Home > rayne > And here I thought kink was all about consent.

And here I thought kink was all about consent.

On FetLife (requires login), the ‘kinky Facebook’, a woman (we’ll call her Woman) accused her owner (we’ll call him Man) of rape1. And before I even read any of the responses, I cringed. I considered clicking away and pretending it didn’t exist. I didn’t want to be witness to the bullshit I knew was going down.

God, that’s gross. That’s as bad as the 85% of Swedes who just walked by a decoy car in which a recording of a woman screaming for help was being played while the car trembled and shook as if the woman was being sexually assaulted. Eighty-five percent. Though I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, considering Sweden leads Europe in reported sexual assault cases.

The story goes like this:

Woman was a slave. She withdrew her consent. Man, her ‘master’, had sex with her anyway.

She didn’t say, “I’m withdrawing my consent, but because I’m a slave you do what you want.” She didn’t withdraw her ‘play’ consent with the hopes that he’d pull the owner card and fuck her anyway. She flat out said no. Begged him to stop fucking her. He continued to violate her anyway.

No matter which way you slice it, it was absolutely a violation. Thanks to this little thing called ‘the law,’ the very second a person withdraws consent, any sexual contact becomes sexual assault, regardless of how they self-identify in their relationship and/or sex life. Period. It’s one of the main reasons cases of abuse and sexual assault are so much harder to prosecute when BDSM is involved. He says, “She told me I could do whatever I wanted. She was into it.” She says, “I was into it. Then I wasn’t, and he did it anyway.” and people decide (wrongly) that it’s her fault because ‘she gave consent.’

FetLife exploded with threads meant to discredit Woman’s story. Dozens of complete strangers chimed in with “If it’s this kind of dynamic…” and “If they do this in their relationship…” and “In my relationship…” No one in any of the threads/comments I have read actually asked the woman what type of relationship dynamic she agreed to. Not that that matters. She withdrew consent for what she’d agreed to. The dynamic was over.

The vast majority of the comments, from masters and slaves alike, has amounted to “A slave can’t be raped,” as if consent is a magical contract signed in blood, and once it’s received, it can never be undone (unless you make a potion of eye of newt, virgin hair, and the heart of a fetal pig, feed it to the village idiot, and ask the neighbor’s cat really nicely).

People said Woman should have known better than to play with Man. Woman shouldn’t have agreed to be a ‘slave’ if she couldn’t stick to it. With how recklessly Woman behaved, she should be grateful it was him, and not some other, crazier dom who would have chopped her limbs off, or something. Woman shouldn’t be going around calling Man a rapist since she brought this on herself.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Woman tried to post her story to the board of the leather club Man belongs to, and they deleted her post, calling it a ‘disruption’. Because we wouldn’t want to address a problem within our community. Better to chastise and silence the ‘drama queen’.

There’s some other stuff about a discussion on a board in which Woman says she was told by mentors that what happened wasn’t rape because she was owned property, but the information I’ve found on this part of the story is vague (mostly because that’s what happens when you enter a conversation in the middle), so I’m murky on the details. Of course, the club maintains that they’ve done nothing wrong.

And I am disgusted.

Slavery is illegal. In most states, BDSM is illegal by way of consent not being a defense for illegal activities; namely assault, rape, and in some states, bondage and sodomy. We consistently tell the courts of law and public opinion that what separates us from rapists and abusers is consent. We rail against our inability to have sex and live our lives how we want to without fear of life-altering, government enforced repercussions because consenting adults should be allowed to make those decisions for themselves.

And yet, here we are, telling this woman that her withdrawal of consent didn’t matter. That the law doesn’t matter. That she’d signed the magical one-time consent contract in blood, and hadn’t followed the procedures allowed to her to break that contract, and so anything that happened after that was right, and just, and completely her fault.

I call bullshit.

The kink community as a whole, and especially FetLife, has built an atmosphere that is not safe for victims of sexual assault or domestic violence to speak up about the things they’ve suffered; especially if the victims self-identify as slaves.

Woman had to omit names from her story on Fetlife, even though everyone in her social circle knows who she’s talking about, because Fetlife won’t allow its users to name rapists and abusers2. One could argue (and I have) that legally, this is the best course of action for them. And it is. But that doesn’t change the fact that this adds to the difficulty in coming forward.

Besides that, Fetlife users immediately attacked Woman for her reaction to being violated by someone she was supposed to be able to trust. They all felt the need to tell her how it works in their relationship, insinuated that Woman was the one in the wrong, treated her as if she’d committed some unholy crime against BDSM and should be eradicated from their holy temple of kink, or something.

That’s funny, that. Fetlife a holy temple of kink. As if.

Multiple real-time kink groups stand accused of not only ignoring claims of abuse and sexual assault, but also promoting people who stand accused without resolving the issue. Spend five minutes Googling, and you’ll find countless stories of people bringing consent violations to dungeon guards/masters/whatever we’re calling them now, and getting reactions varying from suddenly not being invited to events to being asked to leave the event at which they were violated for causing a disruption.

Hell, in the local group I recently joined on Fetlife, a thread was started eschewing the need for negotiation with a play partner you just met. People were insulted when some of us suggested that maybe consent was a little more important than their desire to top someone. “Well, it works for me,” is all well and good until it doesn’t.

And we wonder why people are afraid to come forward when they’re violated.

This is wrong on so many levels. We’re all a bunch of hypocrites.

In our community of kink we say we’re for something, but when it all comes down to it, if that something doesn’t fit with what we want in that moment, it goes out the window. That thing works for us when it comes to defending our rights, but when it comes to somebody else’s rights (even somebody within our social circle), that thing doesn’t matter any more.

Woman’s case is the perfect example. Woman saying no to her owner challenges the dynamics of many relationships, including my own. Some people can’t handle that challenge. For whatever reason, they need to be right; need their way to be the ‘One True Way’. And so, when Woman stood up and said, “My owner raped me,” consent, a thing we claim to hold dear, is no longer important. It’s null and void. Fuck Woman, fuck consent, and fuck everybody who doesn’t agree. Our way is the only way, and our way says we can take what we want whether or not the person we’re taking it from wants us to because consent to non-consent and the sanctity of owner/property relationships takes precedence over a mere slave’s wants and needs.

Well, guess what. That’s a violation of consent, no matter what title a person gives themselves. And in this case, that violation of consent has another name. It’s called rape.

1. I’m not linking to the conversations or the woman’s writings because she’s dealt with enough bullshit and strangers’ opinions to last anyone a lifetime. There’s at least one thread discussing the situation in pretty much every group with ‘slave’ in the title. If you want to read the comments, use Fetlife’s shitty search feature.↩
2. There is a predator alert tool that you can install on your browser that will let you know if a user whose profile you’re visiting has been accused of sexual assault or abuse, but a woman in the UK is effectively silencing victims with a denial of service attack because she’s mad at its creator. Gross.↩

Categories: rayne Tags:
  1. Mircea Popescu
    April 29th, 2015 at 16:39 | #1

    “Not safe” in what sense ? That they won’t have their expectations necessarily and universally catered to ? They’re not that important, not really. There are many much more important things. Time to deal.

  2. Reaperscreature
    April 30th, 2015 at 13:48 | #2

    @Mircea: I really feel like you missed the point. Not safe as in “Shhhh. Stop talking about it because the community can’t look bad.” It’s not about being catered to, it’s about being able to speak up and protect others from people who enjoy victimizing others…kind of like you seem to.

  3. April 30th, 2015 at 16:36 | #3

    @ Mircea Popescu Oh, right. Because victimizing people is okay. Whatever, dude. Crawl back under your rock.

  4. Pornfan991
    May 2nd, 2015 at 17:09 | #4

    Thank you for the well thought out article.

  5. dweaver999
    May 6th, 2015 at 06:46 | #5

    I’ve been meaning to comment, but life has gotten chaotic recently. Mircea, the above commenter, is a perfect example of what’s wrong in the kink community. From what I’ve read (very little, admittedly), the rape culture that continues to bedevil mainstream society is just as rampant in the BDSM community. Even worse, it seems to have a self justifying element lodged in the whole “slave” dynamic and rape play fantasies. All of which misses the whole point (more than one actually). CONSENT IS EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t give a rat’s ass what your dynamic is/was, if the subbie withdraws consent, everything you do from that moment forward is RAPE!

    If BDSM is ever to be accepted by mainstream society, several things need to happen. First and foremost, we need to be seen as willing and able to police ourselves on the subjects of rape and abuse. It would be nice if the kink community would learn from the hard lessons the Catholic Chrch is learning right now. But, it seems we’re dooming ourselves to go down the same path of protecting those we should be ostracizing (at the least), Pathetic, really.

    On a side issue, it would also help if the most popular genre of BDSM fiction wasn’t the non-consent/kidnapping genre.

  6. Heaven
    May 10th, 2015 at 20:50 | #6

    I have been through some crap on that place as well and every time I try to say something about a certain person all they do is block our accounts from reviewing. It is not right that we can’t say what we want to say on there and how they try to hide what we want to say as well.

  7. May 19th, 2015 at 01:50 | #7

    There are some extremely relevant posts about this over on MaleSubmissionArt.com, including a statistical analysis of FetLife.com customer records cross-referenced with the Predator Alert Tool database that finds FetLife customers are 13 times more likely to allegedly be rapists than the average FetLife user. Furthermore, the analysis finds that FetLife is actually a porn site, not a social network, because an overwhelming majority (more than 72%) of FetLife’s customers are male, and of those, a full quarter of fetlife’s customers are self-identified Male Doms.

    There’s a good summary of the analysis to date over on the BandanaBlog at a post called “FetLife’s Best Customers.”

  8. May 19th, 2015 at 11:58 | #8

    @ maymay Well, hello, maymay. Hope you’re well. Thanks for the comment/info. I’ll add the link to the post. πŸ™‚

  9. June 4th, 2015 at 04:22 | #9

    Rayne, I applaud you! I read the entire unfolding over on FL and was appalled at the ignorance out there. Some people seem to think M/s is an excuse to do anything at all they want, regardless of consent or discussion. Insane!
    I have actually deactivated my account there because I simply got sick and tired of the bullshit and attitudes of so many members.
    Good on you for writing this piece. Consider yourself followed!
    Kat x

%d bloggers like this: