A Bill of Assertive Rights

A Bill of Assertive Rights

I. You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts and emotions, and to take responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.

II. You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses justifying your behavior.

III. You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to another person’s problems.

IV. You have the right to change your mind.

V. You have the right to make mistakes – and be responsible for them.

VI. You have the right to say, “I don’t know.”

VII. You have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.

VIII. You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.

IX. You have the right to say, “I don’t care.”

X. You have the right to say, “I don’t understand.”

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From “When I Say No I feel Guilty”
By Manuel J Smith Ph.D.

Cool New Features

I just discovered some wonderful sharing features on this blog template that either weren’t here before or I’d missed.  If you look at the bottom of each post, you can now either directly email it to a friend (or yourself, for future reference), print it, or share it via either Twitter, Facebook, or via the dropdown box, several other sites.

There’s also a “Like” button – hint, hint <g>.  I’d rather have comments and discussion, but I’ll take what I can get ;->

I love modern technology.

New Blog Up

So as to not hijack this entire blog, I’ve started a new one dedicated to stopping bestiality at StopBestiality.

Original title, huh <g>?

We now return you to your regularly scheduled topics of “garden variety” abuse of human beings, and my own personal ramblings and rants.

Fibromyalgia, Overexertion, and Pissed Dominants

Like many others with fibromyalgia, I’ve started routinely using the wheelchairs in airports, because having to stand in line at security just destroys me, but I feel hellaciously guilty about doing so.  Part of me really gets that it’s just a tool to help me manage my energy and strength, but the other part feels like such a failure.

Another sub on Fetlife spoke about how her master deals with her fibro.  I actually envy her her master giving her “holy hell” for overexerting herself when she has had to say no to him.

I wish my ex had had the balls to recognize that my saying no to him because I was just in too much pain or too tired had nothing to do with him *or* my submissiveness.  All that was to him was obviously something that took away from what *he* wanted from me, when he wanted it <sigh>.

There were times I’d arrive at his house so wiped I could barely make it in the door from the car, and he’d actually get pissed that I needed to lie down and put my feet up for a bit before dinner *and* that I hadn’t shown up dressed to kill.  On the occasions when I collapsed after dinner and fell asleep, he really lost it.  He so rarely ever seemed to really get how badly I was feeling, and almost always seemed to take it as a personal affront when it interfered with his pleasures <sigh>.

I got holy hell all right – but it was because somehow I’d committed some kind of capital crime and deprived him of what he wanted, not because of any concern he may have had for me.

I don’t think he ever got just how much work even dressing up is, particularly when you have to pack and load a car, complete with luggage and dog and dog’s gear, and then drive an hour or more.  It’s not easily done in stockings and heels anyways, but especially when already hammered with fibro.  And after the battle of the trip in rush hour traffic, it wouldn’t have been much easier.

But you know, I had to get through the rest of my day, with work, packing, the travel, and everything else.  I could *not* skip working or quit early just to reserve the energy and time to dress up on top of being the one who had to do the travelling.  I just couldn’t.  It wasn’t like he was supporting me or planning to.  I had to still take care of my own life first.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough energy left to play dress up doll for him on demand, much as I wished I could have.

He, however, is the fucking Energizer Bunny, pretty much no matter what is going on in his life.  That has its advantages, but the ability to understand what a person with fibro is going through does not appear to be among them.

I have no doubt he will tell my successors and anyone else who will listen how much I objected to dressing up, and how much I resisted playing, but without any of this context – and the context in this case was everything.

I know he told me things like this about his wife that I later learned *had* to have been equally out of context because they made no sense with only the information he had given me, so I have no reason to believe he’ll do anything different now.

And I have no doubt he’ll be telling people what a bad submissive I was because I wouldn’t obey his orders to do this – which again is a matter of context.  I kept telling him I physically could not do it – and he kept demanding and getting angry when I couldn’t, and then accusing me of “not [being] submissive enough”.

But when a dominant continues to insist that the sub do something that is physically harmful to herself, and that she disregard her own well-being to do so, that is an untenable situation, and anyone with even a modicum of self-esteem will – and *should* – refuse such orders.

That is not a dominant.  That is someone who is abusing (or attempting to abuse) his power.  To continue to insist when told it’s not possible, and is physically damaging, is a definite form of violating limits.

Being a Sadist if You Have Buried Anger

CloudyHead asked if he should be a sadist if he’s dealing with buried anger towards his mother and feeling resentment towards women.  Here is my response:

I completely agree that acting on buried anger of this sort is not healthy, and I can tell you from experience on the receiving end that it will not end well unless you’ve done one hell of a lot of work on yourself, by yourself, after you’ve recognized the problem – and you are really completely willing to accept your partner’s input and feedback.

You are at least ahead of the game in that you recognize the issue and are asking the question. What’s really scary is those who don’t recognize the connection between those pasts and present relationship issues, particularly in the D/s realm. Sadly, there are many.

So no, I don’t think you should avoid being a sadist, if that’s how you lean, but you do need to be extra careful to be sure where you’re coming from at any given time is healthy, as well as to educate yourself very, very well about wiitwd, and how to have a healthy BDSM relationship.

Learn the signs that indicate that your partner is having an issue as a result of something you are doing, and learn how to step back, evaluate that as objectively as possible, and to do something about it.

And if at any time you are aware of feelings of anger coming out – or your partner is complaining about that, cowering in fear of you, etc. – do not play until you’ve calmed down. Playing when angry is a recipe for disaster, especially if it stems from childhood issues such as these.

As to whether these are the “right” fantasies or not, there is no right or wrong when it comes to that. Your fantasies are what they are. The better question is whether or not you ought to act on them or not, and if so, how, when, under what circumstances, etc. Only you know how well you can control your own behaviour, what will set you off, etc.

And, as @FreakShow said, it’s also quite possible to have buried resentments you’re not even aware of, and behaviors that result from that that you are also not aware of. That’s one thing I’m struggling with myself. One very helpful way to deal with this is to watch your partner and others around you for clues, in the form of how they react to you – and to ask people you trust for honest feedback and to point out when they see you doing something. If you are not getting the response you want or expect, check yourself first to see if there might be something you are doing to generate that. Let the people around you, and those you are closest to, be your mirrors to help learn what your effect on others is and when.

Ask for feedback, and suggestions about what you might do better – and pay attention to it. It might not make sense to you initially, but if you already knew how to monitor your own behavior, you’d be doing it. This is another tool to learn how.

It’s the Internet, Stupid! How the Online World Encourages Abuse in the BDSM Subculture

I received a private message from someone who was commenting on how BDSM per se doesn’t inspire abuse, but that “…people watch vids on the internet, get it into their heads that subs are just human punching bags that will do anything for anyone and that misunderstanding of everything does cause abuse”.

Yup, you’ve hit the nail on the head, guy.  No, it’s not BDSM per se that is the problem, but all of the rest of the crap – and I include the books, including the Story of O and all of the older books and videos, not just the new crap and the Internet influences – that cause the problems.

Or, more precisely, giving them too much weight is what does it.  There’s nothing wrong with getting ideas from these sources, but one has to understand the limits of that.

I’ve found that the ability to separate fantasy from what’s viable in real life is sadly lacking in many, and it is the use of these books and videos essentially as “how to” manuals instead of recognizing them as pretty purely wank fodder that leads people astray.

Couple that with the emphasis on secrecy and confidentiality, and a whole lot of really bad – and nonconsensual – stuff gets swept neatly under the rug where it never sees the light of day, and the perpetrators get away with it with more and more people.

Those who eventually wake up to the abuse they are suffering are often too embarrassed to be open about it for many reasons, including embarrassment that they fell for it in the first place, plus fear of being ostracized for breaking the code of silence, especially if the perpetrator is popular or friends with the local community’s leaders, or is powerful in some other way perhaps outside the scene altogether.

Interestingly enough, at the class that Midori and I both attended, when asked how many people in the room had been raped, half the hands went up – and when asked how many of us had reported the rape, all but one went down.  The pressures to not report it are strong, even in the kink world.

Sadly, those who will not or cannot keep their bottoms safe on various levels tend to screw things up a lot for everyone.  I cried when reading an excellent post this guy wrote about why we do wiitwd, going into depth about the passions invoked and the challenges of taking a hard scene and coming out safely on the other side with a trusted dominant, because I do so crave being with someone who can do that with me.  Continue reading

The Problem of Abuse in the BDSM Subculture

I wrote the following in response to a private message from a friend thanking me for my post on the Midori’s Lounge Fetlife group entitled “Does the BDSM Subculture Encourage Abuse?”:

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Abuse in the BDSM community is a big enough issue that Midori actually attended the class I mentioned in my last post to try to understand it better, and is working on ways to get it out on the table more.  She told me that parts of some of her existing workshops, particularly the Archetypes one, are designed to skirt along the subject without using so many words, in a way that elicits participants to bring it up.

The problem is that so much of what can be abusive can also be really hot, in the right circumstances, as she pointed out during the workshop, or, as she mentioned, it makes for great wank fodder.  Nothing wrong with wank fodder, by any means – but the problem is that far too many people take the erotica not as stories to get off to, but as “how to” manuals for how to go about all of this.

Midori actually agreed with me about my theory that this world has a tendency to attract a greater-than-normal percentage of abusers.  We also discussed the body distortion issues.  Around here and in other places I’ve been, we seem to have a particularly high percentage of people who are truly grossly and massively unhealthily overweight.  She said that in place like New York and LA, though, that reverses, and the tendency is more towards anorexia.  Either way, it is gross distortion of body perception and feelings about one’s body, on a percentage of the community greater than in the vanilla world.

While not always tied together, there does also happen to be a very high correlation between such extreme body issues and having a history of being in abusive relationships, having abusive childhoods, etc. Continue reading

Abuse in the BDSM World Class

I attended an excellent class last night at the SF Citadel given by 415grl.  If you are either a victim of abuse or know or believe your own self to be an abuser (or consider yourself or a loved one to have an anger management issue) and are seeking help, please get in touch with the Manalive program at 415-861-8614, or mmanalive@comcast.net. (Yes, there are two “m’s”; that’s not a typo.)

Manalive is a program developed to help male abusers learn anger management and to stop abusing.  It is one of, if not *the*, most successful programs in the country, according to a variety of sources.  Its success led to a request to develop a program to help the female victims of abuse, which turned into Womanalive.

For those of us in the BDSM subculture (thanks, Midori!), there is a further offshoot called Humanalive that helps people examine abuse in a BDSM context and learn to create healthy, nonabusive D/s, M/s relationships.

Please don’t be put off by the male abuser/female victim paradigm if you are gay, lesbian, or transgendered.  The concepts work for everyone, and the programs are very receptive to people of all persuasions.   The paradigm is built on the fact that in our male-dominated culture, we have all pretty much absorbed a range of concepts that follow directly from the “male superior” model that drives our society, and a lot of those are pretty central to a lot of abuse.

 

Bestiality and Lack of Consent

Guess what turns out to be one of the single largest reasons both men and women to engage in bestiality?  Yup, the fact that no negotiation is required or involved.

Translation, folks: no negotiation = no consent.

“Perreti and Rowan (1983) investigated a sample of 27 men and 24 women, aged 17 to 28, who had practiced sexual contact with animals at least twice a month for a minimum of 2 years…

“… For the majority of men (93%) sexual expressiveness was a factor for engaging in sexual contact with animals over this long period of time.  Sexual fantasies were named by 81%, no need for negotiation by 74%, no human social involvements necessary by 63%, economical reasons by 59%, and emotional involvement by 26% of the men.  The most important factors for the women were emotional involvement (88%), no human social involvements necessary (75%), no negotiation (58%), sexual expressiveness (46%), sexual fantasy (38%), and economical reasons (21%).”  [bold emphasis added] (p. 213)

– Andrea M. Beetz in The International Handbook of Animal Abuse and Cruelty: Theory, Research, and Application, ed. Frank R. Ascione, PhD

“The opinion prevails that any form of sexual contact with animals and especially penetrative acts are per se abusive, since it is ot possible – as with children or the mentally impaired – to obtain consent to such an act from the animal (Ascione, 1993; Beirne, 2000).  Beirne (2000) provided a thorough and informative discussion of this question of consent and argued for a definition of any kind of sexual contact with animals as interspecies sexual assault…”

– ibid.; p. 210

“Beirne (2000) states that, independent from the kind of force used and the reactions of the animals, all sexual acts between humans and animals are wrong.  One argument he proposed is the potential for coercion that prevails in almost every situation between humans and animals…  Physical, psychological, economic, or emotional coercion is almost always involved in sexual approaches to animals (Adms, 1995, cited by Beirne, 2000), as in the sexual assault of children or women, and therefore consent cannot be given, and the sexual activity is forced (Beirne 2000).  The decisive criterion… is not the imbalance of power, but rather thatn one of the involved parties cannot consent or communicate such consent to sexual acts.  Both involved parties must be conscious, fully informed, and positive in their desires in order to be able to give genuine consent [emphasis added].

– ibid.; p. 211

Bottom line – if you fuck animals, or engage in any other form of sexual contact with them, you are engaging in nonconsensual behavior with a creature that is unable to consent.  This is not a kink; it’s sexual abuse of a helpless animal, end of story.  It’s a sickness, just the same as sexual abuse of children.  Your kink is not OK; sorry.  End of story.  It’s no more OK than it’s OK to push yourself nonconsensually on another adult, which behaviour we rightly routinely condemn in the BDSM community.

The section goes on to detail other characteristics of people who engage in sexual abuse of animals.  None of it points to being particularly well-adjusted.  It also delves more deeply into these connections with the known interaction of animal sexual abuse with violence against people and child sexual abuse.

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See more posts on the topic of stopping animal sexual abuse at http://stopbestiality.wordpress.com

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