I was picked up at a goth night at the local gay club by a 34 year old when I was 19. The person in question* was very cool, had some niche fame both in kink and locally, and I was excited to be involved. (Former titleholder, et cetera.) When it got bad, I asked for help, I was told not to make a fuss. We’re here to be kinky and express ourselves right? It got worse, and I saw this person harm and assist in the harming of folks (sometimes drugged folks) several times. “But they throw such good parties!” ‘friends’ reminded me. The stories I was hearing (including from the person in question) were worse than what I saw with my own eyes. When I finally found an out, I took it, and I apologized for leaving.
When the relationship ended, I tried to speak up, warn folks. I strongly (and with cause) considered going to the police. I was told by “local community leaders” to stay in my place, and that doing anything to draw attention to the situation would harm the community. “We self police, karma will address it.” I was told. In one case, the folks I went to for help booked this person to teach at one of their related group meetings. [Note: The stories of harm I was hearing from that household kept escalating.]
In the wake of that first relationship ending, I almost traveled out of state with an older couple that treated me like a commodity, frequently ignoring my boundaries and the like. Since one was a local Leather titleholder, I figured it was my duty to make sure they looked good, since they were “representing us” and all. This couple was unlikely to kill me, so that’s enough, I was thinking to myself. We have to keep up appearances, right? The only reason I didn’t go on that trip with them was someone else “pulled rank” and basically bought me out from under their grasp. (That also ultimately didn’t end well, but it kept me safer for a few months, and on that trip.)
In both cases, my exes attempted to defame me, and I was still encouraged to remain silent, and “let it work itself out.” In the first case, I mentioned above, they and much of their household eventually moved out of state. In the second case, they were not kept in check, and the unprofessional behavior of that couple harmed the reputation of our local community. When they (I assume) got bored after their positions were taken away, they eventually just stopped being around. (Again, I assume based on not seeing or hearing from them for several years.)
My response to the way I was treated by these folks and seeing them and others treat people badly was starting NM:TNG (The Next Generation) in 2002 (I was ~22) a group for 18–35 year olds who are “interested in, curious about or already involved in kink/Leather/fetish/polyamorous relationships) making sure there were semi-annual BDSM 101 and Alternative Relationship 101 talks, and getting information out there for *ethical* non monogamy.
You know how I finally stopped hearing stories about that first ex? Asking folks for YEARS to STOP telling me, and in some cases, removing folks from my life that couldn’t respect that request. — Why gossip/brag to me RATHER than keep others safe? — (Oh, because they’re popular and you want to be too?) What’s the difference between Marilyn Manson and my exes? What’s the difference between his friends and our “friends” down here? Would these “cool” people have started treating others better if *anyone* they considered peers had kept them accountable or said “WHAT THE HECK, NO” when they were bragging about their exploits? Does encouraging behavior with high fives make people stop and contemplate their actions or move ahead at full speed?
— Note: this linked opinion piece includes many facts with the links they reference, and they’re also pretty rude about Marilyn Manson’s chosen name, which I could have done without. https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/marilyn-manson-bragged-about-abusing-evan-rachel-wood-no-one-ncna1256433 #shareAway #accountability #ConsentCulture #NotAllGothsButThisOne #JAW2021 *it’s been two decades and I’m not keeping tabs on any of these folks. Did a quick google search since writing this to see if anything new came up, nothing did, no need to share names at this juncture. The statute of limitations is far exceeded. Sharing for contemplation, consideration, and because these are important parts of my stories. If you were around back then and know of whom I’m writing, I hope you take the time to consider your perspective and/or role in that (or those) situation(s).