When a friend showed me this article today, it was creepy how similar it was to my own experience starting out in the BDSM community. I’ll excerpt a bit of it here for with my own commentary.
“I Never Called It Rape: Addressing Abuse in BDSM Communities” – by Kitty Stryker
When I start to think of the number of times I have been cajoled, pressured, or forced into sex that I did not want when I came into “the BDSM community”, I can’t actually count them. And I never came out about it before, not publicly, for a variety of reasons- I blamed myself for not negotiating enough, or clearly, or for not sticking to my guns, or I didn’t want to be seen as being a drama queen or kicking up a fuss. Plus, the fact is, these things didn’t traumatize me, and I didn’t call it sexual assault or rape, because I felt ok afterwards. There was no trauma, no processing that I needed.
This was my experience too. How horrible is it to be a new in this environment and have to just accept blame for actions that were never truly consensual and in any other context would have qualified as sexual assault? But just like the vanilla world…we end up carrying that guilt and that burden because safewords weren’t honored, because scenes went too far, because my safety was not of the utmost concern to the dominant in the situation. Somehow it’s my fault. I wasn’t more clear when negotiating (stupid me, I thought “no paddles” meant no paddles would be used). It’s my fault if I expose someone who treated me poorly because everyone else thinks he or she is an “expert” or Master of the craft.
I had physical wounds. But more importantly I had emotional and spiritual wounds caused by this type of disregard. Submission by its very nature exposes a person’s vulnerability. And the bad and dirty players exploited that vulnerability, betrayed my trust and worse blamed me for the results because I wasn’t “submissive enough”.
This was traumatizing. Make no mistake about it. It would ruin my experience with the next dominant or top I met and make me leery of trusting myself much less ever trusting others. As for the physical wounds, I had them. But how do I identify the wounds I consented to and those I didn’t? Unless it was a clear matter of “I didn’t consent to marks of any kind” how do you distinguish between a literal and unintentional “oops” and the more reckless “don’t give a fuck”? Read the rest of this entry