ORC Code of Conduct
For Students and Graduates
- I will maintain a collaborative, friendly, respectful attitude in my interactions with other members of the wider rope and kink community.
- I acknowledge that rope bondage play is a physically and emotionally high risk activity. I will take responsibility for myself and be accountable for my actions, and exercise good judgment to minimize the risks as much as possible. I understand that I may unintentionally hurt others and may be hurt myself, and will endeavor to handle the challenging situations that inevitably arise with empathy, humility, understanding, and a constructive attitude.
- I will respect my fellow community members’ sexual, racial/ethnic, and gender identities. I support any gender, sexual orientation, or body type taking on any role in the rope community. I will make my best effort to address people using the gender pronouns they identify with, and quickly correct myself and move on if I slip up. I will contribute to making the community spaces I move through safe, inclusive, and welcoming for POC, gender nonconforming people, and members of other marginalized communities.
- I will respect and adhere to the policies and house rules of all conventions, play spaces, and venues I visit.
- I commit to maximizing physical safety in my rope practice. I will not attempt skills or techniques that I don’t have adequate training and experience to execute safely.
- I understand that consent means mutual, enthusiastic, ongoing, and informed support for the interactions I engage in with my partners. I understand that the initiator of an action carries the burden of obtaining consent prior to acting – it is not the recipient’s responsibility to say no. I understand that consent can be revoked at any moment for any reason and that consent can only be given by someone who is not intoxicated and in a clear mental state at the time.
- I will negotiate in good faith with my partners. As a general rule, I will use a philosophy of inclusive negotiation rather than exclusive negotiation – we will agree on what interactions are mutually desirable and assume anything not explicitly discussed is not on the table until further discussion. I recognize exclusive negotiation as a legitimate but advanced negotiation strategy best reserved for established relationships and play dynamics with partners I know well and have built trust with. I understand that mid-scene renegotiation is extremely risky and will use my best judgment in considering whether it’s appropriate.
- I will make my best effort to ensure that partners I explore rope bondage or general BDSM with are informed of the physical and emotional risks and best practices in consent and negotiation. If I play with someone new to this practice, I will offer to connect them with resources in the wider community to facilitate their personal journeys. I recognize the extreme power imbalance created by their lack of experience. I will not use my experience and knowledge to take advantage of inexperienced people and will accept the responsibility of ethically managing their introduction to this practice.
- When I am involved in an accident, I will take responsibility for my role in it. I will share an honest and full accounting as appropriate with the people impacted by the accident, so that everyone can learn and grow from the experience. I will make a sincere apology to those impacted by the accident, I will check in on them during their recovery, and I will offer what support I’m able to in facilitating their healing from it.
- When I am involved in a consent incident as the responsible party, I will honor and acknowledge my partner’s experience, even if it was different from my experience. I will listen to what they need to say about their experience and offer what support I can. I will take responsibility for the choices I made, learn from any mistakes, and change my behavior as needed going forward. I will respect my partner’s space and boundaries as needed moving forward from the incident. I will proactively disclose incidents I’m involved in privately to my instructors in a timely manner, so that I may gain their perspective on what can be learned from it or what I need to change going forward. After the program is finished there is no requirement to continue to report consent incidents to the heads of the program. We are happy to continue to be a resource and support to ORC graduates if you wish to speak with us about situations you encounter after graduating, but this is optional. We would appreciate being informed of any situation you become involved in that could put ORC in a negative light, which will allow us to discuss the circumstances with other ORC graduates and current students as appropriate.
- When I am involved in a consent incident as the hurt party, I will seek to work directly with my partner to seek positive outcomes and resolve unintentional miscommunications or accidents when such interaction is possible given my emotional resources and sense of safety. If I feel that someone is a serious safety risk to others, has intentionally behaved in a hurtful or predatory manner, or has willfully and knowingly violated consent, I will raise the issue privately with trusted community leaders and/or mental health professionals who can help me put this incident in context and identify the best next steps for my own healing, addressing the problematic behavior, and protecting the community.
- I will hold myself, my teachers, my classmates, community leaders, and my friends in the community to these standards. If I have personal knowledge of predatory or abusive behavior perpetrated by someone I interact with, I will not give them a pass because I like them as a person, because they have knowledge I desire, or because they haven’t directed abusive behavior at me personally. If possible and safe, I will try to bring the issue to their attention and compassionately support them in being accountable. If it’s not safe to engage the person I feel is being abusive, or if my previous efforts did not yield behavioral change, I will raise the issue privately with a trusted community leader.
- I understand that if I willfully and knowingly fail to behave in accordance with these expectations, and/or fail to adequately resolve problematic situations my behavior is responsible for, that I may be asked to leave the ORC program.
- When I receive a request to vet another community member, I will disclose as much information material to assessing that person’s safety record as possible. I will only disclose specific incident information when referring to matters of public record, or where I have explicit permission from the source of the information to share it. If a victim is not ready for information to be public, I am still obligated to protect others, but I will say something along the lines of “I have reports from a trustworthy source that this person is a serious safety and/or consent risk.”
- As a graduate of ORC, I understand that my conduct reflects back on my rope family. I understand that if I act in violation of ORC’s core ethical principles and fail to adequately resolve the situation, that I may no longer be able to publicly claim membership in the ORC community.
For Instructors and Guest Presenters
- I will follow all of the same behavioral guidelines set forth above for ORC students.
- I recognize that as an instructor and community leader, I have power, influence, and authority over other members of the community. I accept the responsibility of that position and am willing to be held to a higher standard of behavior in consideration of that power.
- When I am teaching, I will not touch my students’ rope or bodies without asking permission unless it’s a safety emergency. For the purposes of modeling consent, I will ask permission to touch every single time while I am teaching, even if that student would be comfortable granting blanket consent.
- I will refrain from sexual and/or intimate relationships with the students I am teaching in the ORC programs. If a pre-existing sexual partner wishes to join the program, I will disclose this relationship to the rest of the leadership team and respect their consensus on how to move forward.
- I will refrain from recreational rope play with ORC students while they are enrolled in the program. If I want to take a technical workshop or perform with one of my current students, I will disclose it to my fellow leadership team and move forward only on their consensus. Provided the entire leadership team is comfortable with the situation, it is permissible to tie with students for demonstration and educational purposes.
- I will use my authority and influence to help keep the community safe, to identify patterns of abuse, and to seek appropriate resolution to dangerous situations I become aware of. If I am aware of predatory or abusive behavior perpetrated by another community leader, I will speak out and/or work with other trusted community leaders to seek accountability.
- If at any time my ability or willingness to follow this code, or my judgment in general, is called into serious and justifiable doubt, I will proactively step down from my leadership role within ORC. I understand that if I fail to do so, a consensus of my fellow leadership team can make that choice for me.