Touching: Consensual or Otherwise
Since RoA’s inception, it has had a no touching rule. This past event, we heard a few reports that it was being violated in some places. In the reports we heard, people were physically restraining or grabbing others. This should never have occurred.
Effective immediately, and going forward, touching shall only occur at the game by explicit consent. The ONLY physical contact that should occur is with express prior consent of both individuals, and this consent may be revoked at any time whatsoever. The standard should be assumed that consent is NOT given, unless a specific verbal consent for a specified action or event is given.
Effects that have been permitted per the rules in the past, such as bandaging with first aid, intercept with a light touch on the shoulder, or standard boffer combat, are not affected by this ruling. This ruling is only applicable to anything further or beyond that. As always, if one cannot be struck with a boffer weapon or anything else, then the yellow arm band rule would apply here instead.
Consent may be gained by saying “Clarify: Consent?” (With a response of “Clarify: Yes/No”) and revoked by saying “Clarify: Revoked.”
Nobody should be made to feel pressured to say yes in this situation, and should absolutely not be pressured to change their decision should it be no.
We have added the above ruling to allow consensual physical roleplaying to happen, such as a checking a pulse with mundane healing by touching an individual’s wrist along with the action.
We wish to reiterate however, that the incidents that happened this previous game constitute non-consensual physical role playing, an unacceptable practice, and one we are expecting our members of the community to avoid going forward.
We understand that often in the heat of the moment and roleplay these things may be hard to avoid, but this rule must be adhered to. It is our community’s responsibility (and therefore the responsibility of EVERYONE that attends) to ensure that nobody is made to feel unsafe, and given the dedication and consideration I have seen from our player base in the past, I am confident that this previous behavior will be corrected going forward.
Addendum: Clarifications – 07/06/17
If you offer someone a hand or a high five, and they accept that hand, there is implied consent because they have accepted the gesture. If someone offers you a hand for a handshake and you shake it, there is unspoken consent for that action. There is no need to break the RP to Clarify something as simple as that. If they want to not shake your hand, they won’t, nor are they obligated to. If you offer to help them up off the ground, it is their choice to accept it or not. If they don’t, you should not take it personally.
To be clear: If someone offers you a hand to help you up from the ground, if they offer you a hand for a handshake, if they open up their arms for a hug, etc., then if you do not feel comfortable, you are under no obligation to engage in these actions nor should you feel pressured to. Also, it is against the spirit of these rules to give implied consent and then turn around and accuse the other person of breaking the rules. If you feel uncomfortable with the contact, then do not engage in it.
If you know someone well and have an understanding with them prior, you do not need to Clarify: Consent each and every time since the two of you have already spoken of it. However, if they tell you Clarify: Consent Revoked, regardless of your previous arrangement, you must respect that. Any further contact past that without regaining consent is in violation of the contact rules.
If you see two people engaging in RP and you did not see them ask for Consent, it is not your place to call them out or break their RP. Consent is between persons A & B and they may already have a standing agreement. The Consent rule is not in place for people to start policing casual contact between consenting individuals.
You are NOT going to get in trouble for being friendly with your significant others and friends.
The rule is clearly meant to extend rather than restrict. It is not meant to take away anything already there.