abuse

On Justice and Community Policing

Several months ago, I let a guy named Jefferson host a party at my house. A prominent figure in the kink, blogging, and spoken word spheres, we ran in the same circles and were both members of a group with a pretty high barrier for entry– one that prides itself on emphasizing consent to ensure the safety of its members. Because of this, I felt comfortable opening my home to him and his friends for a night.

The party was a disaster– the agreement was that I’d provide the space and invite a couple of my friends, and he’d do the legwork. Despite initially agreeing to a men’s only party, the original invitations said that though the party was “focused on male-on-male action,” all were welcome. He said some deeply misguided shit regarding trans people, but I chalked it up to ignorance and dismissed it. When the day came, Jefferson arrived late, fucked up, and alone– none of the men he’d invited ended up coming. I wonder whether he invited them at all, or just expected my friends to carry the party.  Determined to have his dick sucked by 50 different people throughout the month in honor of his 50th birthday, he unceremoniously waggled his cock in front of each attendee’s face to add another notch to his belt. He’d been there maybe an hour, but I was already regretting my decision.

The last straw came when he interrupted a scene of mine and punched my bottom. I told him to ask the bottom’s permission. He ignored me and did it again. Louder this time, I told him to ask. He tried for a third time, and I had to physically intervene and tell him to get the hell out of our way.

The following Monday, I shot an email to the moderators of the group that introduced us. To my surprise, they replied that they had received multiple emails about him and they were investigating. He’d violated the consent of other members at different parties (yes, plural) throughout the weekend. Upon further investigation, we found evidence that suggested he’s been at this a long time. There’s an internet trail alluding to consent violations as far back as 2005 (see here and here from 2008, Jefferson’s own long, narcissistic diatribe from 2010 in which he gaslights his former partners, an anonymous account of a different consent violation on a kinky blacklist, and an incredibly difficult to read account of a scene in which he gave his bottom a third degree burn). The moderators decided unanimously to boot him from the group and withdraw their support for his sex-related storytelling night.

Some members notified the venue of his storytelling night of his history, and the venue decided to discontinue hosting the event.

Months later, the event reappeared at a different venue. Jefferson gets away with his behavior by establishing himself as an authority figure within sex positive communities and drawing in new people who may not have experience with the kink scene and enforcing their boundaries. It’s an M.O. I’ve seen before. They start “fresh,” never mention their backgrounds, and continue hurting people.

We notified the new venue and they withdrew their invitation. He found another, and we repeated ourselves. We’ll continue to intervene as many times as we need to before he gives up and accepts that he and his events are not welcome in our city. We won’t accept him as an authority figure anymore, and we won’t let new faces to the scene see him as someone to be trusted because of his status and connections.

We can’t protect everyone. We can keep him away, but there are dozens like him. The best we can do is to share information freely and keep these men and women out of positions of relative power and make it clear to the scene that abusive behavior won’t be tolerated. We are a community, and we need to protect our own.

Advertisements

How I Came to Be Part I: The Beginning

“How I Came to Be” will be a three-part series, exploring the path I took to finding relationship dynamics and styles that are right for me. Each part covers an era in my life defined by my relationships during that time. This story is ever evolving.

Fair warning: part I of this story is the ugly part.

I fucked a near-stranger while on vacation in Texas the summer before I started high school. I was young. Very young. But even then, I didn’t like the concept of “losing your virginity” as some sort of milestone; I just wanted to get it over with. We never saw each other or spoke again, though many years later I heard he’d been killed in Afghanistan.

Months later, my high school boyfriend hated that someone had “gotten to me” before him. Someone other than he had “broken the freshness seal” or some other slut-shaming nonsense. Consequently, Tod and I waited several months to have sex– I think he meant to test me, to see if the whore had any self-control. At fourteen, naïve and sophomoric, I told him loved him and swore he was my one-and-only.

It was what he wanted to hear, because the only love he’d grown up with was in myth and movies. His family was from Southie stock, and he imagined the ugly past with rose-colored glasses, because he needed an escape from the reality of his mother’s health issues and his father’s Vietnam-induced PTSD. I told him what he wanted to hear because I’d learned quickly that when I said things he didn’t want to hear, things went downhill fast.

I never heard the word “codependency” until I was much older, but it was an accurate description for our relationship. We were young, stupid, and desperately insecure. He was controlling, forever afraid that I would stray. In his mind, I validated his fears when I expressed interest in a close friend of mine.

I asked for an open relationship, swearing it was only about the sex. The manipulation, gaslighting, and psychological and verbal abuse started. I retaliated by cheating, first with the guy I’d originally been interested in, and later with several others. I wasn’t “allowed” to break up with Tod, so I carried on as if we weren’t together at all. Eventually I started an entire second relationship behind Tod’s back, which continued until I moved away to college.

Of course I didn’t deserve the abuse, which had become physical by the time we split up, but we were both bastards to one another. I didn’t like the relationship and I didn’t want it, but I was held hostage until I moved away and didn’t tell him where I was going. It was the only way I could end things for good.

The relief that came with the end of my relationship with Tod was tremendous, and it felt like coming out of a fog. Unethical as my behavior had been, I saw the value of dating two people at once. The sexual variety kept that spark alive in both relationships, and I came to understand that one person could never be everything for me. It fit with my outlook on life and my need for independence. I’d been reading about non-monogamy and nodding along in agreement with the principles laid out in The Ethical Slut, and at seventeen, finally free and on my own, I swore off monogamy for good.