Kink in Exile has a truly beautifully written post concerning a disagreement she had with a loved-one about her concern with being raped and his concern with being falsely accused of rape. I love it because it goes beyond the simple “yes/no” dichotomy of whether or not someone does or doesn’t support a means of anonymously reporting rape and rapists in the hope that it will prevent the further victimization of innocent people (and I say “people” instead of “women” because men can also be the victim of rape). I love it because she is unyielding in her beliefs, while allowing herself to feel the pain of seeing the issue from the other viewpoint.
I also love it because she is right when she concludes, “…we can talk about your fear, we can honor that and we can work through it, but your fear does not trump mine. It certainly doesn’t trump my safety.” Safety is vital, both for individuals and society. Psychologist Abraham Maslow put it as the second only to physiological needs (food, water, breathing, excretion) as a fundamental building block of everything humans need and do.
The issue of safety and rape are intrinsically intertwined, because (as should be obvious) it is impossible to be safe when one is afraid of being raped. It is all too easy for men to joke about rape because they, in general, do not feel the threat that women do. We don’t get cat-called walking down the street. We don’t have people rubbing against us in the subway. Rape is a legitimate threat for both sexes, but it is far and away a bigger threat to women.
This is an issue that hits extremely close to my heart. My mother has suffered her entire life from repeated rapes when she was a teenager. My brother and I were both raped as children (“molested” is just a clinical way to say “rape). A few years ago, my adult daughter called from Florida to tell me that she had been raped the night before. Rape is not something that is merely theoretical to me. It is personal.
The answer to stopping rape is to teach boys (because men account for 99% of rapists) that it is never okay to force their sexuality on someone. It shouldn’t matter if a woman does an erotic strip-tease – until and unless she indicates that she is available as sexual partner, she isn’t. Even then, she is only available in the ways that she wants to be available. As soon as she says it’s done; it’s done, with no questions asked.
The reason I am bringing this up is that I was accused, point blank, of being “no different than rapists” because I defended the F/m dynamic that Mistress Delila and I have. Yes, I said that Mistress Delila has the right to order me to take out the garbage, perform car maintenance, and wash dishes (those are the precise examples I used) even if I don’t enjoy it – and that means that She is a rapist.
It should be pointed out that the person making these claims is also a person who is providing a way for people to anonymously report that they were raped or coerced into having sex. This is a person who has argued, most vociferously, that false accusations of rape happen so rarely that they are not ever a legitimate reason to oppose what he is doing. Yet here he is, in effect, making a false accusation of rape against the woman I love for doing precisely what I have provided enthusiastic consent for her to do.
There is a saying that, “Where you stand in life determines where you stand on the issues.” Well, today I stand accused of having the mindset of a rapist and being in love with a female rapist. I now have a reason to oppose the anonymous database of sex offenders because it now threatens my safety.
It is no secret that law enforcement agencies are not exactly enthusiastic supporters of civil rights with regards to BDSM relationships. In recent years – THANKFULLY – reports of domestic abuse have become impossible for the police to ignore. By accusing Mistress Delila of being a rapist, and accusing me of holding that exact mindset, we have been put at legitimate risk for interference in our personal life by local law enforcement agencies. Exactly how much of a threat it is depends only on the ability and determination for a very tech-savvy person to track us down and alert the authorities to an on-going criminal activity (because rape is a crime, and by this person’s own words, if you aren’t doing everything possible to stop it; then you are actively condoning it).
This is not just an idle threat, it is the active and intentionally attempt to bully us into silence. Why? Because we dare to live our lives according to the dictates of our own hearts and according to the agreements that we have reached together over what is and is not allowed to happen within our relationship. We do not live up to someone else’s definition of what is “right” so we are rapists. We are criminals.
Let me be EXTREMELY clear on this: There is no rape that occurs in our relationship. Neither of us would condone or tolerate such an action, or even the consideration of such an action. Neither of us have even the slightest attraction to the “consensual non-consent” stuff. We don’t have a safeword (which is only as effective as the Dominant partner’s commitment to observing it) because we both believe that it isn’t needed when I can simply say, “Stop!” or “No more!” or any of a thousand other verbal and non-verbal cues that would tell Her that things have gone too far.
When we first began our relationship, we were challenged on what we meant when we said “TOTAL control.” My reply is that it means anything and everything we want it to mean. Since we are both sane individuals, it does not cover things that are patently insane or so fantastical that they would never happen. We live in a real world, and our fantasies are built around the things we enjoy and the pleasure we give each other. There is no need to build contingency plans for things that are impossible. I was very careful to pick someone who is not sociopathic before I pledged my unyielding obedience and unflinching service.
By the way, we have discussed what would happen if the impossible happened. We agree that either of us creeping into any dangerous territory would be enough to insist on a complete medical and psychological examination. So not only do we have multiple safeguards in place – including an incredible level of communication, the likes of which I’ve never experienced with anyone – but we have as much of a plan for the impossible as can be done.
Safety is paramount for every human being. No one person’s safety trumps another’s. Yes, we must do everything we can to prevent rape. But it has just been demonstrated how easy it is to threaten someone with anonymous accusations. So, I won’t ask forgiveness for insisting that due process of law be afforded to those who are accused.
That is where I stand.