On Compassion and “Personal Responsibility”; Or, After #metoo, the Flood.


   Here’s my
question for those of you who have chosen this past week, of all weeks, to pen
your essays on the “need for personal responsibility”: Why?

Senator John McCain was running for office, did you write letters asking why we
were thinking of how “heroic” he was when, after all, he shouldn’t have been
flying that day? After all, isn’t it his fault for being shot down?

Do you go
to hospitals, to the cancer ward, and tell grieving families that their loved
ones had it coming? If only they hadn’t worked in that asbestos field, or grown
up in families which normalized cigarettes? Right?

there’s an accident, and someone is injured and in pain by the side of the
road, do you yell “Drive more carefully, next time?” Or, better yet, “Don’t
drive at all?”

If you do
these things, then kudos to you, I guess; at least you’re taking your ethos to
its logical limit.  But if you don’t do
those things, then why are you choosing this
moment to speak about personal responsibility? Is it because only now it’s
affecting your kinky fantasy life?

 Look, I
personally believe that we are all the sum of our choices, and that our goal as
human beings is to examine our choices so that we can make better ones.
Realizing that you have the opportunity to choose your next step can be
incredibly liberating. But it’s not an easy task to get there, or to even know
what to do with that knowledge once you have it.  Anyone   tells
you differently is either lying or selling you something.

 Having compassion for yourself and
others is fundamental to making better choices. If you’re not tender with
yourself, then how can you find the self-worth to make better choices? And if
you’re not temperate towards other people, why are you even on this website?
Why are you allowed in kink?

No, seriously.

 Being kinky is about putting yourself
in vulnerable situations. To do kinky things, we need-in the most fundamental
sense- patience, acceptance, and compassion from our partner.  I don’t care if you’re the dommliest dom who ever
dommed, you are putting yourself in vulnerable positions by taking and sharing
power in a scene or a lifestyle (emotionally, spiritually, physically, and
legally). Likewise, there is a baseline of compassion and empathy that we need
from our partners, in whatever role they take. Without compassion, we can’t do anything kinky.

 In the last few weeks there has
been an explosion of people telling their stories of how they have felt manipulated
and coerced by people they put their trust in. They are writing, sometimes
eloquently, sometimes haltingly, about their pain. Their pain.

Why are you asking them if they
deserved it?

Now, it may be the case that there
are people who are lying or, worse, simply mistaken about their experiences. It
happens. The only people to whom that matters (other than the people involved)
are those who have to decide who to believe. Are you one of the unfortunate
people who run events or are on boards who are asked to take sides? Then
please, by all means, have an opinion based on whatever facts are available to

Here’s the thing: even if they are
mistaken in what happened…. Hell… even if they are lying, they are all hurting
in some way.

If your first reaction to someone
who is hurting is to lecture them on how they got there, you do not have the
requisite compassion to handle anyone else’s vulnerability in kink. Period.

So if you are one of those people, please
recognize it, exercise some personal responsibility, and remove yourself from
our scene.