Consent, Communication, Sex & Puppets—A Workshop with the Down There Collective

6 06 2010

Your planning committee is exceptionally pleased to bring you an SDIC first: a puppet show from the Down There Collective! This workshop explores consent, communication, sex and safety in personal and societal contexts.  Collective member and self-defense instructor Farah Fosse describes the workshop this way:

How do we give ourselves space to figure out what we want in a relationship? Do you view consent differently for people of different genders, sexual preferences, sizes? How does power and privilege factor into consent? Is non-consent always assault? Can consent be erotic? This workshop — featuring a puppet show — will work to create space for an open, non-judgmental and healthy conversation around consent, sex and relationships.

We’ll start from the premise that self-defense starts way before a “NO” with knowing our boundaries and creating safe, healthy and empowering relationships.  As self-defense instructors it’s our job to go beyond “self,” to challenge society and create truly safe spaces.  As we discuss both interpersonal relationships and creating a society based on consent and not coercion, we’ll discuss dynamics that play into how we might give or understand consent, and come up with ideas on figuring out boundaries, what we want and how to make communication about consent comfortable and even hot!  As a group, we’ll work to come with ideas for sharing this with participants in our classes and making consent part of our self-defense curriculum. 

This workshop is facilitated by The Down There Health Collective — a group working to better understand our bodies and care for ourselves and each other in a holistic way. Down There strives to create safe, comfortable and supportive environments to learn and share information, particularly around health, sexuality and gender and bring up body and mental health issues that too often go unaddressed. 

Farah Fosse began studying self-defense with Lauren Taylor and then teaching with Defend Yourself in 2005 after being away from martial arts for 10 years.  She has attended two SDIC trainings / special trainings.  She enjoys supporting women and girls in finding their voices and becoming more assertive and has been particularly excited about working with other Latinas and sharing self-defense skills in Spanish.  For her day job Farah coordinates a tenant organizing program and works to preserve affordable housing with a Latino non-profit organization in Washington, DC.  Farah has been a member of the Down There Health Collective since 2002 and has facilitated and learned from this evolving workshop more than 10 times over the last few years – she is really excited to have discussions on consent with other self-defense instructors.  A common thread in her work is supporting people in developing tools to take control of their lives, fight back against oppression and create spaces based on consent and cooperation.   Farah will be joined by Noel Petrie, a social worker who has been a member of the Down There collective for 8 years.

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