I have violated the consent of others, likely so have you. I am an edge player, that means I coax my bottoms to test their own limits- I do not test them but I give them the opportunity to test themselves and the only guidelines I have for this are what my bottoms tell me is and isn’t okay: Verbally and otherwise. I choose to believe that people are responsible for themselves and their actions. That being said, I am incredibly manipulative and I’m pretty sure I could convince people to change some pretty fundamental things about themselves.
I like to break the rules, especially ones that I think give us a false sense of security: In the sex work community this means to always use references- I did that once and he was a man who nearly killed a woman in Texas. Of course he was. Why would a predator not have good references? Sadly, that is just assuming the best case scenario which would be that people are completely predictable and never change their behavior or attitude with a change of company; I would be a fool to believe that for a second.
When it comes to negotiation I almost never do it in such a way that anyone else would recognize as anything more than a conversation or a sharing of stories; In my professional and personal play, I rarely ask for hard limits in a direct, verbal and concise way but I do ask. Just not in ways that you would expect or often even notice. Often in my professional play people will ask me how I knew something, often something they didn’t even know about themselves. Because I choose my partners carefully and curate my experiences, almost all feedback has been positive. Unfortunately, perspective is fluid.
The last time I used explicit verbal consent for everything I did, I had invited the friend of my partner to join me on a work session which helped her out of a horrible situation. Everything I did with her I had talked about with her in as much detail as she would allow but in the end she gave me the answer “Check in with me during the scene and I will tell you if it’s okay.” I felt a little knot in the pit of my stomach when she said this and in retrospect, I should have trusted my instincts because months later I found out she had been telling everyone I knew that I raped her- Despite the fact that I asked her repeatedly before, during and after if something was okay. She of course said yes every time.
This destroyed me- Maybe 2 years before this happened, I was held down and raped by two of my friends at the time and that assault left me with permanent nerve damage in my arm. The idea that I had caused that kind of damage to another person made me want to die and I cried for a long time about it.
I confronted her as soon as I found out and she told me that “People are blowing things out of proportion.” I looked into her eyes and told her she needed to tell me if things were okay and she said yes. I kept hearing that I had damaged her and not only was there nothing I could do about it but she wouldn’t even acknowledge to me that it was a problem. This broke my trust in the words of people because I have seen time and time again that people will lie to get something they want, or to please you.
I’ve watched many people in the public eye become targeted because someone didn’t like that person and took to “the community” to get support for their cause. Yet, at the same time I have had someone who is currently an educator put me in harm’s way during a scene where he paid me to be a bondage model and when I raised concerns he responded by saying “This is how we do it at my organization.” and to make matters worse, when I told him after the fact that I would never play with him again and why he said “Hmm.. I understand how you might feel that way.” I remember it 5 years later because it is the reason I stopped bottoming and the reason I stopped doing pick up play, period. Worse yet, I only got an apology when the leader of said organization spoke to this individual and he didn’t even remember it. At best, this means that was standard operating procedure for him.
The worst part is that this person is allowed to continue getting away with being careless because people consider him “absent minded” or “kind of a hillbilly.” This scares the shit out of me because it means that at the end of the day the only thing that stands between being an idiot and someone who shouldn’t be allowed to rig or an accident and a rape- Is perspective and popular opinion.
Who in their right mind would be willing to be involved in any community where that kind of hypocrisy and blatant favoritism are looked up to as “protecting” anyone? Back when I was raped and assaulted, I got ostracized from my community and thrown out because when I cried to my best friend about what had happened she told everyone and they accused me of trying to “ruin his reputation.” You know what though? I talked to him too and you know what he said to me? “Hmm.. I understand how you might feel that way.” Yet because he got more people to yell about how “crazy” and “malicious” I was, I nearly killed myself. No one asked me what happened, they assumed without information and it was the worst thing that ever happened to me.
Personally, I would be a fool to put my career and my life’s passion in the hands of people who are treating a popularity contest like a trial. Yes, I believe victims but I don’t believe in stringing people up in front of a crowd and destroying their reputations without giving them a chance to fix it. If that is your idea of “protecting victims” then I don’t want to be any where near you because you could easily turn on me if I don’t give you what you want.
In closing, you can paint a giant red C on anyone you like but that doesn’t make the people you call “friends” any better than them. We all make mistakes and if you don’t give people a chance to fix them, you are doing something way worse than harming any one, two, three or even ten individuals. You are creating a system that encourages people to rig the popularity game in order to get away with hurting others- You are creating a hunting ground for predators with any reputation because we all are taught to “hold educators/etc to a higher standard.”
Nicely done, folks. People like you are the reason that people like me get violently raped, that escorts get killed because of a good reference, that minorities get abused by the powers that be and that outsiders choose to end it all and sometimes take others with them. I hope you’re proud of yourselves.
PS. If I have harmed you in any way, I would really appreciate it if you contacted me directly so that I can fix it or at least give you an apology.