Why “Safe Spaces” Are Important – Jake Van Gogh

“Sounds like you need a safe space”.

We’ve all heard it, but the actual meaning behind what a “safe space” is has been lost in recent years to political polarization.

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The term “safe space” is often thrown around on the internet in a demeaning way where people say things like “do you need a safe space?’ in an effort to mock someone or a particular group. It’s a trashy and shitty way to avoid actually talking about or considering a specific thing and generally is just something people say to derail a valid topic. It’s immature and stupid.

Now, what about the concept of “safe spaces”?

A safe space is essentially an area or community where like minded people who feel marginalized can connect in a safe and productive way. Safe spaces are generally more tailored to specific minorities, like an LGBTQ safe space, or a safe space to talk about race and race relations where bigotry and incessant nonsense generally aren’t tolerated as they are more destructive than productive. Safe spaces offered to minorities help protect their mental health and overall well-being by not allowing the destructive rhetoric or comments meant to mock or demean them. Safe spaces would never have had to come into existence if people didn’t choose to actively discriminate and hate on others for who they are, it’s really that simple. It’s possible to look back and trace some safe spaces back to the 1960’s with the women’s movement where specific spaces were designated as “safe” to talk about womens’ issues and violence against women, but they go back even further than that for many marginalized groups and communities.

Today “safe spaces” cater to women, sexual assault victims, black people, lgbtq people and a variety of marginalized groups. These spaces are supportive and exist for people to feel connections with other people who might be going through similar experiences or be in similar situations. Safe spaces have nothing to do with weakness, to the contrary they help many people develop strength and recover from trauma.

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