Sometimes lately I feel like I'm spending more time beating my head against that wall of people who either can't understand what I'm saying or who believe that there's no solution so we can ignore the problem. Maybe I can't explain things nearly as well as I'd like. Maybe it's just that I'm too close to this issue. Maybe it's a lot of things and I've begun to wonder if I should just go back to spending my time on things that make me happy.
I could be spending time doing anything else. I could be playing Pocket Frogs. I could be shopping for shoes. I could be working on that job interview, my Momentumcon presentations, my Bound in Boston classes. I could be snugging with Septimus, I could be doing a thousand things that I love to do.
I could sleep at night.
Instead, I’m spending time beating my head against a wall, screaming at the top of my lungs, trying to make people see that the issues I’m talking about aren’t the same things they are. I recognize that everyone has a story and that others may think that their discussions about fuzzy boundaries or scenes going haywire are important, but those aren't the kinds of things I'm talking about.
I’m not talking about people in a relationship. Who have been IN that relationship for a time. Who met someone nice, who got to know them and spent time forging that relationship.
I’m not talking about people who have decided that they will play by the “rules” to the best of their ability not only because they value their own reputations, but because they value those that they play with and around. They value the opportunities presented within BDSM for exploration and they're not willingly going to fuck that up for themselves or anyone else.
I’m not talking about people who are generally good, decent, people, who may fuck up upon occasion, who apologize, own their shit, learn from their mistakes and become better for doing it. They're not the problem, even WHEN they might fuck things up a bit. Quite often, these people feel more awful about what they did than the person they did it to.
I’m not talking about people who GET IT.
No. What I AM talking about is the attitude that all of those people I just mentioned seem to have about everyone else. That we’re all the same. Simply because we share a common word for What it is that We Do. I'm talking about all those people who think "kinky" means "honorable within that kink".
We educate with an eye towards people who want to be “like us”. We don’t ever think about how there are always some people who just want to “appear to be like us”. And when we're fooled by those people, the betrayal is so hurtful, we quickly just want to forget that it existed.
We tell people “how to meet other kinky people”. Holding munches in a "public place because it's safer". Without ever mentioning that just because they’re with kinky people, doesn’t mean that they’re not also Ted Bundy.
We hold discussions about personal responsibility, without ever holding discussions on what to do when you do everything right and it still goes very wrong. And I’m not talking about mistakes, I’m talking about deliberate and premeditated actions.
We talk about how yes means yes, without really expecting people to recognize that there are people who will always disregard everything that you say because they’re alleged “doms” and you’re not a “twue submissive” if you don’t agree. For a large part of any community already predisposed to “yes”, "yes means yes" is nearly as bad as “just say no”. And for the other large part of our community who dislikes hearing the word no said to them by a submissive anyway, is it any wonder why they only like to hear yes?
We talk about negotiation and communication without telling people that despite negotiations and despite whatever is communicated, there will be those that will not ever care.
We talk and educate about all the “good things”, seldom mentioning the bad in a realistic way. It’s very easy to tell someone that they should “report bad things” or to “leave an abusive relationship”. But unless people understand that bad things and abuse DO happen, even within a BDSM relationship, even with people you think you know, and even if you’ve negotiated and communicated, we're not preparing people to deal with this in the real world.
I'm curious though.
What we never seem to get around to is figuring out how to help the people who’ve actually listened to what we teach and talk about, and still end up being hurt. While we’re talking about consent or boundary issues, we forget that consent and boundary issues aren’t the cause of the problem- they’re often a result of people thinking they’re entering the Chateau, and finding out that they’re alone in a dark alley with no GPS.