How You Can Help Combat the Abuse Problem

A newbie I met the other day told a tale of being abused or having her limits violated when playing with someone she said is well known at the Citadel, our local community playspace.  She said she’d like to get involved to help combat this problem, and asked how to go about it.  Here is my response to her.

I’d also add that it’s important to bring the issue to the attention of the dungeon owners if the problem occurs in their playspace, and frankly, even if it doesn’t.  No one will know that someone in an inner circle is a problem child if no one reports it.

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

At this point, it’s pretty much a free for all.  People are writing in their blogs and getting interviewed for other publications, doing various classes, etc. I’ve got links to many of them on my blog, so you might want to take a look.

And then there’s my nascent BDSM Abuse Survivors’ Network that one day I’ll set up a separate website for, which is currently housed on the front page of my blog.  It’s purely volunteer, just allowing me to post whichever contact information you prefer that people use so that others who have been through this or are going through it now can find someone to talk to on a peer level.  I have no idea if anyone thus far has actually contacted anyone on the list, and I don’t monitor it in any way.  I get pretty good SEO rankings, though, and am getting more and more hits as time goes by, so eventually something should happen.

And then there’s just speaking out, telling others about your experiences, encouraging still others to speak up.  It very well may cost you something in terms of popularity, I can’t lie, but I’ve come to realize that the people who are ready to pooh-pooh me, particularly because they don’t see my ex doing what he did themselves, or who believe his crap, are people I don’t need in my life.  As some “friends” started dropping away, I found new ones who have a lot more sense coming into my life.

I’ll tell you this, too.  If the person you had a problem with is indeed popular at the Citadel, or in any other way a “leader” in the community, it is *highly* likely that you are far from the only one with a negative experience of him.  The same is true of many others as well, but it’s a near certainty with these most visible people.

One of the hardest things to communicate to newbies is that just because someone is well known and popular around the scene, or even a well-known presenter or group leader, or member of a board of any of the kinky groups, that in no way should serve as an endorsement.  Many such community leaders are just fine – but there is a frightening number who are quite dangerous to one extent or another.

As to what you said about blaming yourself, I do think it’s important that we all look at whatever our own contribution to a problem situation may have been, if any, and there are in fact times when we need to take that sort of responsibility for what has transpired, but when you say “Stop”, and someone doesn’t, or they just flat out violate limits you’ve already set, then hon, I’m sorry, but it is often entirely on them.

This game we play of “the dom is the boss” is a game, although many people do take it seriously.  There is nothing wrong with any level of that as long as both parties are consenting, and in agreement as to the parameters of the dynamic, but at the end of the day, no means no, no matter what, and you are entirely within your rights to object and pin the blame on them if someone violates those agreements with you.

The hard part is that it *is* hard sometimes to know how far is OK to go in any given encounter, but this is one reason we have things like safewords and promote the idea of thorough negotiation.  Pay attention to your gut.  If you don’t like what’s happening, and you do not end up feeling as good or better overall when all is said and done, and especially if the top involved responds poorly to your objections and even continues what he is doing if that is not your agreed-upon dynamic, then there’s an issue that needs attention, even if it’s just finetuning the negotiations next time.

Survivors’ Nightmares

Do you have nightmares about your abuse?  Have a partner who does?  Take a look at the article “Almost all survivors will have nightmares while healing: How to  help your survivor partner during nightmares” for some helpful ideas about how to deal with them, or to help your partner do so.

I wonder why I thought it was just me.  The flashbacks I have always understood; the nightmares not so much.  I didn’t realize this could be so universal.

 

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.