If you have ever been out and about in the kink community, poly community, and even the queer community, you have probably run across the concept of predators within the community. Every community has them; every community SHOULD have their own ways of dealing with them, or at least protecting the community from them.
Sadly, we frequently don’t. In fact, there has been some conversation (actually, a lot of conversation – much of it has been deleted by moderators) on FetLife about what to do about predators, rapists, assaulters, and folks that just won’t take no for an answer in our community. Life might have been much easier before the internet; if someone acts aggressive or rape-y towards folks, word got around. They were pushed out of the community, told they were not welcome…of course, sometimes they were also hit with a legal case as well. No longer. In fact, if you post on FetLife, including in your own journal, or in a group that you own, the fact that someone went beyond your limits, or assaulted you, or raped you, or wouldn’t back off even after you made it clear you were not interested, your post will be deleted. Unless, of course, you have a magical piece of paper; a conviction against said person from your local city, country or state court. A restraining order doesn’t count; you cannot name the person you have that against without having that deleted.
We are therefore allowing predators to get away with it. Sure, some dungeons have banned folks for douche-y behavior, or because enough people complained to the owners. Word does still get around in person. However, how does that help the newbie to the community who is exploring FetLife and stumbles upon a great and powerful Master or Mistress that really seems to be as good as it gets. They look around on posts from people in that community, and see nothing; no warning signs, or notes about them being predatory much mean they are ok, right? And suddenly, the community is aiding a predator in preying on new blood.
So what is the solution to this? Obviously, nothing is out there to currently challenge FetLife. Ergo, we must bring the conversation off the interwebs and back into our communities. What IS the local dungeon’s protocol when a member complains about having their limits violated by, or having survived an assault from another person who frequents the dungeon? Is there a process covered in the welcome spiel about what to do if predatory behavior is spotted? What type of support does the community offer its members if they are in fact victims or survivors a predatory behavior? And honestly, what kind of information is available to teach folks how to act within the parameters of the community? People read fan fiction and erotica on the internet that may not mesh with the reality of playing locally in real life, but haven’t been given a good 101 on how to act within the real world kink or BDSM community, and are still operating under the false assumptions that all submissive folks are fair game at any time for all dominant folks.
If we, as a kink community (both locally and as a whole) do not step things up, we are failing to keep our community safe. If we allow these conversations to be stifled, and shoved under the rug, then we are complicit in letting this predatory behavior happen. And at least to me, that is not indicative of the kink community I have come to know and love.