Allegation Bingo In Kink

My friend expressed great shock at the post that went up on Fetlife about a man with whom she had been in negotiations.  The post was written by a woman.  And it followed the usual points….

  • “I didn’t know if I should say anything.”
  • “I feared the backlash.”
  • “Too many put false trust in this person, so I’m breaking my silence.”
  • “Here is my experience.”
  • “I hope people will learn from my experience and not trust this guy.”

My friend was shocked by what she read about this man who she almost trusted.  But she was also shocked by the response which followed the same, usual points…..

Male commentors:

  • “I’m so sorry this happened to you. You have my support.”
  • “What did you expect from someone who thinks so highly of himself and his <insert craft here: rope, photography, etc>?”
  • “What did you do that made him think that was okay?”
  • “I had a friend who went thru a similar experience.”
  • “It’s just your word against his, so I’m sorry it happened but I’m not taking sides.”
  • “I’m a guy who is an expert at <insert craft here: rope, photography, etc> and I’m not like that. STOP GENERALIZING!”

Female commentors:

  • “I’m so sorry this happened to you. You have my support.”
  • “Lynch the man!”
  • “I never had that experience – mine was just the opposite. But I’m not saying that to negate your’s, just….”
  • “Just to play devil’s advocate, did you everything think that maybe you….”
  • “I always thought he was a bad guy.”
  • “Not all guys who are known for <insert trade here: rope, photography, etc> are like that.”
  • “You know, that’s why it’s really important you fully vet even the popular guys….”

Then what ensues from all sides are their own posts about topics such as personal responsibility, this is why you should never trust guys who do X, consent topics, posts about their own experience with said man – positive and negative, etc.

The comments on the original post turns into a mini-war of people who believe, people who do not believe, and those who are using it as an example of the ongoing patronizing behavior by men in general and why cisgender men need to check their privilege.

I hate to be flippant and cynical about these posts.  Allegations of impropriety in the kink world are big fucking deals given how trust and consent are the basic foundation of what makes BDSM great fun instead of horrible and abusive.  Abusers in the kink scenes need to be exposed and ousted rather than allowed to hide in a community.  These are points I believe and agree with 100%.

I just hate the dance on Fetlife.

I hate the fact that doing the right thing is met with such a wide range of responses.  Support, support with a side of “don’t you think you should have done something differently?”, anger the person spoke up, and hijacking of the topic for a social agenda.  When all is said and done, nothing changes.  Rarely is the perpetrator the recipient of the backlash – everyone but the perpetrator gets the backlash.

I know people have wondered aloud how do we deal with this differently to keep the community safe.  I won’t pretend I know an answer that meets everyone’s needs.  A reporting process is seen as “guilty until proven innocent”, the “victim” could be lying,  or that the power of judgement is in the wrong hands.  Speaking out on public forums is met with this bullshit described above.  Going to the authorities (where appropriate) is often more traumatizing than makes it worth it – especially when rarely it results in prosecution.  Handling it off-line with trusted people in the community seems to be the best bet.  But sometimes those trusted people can turn into a perpetrator too, so that’s not always a sure thing.

I don’t have the answers.  I just wish that each allegation didn’t turn into a game of allegation bingo.  I wish each allegation didn’t draw in the usual suspects trolling to either be “devil’s advocate” (like the devil needs an advocate) or “a social justice warrior”.  I wish that when we talk about vetting players in the scene that it is not met with opposition but viewed as the way to try to curb things.  Ideal that it has to be done? No, but I’m sorry, we don’t live in a Utopian society.

I wish we asked ourselves why is it that victims don’t talk about it.  And change our own behaviors so that when something horrible happens, it’s on the table ASAP – can be handled ASAP at some level.  So the person who was victimized can get the support they need and deserve ASAP. And hopefully the number of other victims is reduced.

I think that last wish is in our control to make happen.

At least, I hope it can be.

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