All communities have predators

No place is inherently safe; every space ends up having predatory people in it.

Well-run communities/organizations/schools/whatever have things in place for dealing with this. And, from time to time, abusers hurt people, and the communities actually use the things they have in place for dealing with abuse.

And they will be able to tell you what those things are.

And if the community has been around for a years, they will be able to tell you about instances in which that has happened. (In general terms; they don’t have to (and usually shouldn’t) reveal identifying details).

If a school or business or something gives a training on harassment, and they can’t tell you what’s happened in the past when abuse has happened, and they only say “we take that very seriously”, it’s a major red flag.

If a community/school/whatever tells you that abuse can’t happen there because of how great people are, or how much training there is, or anything like that – that’s an even bigger red flag.

The safest communities are those that recognize that no space is safe all the time, and that it’s always necessary to be on the lookout for abuse.

Don’t assume marginalized people are safe

Sometimes people who are marginalized assume that other marginalized people are safe by definition. This is really dangerous, and it sets people up for a lot of gaslighting. We need to make sure not to encourage this in activist and otherwise pro-human spaces.

For example, some people do things their stereotypes say they’re incapable of doing:

  • Some women are sexual abusers
  • Some autistic people are manipulative bullies
And also, sometimes people do bad things that are (wrongly) stereotypical of their group. For instance:
  • Some gay people are sexual predators
  • Some members of minority faiths are destructive fundamentalists.
Some people in marginalized groups do stereotypical or anti-stereotypical bad things, and when this happens, it’s important for activist and other pro-human groups to acknowledge it and not tolerate it.

If you know someone else is in a marginalized group, that’s all you know about them. Don’t assume that they know what it’s like to be mistreated, and are thus safe and trustworthy and would never harm another person. *Especially* when their actions have shown otherwise.