We are so proud to offer you this unique experience. At BRB’s Inner Sanctum, you can enjoy meeting other like-minded folks from the community, attend a workshop or ritual, or get sassy and sexy at one of our late night events." Over the years, the IS has become a larger and larger, more and more integral part of the festival experience.
The space is home to workshops and rituals and dance parties and group grope activities. It is advertised as a safe place. And in some sense it probably is. However, in terms of the Big Picture, I feel it perpetuates rape-culture and does as much harm to sexuality as it does good.
In concrete terms, one of the IS presenters has a habit of sexually assaulting men. On multiple occasions he approached, grabbed, and forcibly French kissed men. Some of those men were probably his friends and didn't mind this behavior, I am guessing. However, I personally know men who received this treatment who did not welcome it. This behavior was not consensual nor invited. It was assault (technically "battery" I suppose). Had he been running around forcibly kissing women, he would have been ejected from the festival and possibly been arrested. But, he assaulted men who are less likely to report such abuse. And the worst part? When the behavior was brought to the attention of the planning committee, their response was to laugh and suggest the assaulted men face their homophobia.
Also, while in the Inner Sanctum, you will probably have an audience. No, I don't mean your Pagan brothers and sisters who are also there to explore sacred sexuality. I refer to the other campers who bought day tickets just to get in to watch the orgy. BRB only reserves a portion of the campground. The rest of the facility is filled with campers who are in no way associated with the festival. These campers can buy day tickets to the festival which entitles them to attend events in the Inner Sanctum, the "tittie show" as I heard them refer to it. They are not there to participate, they are there to gawk, heckle, and take pictures. Yes, pictures. The last time I attended an event in the IS, the walls were lined with mundane campers and several had their phones out taking pictures of the revelers in their various states of undress. That year, a bellydancer had been hired to perform but she stopped after just one number because the environment was so uncomfortable.
Why do I say the IS promotes rape-culture? I say that because over the years when concerns about IS activities have been voiced, those raising their voices have been uniformly labeled as "prudes" and "puritans." They are told they are making a big deal out of nothing. They are told that their discomfort is wrong, silly, misguided. If you are uncomfortable at any time with what is happening in the IS, you are free to leave. However, be aware, the rest of the festival is on hold while IS activities are happening. Fire Circle in the evening? Only after the IS dance party is finished up. Yes, you can leave, you can go sit with the other prudes by the fire and wait for the liberated folks to finish up with their frisky fun.
Clearly I was uncomfortable with the IS environment. It is really, really, not my scene. And that is fine. But there wasn't anything else going on at BRB. The fire circles were dead because most people were in the big red tent. So, I stopped attending the festival. During the day workshop attendance was way down because there were sexy sexy rituals going on in the IS (which, by the way, completely confuses f*cking with fertility).
There are lots of IS events that are great. Many of the workshops are fascinating. And I remember the old days when there wasn't a space in which more adult themes could be addressed. The addition of the Red Tent was a good one. It has gotten too big for my taste and I think that it is not the safe space the festival claims it is.
reposted with permission. Author wishes to remain anonymous.