Masculine Submission

No greater love has a man than to live his life for the one he loves

Rape

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.

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4 thoughts on “Rape

  1. kinkinexile on said:

    First off, love the statement “I was very careful to pick someone who is not sociopathic before I pledged my unyielding obedience and unflinching service.” Strong work, sir.

    But to the subject at hand, and dispensing with the niceties of “yes, clearly, your relationship is your own and sounds like it’s working for you” so that I may be more brief: There is, intuitively, a huge different between the rhetoric of “all dominants are rapists” and “bob slipped something into my drink, offered to give me a ride home, and then raped me.” Or even “Bob’s not too clear on this consent thing.”

    The first falls into the same category for me as “abortion is murder.” Ok, you made a blanket statement and expressed to me that you’re upset, but you’ve given me little to no actionable material. The later (especially the “Bob’s not too clear on this consent thing”) is vital to helping me stay safe. It is also a behavior that already exists and gets scaled by the Predator Alert Tools rather than a behavior that’s newly invented [http://kinkinexile.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/predator-alert-tool-comes-to-facebook/].

    Would I suggest that those seeing consent differently than I do are automatically rapists? No. However, I know that no matter how much I try to communicate, respect my partner’s boundaries, and listen for safewords there are a lot of external factors in how we give and listen for consent, and some of my BDSM activity has been borderline. Not because I wanted it to be, but because human interactions are often in the grey space and when you layer on this idea of consensual non-consent or “submission as a fetish for not saying no” (my words not yours, clearly) well, your margin of error changes.

    Do I think all dominants are rapists? Well, I think it’s as nuanced a statement as abortion is murder, I can probably say agree to both, but both miss the point. Am I alarmed, however, when we ask why submissives aren’t submissive anymore? Yep. Very much so. I’m alarmed because it makes me think this grey space used to hide a lot more black and the people asking want that hiding back.

    The real reason I’m replying though, is that regardless on where I stand on the rhetoric, I’m disappointed to lose the nuance of how we talk about and prevent rape in the political rhetoric. It feels like saying “abortion is murder,” or “no, it’s not!” and then not bothering to address any aspect of family planning from “where do babies come from” through “how do we ensure best maternal health outcomes for low income women”.

    Gah, sorry for such a long comment!!

    • Long replies are never a problem. It just shows your head was engaged, and that’s a good sign.

      As I said, I think your post was very well worded and thoughtful, and your reply to my comment was, as well. As you said, I don’t think you and I are so far apart from what we are talking about.

      I understand what you mean about being in a gray space. Life isn’t always black and white. That’s one reason why I refuse to get into the whole “consensual non-consent” stuff. Since I have no skin in that game, I let those who do defend it and develop best practices. The same is true for ball-busting, extreme rope bondage, and a whole list of things that just don’t appeal to me.

      I don’t think “All dominants are rapists” is a nuanced statement. It’s pretty much the opposite of nuance. It’s a blunt instrument whose sole purpose it to bludgeon others into agreement. It’s also very much a lie, and because it is a lie it falls into the “boy who cried wolf” issue. It desensitizes people to the use of the word “rape” and stretches the meaning of that word beyond anything that is vaguely useful. Since “rape” describes a particular crime – forcing or coercing sexual activity on the unwilling – I have a major problem with that.

      I am, however, willing to give people all the space they need to disagree with me on that. I expect people to disagree. As Ben Franklin said, “Where three are in agreement, two are not needed.” So I’m fine with you finding nuance where I find none.

      There are, undoubtedly, a lot of people who use this gray space to hide their criminal activity, and a lot of victims are held there because they think that is the only way to do things “right.” There are also far too many people who will support both positions, either because they benefit personally from that arrangement, or because they are too “open-minded” to remain ethical. Either way, it’s a problem. And it’s a problem that needs to be addressed with an eye on a realistic answer that maximizes both responsibility and freedom.

      That is why I say, almost every time I talk about such things, that there is no “right” way to do things. There is the way that works for the people involved, and if it doesn’t work equally well for both people, then there’s a problem and it needs to be addressed. But, as with the abortion issue, when people claim either “everything is a problem” or “there is no problem” then the possibility of real people finding a framework in which they can solve real problems is diminished.

      Both of those extreme positions are equally dangerous, because they choke off discussion and leave people with no useful problem-solving tools. The best way to open discussion and promote problem-solving is to not only acknowledge nuances, but to refuse to automatically vilify people who do not fall into perfect line with what is being said by the extremes. From what I’ve seen, this is something that you are particularly good at doing, and it’s why I was pleased to link to your post.

  2. Like you, rape has been a large factor in my life and the lives of people I love. My partner has been falsely accused of rape, and still suffers emotional damage from that accusation. I think I can be fairly unbiased on this issue.

    And I’m sorry, but I have to call bullshit.

    I understand your anger, fear and horror at being falsely accused of being a rapist, but your reaction here shows a distinct lack of understanding for how rape accusations work in the legal system, and the difference between an annonymous social accusation and a legal accusation.

    Let’s say this (highly ‘net savvy and hack-capable person with public distrust and hatred of police) does discover your identities and residence and call in a report of rape. Here’s what the conversation with the police will be like:

    “i’d like to report a rape.’
    “Were you raped or someone else?”
    “Someone else?”
    “Alright, I need you to give me all the details you can, name, location of the incident, date, time, exactly what happened and how you found out about it.”
    “Well, here are their names and here is where they live, I can’t give a date or time because it’s been ongoing.”
    “Okay, how did you find out about this? Have you witnessed it?”
    “No, but they’ve posted about it online.”
    ‘Really?” (cop is suddenly interested) “I’ll need the url of those posts. For now can you give me a summary?”
    “Well, they’re in a D/s relationship, and that’s basically rape, b/c she’s forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to.”
    “Ooh-kay….what kind of things?”
    “Well, he says that she hasn’t raped him, but she has to have raped him b/c all dominants are rapists. And he’s defending her and insisting that being a dominant doesn’t make her a rapist, so he’s a rapist too.”
    “So, he’s saying he wasn’t raped?”
    “Yeah, but he has!”
    “And you think this makes him a rapist?”
    “Yes!”
    “thank you for your concerns, here’s my email address, please send me those URLs so i can look into this further. We’ll call you if we need any more information.”
    (Cop looks at URLs, laughs and files it under ‘wack-jobs’)

    The cops will not even open an investigation into a rape accusation that does not have at least names, locations, dates, and sufficient evidence to believe an incident acctually occured.

    Believing that this person could actually get a cop to take this seriously is reacng the realm of insanity, but assume a very concentious office does decide to look into it further, what would happen is you would get a phone call.
    “Sir, we’ve received a report that your parter is sexually assualting you, but the person making the report wasn’t able to give us any details. We would like to meet with you to disucess this case. Are you in a safe place right now? Would you be able to come down to the station?’
    “Oh, god, I can’t believe they actually…no, officer, i am not being sexually assaulted. That guy just thinks being made to take out the trash is the same as rape, and we’ve been having run-ins on line over it.”
    “Okay. So you say that there has been no assault, you are in a safe place and have no reason or desire to file charges? I’m sorry for disturbing you. We’ll keep this file open for X weeks. If anything happens, or if there is anything you want to talk about, you can reach me at Y number.”
    And that will be the end of it.

    I have twice been in the position of trying to get the police to take rape charges seriously. In your situation, worrying about this person calling the cops and causing you problems is as realistic a fear as worrying about drowning in the middle of the desert. it ain’t happening.

    There is no ‘realistic fear’ of interference from local police officers, unless those local police officers are already looking for an excuse to harass you. And if that’s the case, IMO you have bigger problem then someone mis-using the word rape to accuse you of being a rapist.

    And this fear, legitimate or not, has nothing to do with a program for SOCIAL reporting of rape accusations. Someone registering a rape accusation w/ the predator alert tool is not making a legal accusation. Is not providing evidence to the police, and is not in anyone the kind of threat you are describing here.

    I don’t know how I feel about PAT. But as the partner of someone who has LEGALLY been falsely accused and eventually cleared, I can tell you that my concerns have nothing to do with legal consequences for the accused, or damage to people being falsely accused. The only damage the PAT tool can create is social damage. If you object to it on those grounds, that’s your right. but please don’t fall prey to or spread false ideas about how easy it is for someont eo make a LEGAL false rape accusation and destroy another person’s life.

    • I appreciate your input, especially with the comment about your experience.

      But I’m sorry, you simply have no idea how cops in every single jurisdiction will behave – especially at the local level where very small departments would have little or no training in such matters (I’ve lived in towns that had police departments of less than 4 – and whether or not your car would get searched for a broken taillight depended on who was on duty, not because of who you were, but because one of the cops just liked to be tough on people). Your simulated conversations may or may not reflect what might or might not be said. It depends on what exactly is said, who takes the telephone call, and who might get called out to the scene. There are a LOT of reasons, other than a personal vendetta, why police officers overreact.

      Like I said, how much of a realistic threat it is depends on how dedicated the person making the false-report is.

      And, yes, it does have to do with SOCIAL reporting when the advocates of such tools are willing to paint with such a broad brush as to take something that is entirely consensual and label it as rape. Which is worse: A cop with no concept of consensual BDSM, or one who is a member of a local scene and wants to clean it up?

      I have a family member who spent five years and ten thousand dollars fighting charges relating to personal opinion pieces he wrote in a personal blog about an ex-girlfriend. It wasn’t threatening. It was mean-spirited and gutter-mouth. It didn’t cause any ACTUAL damage to her reputation or profession (the court said as much). But after ten thousand dollars over five years, he lost the case and was barely able to get criminal harassment charges reduced to civil penalties. So don’t tell me that an internet database of unfounded claims can’t possibly have any real life impact. Such naivety simply flies in the face of reality.

      Words are powerful things, and when they start getting tossed around without care for who they might damage; then it’s a problem.

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