“If you really were assaulted, why didn’t you come forward sooner? Why did you continue to be friends with the accused?”
Look, I was 19 when this happened. I had only been active in the kink community for a little over a year, and I’d never had to handle something like this before. The accused was someone I trusted, someone I had considered a friend. When this happened, I had a lot of thoughts and feelings to work through, and it would ultimately take years for me to make sense of it.
I continued to be his friend because I wanted to believe that this was a one-off mistake, not a purposeful or malicious violation. I did quietly take other steps to protect myself emotionally, though— any future shoots we did together, to my recollection, always included a spotter or assistant. I also turned down any future requests for play beyond very occasional demo bottoming at educational events.
At this point I had no reason to believe that my experience wasn’t an isolated event, and did not consider this person to be unsafe in the broader sense of the word; just unsafe for me. So, I made the choices that I thought were best for my physical and mental well-being at that time. Would I make different choices if the same thing were to happen today? Yes. But today I have over 10 years of experience in the public kink community, and a hell of a lot more life experience than 19-year-old me did.
“We can’t play judge and jury, if something really happened why didn’t you go to the cops?”
And tell them what, exactly? That I had gone to do a nude, fetish photoshoot with someone I trusted, alone in their apartment, and thatwas all consensual, but then he decided to finger me without permission? How would I win a case like that, even if I tried? One of the (many) reasons why people don’t report consent violations is because often times there isn’t any evidence.
“I’ve known x for years, they wouldn’t do something like that. They’ve never behaved that way with me!”
Here’s the thing about people who engage in predatory behaviours: most of them aren’t stupid. They know how to pick and choose their victims. A good predator isn’t going to behave badly with everyone, they’re going to behave badly with the people who are most vulnerable. They choose young and/or inexperienced partners because they’re easier to manipulate — they usually don’t know how to negotiate or advocate for themselves yet, and instead of the more experienced partner choosing to help them learn those skills, they take advantage of that inexperience for their own gain. I have also known x for years, and yes, they would (and did) do that.
“What happened doesn’t sound that bad. Don’t you think you’re overreacting.”
And you’re also very, very wrong.
What happened to me wasn’t as bad as some of the things that have happened to other people, and I’ve never said that it was. Here’s the thing, though: most victims of consent violations and sexual assault spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not what happened to them was ‘bad enough’ for it to count. A lot of people don’t end up speaking out about ‘minor’ consent violations at all because 1) they don’t know if they can deal with the potential ramifications and 2) they end up second-guessing themselves and their experiences.
And what happens when people don’t feel safe enough to speak out about these ‘minor’ violations? We end up with a (different) community member being banned from a local kink club, but only after SEVEN people finally feel safe enough to come forward with their stories. That person was a former board member of this club, and had been around for years. Who knows how many other victims there were in that time who never did feel safe enough to speak out, or who left the community entirely as a result.
“This is hear-say. You’re probably only doing it for attention.”
Let me be blunt: if I wanted attention, there are a million better ways for me to go about getting it. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m pretty sure that my follower count would rise a lot faster if I just started uploading more tits and ass, with zero backlash or emotional turmoil involved. I’m an anxious introvert who likes confrontation about as much as a needle to the eye, so you’re just going to have to take my word on this.
Or not, I guess. That’s up to you.
Insert tits here.
“You obviously don’t know the difference between a scene gone wrong and a consent violation.”
Never mind the fact that this incident happened outside of a scene, let me tell you about another photoshoot experience we had together. I was suspended upside-down on a ladder and he was supposed to be spotting me from behind (out of my eye-sight), but part way through the shoot he got distracted by something and wandered away. A few seconds later, the ladder tipped over, dropping me on my head, twisting my ankle up in some of the rope, and then that ladder fell on top of me. I was banged up a little and limping for months.
That was a photoshoot gone wrong. I considered that incident a mistake, not a consent violation, though I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t another blow to my trust.
So yes, actually, I do know the difference.
Mistakes happen, and that’s okay.
…but touching someone’s genitals mid-photoshoot without asking for permission isn’t a ‘mistake’.
“Okay, well, just stop making drama, it’s going to impact the community.”
I sure fucking hope so.
PS: Telling my story isn’t ‘making drama’; I’ve co-existed with this person in the community for a decade without creating any kind of public scene. We have mutual friends and we’ve been to many of the same events and parties over the years. I am civil in public, I just choose who I want to interact with and how.
Taking these steps to protect myself, and speaking out about my experience, is not drama.
‘So and so stole my boyfriend’ is drama.
Know the difference.