I think something I want to make as a point is that sometimes how you respond to an incident or allegations can often say as much about you as the actual incident or allegation.
So if, for example, there’s a high profile sexual assault case and you start picking apart the victims story (which simultaneously complaining about ‘trial by social media’) what this does is it tells your friend, family, clients, customers, so on that you would do the same with them.
From a lot of this; one buzz phrase I think is overused and irresponsible is ‘Personal Responsibility’.
Within the kink and fetish scene in particular a lot of things are not black and white.
I’m thinking of different things that have happened to me in scenes that I’ve been perfectly happy with even though I’d not expressed consent.
For example; a young lady who started sucking on my earlobes (fuck, that was hot – need to communicate I want more of that) or even simple stuff like it being presumptuous it’s OK to grab my balls (spoiler alert: it usually is)
But, that’s not necessarily OK for everyone.
Of course, there’s ways to deal with it if it’s not OK. Firstly a little double think is that as a man…
– I’m OK with those I sub/bottom to touching my genitals
– I wouldn’t sub/bottom to a man
– I wouldn’t want to touch a penis
– I wouldn’t touch a vagina without being clear it was OK.
So, I’m happy to be touched but wouldn’t automatically assume others are.
I imagine that most Dominants would find those they play with with penises are likely to be happy to be touched; but less so with vaginas.
But, regardless. Let’s say a mistake is made and someone thought it was OK, but it wasn’t.
I think this can be resolved by asking to stop, or retrospectively pointing it wasn’t OK and the offender apologising and everyone moves on.
I don’t think there’s need for the victim in this situation to be overly hostile unless their complaint is dismissed; but if they are then it should be understandable why.
But I definitely don’t feel that this should be dismissed as any form of “I am the Dominant”, “Everyone else does it”, “That’s how I play”
Obviously we have a little bit of an issue if the offender in that instance repeatedly find themselves in the same situation – that there’s a pattern emerging they should break.
Because otherwise it’s intentionally pushing to see what they get away with and then using an apology as a forgiveness tool for deliberate wrongdoing, rather than accidental.
I’m keeping this scenario consistent and simple.
During a fictitious play scene in a club, a Male Dominant (yes, I know it’s not just Male Dominants who are abusers) keeps touching the female sub (and not just female subs who are victims).
The first time, she dismisses it as an accident. Ditto for the second, and third.
Beyond this she starts to realise this is deliberate.
At first she feels she can’t say anything because she’d not said anything the first few times.
Eventually, she has had enough and tells him to stop touching her there.
He stops the whole scene and takes a huff. While he unties her he pretty much walks off and doesn’t really give proper aftercare.
She takes some time to process what happened and days later contacts him, politely, to say this wasn’t acceptable.
Rather than acknowledge and apologise he either; tries to blame her for leading her on, ignores the message, replies but just doesn’t acknowledge this, blocks her.
(All of which I have heard tell of people do)
She seeks support from others in the community. Possibly writes a note. While some people are generally supportive and confirm to her this shouldn’t have happened, others are not.
– “You need to sort this out between yourselves” (She tried. He wasn’t interested. So now she is not going to attend said event again and he’s free to do this with someone else)
– “Why didn’t you stop him after the first time” (Because she was giving the benefit of the doubt, assuming it was an accident from someone she mistakenly thought was nice. But regardless of whether she asked after the 1st or 10th it doesn’t excuse his subsequent behaviour.)
– “That’s always how he plays” (OK, did anyone tell her this? Should he possibly have double checked that she was OK with it? Or at least acknowledged this wasn’t OK with her?)
– “You’ve got take personal responsibility”
And, personal responsibility – my main crux here.
It’s this lovely little throwaway phrase that basically shuts it down and says “I don’t have to do anything here”
There were two people involved in this scene who have levels of responsibility. There is also likely to have been a dungeon monitor and a club/event manager. They also have levels of responsibility.
If this was a genuine misunderstanding then it’s important to mitigate the risk of misunderstandings.
If that’s how he “always plays” did she know that? Was it his responsibility to check she’d be OK with this? Was it not his responsibility to check that play he’d planned worked within her boundaries?
If she is overreacting (she isn’t) is it his job to vet that people he plays with won’t overreact?
Is it to a degree the dungeons job to make sure play happening under their roof is consensual? While you can’t be sure of everything – a DM who could step in and say “I’m not sure she’s OK with this?” or a venue owner who will offer sympathy and offer to help resolve it.
That they may wish to establish if someone is on their premise flaunting consent that this does not continue and they’re not enabling it?
When we say “personal responsibility” someone has to have that knowledge and information from somewhere – so whose responsibility is it to make sure those coming into the event know what to expect and that they know how to vet people?
And, if you are running munches, or events, or taking a role within them then it is YOUR responsibility to make steps to mitigate risks.
That, even the best organised and planned thing can still have things go wrong, but being sure you did all you could to stop them or making steps for it not to happen again is ultimately on you.
In my blog – I have a responsibility to make sure that posts are accurate, fair and not misleading.
(And, you know, I’ve read plenty of blogs that ARE misleading – that would say in scenarios like the above that by agreeing to play with anyone you give them full right to your body and if you don’t like it then don’t play…. err… no… agreeing to a light spanking doesn’t mean someone has the right to put their dick in you.)
If you do think people’s situations are down to their lack of Personal Responsibility – help them out
Pass them some resources on how to vet partners. Write resources on vetting partners.
Make sure people know about using safewords and establish consent. Because the more info people have, the more risk is mitigated.