Dancing Rabbit's Stance on Abuse

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage takes a strong stance in support of healthy boundaries, consent, and open communication. However, we are not immune to instances of inappropriate behavior, and experienced a situation involving childhood sexual abuse in 2019. This crisis shook the community and was a source of heartbreak and collective trauma for those who lived here at the time. Those involved or implicated no longer live in the area, but there were important lessons for us as a community striving for an openly inclusive and supportive culture. For details on how this may affect your visit to Dancing Rabbit for your family, we offer this summary.

Boundaries, Consent, and Transparency Summary

Abuse and trauma are widespread in modern Western culture, and there are a number of  community members who themselves are survivors of abuse. The 2019 accusations of child abuse directed at a then community member were a significant challenge, and wake-up call for our community. We do not claim to be fully healed or whole following that crisis, but have taken steps in order to prevent future abuse from occurring undetected. Among these initiatives are child-safety trainings led by regional professionals, which have added to our community’s awareness and continuing education efforts. We have learned that, though we aim to be a safe and nurturing space, we cannot assume we are automatically protected from violence.

For program participants:

  • Child care (when offered) will be provided by at least two individuals in public spaces;
  • Visiting minors do not have “free-roaming” status and must be monitored by their legal guardian(s);
  • A “Feminism & Consent Culture” workshop is now an integral part of our visitor program and required for individuals seeking to move to our community;
  • If you are uncomfortable, say something!  All programs have at least two Rabbit liaisons who serve as docents and first-responders for program participants, in addition to program staff;
  • Children must be accompanied by their own parent or guardian at the swimming pond;
  • Please do not rely on other visitors to help entertain your child; rather discuss your needs with your liaisons;
  • Trust and transparency go hand-in-hand; assume good intent and set clear boundaries/expectations for yourself and your dependents;

    Engaging with this topic further:

    If you have questions or concerns about the content discussed above, please don’t hesitate to reach out via phone, text, or email to our non-profit. We are open for dialogue and discussion on the topic.

    If you are visiting and wish to talk to villagers about this situation, please remember that this is a difficult and emotional topic to engage with. It can be triggering for people, even if they didn’t live here in 2019. We do, however, value open communication and honesty. If you are visiting and wish to talk to someone who lives here about this event, please do so with compassion and care. People are not always in the right headspace to engage with this topic. Additionally, we have many new members who joined after the incident occurred, and do not have first hand experience of the event.

    If you wish to read about the incident in greater detail please follow this link to a statement of transparency.

    If reading this statement has been painful or triggering for you, please take a deep breath and feel your feet on the ground. Reach out to your support networks, or contact a hotline that can direct you to resources that you may need.


    Statement of The Board of Directors of the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture and Dancing Rabbit Land Trust in regards to sexual abuse:

    Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is committed to the pursuit of a sustainable, cooperative, non-violent, and just society. Sexual abuse is a tragedy that has no place in this vision, and should never be tolerated within the ecovillage or or anywhere else in our society.

    We will listen with honor, care, and respect to victims and survivors of abuse, focusing on their needs. Abusers must be held fully accountable for their actions. We will support and assist Dancing Rabbit in protecting all persons from injury, including through the establishment and expansion of processes and structures to prevent abuse within the village, especially of children.

    We welcome truth, no matter how hard it is to hear. Where possible, we will aid the village in working restoratively for justice. In this way, we seek to create a safer environment at Dancing Rabbit while working for a better and more sustainable world.

    – CSCC/DRLT Board of Directors

    *Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse

    This is a statement of transparency regarding a tragedy, and collective trauma, which befell the community a number of years ago.

    In the winter of 2019 a trusted community member was arrested following accusations of child sexual abuse. It is impossible to capture all the reactions and feelings which swept through Dancing Rabbit at that time, but they included shock, devastation, rage, heartbreak, grief, disbelief, confusion, bewilderment, bafflement, outrage, and fear. After being arrested, the accused member was not allowed to return to Dancing Rabbit, but stayed in the region while the legal process was followed to its completion. The legal proceedings were lengthy and extremely traumatic to the families involved. Due to this, and the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, the court case was suspended and it didn’t go to trial. At this juncture, all of the directly involved parties, including the accused ex-member, moved out of the area. Thus, the community was left with a lack of closure and transparency around the event. Without one shared narrative of what actually occurred, or of what the best response would have been, there is still tenderness and pain around the tragedy for those who were in the community at the time.

    Dancing Rabbit is an intentional community founded on feminism, non-violence, consent, and open communication, and it stands by these values. This event left the entire community reeling and heartbroken. Countless hours of emotional labor were put into processing the tragedy in groups and as individuals. A committee was formed to shepherd the dialogue around the incident, an outside consultant and facilitator were brought in to offer guidance, ceremonies of grief and healing were held, and new community guidelines were put in place to try and address the fears and uncertainties the incident brought up. 

    At the time of the situation, the question was real: Can our community survive this breach of trust? Some people chose to leave, and Dancing Rabbit honors them for doing what they needed to do to care for themselves. Some people stayed and worked to heal the community from the inside. Today, despite this crisis, many members still believe that Dancing Rabbit is a special place with gifts to offer the world. The community is still here. Dancing Rabbit was blindsided by this tragedy, but we continue to connect with each other and work towards reaching our social and ecological goals. What we went through was hard, and it reminded us that we have to continually strive to find ways to support each other in this world.