Raw: Project Unbreakable and Midori on a Failed Suspension

Project Unbreakable is an amazing project on Tumblr I've just learned about where victims of sexual abuse can post a photo of themselves holding a quote from their attacker. It is INTENSE, so please, be ready for some incredibly triggering experiences, whether or not you've been abused yourself. At the same time, I feel like it's important to look, to really sit with the fact that these things happen, in real life, to real people, all the fucking time, often with someone they know and trust.

Consent Culture is not limited to the kinky community, though we have a lot in place that ought to help us make it easier to achieve. I think we need to spend more time exploring sexual assault in the world at large, to check our privilege and to think critically about our positions on the topic. I think we need to remember that while I don't think consent issues happen more in kink than anywhere else, I think that we have a good foundation to make it happen a lot less often- if we reflect and stop mimicking the behaviour of the sex negative community while saying we're sex positive.

Meanwhile, I have an EPIC amount of respect for Midori, who has written about an experience where she was doing suspension bondage and dropped her model-

The risk is that while a good scene can send you flying so high you think you’ll break right through the sky, a bad one can be devastating, and the devastation doesn't stop at the end of the evening. The emotional fallout can come at different stages and at different times, like any grief process.

That kind of trauma doesn’t fit easily in how we think about “sex positivity.” So much of our training and community values are based on being positive about sexuality that negative experiences get swept under the rug. There is too much at stake in a scene for us to pretend that with the proper invocations, everything will go right. If we are not ready for things to go wrong, we can’t be there for our friends and partners when a scene causes physical or emotional injury.

Perhaps the next stage in kink education needs to be training to respond to “Oh, shit!” situations, so that responses to crises in a playspace become as standard as knowing your safeword and packing EMT shears. But to go beyond even that, to start to discuss failed scenes openly and with compassion, we have to realize that the pain and consequences go deeper than we might first think. The loss of trust in partner and self can be deeper than any wound.

Even the best of responses is never perfect.

I admired Midori more than I could say for even writing this article, because it shows that we are fallible. We can have all the training and knowledge and practice in the world and things go pear-shaped anyway. And as she says, we need to start talking about failed scenes, about how you can do everything right and it still goes wrong, and we need to figure out what we're going to do as a community when that happens.

I was somewhat taken aback when a letter from the suspension bottom, Mistress Tokyo, came to light, however, suggesting that she perceived it as a lot messier and more awkward than originally presented. I think both people are expressing their own hurt fear and discomfort, and that it's important to listen to both sides:

The potential for human mistake in scenes is an unfortunate aspect of risky activities with consequences we must bear. This element is forgivable. It is how we deal with our mistakes though, that proves who we are. This is correct irrespective as to whether the situation is a private scene, professional session or public performance.

I find it unconscionable a Dominant/Top would not check in with a sub/bottom during an accident. I find it equally unthinkable a Top might choose to down-prioritize a bottom’s medical and emotional health for any reason. Neither of these two things constitute safe, sane play. I also believe a Top who can’t hold their own space emotionally during a worst case scenario incident is not a safe player.

This is an example of how the Top may feel they're doing the best they could do, and the bottom will feel it's not enough, and be valid in that feeling as well. As GrayDancer says in the comments, "The thing I say in that class is that we do not ever know how we will react to an event until it happens". No matter who you are.

This needs to spread like fire, burning away the brush so new growth can happen.

Categories: bdsm, consent, safeward

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