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.

What Would You Dump Someone Immediately For?

Is there anything a partner (or other person in your life) could do that would cause you to dump them immediately?

And are there things you’ve said you would never give a second chance for that you not only have done, but maybe have given them far more chances than that?

I’ve often said that there are certain things I’d never put up with if a guy did to me, that I would leave immediately over, but the reality is that I’ve not followed through on those more often than not. I have unfortunately given far too many second, third, fourth, and more chances. Many times, the situations have been full of nuances that have made them less clear in the moment for what they were than they ultimately appeared in the rear view mirror. Or I saw it, but didn’t want to believe it, thought it was an aberration, etc. Denial can be a powerful thing. Or there was enough good there that I was more afraid of losing, had invested so much in the relationship by then that I didn’t want to lose, etc.

Unfortunately, once one gets to a certain point, no amount of good can offset certain offenses, including a growing accumulation of smaller ones – and no amount of shared history, work on a relationship, etc. will be worth staying around for more of.

The trick then becomes a) recognizing that dealbreaker point sooner rather than later, and then b) actually doing something about it.

And a frightening number of people who have been abused in one way or another find it terrifyingly difficult to break away from the very situations and people that are hurting us the worst. I’m realizing that it may actually be rather pathognomonic of having a history of abuse.

There are really only a few things I’d seriously end things with someone over immediately at this point, without at least a discussion. And most of those would be one-way tickets to a jail cell. Do not pass go, do not end up in the friend zone.

The majors are anything to do with child or animal abuse, particularly pedophilia and bestiality, either the person doing it themselves or continuing to knowingly associate with someone else who does, particularly in an intimate relationship.

And hitting or otherwise injuring or threatening me in a nonconsensual manner – including ignoring play limits and not fucking actually stopping when I say stop, forcing things on me that I don’t want to do, and more. I have far less tolerance for the grey areas than I used to. And far more realization of how out of control they get when they are not nipped in the bud by ending the whole relationship immediately the first time an obvious violation occurs.

Theft, murder, other crimes against others, etc. would certainly also send me out the door immediately.

I have also learned that many of the red flags that have surfaced early on that I’ve thought were not that important definitely do turn out to be problems of major proportions, so there is a great deal more now that I will never tolerate beyond a single instance again. I am done, to paraphrase what my father always used to say, with having the tree fall on my head.

I have also unfortunately put up with way more than I should have because of concerns about the effect that my either leaving or sending the guy to jail would have on others, including people I’ve never even met, even the people the guy does business with. Thinking about it now, it is beyond ridiculous that I would risk my own physical and mental health and safety in order to protect someone else from the consequences of an asshole’s behavior towards me, but I’ve done it – out of what I now see was a very misguided sense of both loyalty and inappropriate concern for others to the exclusion of my own safety – and will never do so again. Time has also shown me that to not do what I’ve needed to do in situations like that only ends up creating a new set of issues down the road.

Or I’ve failed to kick someone to the curb or leave myself because it’s been the middle of the night and either they had nowhere to go (or no way to get all of their stuff out of my place at that hour), or I was too tired to leave myself. Never again – even if I have to sleep in my car, or they simply have to come back the next day to pick their things up. Off my front porch. Or even sleep out there themselves if need be. I mean, hello? If some guy literally throws my cat across the room because she was annoying him in bed one night, or hits me with all his might in a way that he knows is both dangerous and a hard limit, nearly killing me in the process, even in “play”, then why should I care where he himself sleeps for the rest of the night?

And better I wet myself in my own car than sleep in his house again if I’m too tired or in too much pain to even drive down the hill to get to a bathroom – and take enough of his bedding with me that I don’t freeze to death. At the end of the day, it’s cleanable. Or better that he just spend the night cooling his own heels in jail or a hotel until I’m awake and gone the next morning.

None of these kinds of concerns will ever stop me from dumping someone for abusive or other nonconsensual behavior again. Because in part, I’ve learned that just waiting overnight will only blunt the effect by morning, and lead to softening up – and the vicious downward cycle getting even more deeply entrenched. Some things are not OK, no matter what – and what we need is more resolve to stand our ground about them, not to do things that will only water that down.

The price that I’ve ended up having to pay for giving too many chances to too many people, for too many things, for too long, has been far too high.

Thankfully, although no man will have a chance to even get in the door of my life for quite a while longer, if ever again, I’m already seeing signs in other areas of my life of greatly decreased willingness to put up with abusive crap from other people – and I know in my heart that this will translate to the romance department when and if the time should come again.

I’ve been closely watching the people I do have around me these days, and realizing how very much shit and abuse I’ve been sitting in the middle of for a very long time. Thankfully, I do also have many quite normal and decent friends and former lovers, and I’ve just been paying really close attention lately to the differences in how the interactions go between the sane ones and the crazy ones – content, tone, body language, etc. How they are with me, and how I am with them.

Although I certainly see areas in which I need work myself, this process of watching has been mostly healing and affirming – that there really are still sane, healthy people in my life. And it’s made me much more conscious that these are the people I want to keep around me – not the crazies I’ve called either friends, lovers, etc. over the years. It’s just easier to be around the sane ones. It feels better.

And so I already have backed way off from several people who have been a problem for a long time – including one whose major crime was in fact one single incident I am unwilling to offer another opportunity to repeat.

I’m also finding it’s happening much more naturally – not even a lot of conscious decision about it. It’s like nature is taking over – I’m naturally recoiling much mor readily from the toxins – and staying recoiled.

It’s like I’m far more creeped out now by things that I used to just put up with far more readily, for whatever reasons were floating around in my head in each situation.

I contemplate what life would be like without those people in it, and the void I used to fear that their absence would create no longer scares me.

Yes, it’s sad to cut people I care about loose, but the fear of what will happen to me if I keep them around has exceeded that of what will happen to remove them from my life, en masse, in both individual contemporaneous cases, and in generic potential future ones.

It’s hit me at a whole new level now that if I don’t rid myself of these kinds of people, how will I find room to both find and to let ones I both care about and who will treat me well in?

It’s easy to pay lip service to it being better to be alone than in a bad relationship (or friendship – which most people don’t even think about), but a far different thing to get it in your gut enough to not only take the actions needed to make that happen, but to then actually also enjoy and appreciate and prefer the resulting peace and quiet.

Part of this is definitely due to the stresses of the past year and the last few months in particular in my life – and reconnecting with some old friends I haven’t seen in years, who have reminded me that life without abusive partners or friends and family is indeed possible. I just don’t have any more room in my world for the abusive shit that I’ve put up with for so long, from so many corners of my life.

And while there is definitely a sense of loss in not being willing to let these things continue, which will mean either ending relationships or drastically cutting back on exposure to certain other people, I am feeling a really neat kind of freedom as well – freedom to find others to be with in all areas of my life who will not cause me so much damage. Freedom to just spend more time with the people I already know who are already decent, non-toxic, etc.

So, even in non-intimate relationships, I’m starting to realize I’ve got a set of boundaries that will cause me to dump even a friend PDQ if they transgress them. I am all too acutely aware these days of the fragility and short duration of life, and by God, I will simply not have this shite in my life any more, from any quarter.

I Will Not Apologize

Stolen from multiple people on Fetlife:

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

I will not apologize for setting my own personal boundaries.
I will not apologize for doing whatever it takes to enforce those boundaries.
I will not apologize for doing whatever it takes to protect my emotional well being.
I will not apologize for keeping out and or letting go those who are not healthy
and who would damage my soul, self and mind.

I will not apologize for taking time to think before I speak.
I will not apologize for telling someone their behavior is not acceptable to me.
I will not apologize for deciding what behavior is and is not acceptable.
I will not apologize for stepping back from a situation in order to evaluate my feelings,
however long that takes.

I will not apologize for setting stricter boundaries when I need and sticking to them.
I will not apologize for asking for space when I need it.
I will not apologize for taking responsibility for the way I allow others to treat me.
I will not apologize for cutting someone completely out of my life
if I feel they don’t respect my boundaries.

I will not apologize for not believing everything I’m told.
I will not apologize for knowing what I want and not settling for less.
I will not apologize for letting your problems, your dysfunction be yours.
I will not apologize for not being able to help you when you choose not to help yourself.

I will not apologize for not being able to be all things to all people.
I will not apologize for not accepting deceit and chaos in my life.
I will not apologize for loving myself enough to set these boundaries
…even if it means I risk losing people in my life because of them.

Don’t Touch Me, Asshole!

A young woman who is new to the scene complained that no fewer than three different men touched her nonconsensually at a recent party at our local playspace, and says this is a common happening for her in life in general.  A lengthy discussion ensued.  Here’s one of my posts in the thread about maintaining boundaries.

I’m so sorry you had this experience, and I agree with most of the very good advice you’ve been given.

That said, it saddens me to hear that anyone comes through the doors expecting that they do not need to maintain their own boundaries the same as they do anywhere else, and that they don’t have to be on guard for their own needs the same as they are anywhere else.

Unfortunately, it is a reality of life that clueless people who ignore boundaries and rules exist everywhere. There is no vetting process for entrance to the Citadel or any other venue or organization that I know of around here that can keep the clueless out.

While I certainly do not condone what happened to you, you really need to realize that in the end, you are the one most responsible for communicating and reinforcing your own boundaries, whatever they may be. We can tell Phil and August about transgressions until the cows come home, but to expect that they will never happen isn’t realistic. Yes, it’s much safer at the Citadel than in most places, by far – but safer does not mean perfect and that shit won’t still occasionally happen. It’s just unrealistic to think that you don’t have to still look out for your own self. Continue reading

Do You Mind Your Guy Looking at Other Women?

I think there’s also the “how is he looking” issue for women. If a guy is looking in an appreciative “wow that’s a good looking woman” sort of way – I think women are more “understanding” about it. If he’s looking in the “omfg I’d bang that in a heartbeat!” and has drool rolling down his chin …. yeah, not so much.

Definitely, @cola.  Ditto if he’s looking at her with a “Come hither” or “On your knees” kind of look directed at her, especially if she responds to it.

It also depends on who started it, and how it progresses.  Looking briefly and then looking away?  No problem. Looking any way he wants at women that are untouchable like cheerleaders, models in magazines, actresses in films, etc.?  Even passing strangers on the street he’ll clearly never see again?  Also no problem.  Heck, I’ve always pointed these types out to my men myself because their reactions amuse me.

But heavy flirting, lingering looks and drooling over women he’s face to face with or having direct personal contact of any sort with?  Mutual eyelock and undressing/ravishing?  Verbal/written evidence of a less-than-purely-platonic interest?  Especially when she is someone we will routinely encounter in person?  Fuck no.  Those are all into cheating territory in my book.  And cheating is a form of abusive behavior. Continue reading

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Trust, Safety, and Surrender

From Deborah Teramis Christian:

“Trust, safety and surrender are a triad that, in combination, can unlock the doors to deep submission and connectedness between D/s partners. Creating that environment takes some work, though.

Here is an online talk I gave on the subject, getting into some detail about how trust, safety and surrender interact, and how to foster them. This chat is left with some participant’s questions scattered throughout, because I think they brought up some good points. Names are replaced by initials to maintain anonymity.

***

I’m going to talk tonight about the triad of elements that I think best create a healthy foundation for effective power exchange: Trust, Safety, and Surrender. D/s is predicated on trust, unlike in vanilla relationships where we are often content to negotiate relationships that hedge on the factor of trust. You can’t do that in D/s and have a relationship that will endure. Trust is the cornerstone of what enables power exchange to happen (as I will be elaborating)

There is also a given here, a background assumption in what I’m going to be saying: namely, that communications skills exist and are being used, and that you and your partner both have a mutual dedication to creating a trusting and safe environment in which to do D/s. You cannot build trust one-sidedly. It takes two…just as it does to create safety. Continue reading

Dominants Coming Through on Their Word

@Xinergy said on Fetlife:

The Dominant failing to come through with what they say they are going to do is devastating to the submissive. The submissive is in this lifestyle because they need that comfort and safety. They need to believe that if the Dominant says something, it will happen. Without that certainty and trust, how can he or she sink into subspace while chained to something being beaten?

It is indeed completely devastating, particularly when the promises broken are as fundamental as repeatedly violating limits, not respecting her health and safety above his own needs and desires, etc.

It doesn’t matter what else the dominant does in the rest of life, how good he is about his word in other matters both in the relationship and elsewhere, no matter how many other wonderful qualities he has. If he does not scrupulously respect his sub’s limits and boundaries, and remember and honor both the letter and the spirit of relationship-level agreements, he will lose both the trust and the respect of his submissive.

While I don’t think that “need [for] that comfort and safety” is necessarily the reason we are in this (certainly not for everyone), we do in fact absolutely need it to be present, or there’s no possibility of being able to submit to the dominant at any level, whether in play or every day life. Continue reading

Broken Promises and Agreements

What do you do if a dominant breaks a promise? Do you accept an apology, forget about it and go on? Watch to see if it becomes a consistent pattern? Does it matter to you whether the promise was made to you or to someone else? The circumstances and details? Does it matter if it’s a sin of commission or omission?

What I do depends upon exactly what was promised, how and why the promise was not made good on, and indeed, whether or not there is a pattern present.

Does he just tend to forget to pick up the milk on the way home from work when he’s said he would? Did he promise to take me out to dinner and forget his wallet so I ended up having to pay one time? Or are we talking about repeated violations of limits and boundaries? Is it a similar broken promise to one that you know he’s done with others before? Involving you nonconsensually in a promise he breaks to someone else, or just breaking a promise to someone else at all? Decides to take the scene somewhere other than flogging, even if he’s promised you that (assuming your agreements allow that)?

*Very* different responses would be warranted to each of these sorts of broken promises.

The stage of the relationship matters to some of these decisions for me, but not to others.

Some broken promises, lies, or other transgressions don’t get a second chance – or at least never will again from me. Either they are too damaging in and of themselves, or they are far too likely to be harbingers of things to come.

Watch what he’s done with his exes, too, particularly the ones he spent the longest periods of time with, because that will become what he does with you eventually. Even if it’s not the exact same broken agreements, the fact that he broke important ones with them should be a major red flag that he’ll eventually break something major with you as well.