Abuse Culture: Yes, It’s Your Fault

I have many, many issues with Franklin Veaux. He’s profited from the emotional labor of the women in his life for decades (read The Game Changer and think about the fact that he’s making money off of admitting he was an ass — though not aware enough to actually be accountable for the emotional labor it took for him to understand some pretty basic things about ethical human behavior); I found More Than Two contrived, inaccurate, and even harmful in places (though they are fixing it, somewhat; but I’m not holding my breath); and as far as anything about relationships and BDSM and ethics goes, I’m not likely to rely on the word of any white man

But that’s not the point. On this, I agree with him completely. And it needs to stop.

My take on what I call abuse culture:

This shit. This bullshit. This is abuse culture. And it extends so much further beyond BDSM and polyamory. No, what I’m getting at is the very bedrock of modern mainstream culture. I’m getting at the history that built it, the everyday interactions that reinforce, the institutions and systems that protect it.

I am fucking sick of it!

When people care more about what they think they get out of it rather than what’s actually happening. The fantasy of “fun” or “normal” or “safety” at the expense of the reality of people’s existence (literally to the point of death.

You all know better. Everyone does. And you can tell a person’s values based on what they choose.

You choose these people as your leaders, despite knowing that the privileged and powerful tend to stay that way.

You give them resources, love, and money, despite the fact that they actually tend to have less knowledge of reality.

You continue to support them when they fuck up, at the expense of those who are genuinely hurt.

You reinforce abuse culture every time you close your eyes.

You reinforce abuse culture every tie you say, “Not all”.

You reinforce abuse culture every time you buy into the fantasy over reality.

You reinforce abuse every time you flounce out when “called out” or demand to only ever be “called in”.

Yes, you are complicit.

So what are you going to do about it?

I refuse to be a coward.

From Frankin Veaux:

“The “She should go to a community leader” is particularly presumptive considering how often it is that the “community leaders” are precisely the ones most likely to behave inappropriately, as was the case in my friend’s assault.

And when it is a community leader who’s involved, the community can close ranks behind him surprisingly quickly…

Community leaders in the BDSM community often become community leaders because they’re willing to do things for people. They may host play parties or BDSM events. They may conduct classes in rope work. They may donate money to causes that are important to BDSM. They’re community leaders because they perform some kind of service that people benefit from.

And people don’t like losing that benefit. They may feel that if a community leader is accused of inappropriate behavior, he might stop hosting play parties, or they might not have the opportunity to learn from him. That creates a powerful incentive for them to find reasons to discredit accusations of assault or other inappropriate behavior. Or, worse yet, if the perpetrator withdraws from the community, they can act like it’s the victim’s fault they’re not getting to go to those play parties or getting that education any more.

So community leaders in the BDSM community often find themselves in a position where there are fewer checks on their behavior, and where it is easy for them to be able to get away with inappropriate behavior. And that creates an environment where it is easy for a person in the role of a community leader to become a serial offender. Without checks on his behavior, he may feel free to commit assaults over and over again, with each victim believing that her assault is simply an isolated incident. The cost of coming forward means that few people are likely to come forward. The reluctance on the part of the community to acknowledge abuse means that those who do come forward may be discredited or dismissed. Together, these things become a recipe for an ongoing cycle of abuse.”

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