In light of the Kendo’s growth in South Africa, the SAKF has had to mature and professionalise some of its ways in which to help it’s members of all levels to interact with each other both in and out the dojo, in a safe and trusted manner.
As such, the SAKF has adopted a ZERO-TOLERANCE-RULE to Harassment & Discrimination.
To help members define what constitutes Harassment & Discrimination, the below post has been put together:
What is harassment?
- Verbally abuse you or anyone else
- Make racist or sexist jokes or comments, or jokes or comments about sexual preferences
- Look at or touch anyone in ways that make them feel uncomfortable
- Make uninvited sexual comments that offend, intimidate or humiliate
- Discriminate against or harass anyone else
Harassment of any kind denies people the right to be treated with respect, dignity and fairness.
If left unchecked, harassment can create a hostile or unpleasant environment not to mention the negative effects it has on those directly involved.
In general terms, harassment is:
…behaviour by a person or people towards another that is offensive, abusive, belittling or threatening or unwelcome; the sort of behaviour a reasonable person would recognise as unwelcome.
Harassment can be either physical, verbal, sexual or emotional and most often involves a combination of these elements. It can also be based on issues such as sex, sexuality, race or disability.
Harassment can also be an abuse of power, where one person is in a position of power over another, or has the trust of another, and then abuses that relationship.
Some forms of harassment are illegal and can attract the attention of the police or other government agencies.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination is treating or proposing to treat a person less favourably than someone else in certain areas of public life on the basis of an attribute or personal characteristic such as:
- Marital status;
- Parental/Carer status;
- Physical features;
- Political belief/activity;
- Religious belief/activity;
- Sex or gender;
- Sexual orientation;
- Transgender orientation
We all need to consider our actions
It is important for all of us to remember that not everyone views behaviour in the same way. For example a congratulatory hug or kiss might be perfectly acceptable to some but could make others feel uneasy and vulnerable.
Cultural differences can lead to behaviour or conduct which is acceptable and tolerable to some, but invasive, uncomfortable and even threatening to others.
It does not matter that a person did not intend their behaviour to be harassing or mean to abuse their position of power or trust. It is the effect of the behaviour on the other person that is most critical.
We all need to be aware of the ways in which our language, our actions and even our jokes can exclude, alienate or offend others.
What do I do if it happens?
If you witness, reasonably suspect or are the subject of an incident of harassment or discrimination, you are encouraged to report this to your dojo leaders, the dojo instructor, or the SAKF. There will also be appointed “member protection officers (MPO’s)” to whom you can report the incident to and who will ensure who will ensure the proper procedure is carried out Promptly, Seriously, Sensitively and Confidentially.
How will the report be handled?
Your report will be treated Promptly, Seriously, Sensitively and Confidentially. Every effort will be made to protect all parties involved under the principles of natural justice and will involve the minimum number of people possible.
What action will be taken?
After the investigation, there are four possible outcomes that :
- The complainant and MPO agree that the conduct does not constitute harassment.
- The complainant brings evidence of harassment and chooses to pursue an informal resolution of the complaint.
- The complainant brings evidence of harassment and decides to lay a formal written complaint.
- The complainant brings evidence of harassment but does not wish to lay a formal complaint.
There are further steps thereafter the investigation in with the MPO will assist the complainant with.
For more detail on the SAKF’s Harassment & Discrimination Policy and Procedures, please click here.
Kendo, being one of the more “traditional” martial arts, is still greatly influenced by it samurai heritage and its budo philosophy. As such, the training methodologies are still greatly steeped in this vigorous, rigid and disciplined way of teaching and training. However, with that said, there is still ALWAYS an element or respect and trust among teachers and students. For more SAKF’s Code of Behaviour, please click here.
Special mention and thanks must be made to the South Australian-based, Golden Knights Martial Arts Group, and Gary MacRae, Chief Instructor and Founder of Golden Knights Martial Arts (Kin Bushi Ryu), who had given the SAKF explicit permission to adopt and distribute their “Harassment & Discrimination Policy and Procedures” and “Code of Behaviour” material. For more information on the Gold Knights, please refer to: www.goldenknights.com.au