel safe and comfortable doing so, please call out inappropriate behavior and remind others of our community expectation of respectful behavior.
Please report any incidents of harassment as soon as possible. We take all reports very seriously, regardless of who is involved. You can report harassment even if you are not directly involved. Any form of retaliation against someone filing a report will not be tolerated.
For Participants, Staff, Volunteers and Contracted Vendors: Harassment by any individual (this includes Guests, Participants, Volunteers, Staff, Security, and Contracted Vendors) should be reported to your Department Head. If you are not comfortable reporting to your Department Head, you can report to our Board President, Tracy Nietupski, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Guests: Harassment by any individual (this includes Guests, Participants, Volunteers, Staff, Security, or Contracted Vendors) should be reported to Security*. If you are not comfortable reporting to Security, you can report to Tracy Nietupski, Board President, at email@example.com. If you have any questions, please visit the Information Booth.
If there is an emergency, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY.
If you would prefer to make an online report, you may do so at any time through the Contact Form on our website. Please fill out the form with as much detail as possible so we can address the situation immediately and thoroughly. If you would prefer to remain anonymous, providing your real name is entirely optional.
*If you cannot find Security, you can locate someone with a radio** and they can alert Security for you.
**There are staff with radios at the Towne Gate, Ale Houses, Info Booth, First Aide, Camping Gate, and Participants’ Gate.
Any violations of the WRAES harassment policy will result in immediate penalties depending on the severity of the action. These may include:
- Verbal warnings. (You will only be warned once.)
- Confiscation of your wristband/badge and immediate removal from the event. No refunds will be issued.
- Banning from any and all future WRAES events.
- Contacting law enforcement when appropriate.
As explained above, harassment is defined by the person being targeted. However, there are certain instances where a person may feel uncomfortable, but the nature of the complaint is not in alignment with WRAES’ values of diversity and inclusion.
If you file a harassment complaint, a member of the WRAES team will let you know that your complaint was received and that appropriate action was taken. Details regarding disciplinary actions will not be shared.
By participating in any WRAES event (as a Participant, Guest, Staff, Volunteer, or member of Security), you are agreeing to this policy. If you have questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to the WRAES team through our contact form at: https://wraes.org/