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In defense of safe space

The safe space movement is a favourite whipping boy for conservatives. It has also come under attack from characters as diverse as Theresa May, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry. At the heart of this controversy (or so it would appear at first glance) is a heartfelt resentment about freedom of speech being undermined. Put simply: anybody should be able to say anything anywhere, at any time.  It's an argument that works rather well until it meets reality. In reality, people are subjected to different pressures. Some are safer than others. Some need respite, or even sanctuary. Others want to help. This is not about who is permitted to say what, it is about people struggling to cope with PTSD, abuse, addiction, social anxiety... In fact there are some countries where the safe space movement is saving lives. US academic Roxane Gay summarises the case for the defense rather well: "Those who mock the idea of safe space are most likely the same people who are able to take safety for granted. That’s what makes discussions of safety and safe space so difficult. We are talking about privilege". You can read our defense of the safe space movement here...


Beyond virtual reality

There are times when a bit of practical compassion can mean far more than anything you'll find online. An anonymized system such as this one might be good for workplaces that need a circuit breaker, but it won't help much if you're a gender-fluid teenager at the end of their tether after a lifetime of being bullied. The safe space movement is growing exponentially and as it does, it provides a broader and deeper range of real-world support. Thanks to the pioneering work of the LGBT community, there are now safe spaces for the homeless, refugees, victims of domestic abuse, and those who have survived natural disasters. We've started putting together a global map of these initiatives and we'd very much appreciate your help. Forget virtual reality... where can those who most need a place of sanctuary find it in a hurry?