Safe/Ward: Shadows

Trigger warning- explicit discussion of sexual assault.

I was reading Mollena's most recent entry in her excellent and often thought provoking blog. This entry is about violated consent, in this case in a BDSM setting. It was an important, if sad, eye opener:

I blamed myself for “letting” someone violate one of my strongest boundaries. And I sat on this alone and in reflexive revulsion, because clearly I was too stupid, weak and foolish to handle myself like a responsible adult.And because I had so much shame around this, because I was so afraid that others would look at me and think “What a fucking idiot. What kind of dummy lets something like them happen to them?” I didn’t tell anyone for months. Then it began to eat me alive, woke me up at night, freaked me out.I finally told several people close to me, And then a few more. And no one told me I was stupid. In fact, to my dismay, my story was common. Standard. Typical.
And that is horrifying. THAT is shameful.
So I am taking a deep breath and telling you today. Because? Consent COUNTS. And anyone can be taken advantage of. Anyone. And you aren’t stupid, you aren’t helpless, if someone pushes through your boundaries.

-The Perverted Negress, Consent [Violated] 

This was slightly triggering, because yeah. It is common. Read the comments and see how common it is, and wonder, like I do, that it's so infrequently talked about.

It happened to me, too. I had already tried the sex work thing and enjoyed it, but also realized I needed some time before I felt on top of my own sexuality. I went to a nightclub with some friends, a Goth club that had a little dungeon area. I met a guy there- tall, slender, long hair. He danced with me and I felt so pretty, desirable, sexy even. I was still somewhat awkward, having read endlessly about sexuality but not had much in the way of practice. Still, I knew the usual protocol, safecalls and safewords. I had taken self defense classes. I knew how to take care of myself.

Or at least I did if the attack was obvious. I was still hopelessly unguarded emotionally and didn't realize- at the time I identified as submissive, and while I had read a lot on how to protect yourself as a submissive, I began to trust him. Why wouldn't I? He drove me home. We exchanged numbers and AIM accounts, and spent days chatting. We met up again, and then again- I always made sure I had a safecall, just in case. We seemed to click, and I was so excited to have met a dominant who was as willing to dive into the darkness as I was.

Until the fourth date. That's when things changed, and got ugly. It was also the first time I didn't have a safecall. I trusted him. We had had several dates and they went fine, so why bother anymore, right?

It was a mistake I'm still reeling from today, years and many lifestyle changes later. I still shy away from submission, and it very likely was enough of a trigger to make me too wary to ever submit to a man again.

To make it simple- he ignored my safeword. And he violated my body, and my trust.

But none of that was the worst part, when all's said and done. Rape is terrible, and scary, and isolating.

The worst part was the way he threw a towel at me, so dismissively. The way he spoke to me the next day, telling me if I had been a proper slave I would've submitted to him. And how much I wanted to be that slave! I believed him. I kept quiet about it. I blamed myself, not only for not stopping him, but worse, for WANTING TO STOP HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE. Because I wanted to be pleasing. I wanted to be the best submissive I could be, and on some level, despite everything I had read, I couldn't shake the feeling I had disappointed my Dom. And to talk to anyone about it would be to admit that I had failed. I was certain it was my fault, and for my own good, and this sort of thing was ok.

Thank god for the internet, is all I have to say. Because hopefully, Mollena's post will stir many voices coming forward- it already has, and maybe it will continue to. This sort of thing is too common. And it can fuck someone up for life. Having desires that can so easily be turned against you, and trying to pick up the broken pieces while still knowing you have those desires, in spite of it all. It's awful, sometimes. It's shitty that it's so common, and it's something that needs to be addressed, out in the open.

It took me a long time to forgive myself. I'm still walking that path- it doesn't come up often, but when it does, it's still raw.

It didn't make me a Domme. I struggled for a while with the desire to be submissive and my terror of ever giving myself over to someone again. I'm sure it's part of why I struggle to let go, why I need that grip on everything. Realizing I preferred being a Domme was something that had come and gone my whole life, and something I've been settling into for a few years now. It also didn't drive me into sex work. In fact, I couldn't stand being a sex worker until my trauma had been healed fairly significantly. On some level I feel the work I do is part of my own healing- teaching negotiation, asking for what you want, exploring in safe ways, helping other people who have trauma histories. And it's sad I have to make a point of both those things, but I know that people like a tidy story with tidy explanations as to why people like the things they like.

Thank you, Mollena, for coming out and giving me the courage to come out too.

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