I keep hearing people say to me “if someone is raped/assaulted in BDSM, they should REPORT IT TO THE POLICE!!” The implication is that otherwise, it’s a he said/she said thing, not worthy of the “drama”. Since people really only seem to care about how things affect their own lives, I’m gonna give you something to think about- [Trigger Warning]
Here’s a pretty common scenario (at least up until a point, and no- this isn't taken from "real life", it's a story):
A young woman finds her way to our scene. She’s found out about the local munch through a thread on Fetlife. She’s shown up a few times, and someone that “everybody knows” is a “nice guy” and that nobody will say bad things about, starts a friendship with her. She “friends” people on Fetlife, many of whom are his “friends”. She joins groups and starts conversations and becomes part of the “community”. The woman and her “dom” both seem pretty decent, normal, and not “creepers”. After a few munches and a couple of classes, he’s been seen around long enough and has behaved “normally”. So someone invites him to their next party. He invites the young woman.
This girl, having read all she could about safety, bdsm, consent, and negotiation, feels comfortable that she’s with her “friends” at the party. She negotiates for a rope scene, with a little hand spanking. Nothing else is mentioned.
The “dom” she met at the munch, that everyone is “friends” with, ties up the girl, begins to spank her, and she drops into a nice mellow headspace. The dom then gags her and starts to wail on her ass with a paddle. The girl snaps out of the headspace and tries to make noises, tries to get someone’s attention, tries to stop the dom, but because she’s now gagged, she can’t. Nobody at the party looks twice at the really hot scene going on. After all, these are people they “know” and it doesn’t look any different from any other scene they’ve ever witnessed. The dom then goes on and fucks her and while doing so, tells her that if she screams or says anything, he’ll “make her pay”. Again, it’s a private party, with “friends”, and nothing seems out of the ordinary. He finishes, reminds the girl to keep quiet because “he’s the dom” and unties her. The girl is in tears, badly shaken, sick, disgusted and out of it. The “dom” tells everyone that he’s taking her home for a “little aftercare” (wink wink).
A few days later, the girl tells one of her scene “friends” that she was raped at the party. This friend, who was there, finds it hard to believe because the girl “looked like she was having a good time”. The girl reports what happened to the party host who disavows all knowledge of what went on because he “can’t believe the dom would do such a thing and he didn’t see anything because he was in another room”. The girl then goes to the leader of the munch, where she first met the dom and tells what happened. The leader is likewise incredulous that such a thing really happened and questions not only the girl’s memory of the event, but tells her that she shouldn’t say anything because it’ll “cause problems”. The “drama” continues until the girl is forced to remove her Fetife profile. But not before carefully copying everything she can find about not only the dom, but every single one of those people at the munch and the party who refused to help.
Although very reluctant to involve the authorities or admit what happened, she’s been through the ringer enough and tells about the rape.
With me so far? If you are, thank you.
The authorities ask the girl about the munches. About the party. And about everything she knows about the people. It’s difficult, because these people don’t always talk about themselves, but small details that people did talk about were helpful. She knows that one of the girls “works for a local florist”. And that the leader of the munch is named “Bill” and on his profile he had a picture of his dog. She remembers where the house party was held though. It was at an apartment in East Bumpkis. She’s not able to give ALL the details about everyone, but enough.
The authorities maybe decide that this girls story “rings true” enough to act on. They even have a picture of the guy that did it, thanks to Fetlife. And not only that, he was kind enough to write about what a great time he had with this girl at the party. The decide to prosecute and show up at the next munch with a few subpoenas for the “friend, the leader and the party host”.
Enough of the authorities. You all know where this one would likely go. Arrest, trial, names in the newspaper. This is what people wanted. This is what the woman should have done!
But what about the girl? The girl who was actually brave enough to put up with the crap from the legal system. That brave person we advised to "grow balls and report and leave us out the drama".
Well here’s the part about how quickly destruction could happen with a brave person:
You see, after she went through the ringer with the domly one, and with the police and trial, she’s discovered that she’s ANGRY at the way she was treated by those “friends”. She decides to get even for some of it. Because they refused to help, covered up the dom, and victimized her again through their actions and inactions, she’s decided that the only way to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone again, is to cause a little destruction and chaos.
She calls the place where the munch is held and tells the manager “you know that group that meets there on Mondays at 6?.....they’re freaks, practicing sadomasochism and they have child molesters and criminals involved in their group....if you don’t kick them out, I might just have to let the local prude-with-a-stick-up-their-ass group know what’s going on. The manager decides that his “family restaurant” doesn’t need that kind of shit and bans the group. And the next munch? She does the same thing. Again and again, until it’s really difficult to even find a munch location. No restaurant/bar owner is going to lose business to keep the munch group.
She calls the owner of the hotel where the next really cool convention is being held. She tells the manager “you know that group?......? And then calls the newspaper, the local PTA and a couple of churches and tells them there’s a “sex group doing things at that hotel on the 30th”. Pickets and news crews show up. The hotel tells the organizer that they’re not welcome back. Oh - and for good measure, she also found out about that adorable little girl who was having her bat mitzvah in the hotel at the same time and told her mother what was going on. The same mother that then bitched the hotel a blue streak and told “all her friends” what that “nasty hotel” did! The hotel decides to sue the group for “loss of revenues” because their contract specified that no advertising of the location was allowed, and yet the hotel’s name and address was so kindly posted on Fetlife and the event website.
She calls the owner of the apartment building where the party was held. She sends a picture taken from Fetlife, of the tenants having their party to the owner with a note that says “the people that live in Apt. 2B? They hold sex parties and let people under legal drinking age drink there. There also are needles, and what not... and wouldn’t it be a shame if the police found out” Since the landlord already had one complaint about noise, he evicts those nice party hosts for ruining the “quiet enjoyment” of the other tenants.
She remembers that “Bill” was complaining about his ex. She does a little digging and finds out Bill’s real name (the internet is so wonderful”) and also finds out that his wife was very grateful for all of the information on Bill’s Fetlife profile. Including all those pictures and the really neato list of fetishes including “daddy/daughter”. The judge was also really interested in those things when making his custody decision.
She then sends a copy of that nice “friend’s” picture, the friend that wouldn’t believe her because she seemed like she was having a good time- you know the one- with her sucking cock and getting fucked in the ass?- to her boss, the florist. And when the friend is fired for something a couple of days later, she doesn’t even know why.
She trolls the profiles and writings of every single person that refused to help her and told her to shut the fuck up. She figures that she was ignored, slutshamed and that people who were her “friends” and “leaders” had made it so much harder for her. If only they’d listened and helped....
These are only a few of the ways that someone who is pissed off enough, and victimized enough by “reporting” to the “leaders, organizers and friends” what happened, could do. It only takes one person to cause not only the destruction of the fallacy of safety and support, but one person to cause the destruction of so much more. If the only thing that will get you moving is a personal interest in this issue, I hope I've just given you a few reasons to take it personally.
It just takes one person to care enough to help someone, to believe someone, to advocate for someone.
Here's another really good post that you should read.