Thursday, May 16, 2013

Is it "Drama"... or is it a Genuine Warning?

Some of this goes back this post by Nitro:
I’ve been thinking about his since he posted that, and then last night something happened that spurred me to type.

I agree w/ Nitro about people not being negative, and I try myself to be, on the whole, positive.  I particularly don’t like malicious gossip or hear-say, and won’t be a part of spreading it.  90% of the time I use the rule: If you can’t say anything nice about someone then say nothing at all.  (Well... okay, 80% of the time.)

However, if asked, I will generally be honest about what I know about someone – even if it’s just, “I don’t know anything first-hand, but I have heard…”  I don’t like spreading negativity, but if I’ve heard something from a source I think reliable and if asked directly by someone, then I kind of think it’s my duty to be honest w/ what I do know.  So the thing abut vetting is that you have to do the vetting – it’s not a passive process.  Most people if you ask them discreetly (don’t put them on-the-spot in public) will be honest w/ you.  And, in fact, the ones who don’t just go around proactively trash talking are the ones who you’re more likely to get solid information from.

Generally, my one exception – the one time I will proactively warn people off – is if I consider that person in question to be a predator or in some other way seriously unsafe.  If I have good reason to believe that, then, in that case, I will spread the word, and I don’t consider that to be rumor-mongering or spreading-drama.  Fortunately, there are very few people I know in our community who fit that category, but I do know 3 or 4: One who committed date-rape… someone who appears to be a sociopath hiding abusive behavior behind the disguise of BDSM… a couple of people who have been known to out other people (or threaten or attempt to do so) or to call Child Social Services on them or call the cops on them or call the media just to be vindictive…  I do know a few folks who have done that.

I totally agree w/ Nitro when he says: “There are those out there that will spend their time bad mouthing events to keep people from going to them, trash talking Leather establishments to keep them from getting new patronage, and sending vicious e-mails to the very people that work so hard to try and build their community…. It is time for us to bring our Brothers and our Sisters back with us and stand together.  Let our Light shine brighter than any darkness that the others can muster, and we will be the ones still standing in the end.”

But the flip side of what you said is that you also can’t just put on your rose color glasses, sing kumbaya, and get along w/ everybody. Sometimes having integrity demands that you speak negatively of people or groups or events. Those who know me know that I am a generally positive person, that I don’t spread gossip, and that I don’t like to stir-up melodrama… therefore, I’ve found, when I do feel the need to be critical, people listen and respect my opinion more b/c I’m not just always going around trashing folks for no good reason.

Oh, what happened last night?  I mentioned to a good friend some thing I recently learned about someone I now consider to be a predator – the way he mistreated a pup who asked to leave his household was so outrageous it’s clearly unethical.  My friend, in return filled me in on a rumor he’s heard about this same individual.  Scary shit.  He didn’t know if it was true or not... until he compared notes w/ my information and a pattern formed.  That’s why it’s important to share what we know.  That’s why it’s important to drag the monsters into the light.

Nobody loves a negative, trash-talking, drama-mongering, Debbie-Downer.  (Or at least I don’t.)

But we also have to share what we do know whenever it looks like somebody (or some group or event) is a genuine danger to get involved with (and not just your run of the mill goof).

When do you play nice - and when do you say, "That person is a contemptible lump of human garbage?"  It's not always an easy balance to strike, but there is virtue in striving for it.


  1. I think it's even more confusing being the prey of a predator.

    Every fiber of my being wants to scream out to everyone "Hey! Look at them! This is what they did. This is what they do. They're horrible people, and you shouldn't look up to them". But you can't. I mean, you can, but then you're a drama starter, and your words lose value. It's kinda a double edge sword. It's hard for victims to be outwardly vocal against "higher" or more established members of the community. It's essentially he said, she said.

    I've honestly debated putting everything out there. Every underhanded, shady thing they've done, every lie, everything. There's a lot. I don't think it will do much good. It'll make me feel better. A lot better. I'm scared that someone else will fall in with them, and they'll get hurt too. I really don't want to sit idly by while they're out doing what it is that they do. But it goes back to the "drama queen" statement. So here I sit, silent. It's not because I care about my reputation, but when I speak, I'd prefer for my words to be headed... if that makes any sense.

    Onto Vetting. I am disappointed by a fair amount of people. I tried vetting these guys, but not much came up... a lot of "Oh, he flogs well" or "His interrogation scene is awesome!", but no "He goes through subs quickly" or "I've heard x-y-z". Upon my arrival, I had almost a dozen people say "I heard a lot of bad things about them, but I figured since you were a smart puppy..." That is a direct quote from someone I tried getting information from. I understand that it's a bitch having to say something negative in this community. We, as a community, try our damnedest to avoid confrontation and speaking negatively about people, because it's always looked down upon. "Sane people don't do drama, it's the crazy ones that do drama, and we don't like the crazies."

    But alas, it comes down to when someone asks you to vet someone, be honest.

    1. It’s not an easy thing to work through. Almost 10 years ago my Owner was date-raped by a partner of hers. She struggled afterwards w/ who to tell, how many to tell, what if he does it again to someone else??? There’s just no easy formula… but she told our friends and the genuine leaders of our community. He was from out of town, but the next time he showed up at a meeting of our home club he found himself unwelcome and, so far as I know, hasn’t set foot in Charlotte since. We had marked our turf and let him know to keep out. We made our home community safe from him. Ma’am eventually came to understand that: yes he may do it again to someone else somewhere else, but that’s not her responsibility. If she tries to spend the rest of her life making sure this creep never hurts anyone else then he still has power over her, and she had to let go. We told enough key people (elders, group leaders, experienced players) about what he did that I expect that if anyone genuinely asks around about him in NC then they will very likely hear the story.

      We handled that all rather quiet and behind the scenes. CAPEX had a much more public explosion a few years ago w/ a different predator. Many of our members were all over Fet trying to warn people – and if anything, the problem was that some of them kind of over-did it, trying to share every crappy thing she did, so that unfortunately the message gets lost in the noise. Meanwhile she was trying to play it all off as that we were just a bunch of drama-queens.

      Venting helps, and I’d say that if you’d like to vent, by all means talk to us in your pack and family. Vent as much as you need. But publicly, “putting everything out there. Every underhanded, shady thing they've done, every lie, everything” tends to backfire and the warning gets lost in the noise.