The reason I am ruffling so many feathers is that my critiques of the BDSM’ers are not at all similar to the ones coming from people who know nothing about BDSM and thus make outlandish, obviously false comparisons to chicken fuckers or whatever pathetically weak arguments they tend to make. (See, for instance, this Twitter thread.) I am not saying BDSM’ers are pedophiles—it is actually BDSM’ers themselves who are comparing me to pedophiles, in the exact same way anti-SM 2nd wave feminists famously compared me to pedophiles and sex traffickers years ago, ironically—what I am doing instead is pointing out how ubiquitous and mundane rape in their spaces has become. And that is a much more dangerous existential threat to both their self-image and their cultural legitimacy. That much is clear; we all know this.
Yeah. I’ve said this before, but it’s abundantly clear to me that the people who’ve called you a pedophile are throwing the worst accusation they know in your general direction. They’re hoping it will scare potential allies away from you and distract attention from what you’re actually saying. To date, they don’t seem to have a good response to any of your points about the BDSM community facilitating abuse and silencing/victim blaming survivors.
That being said, I would not be surprised to learn that BDSM spaces do harbor “the really stigmatized stuff,” because there is literally no better place for such stuff to hide—see, for example, FetLife’s relatively recent attempt to “cleanse” any controversial material, for this exact reason. But the important point to make here is that “the really stigmatized stuff” is stigmatized even within BDSM circles. That doesn’t mean it’s not there. It means it’s stigmatized.
I know a lot of spaces that periodically kick people out because they don’t want to get a reputation for harboring unsavory stuff. I don’t tend to give them credit for evicting pedophiles, so much as willingly participating in a moral panic.
But … hmm, point taken.
Finally, I appreciate the distinction you’re making between “most normal people” and “people who are uncommonly invested in shutting you up.” This is the exactly the correct way of thinking about it, I think, and it’s precisely why you’ll see me say “kill yourself” to people who I think are probably not that invested in shutting me up, and why I will doxx the people who are. The two tactics are different because the target of those tactics are different. And, of course, doxxing someone doesn’t actually shut them up; shutting them up is not my goal, anyway. (My goal is to get them to leave me and my spaces alone.) What they do instead, then, is begin gaslighting the people socially proximal to me and trying to ensure I am isolated and my work is censored. But that is an indirect attack, rather than a direct one, and given that I do not yet know how to defend against indirect attacks, I would rather be forced to endure only those than to endure both types.
I’ve been looking for countermeasures for those for a while, because I’ve known people who are a lot more easily gaslighted and disheartened than you who also have this problem. Even though they didn’t do anything wrong, having a few people constantly insinuating that they did and hissing hate in their friends’ ears affects them on an emotional level. The experience has made them paranoid about getting to know strangers or trusting at all, because they’re very aware that certain people will go to great lengths to hurt them. And, as I understand it, their pool of potential friends has contracted as a result, because the Just World Fallacy is a thing. I.e., most people assume that if anyone is that mad at them, they must have a good reason to be. They wouldn’t just lie and bad-mouth them everywhere for no reason, right? Which is to say, the ignorance of people who have never been on the receiving end of that kind of malicious whisper campaign results in a kind of victim blaming.
I wrote all of that out because I don’t know how many other points of reference you have for the kind of gaslighting your friends group is experiencing, as a result of BDSM scene defenders wanting to punish you. But I think your problems are a little different because they’re not going to succeed in paralyzing you with self-doubt. It might help to spell out what it is that their behavior is managing to prevent, here? As in, why you think they need to be stopped, as opposed to ignored. I’m not in favor of ignoring bullying when there’s any way to confront it directly. But since they’re not fighting you directly … maybe it’s a matter of setting out what they are accomplishing as a preliminary to figuring out what your response should be.
Thing I’ve seen that has helped with problems tangential to the one you’re actually having:
-Your talking about being targeted, and Unquietpirate talking about the ways she’s been harassed for associating with you. I’ve sent these posts to other people who have been silenced and invalidated in precisely this way. You’ve helped them feel less alone and ashamed. There is very little attention or transparency aimed at this kind of social attack, and the silence perpetuates thanks to our rampantly victim-blaming over culture.
Tags: discourse, gaslighting, pop social justice, social oppression, emotional abuse