(Note: This post is a republication of my original post from January, 2013.)
Last October, I introduced the FetLife Alleged Abusers Database Engine (FAADE) at the 2012 Transcending Boundaries Conference. In the final session of the conference, I facilitated a community forum about the tool and the issues it addresses more generally. Watch the entire session, “Help FetLife’s Rape Culture FAADE Away,” online or read the full transcript.
FetLife.com, an online meeting place for fetish and BDSM enthusiasts, censors the postings of its users when they allege other users of the site have raped, assaulted, or otherwise violated their consent, giving rise to a new grassroots movement within a youth S&M subculture committed to supporting survivors of sexual assault.
In this community forum facilitated by Social Justice Technologist and veteran BDSM community muckraker maymay, participants discuss the endemic problem of abuse within the BDSM Scene and brainstorm ideas for how to combat a terrifying status-quo. Using academic sources such as David Lisak’s and Stephanie McWhorter’s research on Predator Theory as a springboard, maymay introduces a new tool called the FetLife Alleged Abusers Database Engine (FAADE) to assist the community in its search for strategies to fight the “hush-hush” mindset that keeps rape culture so prominent in formalized BDSM organizations.
“The BDSM community has had, in its modern incarnation, at least two decades to develop some system of self-policing to keep abusers out, and what it’s done instead is promote abusers to positions of power,” said one participant.
“Fuck asking permission,” maymay concurs. “Fuck asking for cooperation from the powers that be that have shown us that they’re not interested in doing anything other than continuing to silence and abuse their own institutional positions and powers to maintain a status quo that is actively dangerous, actively abusive, and only serves themselves. I’m over it. It’s done, and it needs to go away. And it can if we all cooperate on building tools like this, and promoting these tools to others.”
Learn more and spread the word about the FetLife Alleged Abusers Database Engine (FAADE) at http://tiny.cc/faade
Read a full transcript of this session at http://maybemaimed.com/?p=4531
An excerpt from the session:
[O]ne of the concerns that I heard that wasn’t raised here, specifically, but that I heard out there in the conference, was, “Well, if I use this tool, I’m afraid FetLife will ban me.”
Number one: well, shit, isn’t that kind of part of the problem? And number two: yes, that’s why we can’t trust FetLife and can’t communicate with them at all. Does that makes sense? Okay, I see nodding. Any questions about those two pieces?
False accusations: bring it the fuck on. And here’s why. In both situations, where the accusation is “objectively” true, whatever the fuck that means, and also in situations where it is not true, this tool will—and the use of this tool, and the reporting of these allegations, and the sharing of these allegations—forces a consent conversation to the surface and empowers people to actually deal with the issues rather than continue to sweep them under the rug, in several different ways.
If you have a allegation levied against you and you feel it’s inappropriate or unfair, what can you do? You can ignore it, such as we’ve been doing already. Or you can, when you see that you have a report such as this one showing up on your profile above orientation, looking for, etcetera, at the very top of your profile, and you also have this very lovely, provided by FetLife—thank you, FetLife!—editable box right here. It’s called “About Me.” I propose that you respond to the allegation in the About Me section. And what that does, is several things. Number one: gets information about consent violations and alleged assaults out of this tool and onto FetLife. Wonderful. Number two: it will offer us the ability to see how people actually respond to these allegations.
Now, currently, the state of affairs is that if you do not have an alleged accusation against you, you are perceived more or less to be safe. A safe player: “Don’t worry, this person’s fine.” The problem with this is, number one, you very well may have an accusation against you. There may very well be an accusation against this person that you don’t know about because this information is siloed. And that is what the whole ConsentCulture project, that’s what people have been reporting, that’s what people have been saying. In fact, in the live—where is it? Oh, here it is—in the data here, people are already saying here, “This person had a reputation for known BDSM-related consent violations,” etc. It would have been great to know that. But this person probably didn’t have any information about this. So, [FAADE] will surface that.