My Consent Consultant

As part of my accountability system, I have retained Sar Surmick of Consent Academy as my consent consultant and primary accountability contact. Sar and I have spent considerable time reviewing my history with consent and he regularly advises me on my consent practices in addition to being a point of contact for anyone who has concerns about me.

If you are considering hiring me as an educator, Sar can provide a fully informed reference for me.

If I have violated your consent, if you have violated my consent, or you have had a bad consent-related experience with me, you can contact Sar with your concerns. He will keep your identity and story confidential if you desire and can help you decide how you would like to handle the situation.

Here’s the full text of my agreement with Sar:

1. You are my consent consultant
You advise me about my consent practices, giving me advice when I ask for it and when I don’t ask for it but you think I need it.

Your role is to advise me about how best to achieve my moral goals, but not to dictate what those goals should be. You are not my therapist and we we do not have a therapeutic relationship.

2. You will be my contact person
Anyone who has issues or concerns about me can contact you if they prefer not to contact me directly. You will keep their identity and story as confidential as they request and the law allows. Depending on their wishes, you will:

  • Help facilitate contact between them and me.
  • Help them access appropriate resources for dealing with what happened to them.
  • Take no direct action, but make a note of what happened to assist in identifying problematic patterns of behavior.

3. You will act as a reference for me
You and I have reviewed in detail all the consent incidents that I’ve been involved in that I’m aware of and we will review any new incidents that occur or that I become aware of in the future.

I will list you as a reference for potential play partners and event organizers. You have my permission to share any information about me in any way you believe to be appropriate, with a particular focus on giving an accurate appraisal of my strengths and weaknesses around consent.

4. You will help manage incidents I am involved in
When I am involved in consent incidents, you will be available to act as a mediator if requested by both parties.

5. You will watch me for patterns of problematic behavior
You are informed about all of my consent incidents, including those I can’t talk about publicly and those that involve people who don’t want to communicate with me (and which I may not even know about). Therefore, you are uniquely well positioned to see patterns of problematic behavior which I may be blind to.

When you see concerning patterns, you will alert me to the problem and advise me in how to change them. If you deem it necessary, you will take direct action to prevent me from harming others. Possible actions you might take include:

  • Making a public statement about what you have observed.
  • Publicly recommending that event producers not hire me as a presenter.
  • Publicly recommending that I step down from teaching or leadership positions.

Why this structure?

For this role, I wanted someone who:

  • Has relevant professional qualifications including professional expertise with maintaining confidentiality,
  • Has a deep understanding of consent and extensive experience handling consent incidents, and
  • Can put significant time into responding to incidents if necessary.

Given those requirements, it was clear to me that I needed to hire a professional. Sar is one of very few people who can credibly claim to be a consent professional and I consider myself fortunate to have his help.

Obviously, the fact that Sar is a paid consultant creates a potential conflict of interest. I feel comfortable with that for three reasons:

  • Sar and Consent Academy both have excellent reputations for ethical conduct.
  • There’s strong precedent for having paid staff perform ethical oversight. Chief Ethics Officer is a well-defined corporate role which is filled by a paid employee.
  • Sar’s paid role is balanced by my accountability circle, which consists entirely of volunteers.
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