When I first discovered that I was a dominant woman and began seeking out information about that online, many people frequently cautioned me about their unpleasant experiences within their local kink social scene.
Because those cautions were phrased in only the vaguest terms, I found them difficult to believe, and proceeded to participate in my local scene with excitement and optimism.
Three years later almost to the day, after participating in my near local scene, my further away local scene, and kink groups in other countries, I am disappointed to discover that the unpleasant and disrespectful behaviours I have personally encountered appear to be very much the norm, and are apparently characteristic of many kink groups and group members around the world.
Participants in one of my earliest experiences of this are still using that incident to target and harass me.
This post is a summary of that early experience.
On 16 September 2006, myself and kvetch attended a munch in Galway which had been advertised in the bdsmireland yahoo group. We enjoyed ourselves until closing time. At that munch, we met a man who goes by the nickname topcat5992002, or TC. At the munch, TC invited me and kvetch to spend the night in his home. On the recommendation and advice of the other munch attendees (which included two bdsmireland moderators), I accepted his invitation for myself and kvetch in good faith.
After the pub closed, TC invited all of us to his home for some late night socialising. Those who had cars went to get them, whilst I waited alone with kvetch and TC outside the pub for our lift. Whilst the others were out of earshot, TC began to demonstrate behaviour which I came to learn was widely known to be characteristic of him.
On this occasion it was quite a simple matter. – TC addressed me as “Lube”, and I asked him to please stop calling me that as I prefer the use of my full name, “Lubyanka”.
- (substitute the short version and full-length version of my real name)
TC responded to my request with, “Oh, I’m sorry … Lube“. I asked him calmly and politely again to please stop calling me “Lube” as I prefer the use of my whole name, “Lubyanka”.
After the fourth repeat of this cycle, I didn’t bother to respond. TC tried to re-engage me by apologising again and holding his hand out for me to shake. I declined to shake it, telling him that I felt inclined to distrust the sincerity of his apology, as he had already demonstrated to me that his apology was meaningless. At this point, still out of earshot of the others, he became increasingly abusive towards me, shouting at me and calling me names.
The people with cars returned. The moment he spotted them, TC immediately stopped his abusive behaviour. Although I felt a whole lot less comfortable about going to TC‘s house at this stage, nevertheless, kvetch and I accepted a lift, and that was where we went.
On arrival at the house, I sat down and had a glass of water. I’d had approximately three rum and colas that night, and kvetch had stuck to minerals. I eventually decided that I didn’t feel comfortable staying at TC‘s house, so I told TC we wouldn’t be staying. TC started shouting at me and calling me names in front of a room full of people (which included fig367), all of whom watched silently, saying and doing nothing.
- Remember, these were people I had never met before that evening.
I came to learn that silently observing abusive behaviour whilst taking no action at all to restrict it is customary behaviour for most members of bdsmireland, which was a group to which all of these individuals belonged.
I had no idea what TC was going on about, but I suspected there was some hidden agenda which he was failing to disclose. TC continued his shouting, and I stayed seated, knowing full well that he couldn’t make me stay in his house without forcibly and unconsensually restraining me. Whilst TC shouted and ranted and raved at me, I stayed seated, and repeated one phrase over and over in a calm voice:
- “If you choose to disregard my boundaries, that is your decision.”
TC left the room for a little while. Whilst he was out of the room, fig367 started telling me how unnecessarily confrontational I was being.
- I was having a difficult time processing this accusation. I was sitting in a chair repeating one phrase over and over again in a calm voice, to a man who was out of control standing and shouting at me, and I was being too confrontational?
Kvetch tried to explain to fig367 how this had all started outside the pub when nobody else was watching, and stopped as soon as anybody was in view. fig367 exhibited complete disinterest in this in favour of holding me responsible for all of it.
My personal experience of both of these individuals is that this kind of response is a recurring pattern of behaviour, which I have subsequently observed many times from them since then. But this occasion was my first encounter with fig367 and TC‘s
- close personal friendship
- habitual support of each other’s transgressions against others
- recurrent, persistent and characteristically abusive behaviour towards women identified as socially dominant (i.e. non pro doms)
I could have predicted their behaviour if I had known then what I know now. Obviously, I didn’t know any of it at the time. I was only going on the existing rules of bdsmireland, which specified that SSC was important to them.
- I wish I’d known at the time that SSC is only important to them selectively.
As a partial consequence of accepting TC‘s invitation to stay, myself and kvetch had no alternative accommodation in Galway. TC was insisting that if we weren’t going to stay overnight, that we must leave his house right at that moment.
- That moment was three o’clock in the morning.
We were unable to ring round to find a place which had a room available because TC insisted that he did not have a telephone directory. All of the other people present claimed ignorance of any place a person could book into at three o’clock on a Sunday morning in the rain in Galway in September.
Without a telephone directory, we were also prevented from ringing a taxi to take us from the housing estate in the middle of nowhere to any prospective accommodation.
- The fact that TC was throwing us out of his house at three o’clock in the morning didn’t seem to bother any of the approximately ten people present.
The prospect of us being stuck out in the rain all night didn’t seem to bother any of them either.
To cut a long story short, we did manage to get a taxi despite the absence of a telephone directory, and we did get to a few places to ask about rooms. Unfortunately there was some big rugby or hurling match on the next day and every place we tried was fully booked. The outcome was that we were forced to spend over five hours overnight in the rain in Galway in September, in approximately 5˚C weather, waiting for the railway station to open so we could catch the first train the fuck out of there.
Although several people had our mobile number, not one person rang us during that long, long night to find out if we’d found a place to stay, or if we were ok.
- Regardless of any impoliteness I may or may not have committed, there is nothing I could possibly have done to have merited TC‘s abusive behaviour towards me outside the pub and in his home. And however impolite I may have been, that is unrelated to the fact that every other person present silently watched TC abuse me and did nothing to stop it, not then and not ever.
Whilst coincidental events conspired to make our situation worse than it might have been, I disagree that my mistake of trusting TC or our incomplete accommodation arrangements in any way caused us to earn or deserve the treatment we were forced to endure at the hands of those people, either then or at any time after that.
I also don’t like the way a room full of ten or so people all stood around, in silence, watching TC throw us out in the middle of the night in a strange city when they knew we had no place to stay. But that turned out to be standard behaviour for this crowd. From that day to this, I have never, ever, ever observed a single individual anywhere in Ireland besides myself intervening when abuse was happening right in front of them.
- By the way, although there is an awful lot of “tut, tut”ing, I don’t count “tut, tut”ing as intervening.
For a long time (months) we heard nothing from the bdsmireland moderators after we reported this incident to them. Finally, months later, and only after somebody else nagged them about it, we heard back from fig367. He blamed me for TC‘s behaviour, for the conflict, and for the outcome of that evening. He indicated to me that TC‘s behaviour was perfectly normal and acceptable to him. fig367 quite blatantly told me that TC is well known for being abusive to women identifying as socially dominant who aren’t pro doms. His regular abuses of women at bdsmireland events and Nimhneach have been shrugged off by the bdsmireland moderators and by the Nimhneach crew, with “Oh well, that’s just TC.” or “That’s just his way.”. I have since heard privately from several other women who have experienced TC‘s abusive behaviour towards them. Those women’s reports to the bdsmireland moderators and Nimhneach crew about TC‘s abusive behaviour towards them at group affiliated events have also gone unheeded with no action ever taken.
For about a year after Galway, TC harassed me at every Nimhneach he attended. His campaign of harassment began with planting himself at the exit, right at the end of the night, always when there were few or no people or Nimhneach crew around. At closing time when we were being asked to clear the premises by venue staff, I’d have no choice but to pass close by him if I wanted to leave the premises. TC would call my name (using both the shortened version and the full length version), and otherwise try to get my attention and force me to engage with him. I simply ignored TC if he wasn’t directly in my path. If he did obstruct my exit, I’d simply stand there and look him in the face until he moved.
TC stepped up his tactics after about 4 months of this by directly approaching me earlier in the evening. He’d approach me, stand close to me, follow me around, and maintain his proximity to me for some time. Those encounters went something like this:
- Me – looking him full in the face “Was there something you wanted?”
- TC – “Just wanted to say hello.”
- Me – “Right, you’ve done it now, was that all?”
- TC – shrugs, looks away
- Me – “Good.” ignores TC
- TC – goes away
Neither the Nimhneach owner nor any crew member expressed any interest, nor did they ever take any action when I reported this (or any other) harassment to them. After a year or so of this, TC stopped approaching me at Nimhneach.
All of my attempts to report this and any other abuses at Nimhneach were either ignored, or if I posted them to bdsmireland, were withheld from publication by the moderators (some of whom are also Nimhneach crew). My experience of reports of abuse is that the moderators of bdsmireland and Nimhneach crew are only sympathetic and responsive if the abuse is perpetrated by somebody unknown to them. And even then, the moderators and Nimhneach crew are only sometimes sympathetic, and even less often responsive.
If a report of abuse is made to them about somebody they know, then my experience is that they tend to heap abuse on the person reporting, and then take no action whatsoever to restrict the abuser from further abusive behaviour.
- So that was my first encounter with the Nimhneach owner fig367, two bdsmireland moderators, the Galway munch, and TC.
Unfortunately, everything I have experienced from them since then has supported my conclusion that this behaviour is customary, persistent, and habitual for these individuals, and is unfortunately treated by this group of people as acceptable.
Silly me. I thought that after excluding me from every single kink event in Ireland under their jurisdiction, they’d leave me alone because they had no reason to harass me anymore.
Well, gee, it looks like they just can’t get me out of their minds, even when I don’t blog at all or attend any of their events or see any of them anywhere. Even though the Galway munch was over two and a half years ago, and even though I haven’t spoken communicated one single word, sound, gesture, or look to TC for well over a year, and even though I’ve only seen TC a few times at Nimhneach over the past year, can TC keep his yap out of my face?
As you can see from the following recent contact signed by him, the answer to that is a rather resounding “no”.
- Author: TC
Date: 09 June 2009 at 21:00 GMT
Posted on: The BDSMIreland Rules
You failed miserably in YOUR respect for others, frequently and repeatedly berating them on trivial matters, disrespect in r/l, and generally throwing your weight around whenever you could. Your posts were often repetitive drivel, some, I believe, were intended to incite conflict. It was about time that you were banned. Accept it in good grace … something in which you are seriously lacking. I hope you spend many more nights on station platforms .. maybe on the docks would be more appropriate for you !.
You may notice that similarly to other messages I have had from individuals and moderators in bdsmireland and Nimhneach, TC makes no mention of any specific allegations, transgressions, dates, group posts, blog posts, nor any online or in-person activities. Since whatever offenses I may have committed are not only unspecified but also clearly from some time ago (and therefore impossible to change without a time machine), I don’t know what the point of this message is supposed to be.
Since this message like the others has no specific realistic suggestions about how TC wants me to modify my past behaviour or conduct myself in future (aside from suggesting that I become a sex worker on the docks), and since the only specific reference he makes is to the Galway munch which I described above, I can only conclude that this message was solely motivated by malice.
Since I have never actually done anything to TC (unless you think that being the target of his abuse is somehow an offense against him), I can only conclude that his jumping on the bandwagon like this is an example of mob rule or the verbal version of lynching.
I wish I didn’t have so very many experiences of this nature to relate. But I do, and there are many more I haven’t posted about yet. I don’t know how many of my experiences I’m going to end up posting about, but I am certainly going to post about some of them.
I would really like to know if this behaviour is familiar to members of other kink communities around the world.
- If any of you want to share any similar experiences with me in confidence, I promise that I will respect all confidences without exception. I will only ever publish anything shared in confidence after consultation with the author, and only after the author consents to the final version.
This post was incredibly difficult to write because the memories of the experiences I have described above are still very difficult and painful for me to think about. And as you have seen above, behaviour targeting me based on the events of that day is still ongoing.
So I’m glad I’ve finally managed to construct and publish this post, to speak out about what happened to me on that day and afterwards.
- Please use what I’ve learnt to help keep yourselves safe.