Consent: You either have it, or you don’t
The hosts of three TPOK Radio shows recently came together to discuss consent within the BDSM community. This is the announcement written by Crazy Heart. You can listen to the discussion by clicking on the player at the bottom of this post.
The following announcement was written by Crazy Heart, and posted in the TPOK Radio group on FetLife. I made a couple of revisions and expansions and reposted it in the Stereo-Typed group on FetLife, as well as this blog entry.
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Sunday July 10, 2016 – A Special 2-hour discussion.
Join us this Sunday when three different shows on TPOK Radio come together to discuss this very important and difficult topic. TPOK Live, The 3rd Rail and Stereo Typed will all be on hand with all of it’s hosts. The discussion panel will include Preacher Bear and Cypress (hosts of The 3rd Rail), AuntieSocial (host of Stereo-Typed), and Rubee Tuesday and Crazy Heart (hosts of TPOK Live!).
Tackling the tough topics is what we do on TPOK Radio
We have often said on TPOK Radio that we would not shy away from the difficult conversations and we think that consent violations are right at the top of that list. This topic is a polarising one and can lead to drama and confusion within our lifestyle. We at TPOK Radio believe that as a community we need to open conversations and raise the level of debate. We need to hear what people have to say and be open to all ideas. This is not an easy topic to talk about as there are many aspects and levels of consent violation. What is a violation to one person is completely ok to another. Some people like their boundaries pushed past what they negotiated and for others, it’s a line that should never be crossed. There are several aspects to every case and scenario.
Not only do we need to talk about the consent violators we also need to talk about what happens when someone is falsely accused of a violation. How do we determine who is in the right? What were the circumstances? None of this is easy to talk about but we have to have these conversations. There are two sides to every story and we rarely get the full story from either side of the argument. If I am an organiser how do I collect this information? Do you have a plan in place to handle complaints?
How do we fix the Missing Stair?
I like the Missing Stair analogy for this subject. We all know that it’s there and we probably should try to repair the problem but in many ways it’s easier to just warn people about it and never really tackle the problem. We think that it’s not really our issue unless it directly affects us as an individual. This is very flawed thinking. We understand that nobody really wants to talk about this but if it happens to you on either side of the consent violation you will be happy that discussions happened and that mechanisms were put into place to handle the situation in the best way possible.
We also need to discuss what happens when someone is guilty of a consent violation. Is every offence considered to be on the same level? What does it look like when someone violates someone else’s boundaries? What do we do if it is proven that someone was falsely accused of a violation? How do we help either party after the fact? Who polices our community? What mechanisms to we put into place to prevent violations? How do we educate people? Where do people find this information to be educated?
I do what I do best: research
My thanks to AuntieSocial for putting together some research on this subject. Please feel free to read the information and join us to discuss these topics.
NCSF has done a couple of surveys about consent.
The first doesn’t have a lot on violations but indicates that over 30% of respondents have experienced a crossing of a pre-negotiated boundary or had their safe word ignored during a scene. Unfortunately, it doesn’t differentiate between willful transgressions and relationships where pushing boundaries are a part of the dynamic. Because it fails to address this distinction, someone could legitimately report a crossed boundary, but see it as a good or acceptable thing.
The second goes deeper into demographics.
There are statistical issues with both surveys since people don’t tend to take surveys unless they are of interest to the respondents, so they can’t really be seen as accurate representations of the larger community.
Reporting to organisers is only 28%
In the second survey, it was determined that only 28% of those experiencing a violation reported it to event organisers, and 61% of those who did report felt that the organisers were helpful. It doesn’t indicate what was done, though.
Table 4, in contrast with Table 21 (violated versus violator perceptions of what caused the violation)
What exactly is a “consent violation”?
In Table 7, 31% reported that they weren’t sure if their consent was actually violated, and 7% said they didn’t mind (perhaps indicating that they were okay with boundary pushing as part of their dynamic).
Table 12 seems to indicate that “stranger danger” isn’t the problem and that the reported violators were known to the victim in most of the cases.
Figure 3 shows that the majority of the violations (at BDSM events) took place in social spaces (57%), followed by Play Spaces (30%).
We need more organisers to give thought to their policies on harassment and consent
I wasn’t able to find many examples of Harassment Policies for large events. Jeff Mach Events has a detailed policy for investigating harassment.
The missing stair analogy, as originally posted by Cliff Pervocracy
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