Everyone knows the newest BDSM “catch phrase” - Consent Counts? Sure you do. NCSF has done a whole fucking campaign on consent counting. It’s another bullshit phrase in a long line of “feel good” expressions from a really hip marketing department somewhere.
I’ll tell exactly why consent alone doesn’t count for anything.
I make no secret of the fact that I was hurt by someone in the scene a couple of years ago. It wasn't even IN a scene, which is another reason why consent counted for shit. It was unexpected and ended up causing a lot of trouble for me as well as a lot of pain.
When it first happened to me, people I’d told about it had some interesting reactions- they’d either “heard similar stories” or “had one of their own” about the same person; or they couldn’t believe that this person would do such a thing. They believed ME (I am after all fairly known myself and not known to be given to hysterics or lying). But they couldn’t believe that this person could DO such a thing. Fortunately, there were several witnesses around who saw that it could and did happen
Whenever this person’s name is mentioned to me in conversation (usually with someone telling me how “wonderful” this person is), I tell them what happened. I calmly lay out the facts of what happened, admit that the injury was unintentional (you see, even *I* have a hard time believing it happened) and stress the fact that above all, it was completely unconsensual. I also don’t gloss over the fact that this person has to this date not apologized to me for doing it nor has he ever bothered to check up after the fact to see how my injury is doing.
And yet, this person has continued to not only practice what he did to me on others, but has actually taught CLASSES on doing it. I’ve actually heard people extolling his virtues to me without knowing my story and then scurrying away with an incredulous look after they’ve heard it. They don’t know what to believe. They LIKE both of us.
For those that know me, and known to whom I’m referring, I’m sure you’re still saying to yourself “she must have it wrong” or “it was an accident” or even “yeah, I’ve heard worse”. For those that know me, you’ll also be able to verify that it’s difficult for me to even be in the same room with this person. We're cordial because we have to be. But there is little warmth on either side.
What’s even more amazing though is when I start talking to people about this and they tell me “yeah- this person did X to me” or “yeah-this person did Y to me”. Or even worse “yeah, this person has a bit of a problem with consent”.
Funny how I’d never heard ANY of those things until I started talking.
As far as I’m concerned, knowing that someone “has problems” with consent; or has had “several complaints”; or, as I’ve read recently- someone “who will probably drive her out of the scene too”; and NOT saying it to anyone, to their next potential victim, or to EVERYONE to whom you come in contact with about that person, makes you just as culpable for their crimes. If you KNOW someone is a problem, if you KNOW that someone has a reputation for doing things that people have complained about, if you KNOW that someone has suffered, been hurt, raped, or had their trust violated at their hands and say nothing, you’re just as fucking guilty when the shit hits the fan.
In my opinion, the only time consent counts, is when it’s INFORMED consent. And being informed requires the participation of every single person who has any information which may affect the consent.
INFORMED CONSENT counts. Everything else is just non-consensual ostriching by people who should fucking know better.