So this is Kitty Stryker speaking here.
I wanted to maybe encourage other people, Dominants particularly, to speak up for the Blog Carnival with a story of my own. It’s a time that I violated boundaries in a scene (ignorance? not bliss, people), and discovered how complicated safewords and consent can be. I thought about submitting this story anonymously, but then I felt pretty strongly that I wouldn’t be taking ownership. To not add my own voice to this would be against why I want other people to speak out, and I think hiding behind anonymity would be a betrayal to the consent culture I want to work towards. Activism starts with you, be the change you want to see and all that.
I was playing with a woman who was younger than me by a few years, 20 to my 25 or so. I knew she had a history of abuse, having been groomed by a paedophile, and I knew that she liked some really dark play, something I have experience in both as the bottom and as the top.
Still, I overestimated my ability to hold a container for the scene… and if I felt unsure in my gut that I didn’t have enough information, I should have waited until I did. She was cute, and I was so excited to play with her that I pushed common sense to the side. We had played before, some lighter stuff, and I said to myself that we had enjoyed that so we could take it down a notch.
We discussed playing with a guy we both thought was pretty, and who was a switch, so we invited him along. We discussed limits (no vaginal penetration, anal was ok, bondage was good, sadism was good) and looked at the playspace together. I made sure we had chocolate on hand, a blanket, and a first aid kit, the practical, physical things a Responsible Dominant has around the place.
The scene maybe took an hour and a half in total. I bound her fingers with zip ties (something I had seen in a kink.com video- yeah, they are not easy to get off) and spanked her til she was pink and crying. Worried about the crying, I checked in, probably in a very mother hen sort of way and she told me she was fine. We had a safeword in place, so we kept going.
I remember he did something sexual to her- perhaps it was fingering her ass?- and slapped her face while she sobbed. I remember being really worried that she was in a place where she couldn’t safeword, and equally worried to assume she was and stop things only to have her dismiss me as a bad Dominant. I wanted to play with her again, to impress her, and him, and maybe myself. There was never a safeword used.
But I should have used my own safeword. I didn’t because I wanted to be the hard Dominant, I wanted her to want me. And I should have trusted my gut instead, because she had been struggling, she didn’t have fun, and I felt like a total shit. Even so, my first internal reaction was a defensive one- “well, she didn’t safeword, so that’s on her!” I said to myself, frustrated.
Then I stopped. And I thought about that, and about rape culture, and about why someone wouldn’t safeword. I thought of some of my own experiences, where I didn’t because I didn’t want to disappoint my Dom… or, worse, because I was scared if I did say something, and they kept going, I might get it worse. I realized I might be that person for this girl. And I didn’t know what to do.
I asked her what I could do to make her feel safe, encouraged her to talk about it with others if she wanted to, asked her if she needed space from me or to process with me. And I pulled away from Topping for a while to reflect on it all. It was one of the hardest things. I’m still processing it.
Sometimes, playing with darkness, we can discover just how dark we can go. It scares us, and we worry about it scaring other people, so we clam up and walk away pretending we never saw Mr. Hyde lurking within. To combat that silence is to admit that you’re not always entirely sure if you’re a sadist or a serial killer. I
admirerespect the guts of one blogger who wrote about the time he almost raped and killed a woman- he posted the story of the experience on his blog, and did an interview about it. I think it’s a horrible story. He knows it’s a horrible story. He said any comments posted that eroticized the event would be deleted and the people who posted them banned. It’s not a sexy story, it’s a terrifying one. It was hard to read, incredibly hard, not just because of the story but because I realized- this guy is talking about it… but he’s not the only one who’s been there.
What makes me sad is that now those links to his posts are gone. Why? Because people used his honesty to tear him apart, as we do to people who express their darkness. It’s extremely vulnerable to say “I have thought/done some fucked up things”. I hope he allows these posts to be public again soon, because I think they’re a HUGELY important part of the puzzle, and how can we talk openly about consent unless we talk openly about when consent is ignored/ broken, or betrayed?
Or there’s the other side- we eroticize it, present Hyde as a frightening but charismatic Dominant figure. Sociopaths are so sexy, after all. So rather than be seen as a n00b Domme, I continued to smack her while she sobbed, because she didn’t safeword so it was ok, right? But it wasn’t. Why did I not safeword myself? Because I wanted her to find me sexy, scary, fun to play with. I knew that it can be hard for many reasons for a submissive to safeword in scene and I kept going anyway. That’s hard to sit with.
Even when you know all the techniques… you can still fuck up. And it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or that your submissive is a dangerous bottom. It doesn’t mean it should be blown off as “oh, BDSM is playing with fire”- ok, sure, but that doesn’t mean we should have fire extinguishers or that we start giving matches to arsonists. It means that we live in a society that puts pressure on women to please their partners and on men to be tough and hard. It affects all of us. Of course it does. And we need to reflect on how those social norms affect us within BDSM… whether or not we realize it.
Please consider submitting your story to the Safe/Ward blog carnival. It’s anonymous, after all, but it’s a major first step in pulling back the curtain.
So after a discussion on Twitter between Consent Culture activist Maggie and a guy who goes by @crash_restraint, wherein he ended up harassing Maggie about consent culture and what we were doing- i think originally he was wanting to help but instead was just tweeting at her til she got overwhelmed and asked him politely to slow down. He then whinged about how "oh, white straight cismales don’t get a voice in this discussion, even if they’re allies, I SEE", because she asked him to give her some time, and because she didn’t respond to his email fast enough.I pointed out that in a discussion about consent and boundaries, maybe he should, I dunno, respect politely stated limits? I also suggested he email me with his suggestions in full, because hey, I like hearing people’s ideas about this stuff- he emailed me, and the text of the email is below. He said I should publish it in full, because the context was important, “if you think anyone cares”. See what you think:Below is the E-mail I sent Maggie last night, and as a starting point, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in response to it. Since writing this, I’ve had some other ideas of my own, but I’d love to hear your response to my initial problem statement first, both because I think it would help me frame my proposal in context, and because, frankly— I already went through the effort to write this much, and want to be assured I’m not completely wasting my time talking to you.To avoid wasting *your* time, though, to be clear, I have no interest in publishing anything via your blog. You already seem to be in support of the idea that I shouldn’t be allowed to speak freely on /my own twitter feed/, why would I want to express myself in a forum that /you/ moderate?Also, I no longer have any interest in working with you and/or Maggie to implement anything, but I would still love to get your opinions on my thoughts, in case I eventually find other partners with whom I could put them into practice. If and once you reply to this E-mail in a way that shows an openness to reasoned good-faith dialogue.———— Original Message ————Subject: Lynching rapistsThe idea that our community would tolerate, let alone promote and celebrate, people known to be rapists, is completely repugnant to me.But I would like to think it’s more an issue that those people manage to slip through the gap of reasonable doubt. And I’m not sure how to solve that.Obviously, we can silently boycott those who we have some sort of first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing about — but that’s a pretty weak salve. I’ve seen cases where a local kink scene has driven someone out based on accusations ranging (in my judgment, worth who knows what) from almost certainly true to pretty clearly farcical. And in every case, even ignoring questions of the accuracy of the verdict, the situation was handled HORRIFICALLY badly on all sides. Without some sort of clear guidelines for how to respond to such situations, all we get is random drama.As I tweeted, while that may be better than silence, it’s also easy to see why people are eager to avoid it — it can completely tear a community apart, in the worst cases (and not always because anything was deeply rotten). Obviously, throwing our hands up and saying “well, it’s a legal problem” does not constitute working towards a solution, either. But I’ve not seen any evidence of the community’s ability to dispense extralegal justice in any way that could be called seemly or effective.So..what do we do?My impression of the email specifically to me went something like… so… as an ally, you want to refuse to work with us, steal our content AND then not credit us? AWESOME. I like how one of my friends put it- “I wanna fight against rape culture and I won’t take no for an answer!”Also, a subject line like “lynching rapists” either indicates to me that he thinks it’s a good idea, or that he’s worried about being seen as doing that. Both are problematic, in my opinion- I’m not interested in mobs, personally, I want to see harm reduction practices in place. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see any suggestions on that front. Do you?I would recommend that anyone interested in being a constructive ally, not just to Consent Culture, but to marginalized people in all areas, is to read this awesome essay “How to Be An Ally If You Are a Person With Privilege”.And try talking less, listening more.(sorry about the formatting, dunno why it won’t respond to my page breaks)
TW for rape, victim blaming, police being dicks
This woman, moments after her rape last year, had to scream and cry on a public street just so the police would actually take her to the precinct - they wouldn’t because they told her what happened wasn’t a crime.
This is the excerpt from her email she sent me, before we met up:
There was one female officer, a sergeant, who responded to my 911 call that night. I truly thought, She’s a woman, maybe I can get through to her, woman-to-woman. As the police tried to escape to their cars and leave me weeping pantyless on the sidewalk, I followed her, begging with her to listen to me. I said to her something like, “Please, please help me… Imagine as a woman what this must feel like for me…”
The quote on the poster is what the female sergeant replied.
On a different note, this is going to be the last photo until the weekend is over. This project is tough to manage, but it’s probably also tough to read as well. I think it would be good for all of us to take a couple of days to just breathe. Okay? Okay. No clicking onto the site, either. Just take some time for yourself.
We need to have open eyes about abuse and assault, particularly in the kink community, where we talk a lot about how important consent is.
One of the things I keep hearing about abuse in the BDSM community is “oh, but that doesn’t happen HERE”. “I’ve never had something like that happen to me,” some scoff, “so it must be something you’re doing”, or “I’ve never heard of that happening here”. In each case, I have often had stories from people in those communities, unsure how to speak up or what to say locally, but feeling safe to discuss it with someone who will respect their anonymity and just listen. I put together a blog carnival a while back using articles about BDSM and abuse written by prominent bloggers. But apparently, that’s not enough.
Since starting this discussion with Maggie Mayhem, we have had many people come to us to confess their own stories, to say how yes, it does happen in their communities, but they’re too intimidated to come forward. So I want to make space for them, and for you.
Do you have other stories of entitlement culture and abuse in your altsex spaces? Please, please share it with me, so we can band together and say yes, this happens, and no, it’s not ok. Email me links to blogs, miss dot kitty dot stryker at gmail, or send me an email with your story (700 words or less) and I will post it anonymously for you- I’d appreciate if you can share where you’re from (as specific or not as you wish) and perhaps your age or gender to show the diversity of experience, but not necessary.
You don’t have to be a brilliant writer, you don’t have to spellcheck, just share your story. I will post as many as I can on February 4th. I am committed to keep this and my personal blog a safe space, and will publish anything that maintains that space with respect.
You don’t have to be silent anymore.
Normally I wouldn’t repost a whole blog entry, but I think this is important enough to. If you agree, please consider funding our work?
There’s a Salon article out right now. Maybe you’ve seen it- “When Safe Words are Ignored”, safewords being those things that help people doing play communicate their boundaries while play is taking place (often after some discussion about what’s going to be happening). Anyway, this article. It’s been taking the kinky internet by storm, and there’s a lot of backlash… again. Surprised? Not remotely, except perhaps at the fact that some of voices rebutting us the loudest are… well, you guessed it, pillars of the community, like respected author and presenter Janet Hardy.
Janet originally commented on a Bay Guardian piece about the consent culture fundraiser Maggie and I did last week. I was honestly kind of shocked about what she said-
A bottom who has withdrawn consent and is not safewording is abusing his or her top, by turning the top into a rapist without the top’s consent. Moreover, if you are a bottom who is unwilling or unable to safeword, you are not a safe bottom to play with, any more than a top who ignores a safeword is safe to play with. At minimum, you need to tell your top up front that you have this disability, so that your top can choose whether or not they’re willing to take the chance of playing beyond your consent.
While I think that in some ways Janet and I agree- that part of the problem is bottoms not safewording when they should- I think that what we believe should be the response to that is vastly different. I’ve played with someone and they didn’t safeword and turned out to have had an awful time, and it sucked, I felt awful, and, at first, I was pissed off at the bottom for not telling me what was going on. But then I reflected on it. Why didn’t she tell me? Did she want to please me? She had a trauma history- did I trigger her without either of us knowing until it happened? Did the culture we lived in give the impression that safewording showed weakness? I didn’t blow it off as “oh, she’s just an unsafe bottom to play with”- I began to realize when I unraveled the situation that the kink culture has some deep underlying issues around consent, sometimes.
When I bottomed, I know I used to hear Doms tell me that they were proud of me for not safewording, or that true submissives don’t safeword, that safewords were for tourists. We need safewords, was the general consensus among people I met, but they’re kind of a killjoy. Hm. I have safeworded and had it ignored, and I have not safeworded because they had violated our very clear agreement, I was afraid for my safety, and why bother, if they were going to rape me they were going to rape me. Safewording and having it ignored was endlessly more traumatic. It proved that they were only as good as the respect the other person had for them, and for me- and that a predator can wear a very convincing mask, until they don’t want to anymore. As a Domme now, I worry about whether or not bottoms I play with will be able to let me know if their boundaries are being crossed. I’m also aware enough to know that things can go pear-shaped and it’s no one’s fault. Trauma responses and triggers can manifest after years of being shut away. Not everyone feels safe saying they’ve been assaulted in the past. I can only do the best I can do, and if that’s not enough, then I deal with the fallout.
I admit in my blog, often, that I am not perfect- that I have been and can be manipulative sometimes, that I worry about my controlling nature and wonder if it’s always coming from a healthy place. But I would never, ever say the bottom is just unsafe to play with- that would effectively encourage them to keep being silent! I would take responsibility for my part, and ask them how I can help them feel safe now. That seems obvious to me, but maybe it isn’t.
As I told Tracy in part of the interview that she didn’t use, nobody likes safewords. It sucks having to use one, and it sucks hearing one from your partner. They are, however, an incredibly useful tool for facilitating extreme play (especially play with the fantasy or appearance of nonconsent, where “no no!” may mean “hell yes!”), a firewall that divides abuse from Eros - so we use them anyway, and I only wish that the non-BDSM world would do the same. Many longtime partners haven’t needed one in years, because they know one another’s reactions well enough that they can back off before matters get to that point… but anyone who plays with someone new, or does extreme play with a flavor of adversarialism or nonconsent, is playing with a particularly nasty kind of fire. -Janet Hardy- read the comments on Salon here for full context
"Nobody likes safewords". I find that an interesting attitude to have, personally. Because if even a community leader is saying that safewords are sucky, then that adds to the issue I want to talk about further- this attitude that being at a safe place where playing without a safeword is perhaps more intimate and more desirable. And if that is the attitude, does that not promote an unspoken attitude that while playing with safewords is important and safer, playing without them is desirable?
Like with condoms- if you say “everyone hates condoms, but, you know, they keep you safe. However, people who trust each other sometimes become fluid-bonded”, you’re not saying that condoms are bad, but you’re saying that without condoms might well be better. I mean, I spend a lot of time people how to enjoy negotiating in a way that’s both sexy and effective, and how to have hot safer sex discussions and practices- I think that making safer measures part of foreplay is an important aspect of this discussion. And hey, look at that, I like safewords and condoms. Coincidence? I think not. Sure, I can appreciate that people want to feel like they’re in sync sexually, that unspoken communication is enough- and it’s certainly possible to have that rapport with a partner. But how long do you need to know someone before that rapport is something you can trust? What signifies that you’ve done that legwork? How does one get to that safe place?
You shouldn’t even be having SEX, much less any sort of power exchange, if you don’t know who you are and how you expect to be treated… The community provides LOTS of resources, from books, to Fetlife groups, local munches, discussion groups, and educational events. Virtually every state has at least one, if not multiple educational conferences a year, most run by intensely ethical people whose mission is to educate. And I don’t know of a single one that hasn’t banned people for inappropriate behavior. Newbies don’t get in trouble because nobody offers to teach them…but they often do when they refuse to take the time to learn, to observe, and to develop relationships and friendships with people of integrity and real knowledge before diving in. -read Assent Matters on fetlifefor full context
Again, there’s this expectation that if you do enough work, you’ll be prepared and these things won’t happen to you- or, if they do, you’ll be the perfect victim. Who can possibly say when you know yourself enough to give full, enthusiastic consent? We don’t live in a vacuum, here! To expect that no one will have sex until they are completely self-aware- well, fuck, I guess I should stop, then, cause I haven’t reached enlightenment. I’m still figuring out who I am. Isn’t, well, everyone? “Who you are” and “what you want” is often somewhat fluid.
I was told that in my case I didn’t do a good enough job getting to know my first Dominant rapist- I had gotten references, I had taken time to get to know him (months, mind), I had safecalls and safewords in place and several play sessions under my belt before I ever let him tie me up. I was told, am still being told, over and over again, often by women who have themselves been abused, that I exercised poor judgment, that I didn’t do enough to protect myself.
So when do you know someone, exactly? If a couple of months of getting to know this person, and three one on one dates with all the “correct” precautions in place isn’t enough for bondage, what is? Six dates? Ten? If having several references isn’t enough, how many is appropriate to be exercising good judgment? Should you only play in public? Are public spaces safe? What do you do when the abusers are friends with the DMs, or, worse, the DMs themselves?
I know of at least two conferences that have not banned someone from presenting despite getting feedback that the presenter was abusive- both cited not wanting to get involved in personal issues as their reason. And, as I keep hearing, we don’t have any tribunal, any way to sort through these issues in a way that’s not biased, so spaces muddle through dealing with consent issues individually, not communicating with each other, each one making its own choice. I’ve seen both members of an abusive relationship banned from a community space in the interest of “avoiding drama”, even though legal orders were in place. I’ve seen spaces ban the abuser. I’ve seen mediation happen, as well. I’ve unfortunately seen the abuser be allowed to stay and the victim told to leave because the abuser was well-liked by the right people.
I also keep hearing the argument “well, this stuff happens in all communities, so…” Yeah, this is true. Entitlement culture is everywhere- churches, schools, the police, the government, swingers, and, yeah, the kinky community. Except those other communities don’t underline the idea of consent all the time. Safe sane and consensual, or its buddy, risk-aware consensual kink, share the idea that consent is pretty important, hence why it’s something we’re trying to bring some light to.
It’s fascinating how defensive people are about this idea, though. We agree that rape is bad, yes? And less of it would be good? So why then not discuss ways that consent can be treated like it’s important in this scene? I’m all for personal responsibility, and safewords, and also not blaming victims and not creating a culture of isolation and slut-shaming. Isn’t that a good thing? More to the point, I’m not just complaining- I’m actually proposing things communities can actively do to be more supportive. Why on earth is that being treated as an offense, exactly? Worst of all, many of these community members seem to be pointedly ignoring that most rapes happen with someone you know. Not a stranger. Someone you know, often well. So what then, exactly? How do you combat this issue when some of the predators are the ones in charge? And doesn’t that sound an awful lot like the way we as a society generally respond to rape..?
When we live in a world where fake, melodramatic rape accusations outnumber real rapes, then maybe we can have a discussion about worrying about that. But as of now, suggesting that people should deal with it internally, suffer being blamed and silenced, and be nice about it in the name of avoiding so-called “he said she said drama” means actively that real abuse is being ignored and enabled. And that is actively dangerous. Would you tell people who have been raped in any other setting not to report unless they’re the perfect victim and have perfect proof? Are you suggesting that the police are perfect at dealing with these situations, especially if kinky sex is or has been involved?
I was with a woman a month ago who reported rape to the police. It was someone she knew, and had a kinky relationship with once upon a time. We went to the hospital and waited for hours to be told we were in the wrong place but that the station was ready for us and had a female officer to talk to. Then we went to the police station, where we spent a total of 5 hours locked in a room- a room locked on the outside- while the all-male cops made statements that suggested she was somehow at fault. She, trying to do the right thing, didn’t wipe when she peed or shower from when the assault happen to when we got to the hospital- where she was given a rape kit 12 hours after we started the whole process.
At that point, of course, the kit showed nothing. There was no case- not because of anything she did, but because of bureaucracy and police fuckups. Had I not been with her supporting her, she would’ve dropped it anyway, simply because of the way to cops talked to her (and as a witness, they were pretty fucking awful). The pamphlet with info on what to do after a sexual assault? All the numbers and links were no longer valid. That’s what we’re dealing with, here.
All I could think was “if this had happened in a dungeon…”
DMs aren’t trained in first response. You’re told as a victim that we can deal with these things among ourselves, we don’t need to talk to the cops (cause in many places the cops will already be suspicious of kink generally- see Paddleboro). And then we don’t deal with it- we leave victims to drown on their own, keeping quiet because, well, you don’t want to be ostracized, do you?
Why are people reacting so poorly to this? I suspect that it’s because when you really sit and think about it, as Maggie and I did months ago when we started this project, about how many dimes you would have if you had a dime for every time you were sexually assaulted within the kinky community… well, you’d have a hell of a lot of dimes. And if you took one away for each time you told someone, you’d probably still have a lot of dimes. And if you put back a dime for each time you told someone but didn’t call it rape?
Yeah. It fucked with our heads too.
Because if you have safewords in place, and respected references, and the person is well-liked by the community and seems good at what they do (maybe even presents workshops), and you’ve negotiated and read all the books and done all the stuff you’re “supposed” to do, we expect that these things won’t happen. That we’re safe. And sadly, that is not the case. I don’t think we, as a “community”, want to hear that, because it is fucking terrifying.
A lot of this is wrapped up in the fact that, as Maggie said to me, “we’re a community until something goes wrong- then, we’re all individuals”. That’s really interesting to me from a culture standpoint, and I’ll be writing more on exactly that soon. How can I in good faith say to radical feminists “no, you don’t understand, kink isn’t abuse because of consent and safewords and our focus on mutual respect” when, in fact, the community for the most part has proven me utterly wrong?
Keep an eye open for a post on community, “community”, and what that means for accountability.
This is why I’m so angry. Because if I wasn’t angry, I think I would lie down in the fetal position, so consumed by depression and sadness that I’d give up. And I can’t give up. We can’t give up.
-Reposted from Purrversatility
So Maggie Mayhem and Kitty Stryker did a Safe/Ward workshop discussing consent and entitlement in the kink community a few months ago and it was a roaring success. They pitched it to the feminism and sexuality conference Momentum at the same time. It was accepted, which is awesome- but they need some help getting there… so they’re having a party!
Expect to see their usual awesome gift basket raffles of local sex and sensuality businesses as a way of saying “hey, sex *can* be hot, fun, and consensual” while helping them raise money to take trains, planes and automobiles to spread the word about consent culture. They have offerings ranging from body work to fancy sex toys, from companies like Crash Pad, Vixen Creations, Crystal Delights, Cleis Press, Padded Kink, Femina Potens, Rodeoh, and more!
Curious what Safe/Ward is all about? They’ll be putting together a brief overview of what Safe/Ward is and why combating entitlement culture is important (you can read more about the last one Kitty did with Maggie Mayhem in San Francisco here:http://blogs.sfweekly.com/ exhibitionist/2011/08/ bdsm_abuse_kinky_community. php ). Maggie and Kitty also plan to have various performances by their friends, and maybe, just maybe, a kissing/spanking booth- ooh la la!
The mini workshop and fundraiser event is on Jan 24th at the Center for Sex and Culture, and they’re raising money to present it at Momentum March 30-April 1st in DC. Beyond that, they hope to take this workshop elsewhere- Maggie’s going on tour this summer, and Kitty’s sneaking out of SXSW to present Safe/Ward in Austin. Help them spread the word about how to make the BDSM/altsex scene a safer, more enjoyable space… for all.
Come have some drinks, watch some performances, buy some art, and bid on our raffle!
Can’t come to our event? Please consider donating! This allows us to travel to communities that might not be able to afford to fly us out or house us, but really need our help promoting consent culture in their playspaces!
So we want to work on making cards with the Consent Culture logo on the front and a QR Code for the site on the back with the site and a tagline.
What should be added to this site to make it a good resource?
I was thinking the resource section should be more localized- like, a list of general resources, and a constantly updating list of local resources to be checked over and added to by locally appointed people every 6 months or so. What do you think? If you are into this idea, would you be willing to help formulate such a list for your area?
This was also suggested by the Boston Consent Culture Working Group-
" Maybe some sections like… "What do I do if I think my consent has been violated?" or "What do I do if I want to create a consent culture?" or "What do I do if I think I broke someone’s consent?" with both some text, some ideas, and resources that can give more info?"
Taking suggestions! Let’s make this a living document.
Anonymous asked: What do you do when the person who hurts you is the one you're meant to go to for help? At my first play party I went to, the DM put his kilt over my head and rubbed his naked crotch in my face while I was on a spanking bench, being spanked by a friend. She laughed, he laughed. Everyone laughed, a lot. I stayed silent, I didn't know what to do. Now I'm too scared to go back and talk to my kinky friends again. I just wanted to tell someone. What was I supposed to do?
I would speak to the organizers of the venue or another DM if possible. That’s really awful that it happened to you! :( Frankly I would kick up a fuss and gather my friends around me to stand up with me. It’s scary out there alone.
But today, I want to offer for you all a call to arms guest post by Nadia West, blogger over at Diary of a Kinky Librarian. It’s the original piece posted on Good Vibrations Magazine a couple days ago, where she talks bluntly (and without identifying the perp) about an abusive experience she had.
When her abuser commented on the post (outing himself, may I add), protesting that she was lying, that he was a “a published writer and sex educator who may justifiably be considered an expert in the subjects I teach” and who has presented many places (I guess to add weight that because he “is someone” he must not be abusive..?) GV initially approved his comment. Why, I have no idea, and I’d be curious to hear how they justified that, particularly as her post had no identifying information. He went on to add smugly that the second conference leaders “concluded that she described a consensual act, not assault”- like anyone but the survivor can conclude that. Sound disappointingly familiar?
Anyway, GV removed that post, and instead posted an edited version with this disclaimer:
Editor’s note: Per our company policy, Good Vibrations made an internal executive decision to remove the original blog post. This is the updated version. We apologize for any discomfort this caused.
Discomfort for whom, I ask?
I should add that I care about Good Vibes. They sponsored the Boston Safe/Ward workshop (notes to be up soon) and they’ve published all the Safe/Ward stuff I’ve sent them. But as I said in my community leaders post- don’t be afraid to put your foot down. I’m sure GV didn’t mean to be silencing, but by trying to… avoid drama? stay neutral, maybe? they ended up silencing Nadia, even though she didn’t name names.
Read the post in full here.
You are a community leader, or a host, or a DM. Other people are watching you. If you’re smacking asses without permission, or cracking jokes about raping people, or victim-blaming, other people pick up on that and decide it’s ok to do. If you don’t speak up about a problem or don’t call someone out on their shit, people are watching you do that and deciding how to handle issues themselves based on that. If you don’t follow up a boundary violation with clear action or make excuses for a predator, people will realize that you aren’t to be trusted with that information. Some won’t come to you. Some won’t come to your spaces at all. You have a responsibility to go above and beyond when it comes to holding people accountable and creating integrity in your community- that’s what being a leader is all about.– Safe/Ward: A “What You Can Do” Guide for Community Leaders (via kittystryker)