Invitation to Participate in a “Needs Assessment Survey on Intimate Partner Abuse Among Practitioners of BDSM/Leather/Kink Lifestyles”

All interested individuals who are involved in BDSM/Leather/Kink lifestyles are invited to participate in a survey about intimate partner abuse. The purpose of this survey is to gather information regarding the quality of experiences had by those who sought help from domestic violence service providers, or those who wanted to seek help, but did not do so. The overall goal is to help service providers and outreach educators improve the quality of information, responses and interventions regarding the unique needs and experiences of individuals who live a BDSM, Leather or kinky lifestyle.

You are invited to take the survey whether or not you have been involved in an abusive relationship because the survey will collect basic demographic information about those who engage in BDSM, Leather and/or kink, as well.

The survey link is available here: https://www.psychdata.com/s.asp?SID=155554

The survey will take approximately 25-35 minutes to complete.

Please respond no later than January 31, 2014.

Your participation is voluntary. All responses are anonymous. However, there is potential risk of loss of confidentiality in all email, downloading and internet transactions. The final results of this study will be used for research and may also be published in a summary format in a peer-reviewed journal.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Elizabeth Fawcett, Ph.D., M.P.H., at efawcett@mail.twu.edu. This study has been reviewed according to accepted Institutional Review Board (IRB) procedures for research involving human subjects, and approved. If you have questions about the rights of research participants or the way this study is being conducted, you may contact Texas Woman’s University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at 940-898-3378 or via email at IRB@twu.edu.

Rape Accusations – Real or False?

In the past year or so, we’ve seen an explosion of discussions on both Fetlife and in the blogosphere about the problem of rape and abuse in the BDSM community, many of which I’ve commented on and linked to in other posts both here on this blog and elsewhere.  There is unfortunately a widespread belief that the majority of these accusations are false, and often motivated by a desire for revenge on the part of a jilted lover.

Well, let me tell you right now that not only is this patently untrue, but according to a recent article in The Guardian, even the widespread belief that most such accusations are bogus is actually undermining the investigation of them all.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that it follows from this that far fewer real rapists and abusers will be brought to justice when even the police mistakenly believe that most reports are false and don’t even bother to investigate them all diligently as a result.

Think about this for a moment.  Even the most heinous cases of rape or assault may suffer from a preexisting prejudice against even the claim that it happened, and official tendency to blow off all such claims as false.  Real victims of real crimes have a hard enough time obtaining justice without the entire system being prejudiced against them from the start like this.

This goes well beyond the old blame-the-victim mentality that has unfortunately already been around for eons to actually saying that people are lying about even being a victim to start with.  Allegedly as a matter of course.

I grow very tired of hearing the cries of “they are lying cause I dumped them” excuse…

So said a friend of mine in a discussion about the question of false accusations in a group called Critical Curmudgeons of Kink, an outpost of sanity in a crazy BDSM world, where such sacred community cows are routinely slaughtered, and where fools are not suffered gladly.

I get really tired of this too, my friend.  And even more tired of having been accused of the same myself.

I am tired of knowing that my ex is likely telling any new women he might decide to take up with that if they encounter me talking about what he did to me that I’m lying, and then regaling them with the same range of stories about how awful I am that he fed me about his then-wife when we first met, the one I later found out he’d lied to me then about being separated from.  Stories that I know will prevent them from even contacting me for a reference, or believing what I have to say, even though it’s information they really ought to have in order to keep themselves safe, because leopards don’t change their spots…

So, I’m particularly glad that there is information surfacing showing how low the rate of false accusations really is – and the distorted way of compiling the data.

It can’t come too soon, in my opinion.  The “blame the victim” culture in this country (and especially in kink circles) has simply got to stop.

My friend continues:

I will also point out that often charges being dropped are counted as false accusations when the reality is there was not enough evidence to take to trial not that it was actually a false accusation.

The Guardian article bears this out as well.

Which is part of why I am so vehemently opposed to the whole disgraceful “conviction or it didn’t happen” attitude we see so much of in our circles.

Most of these cases, even the most legitimate ones, never even get to trial, but not because it didn’t happen.

What’s more (and even more outrageous), when these cases that get dropped get counted as false accusations when they are in fact anything but, even the data that does exist about false accusations is distorted, showing a higher rate than is justified in reality.

Anyone with a brain intuitively rejects the idiotic notion that most (or even a lot of) accusations are false, especially since we all know perfectly well how badly the system itself routinely batters victims attempting to get justice.

As my friend (who has publicly mentioned personal experience with the matter) continues:

However it is still a huge gap between false accusations and convicted rapes, and I can tell you that a decent prosecutor will inform the victim of the you did it to yourself shit they will have to go through and many opt out at that point to save their sanity.

Very true.  We are all perfectly well aware of how this “blame the victim” business works, and how it is the victim herself who essentially ends up on trial in such cases when they do get to that point.

To which I’d only add that this is so if it even gets anywhere near a prosecutor to start with.  Which it often doesn’t.

By the time I finally reported the multiple rapes and nonconsensual battery (and resulting injuries) to which I had been subjected myself by a former dominant, for example, still well within the statute of limitations, the cop didn’t even want to take the report, and refused to even investigate it, telling me to my face that he thought it was a case of sour grapes by that point, or would at least be seen that way.  No way did he even go near the DA with the case.

And frankly, I was too afraid of the dominant in question to even try to insist he do so, among other things.

If anyone else gets hurt by this now-prominently placed jagoff, however, I will go to my grave regretting that I never reported it sooner.  Regretting that I suffered for months (and now years) in silence (from a legal point of view) and in physical agony without even going to the doctor or emergency room when I knew I should have to address some of the injuries, because you always think it will be better by morning…

Which was the main reason I finally stepped forward when I did – to at least *try* to protect anyone else from being victimized by him, since nothing in the world can ever repair the damage he did to me, both physical and emotional.  To at least try to ensure there’s a trail, for the next person…

I have spent tens of thousands of dollars since then coping with the injuries and fallout from them, however.  One of them has played a large role in costing me my ability to even function physically on a daily basis.  As such, it’s a never-ending daily reminder of what he did to me – which also always circles back around to the rapes and other violations of limits.

Interestingly, his last (or maybe it’s now the next-to-last?) submissive has actually moved halfway across the country now, following on the heels of comments that she suffered a “breakdown” after her relationship with him.  I can’t help but wonder what he might have put her through…  You really have to wonder about a dominant who’s collared more women than the years he’s been involved with them all collectively.

And my friend goes on:

While I do think there is a certain type of person with issues who does this in BDSM/Kink I think it is more about repeat offenses with the same people type ATTRACTED to BDSM/Kink that that it happens overall more in all society.

Indeed.

I’ve written a lot here in this blog and elsewhere about why I believe that BDSM is often used as a haven and shield to hide behind for many rapists and abusers.

No doubt there are some who are likewise into false accusations, but there is no reason to believe they constitute even a large percentage of such accusations anywhere, even in our circles, never mind “most”.

Bottom line, we are back to the point I always make – please BELIEVE people when they accuse others of rape or assault or abuse.  Do NOT blame the victim, do NOT try to minimize their experience.

You weren’t there, you weren’t in their shoes or their skin, and no matter what the perpetrator tells you to try to put his accuser in a bad light, you were not the one experiencing what he actually did to her, so you have no damn business judging.  (Fill in gender pronouns of your choice if others apply.)

Above all, please do NOT elevate those who are accused to positions of power and visibility where they can continue to harm others with the apparent blessings of the entire community.

Just because someone is an apparent leader in the community, or puts himself out there as an experienced mentor or assigner of mentors to mentees, or is well-liked, or a popular presenter, does not mean he’s necessarily a safe bet for anything at all. Check references carefully, insisting on talking to his earliest partners, and the ones with whom he is not on good terms, not just his current fan club.  Dig deep, don’t rely on surface appearances, no matter how nice he may seem, no matter how attractive or sexy or persuasive, no matter what fun toys he may have.  Talk to others to find out what they know about him and his current and former partners – and even who they disdain with respect to him, and then go talk to those people as well.  Don’t fall for that seductive domly come-on until you’ve really done your homework to establish that you are most likely actually in safe hands.

Just because someone who is accused of rape or other types of abuse may still do nice things upon occasion for his victim, either privately or publicly, whether within the ongoing relationship or long after the breakup, also doesn’t change the fact of the harm he did inflict upon her and the repercussions it has and might continue to have.  Some stains simply cannot be removed.

It is not the responsibility of the BDSM community or individuals within it to investigate allegations of rape, assault, abuse, etc. or to pass judgment about them much less establish penalties.

It is, however, the responsibility of every single one of us as human beings to extend compassion to the victims, and to honor them with at least believing them and helping them. To let them know that they are not alone, that they will not be blamed for coming forward, no matter how little others may believe what they say, or how hard their abusers may work to discredit them.

If you listen to tales of woe and claims of being falsely accused from someone who has been accused of rape or assault without also having an in-depth and open-minded and unblaming discussion about the matter with the victim, then you are judging with often much less than half the story, and with absolutely zero perspective about how that person was actually harmed.

(I myself have suffered at the hands of one who blamed another ex for all his woes, and made the mistake of believing it all at face value, only to ultimately find out exactly how he set everything up so that it might look, to him (and of course to anyone else he might describe the situation to), like it was actually she who was to blame, with nary a hint of insight into his own behavior or contribution to the problem.  I’ve often wished since then that I could talk to her, but believe she would not be receptive.  Let me state quite clearly here that I *am* receptive to talking to anyone else he might be involved with, or become involved with, present, future, or past, who would like to better understand what may have hit them, or just to commiserate, and I am likewise more than happy to share objective, specific, factually detailed, and documentable information about exactly what he did to me.  But I digress…)

The alternative to ensuring that we both believe and extend compassion to victims is what we’ve got now, a society in which the guilty know quite well that not only will they get away with their crimes, but that they will even be pitied themselves as the alleged victims of disgruntled exes with an axe to grind, or even be cast in the light of poor innocents like the two boys in Steubenville recently convicted of raping a classmate despite an actual conviction.

When we blame victims for their own assaults, and/or heap pity on their attackers, we lose a lot of our humanity both as individuals and as a community and a nation.

To all of you who have done this to me or to anyone else, while I don’t actually wish harm on any of you, I do hope that one day you will live to experience the pain of being blamed yourself for something that was done TO you by someone else, and watching your attacker go free and even be applauded and treated as a victim himself because you spoke out against him, left in peace to harm someone else who makes the mistake of trusting him inappropriately.  Or worse still, watch him be elevated into a position of trust where the chances of someone else being badly harmed are increased beyond the norm.

God forbid it should be your own daughter or niece who should suffer such indignities.  And God forbid they should be afraid to come to you for help for fear that you will blame them as well.

But if you are walking around talking about the compassion you feel for perpetrators, or how the victim had it coming to her for how she dressed or whatever, or accusing others of making false accusations just to get back at someone who dumped them when they speak up about mistreatment suffered at someone else’s hands, then this is exactly the message you will be sending, not just to your friends and acquaintances, but to your own loved ones, who very well may one day need your support to cope with the rape or assault that all women are statistically very likely to suffer at some point in time themselves.

If you’re not ready to pay that price in your own life, then for God’s sake, why would you engage in and encourage such behavior on the part of others otherwise?

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Have You Experienced Abuse in a BDSM Setting?

Leatherati has a survey on its website whose results unfortunately don’t particularly surprise me.  Asking “Have you experienced nonconsensual abuse during BDSM activities?), as of the moment, the totals are running as follows:

Yes – 57.5%

No – 37.7%

Maybe – 4.7%

This means that as many as 62.2% of the respondents may have indeed experienced abuse in a kink setting.

More than sixty two percent!

That’s almost 2/3 of the respondents.

Even if we leave off those “maybes”, that’s still more than 50% of the respondents having this kind of problem.

I spoke in a prior post about how awareness of the issue of abuse in the BDSM community is growing, and how then-IMsL titleholder Mollena Williams had asked, during one of her presentations, how many people were survivors of sexual abuse. Three quarters of the room stood or raised a hand.  That’s 75% of the people there.  Then she asked how many others knew a survivor – and the entire rest of the room was in.

That’s 100% of our population who has either experienced kink-related abuse – the vast majority at 75% – or at least knows someone who has.

These are obviously not scientifically valid samplings, but the numbers are damning, regardless of how specifically accurate they are.  Until such time as someone comes up with the funds to do a larger scale, properly constructed study, they will have to serve as representative.

The numbers will vary with such informal surveys, but the fact that we are even anywhere remotely near even half of our people being so affected, never mind forming a majority, is absolutely untenable.

 

Blaming the Victim of Lying About Harm Done to Her

I read a post in a certain person’s Fetlife writings putting forth a Zen parable that spoke of a woman who lied to her parents about who had fathered her out-of-wedlock child, blaming it on a “Zen teacher”, to whom the parents then brought the infant, telling him he must raise it.  He accepted the child with equanimity as they cursed him out for his hypocricy, just commenting, “Is that so?” (Another poster said the parable was originally a Buddhist monk, and the comment was “We shall see”, which is more how I remember hearing it originally.)

A year later, the daughter recanted, reportedly “distraught”, and Mom and Dad came back to the master, begging him to return the child, profusely apologizing for besmirching his good name, and received exactly the same serene response from the master as the year before, of “Is that so?”/ “We shall see”.

The moral, of course, is that women (or at least certain women) may lie (!) about what well-known masters have done, claiming harm that never actually happened, so one should not believe them when they issue accusations against the high-and-mighty, who often believe themselves to be invincible (at least in the BDSM world), particularly when they are better known.  It is likely to turn out that the complaints are what was untrue.

(Of course, it often turns out that the “master” isn’t that much of one to start with, except in his own imagination, and comparisons to Zen masters are thus absurd to the point of ridiculousness, but I digress…)

Another poster responded with a quote from the I Ching, which I quoted partially and responded to.  I am reproducing my response here because I fully expect that the OP will delete my posts, and this is an incredibly important issue – and there’s a reason it’s been raised at this point.

Because *my* moral to the story, with some known additional history (which could in fact also be played out in many ways by many people), is “Be careful, those of you who proclaim that your victims are lying about you when they tell the world what you have done to harm them, because we shall indeed eventually see…”


==============================

Second, a compromise with evil is not possible; and must under all circumstances be openly discredited.

Very well said.

Nor must our own passions and shortcomings be glossed over.

True, but if they are unrelated to the evil situation in question, they are irrelevant to the resolution of it and the discrediting of the perpetrator, and may only confuse an oftentimes far more clear issue.

IOW, pointing a finger inwards certainly may be necessary at times – but should never distract from when the fingers definitely ought to be pointed outwards. Even more importantly, it is essential that others not distract from the issue by doing this.

There is a time and a place to look at them together – and a time and a place to hold them separate.

If a person is grievously physically injured, for example, there is simply no excusing the perpetrator who has caused this injury by his deliberate actions, and it is irrelevant what the injured party may have done because inflicting a nonaccidental injury is entirely under the control of the perpetrator. It’s like no one makes anyone rape someone else, no matter what they may have been doing before it happens. No one makes another perform any other manner of evil or harmful deed. That responsibility lies entirely with the person who causes the harm.

If one is himself the perpetrator of a harm, of course, then not glossing over it (and not blaming the victim for it or accusing him of lying about it) it is certainly the only appropriate course of action.

Indeed, it is incumbent upon said perpetrator, if he is an honest person and wishes to be so perceived, to own up to what he has done without excuses.

Amazingly, sometimes all it takes is an honest apology to rectify even some of the most grievous of situations, even when vast amounts of documentation as to the cause of the problem exist.

Therefore it is important to begin at home, to be on guard in our own persons against the faults we have branded.

Just so.

It is also important to recognize, if an outsider to the situation, that these “faults we have branded” (and here we are, of course, discussing lying about a harm done) may lie (so to speak) far more in the home of the party doing the open branding than that of the one so accused.

Sometimes, large amounts of documentation exist that prove who is actually doing the branding and who ought to be the one justly discredited, if one but consults the blamed party who is so branded a liar. Not all accusations of lies are themselves the truth as in the parable told in the OP – and many such accusations can be readily so proven to be the actual falsehoods.

And indeed, in the end, the real truth will tend to out eventually…

I Hurt…

Yes, I hurt.  I still hurt.

I’m not talking here about the emotional pain and damage that lingers, although that is certainly still there, but about the physical.

Yes, lingering physical pain.  From what he did to me.  Pain that just simply will not go the fuck away no matter what I do.

Every single god damn morning of my life, as soon as I get out of bed and set foot on the ground, and sometimes even before I stand, the pain comes screaming back and I am thrown back to every bad thing that ever happened in that relationship.  Almost every day, intermittently throughout the day, the nightmares return in this form.  It’s gotten better, but it still just won’t go away.  Thank God the actual nightmare nightmares have mostly stopped, but the days still bring the haze…

I have enough fucking pain in my life already, thank you very much, but since X-man, walking has become much more of a torture than it ever was.  Hell, even standing.

Why?

Because of shoes.  Fetish shoes.  And him forcing me to wear them, and the screaming temper tantrums he threw when I would kick them off in agony, unable to tolerate the pain any more, even flat on my back.

Now putting one’s sub in these shoes in and of itself is certainly far from a crime, and I’m a lifelong shoe whore, so I actually loved the shoes he bought for me even though I seriously doubt that he ever actually heard that.

My personal shoe collection continues to expand rapidly to fill the available space in my bedroom, not just the closet, which it overran years before he came into my life.  It has now spilled out into the hallway, and long ago took over the space under the bed, dresser, and night table.  I don’t remember life without being a shoe whore, and reveling in the sight, sound, and feel of beautiful shoes.  I remember sleeping with the first pair of heels I ever owned in my teen wrapped in my arms.  I remember the smell and feel on my cheek and in my hands of many shoes even before that, even brushing my lips over them.

The problem is I’ve had bunions for many years, along with fibromyalgia.  On doctor’s orders (and because of simple inability to tolerate them since my late 20s), I’ve rarely worn heels for some years now, and when I do, there are only a few pairs I can tolerate, and then only for so long before they simply have to come off.  And that “only so long” isn’t so long, often measured only in minutes on my feet at this point, even in the most comfortable heels I own.

I’m only able to tolerate what I can because my shoes are all extremely high quality – soft, supple, very precisely and meticulously designed and handmade, angles and details all just exactly so, no rough edges, no pressure points, etc.  Translation – expensive as hell.  Translation of the translation – I can’t afford to risk screwing them up by playing in most of them, either, or to buy ones just for play.  I just don’t have that kind of money to throw away.  So I was basically perfectly happy that he enjoyed buying me the fetish shoes.  I loved them, and that he liked buying them – I just didn’t love what they did to my feet.

One of the problems with fibromyalgia is that not only does it take vastly less stimulus to cause a really noxious bad pain than it does for normal people, but then that pain just lasts and lasts and lasts, no matter what its source…  Imagine the lingering sting of even a minor burn that just keeps on going and going and going, day after week after month and sometimes even years on, exponentially longer than it would for anyone else, vastly out of proportion to the degree of actual injury.

This is what people with fibromyalgia have to deal with – and the pain-causing stimulus for many can be as light as a gentle touch from a friend, or the feel of a soft shirt or socks on the skin.  I’m not usually quite that sensitive, but with things like bondage, for example, if the ropes are even a hair’s breadth tighter than I can take (loose enough for a couple of fingers underneath), I experience it as agony, and things have to be adjusted.  If it goes on or too long, I will sometimes have trouble for weeks or months before things start to settle back down.  It’s a pain, but it’s doable, as long as the top knows what he’s doing and is patient enough.

Much of this sort of every day pain is unavoidable for people with fibro – but we sure as hell can take steps to mitigate the stimuli that are unessential and avoidable.   And I sure as hell expect that anyone I’m playing with and in a relationship with will actually listen to me when I tell them what isn’t working and is causing me a problem like this, and then stop fucking doing that!  That is just not an unreasonable request or expectation, even in a 24/7 D/s relationship.

Once limits of this sort are violated, especially repeatedly, it becomes a question of self-preservation, and protecting the property, to refuse to go along with more of it.  It ceases to be a question of submission or lack thereof, no matter how much you want that, because all bets are then off.  And a so-called dominant that would continue to try to force his sub to do things that are clearly harmful to her is by definition an abusive asshole.

The biggest problems with fetish shoes is that despite the fun factor of them, the reality is that they are cheaply made crap, and most of them hurt my feet like all fuck.  The ones he always liked to put me in cut like knives into my feet, and several pairs bent my feet at a such a sharp angle that they were absolutely intolerable even lying down.

And the biggest problem of all was that he simply refused to listen to me, and would fly into screaming rages when I could not tolerate some of these things and refuse to keep them on.  The net result was that I’d try and try to keep them on as long as I could, just to keep the peace, which certainly didn’t help.

He refused to take me shopping with him to find the clothes and shoes he wanted to buy me so that I could try them on to be sure they’d fit, or to even consult me while shopping online.  Oh, he’d get soooo angry about my not being able to wear most of it, particularly when it was too tight and I couldn’t breathe in in it even if I did manage to get into it.  Surprises are great, but honestly, he was buying so much and spending a bloody fortune, and the psychic damage from the fallout was just so not worth it, and took away all of the fun of it.  And I can’t afford the kinds of things he liked because the way I’m built simply requires that it be custom made because so incredibly little fits off the rack – and he hated what I did find that fit me off the rack (it was too pretty and wasn’t slutty enough, dontcha know) so the beat dragged on and on.

But I digress…

So there I was on my back with the nicest (and most tormenting) fuck-me heels on once again one night, screaming in agony because of the knives of the edges of the openings of the poorly-made shoes were cutting into my feet, and feeling like my feet were being bent to the breaking point.  He’d been particularly pissy that night, so I had decided to try to tough it out for longer than usual just to try to keep the peace.  And I really did want to please him, which I also think he never got.

It was impossible to manage, of course, and I had to kick them off.

The pain was so bad there was simply no leeway to ask to remove them any more than there’s time to ask permission to remove your hand from a scalding hot object you encounter.  It simply had to happen in the instant I did it; I couldn’t take even a split second more.  He had already refused me the permission anyways and ordered me to keep them on until he told me I could take them off, after I’d already kicked them off once, so there was simply no alternative than to just outright disobey regardless of the consequences.

It is just not possible to play when being caused bad pain that hits a 12 on a 1-10 scale, when the pain of your shoes causes you to literally need to safeword or otherwise end the scene.  It just isn’t.  Even the best sex on the planet isn’t enough to distract from something this agony-inducing.

He erupted on cue, yelling and screaming at me at the top of his lungs about how he hadn’t given me permission to take them off, and then said that he wanted me to be in bad pain at that point when I phrased it that way, and not able to find my headspace.

Yes, he actually said he wanted me to be in bad pain – the damaging sort, not the erotic sort we play with in kink.

He was so mad I swear you would have thought I’d tried to kill him.  I really wondered if he was going to try to kill me.

What the fuck?

I mean, yeah, sometimes doms do things like that at times, deliberately trying to keep you out of your headspace and in discomfort you don’t enjoy, which again isn’t in and of itself necessarily a bad thing, as long as it’s consensual – but I am a person with serious chronic pain problems, and he knew what a major problem this is for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which was endless discussions on the subject of what bad pain does to me including how it drags on and on.  He’d also had decades of experience with other people who also have fibro before I ever even met him, so you would think he would have understood the issues even without my explanations.  He certainly had initially seemed to.

Bad pain is a hard fucking limit, basically, and he knew it well.

Bad pain bad, god damn it, and he did not have permission to do that to me.  Ever.  We had already been over this so many times I had long ago lost count.  (Yeah, I know, what the fuck was I still doing with him.  I am still trying to find a fully satisfactory answer to that question…)

So, that episode eventually ended, or so I thought, and we went off to sleep.  You would think that getting out of the shoes would have allowed me to eventually recover, right, even if it took a few weeks?  So did I.

Oh, how very wrong I was!

That night, I woke up to go to the bathroom as usual in the middle of the night, and upon stepping out of bed in bare feet, the foot pain was so bad I literally fell to the floor, crying out and waking him up in the process.

I cannot describe the agony.

It was like walking across sharp rocks and broken glass at the same time while someone was gripping my feet in a vice grip and twisting my foot bones, you know how kids and other tricksters will sometimes grab your hand, squeeze really hard, and then wiggle their hands like they’re wringing out a wet towel, so that your hand bones kind of all crunch together and bump and grind over one another, a maneuver that usually brings people to the floor screaming.  Only no one was touching me; my feet were doing this all by themselves.

It was like knives stabbing through my feet, through every part of my feet, from the soles straight through to the tops and back the other direction.  It was like I was somehow walking on broken glass and rocks with the tops of my feet as well, not just the bottoms.  It felt like my foot bones were fractured and sticking up through my skin.

And then they were cramping up on top of it all.

I was lying on the floor literally crying – and trying to keep quiet and minimize the noise while I tried to let the pain go down and work out the cramping so that he could sleep and wouldn’t get even more upset.  I was so very afraid of what his reaction would be…  He always took great care of me when I was sick or hurt when he seemed to be able to identify the source of the problem, but it was never the case when he himself inflicted the injury.

I ended up crawling to the bathroom and back to bed.  I don’t know to this day exactly how I got on and off the toilet or back on the bed.  The pain of trying to stand was excruciating.

And that was far, far from the last time I had to do that crawling number, which by itself causes me other problems.

He never got it.  I told him about it, of course, but I really don’t think it ever connected.

And I never fully got over the problem.

It’s never been quite as bad as it was in those initial weeks and months, but still it’s always there at some level, several years after the fact, almost always agonizing to take at least the first few steps after I’ve been off my feet for a bit, especially after sleeping, always a nightmare to walk any more than short distances.  This goes so far beyond the problems with bunions I used to have that it’s not even funny.

Now I am mostly left with cramping that has progressed into my toes as well as still in the forefoot and arches, and I am unable to ever work those cramps out for myself.  My feet sometimes start arching and twisting inwards almost by themselves and head into contractures into the ankles and lower legs from which there is no escape and I am screaming in agony and terror trying to stop it.

Even my most comfortable shoes have become torture chambers much of the time and I have finally been reduced to living mostly in tennis shoe-like shoes and ugly old lady shoes and sandals, unable to wear even most of my beautiful flats for long any more.  There is absolutely nowhere to hide.

Try scrunching up your toes and curling your feet and walking that way and you’ll have only the barest start of an idea of what it feels like to be me trying to walk much of the time, but even that doesn’t even come close.  Try to bend your feet in half lengthwise bind them tightly with duct tape, and then in half again across the width and bind again and then walk.

I often still wake up with my feet hurting as badly after a good nights’ sleep as if I’d just been on a ten mile hike in shoes not designed for walking.  Massive cramps sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night, screaming in agony, unable to work it out, leaving me to writhe and cry in terror until it passes.  And every time it happens, I am thrown back, back, back…

On top of it, I’ve got plenty of other chronic pain problems which get me down for sure.  They have caused me even more mobility and other problems, and are also mostly ever present, but they are clearly from other sources.  They certainly don’t help my mood, though.

I also still have occasional twinges of pain from some other outright injuries he inflicted on me.

But it’s the feet and how they got this way and everything that they represent that are the ever-present problem that keeps the nightmare of the hellish parts of this relationship alive and wagging its taunting fingers in my face every waking day of my life.

Somebody please, make it all fucking stop…

Please…

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© 2012 kinkylittlegirl.  All rights reserved.  No part of this post or any other on this site may be reproduced by any means whatsoever, whether written or electronic, manual or automated, either in part or in whole, without express written permission of the author.

No Arrest, It Didn’t Happen? What If “Everybody Loves Him”? Abuse and Pillars of the Community

Believe it or not, there are people out there who actually believe that if no arrests are made, and no one goes to jail, that that means that no abuse could possibly have occurred, no matter what any of the victims may have to say.

It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is one of the most laughable ideas and statements that could have ever come down the pike.  All it means, really, is that the prick either hasn’t been caught yet, or there’s not enough evidence to actually convict him.  We all know of stories where people we *know* committed a heinous crime got off because of a technicality, or because they somehow managed to stay *just* this side of legality and avoid arrest and/or conviction.

Don’t forget, either, about the “pillar of the community” types who manage to hide things for years, whose crimes just haven’t yet caught up with them yet for one reason or another.

Yesterday, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 out of 48 counts of abusing vulnerable boys in his care over a period of decades in a scandal that has turned the state and university upside down for months now.  You have to understand that Sandusky and head coach Joe Paterno were like God in Pennsylvania for so long that I don’t remember life without them being at the helm of Penn State football, their names synonymous with excellence, being upstanding, exceptional citizens and role models, and more.  I wasn’t even a football fan for the vast majority of the time they were at the helm, and despite paying the subject zero attention over the years, even I have always known who they were.  These are men that everyone knew and respected, on a scale well beyond that of the average abuser like my own, or the creeps that raped Mollena, Kitty Stryker, and many others, way beyond the fame of any so-called “leader” in the BDSM scene including my ex.  Absolutely everyone loved him.

We do now have a conviction, and the 68 year old Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in jail, so yes, you could say that there is now the proof that it happened.  The evidence and testimony were pretty strong, and the jury only deliberated for 20 hours.  Even the defense isn’t really arguing it never happened, just trying to backpedal out and minimize the damage, for the most part, and trying to make others look bad to draw the attention elsewhere.

What came out, among other things, however, was some of the victims saying they never spoke up because they didn’t think they’d be believed, because they were just kids – and this was the great, unshakeable Jerry Sandusky.

How familiar does this sound?  Rape and abuse victims of all stripes not speaking up for fear that they will not be believed, particularly when their abuser is a pillar of the community, a “leader”, someone prominent in their field, perhaps even internationally?

And what about that midwestern preacher a few years back who was discovered to be a serial killer, burying the bodies in 55 gallon drums, who was only found out at last because one of his potential victims escaped, thanks to having a safecall in place?

Could anyone in their right mind seriously believe that the only thing that made these heinous crimes real was the creeps finally getting caught and convicted?

Even these obvious monsters have their supporters, people who never saw this side of them and continue to disbelieve what happened, even when presented with overwhelming evidence of guilt – but that does not mean that the alleged events never took place.

By its nature, abuse, is a constellation of crimes of isolation and often opportunism, thriving on privacy and secrecy, relying on victims who are intimidated and often have low self-esteem and no one to else to turn to for help, so of course it is rarely witnessed by anyone other than the perpetrator and his victim, especially in its most virulent forms.  Why are people so surprised to hear that Joe Blow SirCocksurehesGod was abusive to his partner even though they never witnessed it themselves?  And why in fuck do they choose to disbelieve the victims?

So what about everyone else out there suffering in an abusive relationship, dealing with date rape, dominants violating limits, etc.?  If even someone like the great Jerry Sandusky can turn out to be an as-yet undetected child molester and abuser, then what makes anyone have the audacity to think that if there’s not yet been a conviction that that means that nothing happened in a zillion other situations?  What makes people in the BDSM community so damn sure they can identify the real perpetrators and the real victims vs anyone else when someone says they have been abused?

How much pain and suffering could be avoided if we a) quit blaming the victims, b) quit assuming that only the prominent or quiet ones were automatically t

Sandusky must have thought he was home free because no one reported what was going on, and the one report that did happen some years ago got blown off.  How many other Sanduskys are out there, abusing children, animals, their partners, all as yet undetected by others?

My abuser abused me, and I don’t give a shit what anyone else says.  I know what happened.  I was there, and no one else was, for better or worse, and I live to this day with the fallout, both emotional and physical, of what was done to me.  Every morning I wake up in pain from what he did to me, still.  It never goes away.  He is prominent, both in the vanilla and kink  worlds.  He is quiet and doesn’t say much, while I’m loud and noisy about what happened, and there is a whole cast of characters out there who thinks that that automatically means that he couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong to me.   There are many people who suck up to people who do what he does, and assume that they are automatically the good guys and make complaining victims wrong.  The cops wouldn’t investigate when I reported him any more than they did with Sandusky even when there was actually a witness to what Sandusky did, but that does not mean it never happened.  Sandusky’s victims knew they would not be believed against his word (or believed that, which could actually be worse if it weren’t true), so no one spoke up.  My ex has threatened me on several occasions for writing about him, even without even referring to it being my own experience, and his current/most recent sub has threatened me as well when I’ve commented on her own proclivities that she posted freely and openly on the open Internet for anyone to find.  Yes, it has slowed me down, but it will never stop me, because I want the truth out there.  I don’t want anyone of their ilk to be able to harm anyone else again.  I will continue to educate people about the types of things people like this do and how to detect it and avoid it until the day I die.

The Sandusky case is tragic, not just because of all of the children who were harmed, and whose childhood was taken away from them by a trusted mentor who should have known better, but because an entire state and country was also deluded.  We lose a certain amount of innocence when our public icons are shown to be not just fallible but terrible.  An elderly man will die in jail instead of at home with his family – a justly deserved penalty, to be sure, but still a tragic end to what had been a life previously believed to be exemplary, all by his own poor judgment and possible coverups by some, including his wife.  His whole family has to be devastated by this whole affair as well, through no fault of their own.  A great university has lost its icons and coaches.  Abuse has many victims, not just the ones who are physically or emotionally harmed directly.  We need to all realize that these are but the most visible examples, and the ones that got caught – eventually.  Many others will never be brought to justice – but that absolutely does not mean  that they have not actually and factually wreaked the havoc that they have, that they have not caused every bit of pain that someone may accuse them of, whether witnessed by others or not.

Keep this case in mind the next time you are tempted to blow off a friend or anyone else who says their partner has abused them, or a child seems uncomfortable around an adult, etc., or you get tired of hearing someone talk about the abuse in the kink community or elsewhere, etc.  You do not know who the fuck is abusive to their partners, children, or animals until someone tells you about it.  Learn that you should believe those reports when you hear them.  Just because you didn’t see it happen yourself means absolutely nothing, and the fact that the perpetrator has not (yet) found his way into a jail or courtroom near you also means nothing with respect to whether or not he did what his victim says he did or not.  Jerry Sandusky is far from the only person to get away with murder (figuratively or literally) for a long time.

But those of us who speak up about the abuse we have suffered talk about our experiences because it’s actually happening (or happened)and we want to try to spare others.  It takes a hell of a lot of guts to speak up against someone that many other people think is terrific, to risk one’s own reputation in an effort to protect others from suffering the same harm.  I speak up the way I do because I don’t want to see my abuser get away with it for decades more, to go on to do the same to others who otherwise will have no way of finding out about him (or others like him) before its too late.  I don’t want others to suffer what I went through or worse, either at his hands or the hands of anyone else.  And I’m tired of living in the shadow of fear of what he might still try to do to me for talking about what he already did, which was *fact*.

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© 2012, 2013 kinkylittlegirl.  All rights reserved.  No part of this post or any other on this site may be reproduced by any means whatsoever, whether written or electronic, manual or automatic, either in part or in whole, without express written permission of the author.

 

They’ll Let Anyone In

It was only a matter of time, I suppose, before a known, self-admitted animal fucker (who crowed about this proclivity in a very public post in a very sexually-related location) made it onto a particular local party list – and RSVP’ed that it will be attending.

They’ll let anyone in, I suppose.  Which seriously devalues this event, which used to be a lot of fun.

With luck it will at least hopefully not show up with its abusive counterpart.

No, it wasn’t a fantasy you wrote, or a short story, erotica, or anything else.  You said specifically, “I’m into… animals… and so much more”.  A one-liner with a list of kinks does not a fantasy or short story make.  It’s a statement of what you like to do.   That’s what “into” means.  People only find out what they’re actually into by doing it and finding that they like it, by definition.

Given the rest of the list, and the photos shown, I shudder to speculate what that “more” might be, although its also publicly announced interest in a particular type of bestiality porn makes one shudder even more.  It said its friends thought it needed help because of its preferences, and I agree.  Only a complete psychopath would sexually molest an animal, regardless of which set of body parts belong to which creature, never mind the rest of the list, which is extreme even in the kink world.

It can backpedal and try to weasel out of this all it wants, but the post still exists and the content proven.

Empathy and Trust

[W]hat good is it to be in a relationship with someone who can’t tell the difference between being really mean, and being REALLY mean. How could I trust someone like that? How good is play as a submissive if you have to keep one eye open?

Most definitely. It completely sucks to play with one eye always open.

SheIsReedS really nails it here, followed by an exceptionally good explanation of the ways in which both dominants and submissives need to be able to trust both themselves and each other – including how the dominant needs to be able to trust that the submissive is “rendering genuine responses…”

That means he needs to be both willing and able to believe that she not just actually likes what’s happening, when that is the case (which is what people are most often referring to when they speak of the dominant needing to be able to trust that it’s really what she does want), but that he is also willing to accept it as truth if she says she cannot handle something he is doing, and needs it to either stop or change.

He needs to be able to accept that the stroke he just landed was an 8 for her even if he thinks it should have only been a 3.

Unfortunately, a lot of dominants seem to think that they know better than their subs do how said subs are feeling, what they are experiencing.  It’s a dangerous notion and fantasy that the “community” has promulgated to the point that it really endangers a lot of submissives – and in turn, endangers the whole relationship.

What dominants who have gotten themselves into hot water with their submissives by failing to respect that the sub really does know what’s happening for her better than anyone else on the planet can often don’t seem to realize is that it is devastating to a submissive to have to stop play, to have to defend herself – indeed, as SheIsReedS says, to have to always keep one eye open.  Much more will be gained by taking her at her word, and patiently helping her work through whatever the difficulty is – or adjusting his own way of doing things to accommodate her needs.

There may in fact come a time in a relationship when the dominant really can read the submissive well enough – and there is a strong enough foundation – that he can then push more for her to take more than she thinks she can.  When that happens, though, it’s not a function of role name as much as it is about maturity, patience, and respect for the submissive – and a matter of having developed a track record together that allows both parties to reach that point of trust in each other.

This really does not happen overnight, or even usually in a matter of weeks or months, at least not in any informed, lasting way, and if there’s already been any breach of trust, it is likely to take a great deal longer to regain what has been lost than most people have any idea.  You can’t just expect it to happen chop-chop.

And at the end of the day, no matter how well he knows her (or thinks he does), and regardless of what D/s relationship agreements there may be, no still means no, and it needs to be respected, without question.

For a dominant to push past what his submissive says she is able to take despite her protests (or to even show displeasure that she can’t take what he wants to dish out) is likely to be the kiss of death to any trust that has already been built up, and the death knell to any further trust developing.  And with the demise of trust, so follows the end of the relationship eventually, no matter how promising it might have been otherwise, no matter how compatible the two parties overall.

Sometimes all it really does take is that empathy – the willingness to just accept the sub’s feedback without defensiveness, without taking safewords or requests to modify what is happening as a threat, to be able to recognize that it is his responsibility to help her find a way through whatever the issue is without expecting her to process on the same schedule he wants and thinks appropriate.

Controlling Men Could Face Criminal Charges

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of the UK wants to “…make abusive behaviour by men a criminal offence, even if it does not involve physical violence), according to the Sunday Mirror. He also wants to extend the law to include men who discipline children under the age of 18 “too strict[ly” also a criminal offense.

I don’t know what the domestic violence laws currently are in the UK, if any, but this is clearly a step in the right direction of helping ensure that men who don’t understand and respect personal boundaries and who often end up ruining the lives of partners and/or children are held responsible for their behavior. It’s a formal acknowledgement, in a country in which domestic violence accounts for 18% of all violent incidents, that domestic violence is a serious crime that should not go unpunished, that partner abuse is something that shouldn’t be tolerated in a civilized society.

The problem, of course, is determining a reasonable definition of “spousal abuse” (which I hope they will expand to the more general “domestic partner abuse), which is something they are looking at now.

It’s one thing to realize that some legal support for such victims is necessary, but quite another to pass laws which don’t unfairly target those whom they shouldn’t, and punish too many people, thereby ruining lives unnecessarily as well as contributing to prison overcrowding, and clogging the courts with both criminal and civil cases.

Another problem, as it is in this country, is actual enforcement of whatever laws do exist, and getting police to take the reports seriously enough.

Let us hope that they come up with a definition that will protect a woman’s right to say no and have her wishes respected – and ensure that violations have some real consequences – without causing an ipso facto across the board condemnation of consensual BDSM. If they follow a model similar to California law, which requires affirmative assent, rather than just implied consent, and prohibits the use of the classic “She didn’t say no or safeword” as a defense, it seems to me that this could be a very positive thing.

Did you know that in California, domestic violence is treated as even more serious than violence against those with whom one is not currently or in the past in an intimate relationship? And that the definition includes even those who have had as little contact with someone as a single date?

It is – and is something people who suffer abuse, particularly violence, should keep in mind, particularly bottoms or submissives, who seem to be disproportionately affected by abuse for by partners in the name of D/s. Report it *when it happens*, not later, for maximum police response, and to preserve your legal rights later, and leave a documentable paper trail. And keep a lot of everything that happens, with dates and details in order to keep a documented paper trail. And also don’t be afraid to seek medical help if you are injured in any way, for the same reason as well, of course, for treating any injuries when they occur. Don’t forget that emotional distress caused by abuse can also have lifelong damaging consequences, oftentimes much more so than any physical harm.

BDSM Abuse Survivors’ Network

Are you in an abusive BDSM relationship?  Or think you may be, but aren’t sure?  Had a scene go terribly wrong?

Been raped or otherwise injured nonconsensually in a BDSM context?

Do you feel alone, as if you are the only person dealing with these issues?  Maybe your local community is opposing you because of what you’ve been through, or you’re afraid to speak up at all because perhaps the person who abused you is a community “leader“?

Do you need some support, perhaps someone else to talk to who has been through this?   Help getting out?  Staying safe?  Just knowing that you are indeed not the only one to be dealing with these issues in our circles?  Not a therapist, cop, or attorney, but just another person who’s been there who is willing to help?  Just need to know others who have been in the same boat so that you don’t feel so alone?

Are you angry about your experiences?  And determined to do something about them so that your pain will help others avoid the same thing?

Help explode the horribly damaging myth that we kinksters are somehow immune to abuse because of SSC, negotiation, and all that?  Tired of watching this shit go on endlessly in the “community” and the perpetrators not only not called out for their behavior but often actually glorified and put into positions of leadership?

Some of us who have been through this in one way or another are starting to put together a list of people who have been abused in a BDSM context who are willing to put themselves out there in a very public way in order to reach out to others who are still struggling with these issues as points of contact for anyone who needs help, or even just needs to know that they are not alone.

You’ve likely heard of the Safecall Network.  This is a similar idea, only for dealing with the aftermath of a scene – or whole relationship – gone horribly wrong.

If you’re willing to out yourself publicly as having survived a BDSM-related abusive relationship – or rape or other similar individual encounter in any way related to WIITWD – and are willing to have others contact you and to share your experiences with them, to help out, in whatever ways work for you, let me know if you’d like to be part of this via the Contact section on this blog, or by replying below. (Let me know if you do reply below if you’d like me to keep the reply private.)

The format and details are still pretty hazy, but I’m starting with just a list that will initially include names and preferred contact information.  It will likely evolve into something more extensive as I have time and energy to deal with the technical details.

Edited August 9, 2011

Due to some concerns mentioned on Fetlife and in private communications, let me clarify that “out yourself” in this context only means that you are willing to share your name and contact information for dissemination within the kink community, and specifically here on this blog and elsewhere targetted at our people, expressly for the purpose of allowing other kinksters who are or have been involved in abusive (or possibly abusive) relationships to contact you.  The blog is public, but it’s not like I’m asking anyone to go on TV or out yourself otherwise in the vanilla world.  Scene names are fine – and encouraged.

Email addresses are preferred to links to Fetlife profiles or other sites because many people who find this blog are not Fetlife members, and may not want to take that extra step, but I will certainly add those links if you prefer.