Just because someone is a long-standing member of the kink community doesn’t automatically mean that they’re ‘safe’, ’sane’ or knowledgable — and just because some people have had good experiences with someone doesn’t mean that *everyone* has.
People can talk about their experiences (positive, negative, neutral) however they see fit, but don’t think for one minute that two (or even twenty-two) positive references automatically negates *any* & *all* negative experiences that someone else might have had with that person, or that those positive experiences automatically make that person a safe player all the time, in all ways, with every (potential) partner.
Everything that we do carries some kind of risk, physically or emotionally. Kink isn’t ‘safe’, ever. Miscommunication happens. Mishaps happen. Mistakes come with the territory. And we’re not always as good at negotiating as we might like to be. So, if someone you’ve played with feels like you’ve violated their consent, try listening to them. Try being kind. Try seeing things from their perspective, even if it’s different from your own. Violating someone’s consent (accidentally, anyway — purposeful or repetitive violations have much deeper connotations than ‘I made a mistake’) doesn’t automatically make someone an unsafe partner or an abuser, but as I’ve said before, how you handle shit matters.
Whenever the discussion of ‘safe’ players, or vetting, or long-standing (therefore ’safe’) community members comes up in some way (which seems to happen every 6 months or so), these are just some of the things that I want to scream from the roof-tops:
There is no safe.
There is safer.
There is less safe.
There is risk aware.
There is reckless.
There are, and likely always will be, predators in our community. In any community.
And yes, sometimes those predators are long-standing community members.
Sometimes they are wolves in sheeps clothing.
Sometimes they have a history of abuse or violation that stretches far beyond the point of “I made a mistake”, and for better or for worse, community members, event hosts & (potential) partners all have to decide where to draw that line for themselves & for their events.
A genuine mistake may not automatically make someone unsafe, or an abuser, but a repeating pattern of ‘mistakes’ certainly does.
So, while we may not always be able to relate to everyone’s experience, especially in cases where our own experiences or perceptions differ drastically, we can still choose to listen.
We can choose to be kind.
We can choose to take personal responsibility when we do wrong by someone.
And we can choose to learn from our mistakes & work hard not to repeat them.