We have all heard the safety rules that are propagated time and time again within the community. Use safe calls, meet in a public place, ask for references, talk to people about someone’s reputation, don’t allow yourself to get tied up when you are first playing with someone or better yet play in public. Then recently there have been a slew of internet safety rules, if the person has little to no profile, if their friends list has a distinct trend like all blonds, or all 18 years old, if they have reasons for not wanting to be in the community like the community is all fakers and/or wanna be’s, or if they push to meet and have sex or play in their first e mail then they may not be safe.
I am not saying that these don’t all have their place as far as remaining safe in the community, they do. I am not saying that each of these don’t have merit in their own right about pointing out who may or may not have good intentions, they can.
What I am saying is that as the community has grown and evolved and learned, so have the predators in it. And that perhaps our ideas on our own safety also need to grow and change to keep up with the times. What we know the predators also know and because of that the safeguards that we use are only giving us a false sense of security that can be easily turned against us and it is time that we updated them. So here is what I have come up with as far as possibly updating a new list of safety precautions that we should think about.
1) Update the concept of safe calls. Traditional safe calls are rarely used effectively, and when they are used, predators that are in the lifestyle will know about them and will be ready for them. On the off chance that a safe call is used the predator simply waits until after the call is made to make their move, or if the person on the other end of the line has been alerted to someone’s distress, the predator can simply stop what they are doing, or move the person to a different place to continue.
Instead of the traditional safe call when you meet a prospective play partner have a coffee or dinner with friends for people to meet this person. It doesn’t have to be expensive, make it a potluck. Then when meeting to play have a friend drop you off, come in and meet the person, and talk in front of the person when you will be picked up again. This gives an actually face and name and presence to your safety. If the person doesn’t want to meet your friends, or has a lot of “reasons” as to why you need to come alone. Then consider passing on his one because if someone doesn’t want to be seen or known, or has issues with you making arrangements for your own safety, then that won’t stop in the bedroom.
2) Update the idea of predators. So many times we either directly or indirectly put predators into the categories of male, heterosexual, single, white, dominant and older. It is time to do away with this. While we are all watching this stereotype of the dirty old man predators that are women, younger, GLBT, married, submissive and of all ethnicities are creating havoc in our community.
Instead of putting predators with a “look” start looking at predators as a behavior. Does this person disregard your boundaries especially if they are subtle, as in they don’t acknowledge that you have voiced a boundary, or only smile and possibly give a flippant answer when you do. They make consistent attempts to say or do things that make you intentionally uncomfortable. It may come across as attention, but something about it doesn’t feel right, and if asked to stop, they will either continue with the behavior or punish you. They will stop all attention, make fun of you publicly, or mock your request. These are all hints that a person doesn’t know how to respect boundaries and will not stop in the bedroom. If they ignore or talk down to their primary partner in public that is a sure sign of were things are headed with you.
3) Being tied up. We have all heard it and it is excellent advice, don’t allow yourself to be tired up with you are first playing with someone. It is great advice if: 1) people would follow it 2) predators weren’t aware of it. Someone that really intends to hurt another person will wait. They will wait until the person relaxes, they will not restrain them in the beginning, and they will jump through the proverbial hoops to get what they want.
So instead of not getting tied up, or rather waiting until you feel safe then put yourself in a bad spot, how about always have your own restraints that you use and can get out of when you need to. If bondage is what really does it for you, and is what you need in every scene then you need to take control of your own safety when it comes to this.
4) Start talking about what we really do, instead of of show boating about the things we should do. The more time effort and energy we put into the “I am safer then you” talk the less time we are devoted to actually making ourselves safer.
I often find that talks about safety take a very quiet turn when someone starts to talk about all of their safety precautions, and how extremely safe they are. This usually drives the whole conversation to a dead halt and stops people from talking about what they are really doing. Being self righteous doesn’t help anyone. It actually makes the real talk more difficult to have. So I am going to start. When my now slave and I first met we made a date I picked her up and drove her to my house for the night. No one knew where she was, who I was, or were I lived, or when she was coming back. I was freshly divorced with no friends, and minimal work contacts, and no one in the community knew me. Not because I was hiding, but because I had no idea there was a community. We were having sex and seeing each other for over a week before we knew the other person's last name.
I honestly don’t truly think that there are things that will keep any of us safe if there is someone out there that is dedicated to hurting any one of us. But I do think that it is time that we put aside the old ways of talking about safety that we don’t legitimately use, or that legitimately keep us safe and open a new dialogue as to what could really help us out there.
In the mean time- be safe, be smart, and be public.
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New Mexico Fetlifers