There was recently an article that was circulating via my twitter feed written by the Salon regarding Fetlife’s policy against naming possible abusers on Fetlife. It is a policy that has caused a lot of debate on the site itself as well as within BDSM communities.
How do you deal with people who have overstepped the line and went from kinkster to abuser?
And should you do it on Feblife?
My answer is no. Or, let me modify it – not in a way that names the person directly.
A year ago, we had a case where a prominent member of our local community was accused of rape. The rumor mill had it going around, then the victim wrote a cleverly worded post about the experience. The post was her way of sharing and processing. But also at subtly outing the person who did this to her. The advantage she had with this way she approached it is that she is also well known and respected in the community. She has no history of drama or issues with playing meaning she negotiates clearly and well. These things led many people who would normally ignore such a post to raise and eyebrow.
Was their a group lynching? Nope. Not even after the second victim came forward with a story of her own. While neither named their accused directly, they did name him in a way that local people knew who he was.
I should mention that both went to the police where they were humiliated – and no charges were filed.
So what did happen to this guy?
He became an outcast. In the BDSM community, references matter especially if you are a sadist, dom or top. He stopped being welcome at events. Not openly unwelcome, but it was clear he was not invited. Word also spread outside of the community as people who had played with him in the past were notified to keep an eye on the play in the future. Two experienced bottoms with good reps became bad reference for this guy quickly.
Why was this allowed to occur on a site that doesn’t allow it? Because they never named him directly.
We do bad things to each other and have bad thing done to each other. Things that could land someone in the hospital and jail. But rape – rape is hard to prove – hard to prosecute. It shouldn’t matters that we consent these things to happen to us, but it becomes a hard thing for the legal world to grapple with.
For example, there is another well known Dom in our community that has had accusations made against him – specifically that lines were crossed in a way that some classify as rape.
This situation is unlike the other two I mention above. In this case, the scene that occurred was the same scene that occurred between he and the woman several times in the past. It had been negotiated and agreed upon and carried out. The woman uses (for right or wrong) BDSM as her way of pulling her out of depression. And this guy has helped her many times in the past.
Except the last time, it didn’t work like it had. She felt he pushed too much (not any more than he had in the past) – and the end result was the opposite effect.
Did he make a mistake? Oh yeah. Mistake #1 was agreeing to such a volatile situation, in my opinion. Should have stopped? He actually did when he realized something had gone sideways. Is he a rapist? Nope. Consensual nonconsensual play is tricky. And that was what had been negotiated.
Did she post something on Fetlife? I believe she did. But interestingly enough, the rumor mill