(c)April 2014 All rights reserved This article is the sole property of the author and CAN NOT be reprinted in any format without express written permission of the author
I chose not to engage in the threads. I thought seriously about it, but then I found that whatever I would have added had already been said and there were more than enough firefighters. No need to be redundant. The main players know they have my support; they are my friends. If I have a constructive suggestion and words of support to offer, I go directly to them.
About what our community is grappling with?
If you have been around for a while you know this is not the first time this question has come up.
How do we as a community respond to the abuses, violations, insults and injuries our lifestyle opens us up to?
This will not be the last time; like with most difficult and complex issues, we struggle with how to respond and we struggle with finding solutions. It is a process we engage in regularly. Often, everyone gets up in arms and venue owners and party hosts review their policies and implement changes. Additional classes and support are offered. Things die down. Something terrible happens. And, then the cycle repeats.
This round, a group of people have come together to explore and implement a possible solution to a very long standing problem. Is there a need for a more cohesive system and better support to address these issues as they arise and create a healthier environment for all concerned? I have been facilitating the SF Submissive Safe Space Discussion Group for four years. My answer is Yes.
The BDSM community in the Bay Area has increased exponentially in the last few years and many new people have entered the public scene – just look at the number of events, public and private, there are in a given month compared to five years ago.
In the BDSM community, part of what we do is create containers to make it as safe as possible to explore our sexuality. Whether it’s the party hosts and venue owners of a public event or dungeon, or through the safe emotional spaces we create for each other by building trusting relationships; creating safe spaces is a community and personal responsibility.
About being risk aware and personal responsibility …
I was never a fan of SSC when it was in vogue. Personal responsibility and being risk aware felt more natural to me from the beginning. Not just natural, absolutely necessary. When I first came into the scene all I had was Gloria Braeme’s website (thank you, Gloria!) and a few good books to guide me. No one brought me into it. Once I discovered BDSM and D/s relationships, I learned everything I could as fast as I could – I was driven and there was no stopping me. It was like I had been asleep and suddenly awoke – objects had color, food had taste and my brain was on fire. I was lucky to fall in with a group of Old Guard renegades out of NYC who taught me. I was too new to realize how lucky I was – some of them have passed – I know they were proud of me.
Here is my personal responsibility piece, in my opinion (opinions being what they are!) This is what I have to offer the people on my friends list here on Fetlife on the topic of risk awareness and personal responsibility:
I can promise, if you stay in this lifestyle you are not just at risk for the following – many of these things will likely happen despite your best efforts:
- You will have your consent violated and you will violate someone’s consent.
- You will go too far and regret it.
- Someone is going to push your boundaries beyond what you can bear, and you will either love it or hate it.
- You will be objectified and you will objectify others.
- You will let people do terrible things to you and you will do terrible things to others.
- You will go through sub drop and cry for days.
- You will be broken and you will break someone.
- You will have your heart and body injured, repeatedly.
- You will wonder “What kind of monster am I?”.
- You will find yourself smiling and aroused as someone you care about is convulsing with pain.
- You will look up Sociopath and Psychopath in the DSM-5. You will wonder which of the criteria fits you and which one fits your newest love.
- As one community leader wisely says, “We play with core emotions”.
- You will be mind fucked on a regular basis.
- You will be triggered and you will encounter land mines, your own and your partners’.
- You will have misunderstandings.
- You will not use your words when you should and you will not listen as carefully as you should have.
- The music in the dungeon will be too loud and you won’t hear “RED”. You will be too high on endorphins and not “RED” when you should.
- Your sub frenzy; your Top frenzy; your inexperience and horniness will cause you to have poor judgement.
- You will find yourself with people and in relationships with people who are not a good match for you.
- If you choose to step up because you have a servant-leader heart; because you love this community and feel you have value to add, you will eventually be publicly attacked.
All this is unavoidable. If you are honest and brave, and fully understand what you are walking into and are still are willing to take these risks you will find people who you do not need to hide any aspect of your self from.
- You will become someone who doesn’t simply tolerate, but embraces every aspect of the people you care for.
- You will learn to breath through pain of all sorts and you will learn how to be fully present with someone in pain.
- You will learn how to regulate your emotions, recover from trauma and how to heal yourself.
- You will learn the importance of transparency, honesty and integrity. Those words will cease to be concepts in your mind. They will become how you live.
- You will learn how to apologize.
- You will learn how to be present and compassionate after causing someone you care for injury, pain and insult.
- You will learn that trust can be rebuilt.
- You will be able to be your whole self, and learn to love all the dark and light space inside of you.
- You will learn how strong you are and you will learn how to be deeply vulnerable to another person.
- You will find people who embrace all of you, who support you, who are in your corner, who desire you, who love you, who care for you deeply.
Now you can never say I didn’t tell you so.