The Galway Munch

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.
 
 

My First bdsmireland Munch  –  Galway

 
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.
 
 

The Galway Munch – Part Two

 
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.

 
 

The Galway Munch – Part Three

 
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.
 

 
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.

 
 

Galway And Nimhneach – The Aftermath

 
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.

 
 

But Wait, There’s More …

 
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
     
    Comment:
    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.

Whatever.
 
 

I Don’t Know Why They Keep Persisting

 
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.

 

About Lady Lubyanka

I am a 45 year old musician, and also a multisexual, polyamourous, Jewish, socially dominant woman within my romantic BDSM relationships.
This entry was posted in Consent, exclusion, fuckwits, The Scene. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Galway Munch

  1. Leandrai says:

    I wonder if it has anything to do with this:

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Leandrai
    To: bdsmireland-owner@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Saturday, June 20, 2009 1:24 PM
    Subject: Complaint of Bullying and Harassment

    I wish to complain, in accord with your new guidelines, that the member known as “Fig367″ repeatedly used a second identity to harass, bully and abuse the member known as “Lady Lubyanka”, who was then banned and excluded from your group as a direct result of seeking redress for this and other acts of personal exclusion.

    I also wish to affirm that I was present in West Cork in summer 2006 when Fig367 was quite open about his second “Dunravin2002″ identity and would be prepared to swear a formal affidavit to that effect.

    I would also like to point out that the, apparently unique, degree of systematic exclusion of Lady Lubyanka may well be in direct contravention of the Equal Status Acts 2000 -2008 on several grounds.

    Known as:

    Leandrai

    —————————————-

    You see, I was recently sent a copy of a revision made to the BDSMIreland rules earlier this month.

    I found it curious that they seemed to be courting my approval in some way because the:

    “All members’ posts are moderated” that was put in place in early 2006 to suppress information about at least one, and perhaps two, serious problems that had arisen resulting in one irrefutably innocent party being banned, and another never being heard from again was changed back to the original “All members’ posts are moderated to begin with.”.

    I left BDSMIreland in early 2006 because I was disgusted by the way one of these problems had been suppressed, but when Kahli persuaded me to return in Summer 2006 I simply had no idea about the blanket moderation, because I was given unmoderated status after my first couple of posts (as anyone can see if they check back through the headers of my posts). I only found out that the whole list was moderated when Fig367 arbitrarily reset my unmoderated status, against Kahli’s expressed wishes.

    Kahli was furious with him and prepared to return my unmoderated status but she also refused to send my very personal and sincere farewell message to the group because it mentioned my previous inmoderated status…and if people saw that everyone would wonder why they were moderated and I was not.

    I made it clear that for adults to be monitored and censored like that, by anyone, let alone by other adults who are, supposedly, close, and even “intimate” friends, is a form of unhealthy, abusive and disrespectful control I wanted no further association with.

    Since then I have had an whole other education on WHY that was a better choice for me to make than I ever knew.

    But suddenly they reverse the offending rule…and, coincidentally, of course, a variety of people have lately found the most peculiar and ingenious pretexts to approach me, to which my answer is simple (to post it here saves me copying and pasting it to anyone ELSE):

    ***
    I will never be back, nor wish to be.

    The way I have seen people in the scene behave I would not insult myself by associating with them, and I see a new “rising dynamic” that is even worse, that I do not want NEAR my life on any terms.

    I am just glad to be out of it…and in it all, I can honestly say there is only one single person I actually miss, and that is the one person I would have to avoid anyway…always…
    ***

    But that is not all.

    To add insult to injury, the ban on “blog posts” has been lifted. Apparently it was only ever, intended to apply to you (what else is new?).

    But the part that made me rabid is that in the section:
    “FLAMING / BULLYING & HARRASSMENT: *updated*”
    …they go on to condemn every, single thing that they have done to you, while still excluding you, without apology.

    This amounts to a recognised and highly destructive pattern of interpersonal abuse and bullying, not just the standard “blame the victim” but a far deeper, more damaging and depersonalising message that everybody matters and deserves respect…except you.

    Or, to put it another way, it is a more sophisticated version of throwing stones at the outcast for spite.

    Obviously, we have both been the subject of different types of attention since these new guidelines, because we did not notice quickly enough.

    I leave it to your imagination how insulted I am that anyone would believe all they have to do is chuck me a few crumbs of phoney congeniality and I will cheerfully join them in throwing stones at the designated outcast – when I wouldn’t even do THAT at gunpoint…

    L

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  4. Sullivan says:

    That Galway munch certainly had a lovely crowd of cowards and sheep.
    Poor TC sounds like a sad, angry, small man. Well, not a man…

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