Fetlife's done something really interesting lately.
They've done some sort of weird search query blocking, where you can't search the words rape, raped, raping, force, forced, forcing, incest, child, infant, prostitute. Oh, those fetishes still exist on Fetlife, never fear- but now, you have to put them in quotation marks. So, it's not rape, it's "rape". Unless, of course, you look up rape/incest/prostitute play, in which case that's ok. Also, phrases like "rape culture" and "raping her" are ok not in quotes. And nonconsensual nonconsent is available to browse. Way to cover your asses, Fetlife!
Sexual assault meanwhile still shows up without quotations. As does abuse. As does nigger, whore, and, of course, fag ("Fag Bashing" being the name of one delightful such group that comes up when you search that one... awesome!). You don't need quotation marks around those words to indicate you're not being serious, I guess, or to say that it's ok cause it's only roleplay.
Note: I enjoy some rape roleplay myself, so don't get me wrong there, but I find it interesting what's been decided to deserve that special, "make sure it's not for realz" attention and what hasn't.
By the way, as part of my research for the workshop Maggie Mayhem and I are doing, we've been paying attention to these things, and that blocking stuff? That's new. Interesting. I'll be curious to see what maymay has to say about all that if he's got the energy...
Anyway, I blogged last week about how abuse and sexual assault happens in the BDSM community and how it often doesn't get addressed in any meaningful way, thereby enabling it. I got a lot of support, and of the people I knew, I was fascinated by the fact it was often from people who don't go into community spaces much anymore. Of the people I didn't know, one of the things I kept hearing was "and this is why I'm not part of the community/have left the community".
But I also got a lot of shit for it. I was told I was doing a disservice to the community by speaking out, that being sexually cajoled must be some sort of fetish for me, that there are precautions I could've/should've taken to avoid it (thereby suggesting that by not taking enough precautions it was partially my responsibility). If I had written this when I was 18-22, I would have been violently triggered and probably left the "community" myself.
But I'm not.
|Photo by Tex Allen|
And I'm not scared, I'm not shamed, I'm not shutting up and sitting down. I am fucking PISSED OFF. And even more determined than before.
Let me start with this:
Also fascinating was that the people who were the loudest about how I was responsible for my own assault were almost all women, and most often sexual assault survivors themselves. How creepy is that? We don't need a male Dom to stomp in and slut shame us, because we've internalized all this shit so much that female submissives will do the work for them. Awesome. In the real sense of the word- inspiring a lot of (horrifying) awe.
Fun fact: the original poster changed the title of her blog post from "Abuse in the Community? Try Irresponsibility" to just "Abuse in the Community?", and apologized for continuing to debate as if I had not said no (even though in some ways the cult of "did you fight back enough" can be equally harmful). However, in her apology, she said, " I don't know if it just wasn't prominent enough or if the other things she had said in the article contradicted it in my minds eye." Way to suggest that not reading thoroughly enough was somehow my fault! ::sigh::
|Photo by Violet Carson|
Still, Master Ray acknowledges, Hauff's alleged use of such techniques as bladder manipulation and electric shock, which are at the outer edges of the bondage-play repertoire, give him pause. "If he did spring this on her, then he crossed a line," Master Ray says. "That would not be tolerated in the [fetish] community."
-Will John Hauff's Gorean Bondage Fetish Set Him Free?, Seattle Weekly
|Photo by Leng Montgomery|
That is unacceptable and I absolutely will not sit back, as a kinkster and a sex worker, and listen without protest.
This isn't just about individuals, people. This is our community. If we can show that we are responsible about how we handle bad situations, and we can actively show that we hold people accountable, then we have a defense against BDSM being abusive. But when we cover up for our abusers, when we have rape-y people teaching classes (I kid you not) on how to be better at being rape-y, when these predatory people are (often, I think, consciously) super charming and friends with the major players in these communities (if not pillars of the community themselves) then we enable abusive behaviour. There's no nice, tactful way to put that. I mean, really now, if I get pushed to do something I don't want to by someone who is friends with the DM, am I going to go to the DM for help, particularly when I see that people jump down the throats of other victims who speak out? No. I will quietly pack my toybag and leave, and the community loses yet another player by being accessories to a crime, over and over again.