Bob is a bad man.
Bob did very cruel and inhuman things.
Bob is dangerous.
Bob pushes lines and does mean things.
We don’t like Bob.
Bob has been banished from our land.
Did we really glean anything about Bob? Do we know what Bob did? No. But someone out there made an accusation … and all things we knew about Bob are immediately slanted to whatever the accusation is. “Bob is bad.”
There’s a climate in local communities at the moment that are approaching abuse and consensual non-consent (CNC) issues with a very zealous blinding attack cycle. I appreciate and support the awareness lessons that are currently being advocated. However I’m a bit concerned that some folks are projecting more of their own issues towards this crusade and not keeping a balanced check of their emotions and past.
Being blinded by such projections do not allow us to objectively look at the problem and make sound, rational and sane decisions about Bob. Yet there are those that instinctively have figured out Bob without gathering any other facts beyond that which was said up above. “Oh I knew he was a bad person. I heard … I heard … then I heard ….”
I’m not very intrigued at the what and how Bob did things … I’m more interested in the why things happened the way they did.
I am very much opposed of the overzealous nature by which Bob gets skewered for whatever Bob apparently did. Communities instinctively have knee-jerk reactions as they seek to ban, flog, and stone Bob to death for whatever atrocities he is believed to have done. I know you may be reading this going: “yeah, he’s going to blame the victim,” when simply I’m imploring people to reflect on the totality of what happened instead of making erroneous rashes to judgment.
If Bob did bad bad things, then Bob deserves to be punished for those things.
It’s plain and simple.
But if Bob engaged into a situation with Sally – then in the interest of fairness, we need to examine the totality of what happened and why it happened. That’s not a lobbied support to accept Bob as an innocent as much as it’s important to examine Sally’s role in what happened. That’s because when folks partake in a consensual environment, in a consensual kink dynamic, there’s a mutual engagement between people. Someone becomes the dominant, someone becomes the submissive. A scene, play weekend or dynamic then evolves from that. Hence the reason that there’s a shared responsibility between Bob and Sally that most advocates seem to casually omit when banging their war drums loudly.
By examining what Sally did on her part also enables us to learn how to better teach s-types to avoid the peril Sally faced. If at the very least, offering a fair warning, educating her more extensively in the negotiation phase or better yet – how to teach her to better listen to her instincts. We stand to gain a lot of information as to why things happened as they did.
Yes, we can put all the onus and burden on Bob since he’s the d-type. I can understand that perspective. But the majority of the situations out there come from an agreement being reached between two like minded people to engage in … something. If Bob kidnapped Sally. If he broke into her house. If he did anything where Sally could not negotiate and be in agreement with, then that’s wrong. Bob deserves the criticism. Bob deserves the punishment. Bob deserves the scrutiny.
If Sally agrees and consents, then that little play on words is how we try to explain to vanillas that makes it okay when Bob spanks, whips, binds, bites and otherwise has his way with her. Consent is at the heart of our dynamics and interactions no matter how intense or vicious the scene might become.
The integral part of consent is that it’s reached by both parties to engaged in … this or that or the other. If Sally agreed to engage with Bob to do … things … then we need to take that into consideration. It’s not an automatic thing, more information is needed.
“But Sally had that one scene with him where he beat her with a dog toy and touched her inappropriately.”
Do we know what was negotiated?
Have they played together before?
Do we know what Sally and Bob talked about prior to the scene?
Do we know how much Sally knew about Bob?
Do we know how much Bob knew about Sally?
Did Sally check out Bob’s other play partners to see what kind of play he engages in?
Do we know how much she tried to know what Bob’s style was like?
Do we know if Sally knew that Bob was a dark sadist? Is he?
Do we know if Bob knew that Sally is quite a masochist? Is she?
Do we know what kind of masochist Sally is?
Do we know what kind of play Sally enjoys?
Do we know how much Bob conveyed to Sally?
Has Sally ever safe worded to anyone before?
Has Bob ever had anyone safe word during a scene?
Has Sally conveyed what she’s like when she goes into floaty space?
Has Sally conveyed what she’s like what she drops out of floaty space?
Does Bob really understand Sally’s floaty space and does he know what to do when the space happens?
Did they ever discuss their previous experiences so as to get a basis of what happened before?
Do we know if Bob thoroughly outlined what he planned on doing to her?
Do we know if Bob was completely honest and forthright with Sally?
Do we know if Sally was completely honest and forthright with Bob?
Did Bob outlines places he was NOT going to go with Sally?
Do we know if Sally outlined places she did NOT want to go with Bob?
Did Sally ever tell him “do what you want to do” at any point they were together?
Did Sally say anything that Bob could have possibly misconstrued as a green light into the wrong place?
Did Sally convey what triggers she has? Did she say where they come from?
Did Bob know that the play he wanted to do with Sally were going to trip triggers?
Did Bob ask Sally if she wanted to be touched sexually as the scene was going on?
Does Sally remember Bob asking her? Does Bob remember her answer?
Did Sally ever convey to him that sexual touching was a hard limit?
Did Bob ever convey to her that sexual touching was something he was going to do?
If Bob nor Sally didn’t discuss sexual touching – why didn’t they?
During their scene, did Sally safe word?
Did they discuss what safe words were going to be employed?
If Sally safe worded, did Bob know? What did Bob do?
If he didn’t stop – why didn’t he?
If he knew it was a limit and didn’t stop, why didn’t he?
If she didn’t safe word, why didn’t she?
If she couldn’t safe word because she was frozen and unresponsive, then why didn’t Bob or Sally end the scene before she entered that state?
Did Bob know that Sally has a tendency of freezing up and becoming unresponsive?
What exactly do we know and why aren’t we then brutally honest with what we don’t know?
(The above list of questions are only good if everyone is blatantly honest and forthcoming with the information they’re providing. Folks that deceive their way to the “truth” – are an entirely different matter and it’s pointless attempting to get information out of them.)
I’m not blaming Sally, nor am I blaming Bob either.
“Why aren’t you blaming Bob?”
Because we lack context. We lack information. We lack perspective that can objectively review things. We don’t know what transpired between Bob and Sally beforehand, during and after. We don’t know what steps Sally took to protect herself nor do we know how much Bob communicated exactly what he was going to do.
“But Sally fully negotiated out what was to happen.”
I doubt it very seriously she followed the line of questioning up above.
We don’t know how clearly things were conveyed or not. We don’t know if it was a misinterpretation or a deliberate plot to cross any line that Sally puts up. We don’t know if Bob just took advantage of the situation or if he believed he had the right to do things because of what he interpreted from Sally. We don’t know a lot of information – and we haven’t even begun to look at the scene yet.
We don’t know if she safe worded. We don’t know if Sally was triggered nor do we know if Bob knew about the triggers in advance. We don’t know if she went into subspace or subdrop or what her capacity was like during the scene. We don’t know what was conveyed during the scene or what transpired after the scene. We don’t know what the agreed upon expectation for the scene was going to be. Was she going to get floaty? Was that the agreed plan and idea? Did they walk through every step of floaty and aftercare? We can all go blame Bob for what he’s being accused of, but as you can see much investigation still needs to be done. Instead of instinctively picking up our pitchforks, torches and shovels we need some patience to understand what happened.
This isn’t to say that Bob did bad things, he very well could’ve and did. It’s also equally important to look at what Sally did too.
“Aha! Here he’s finally blaming the victim.” No. I’m not.
At the core of our scenes and dynamics, they are generally fostered in two (or more) folks seeking something from one another. There’s consent, a shared responsibility, a shared level of “hey, things are going to be done to you.” “Ok, I want things done to me.” There’s also a shared responsibility to make sure that there’s an understanding of what’s to be expected. If it’s going to be a no-sex scene, then changing it mid-stream is a PRETTY BIG F***** DEAL. D-types that brush that off as something minimal truly doesn’t understand what kind of game changer something like that can be. Conversely, if an s-type teasingly says she wants to be fucked while she’s already spacing out in their own little universe – then d-types might take that to be an invitation or a game changing deal that they are interpreting. Whether or not the s-type wanted the game changing event to happen, D-types should always stay within the agreed upon terms UNLESS the dynamic has evolved in a way that ALLOWS for those terms to change.
Even when there’s shared responsibility, it doesn’t mean d-type is automatically innocent. If Sally did everything she could to find out about Bob’s history, she negotiated things to the T, she ensured that there was definite boundaries involved – then she’s done her part. It’s up to Bob to ensure that he lives up to all the things that was agreed to.
If there’s dangling threads and if Sally didn’t go through all of the things she should’ve when playing with Bob – then that doesn’t excuse what Bob did either. But it doesn’t mean that Sally’s responsibility in her part shouldn’t go unnoticed either. Not unlike any potentially harmful situations, if we don’t educate ourselves and practice some diligence in our processes we run the risk of a lot of things that could go very badly. That’s why we have to fill out waivers about implied responsibilities when we sky dive, or take a rock climbing course, or even going to the gym.
We ultimately accept the responsibility of what happens to us.
That’s no different here – except we do enter into an agreement, arrangement, or an understanding of what can, will, potentially could happen in a scene or dynamic.
Yes, Bob needs to do what he can to uphold what is expected of him.
Yes, Sally needs to do what she can to uphold what is expected of her.
It’s entirely possible that Sally herself violated the established consent with Bob.
GULPS – WHAT THE FUCK?
If an s-type was physically, mentally and emotionally able to articulate a line or limit and they do not … then the s-type has violated consent in that situation. It’s not “mental” to hold s-types responsible for being able to be as communicative as they can be.
To clarify: an s-type who can’t articulate a line or limit because they are experiencing mental trauma in the form of a trigger or landmine is not included in that statement. One cannot expect an s-type to effectively communicate when their emotional and mental state are chaotically attacking everything internally.
Responsible s-types will articulate their triggers and landmines well in advance so that they can be best avoided. D-types are not mind readers. Some of us can’t read a book much less read someone’s body language. The best way to avoid a potentially traumatic scene is to communicate everything out in the open so that things can be steered around or avoided. s-types that don’t seek to inform d-types of the lines, limits and triggers have failed in providing a consensual situation from forming because they have held back critical information from the onset.
“Wait, so can an s-type change their mind in the middle of a scene if they need the D-type to change things up? Or do they just have to suffer through it because ‘that’s what was agreed upon?'”
Yes. Situations change all the time – even within the confines of a scene. Parties should negotiate and more importantly, have the ability to rationally process and negotiate so as to avoid the “in the heat of the moment” mistakes that can happen. If a s-type promises sex and later says they don’t want to, then the D-type has to respect that change. Let downs happen bub – sorry.
The important thing is to find the best way to communicate all sides before, during and after the situation. It’s not just a matter of “red, yellow, green, purple alligator, or brussel sprouts” as your safeword. It’s about being completely open and honest through every step of the process. It’s about establishing and maintaining that respect through every part of the situation. If communication isn’t happening, then there’s going to be a whole lot of problems.
Communication problems are not a D-only issue. s-types are also very good at miscommunicating or confusing things because it’s not completely clear when things are going on. All sides need to stop and ensure that everyone knows what’s to be expected and where the comfort level lies.
“Gee, that’s a lot of stuff to do if I just want my ass flogged.”
Yes. That’s true. But what’s the alternative? Having traps and triggers sprung up because all this negotiation work is seriously affecting your hard on or insatiable need to orgasm? If you’re not willing to stave off your loin lust for 30 minutes so that you can talk to Bob about the flogging scene, then I question the sanity of the situation.
What is completely lost in the entire abuse debate is that the d and s form a close mutualistic dynamic – whether it’s just for a scene or longer. They both seek something from the other. Hence they ultimately share in the responsibility before, during and after.
Both Bob and Sally could’ve used some outreach, education, communication and respect before they started talking about meeting up at the Motel 6 for a beat and greet. They both get red marks for not getting to know each other when they should’ve. They should’ve been more communicative. However, If Bob is a serial perpetrator then there should be consequences for him. Society, not just our lifestyle, can do away with the likes of the serial abusers … but in your average situation where things can and likely can become miscommunicated, misinterpreted or misunderstood – the “blame” is mitigated and distributed accordingly. There has to be a willingness to share the responsibility in most cases.
While I openly admit that there are predators out there – the reality is that the real world is full of them. If there’s the perception that the lifestyle can somehow protect and guard against such horrific conduct … then I do have some swamp land for you to see that guarantees gold. Predators are going to find their way wherever they can. No amount of policing or pitch-forking is going to stop that. The best what we can do to counter that is to educate, improving our outreach and be there for those that find themselves in such situations.
As community, we need to apply some patience when fact gathering so that we don’t admonish someone out of the gates when there was a misunderstanding. Sally’s plight is very serious and needs to be heard. Bob is going to have some explaining to do, but both entered into a situation where outside the line behavior did not happen. How things got awry becomes a two-person operation unless it can be well established that Bob is a serial abuser and bad person. Before that conclusion can be reached, we all need to exercise a bit of patience and absorb the factual components of what’s known about the situation before making the leap across the dangerous abyss.
We need to accept the reality that misinterpretations can happen just as much as we have to accept the reality that there will be those that push past lines and limits to achieve whatever they wanted.
Consensual Issues (part 1): Rape culture & the lifestyle
Consensual Issues (part 2): The Problem is in the Definition
Consensual Issues (part 3): Separating facts from projections
Consensual Issues (part 4): The Unfortunate Death of Communication
Consensual Issues (part 5): Scolding the Dominant
Consensual Issues (part 6): Personal Responsibility
Consensual Issues (part 7): Community Responsibility