Feel free to tune this post out if you’re not reading I Already Met You over on Dirty Lemons. This post, in particular, pertains to chapter 7, so if you’re waiting to read it all in one go or aren’t interested, don’t bother reading below the cut, mmkay? Cool.
So I distinctly remember when we were writing this story that initially, Missy wanted to cut out the misunderstanding that occurred in this chapter. She was uncomfortable with the notion of writing an Eric that may have come off “rapey” in any sense of the word. I understand her discomfort. That is a strange position to find oneself in, but after much discussion we chose to leave it in.
Now let me just say that Missy keeps pretty quiet on her political beliefs, whereas I am much more upfront about it. I have opinions about politics, feminism and rape culture that I haven’t been quiet about. Had things worked out differently with Scribe, we probably would have written a more in depth story that deals with rape culture and the aftermath of being a victim because it’s a cause that both of us feel very strongly about. She even participated in a podcast about the subject not too long ago.
I wanted to keep this story line going because there are so many who don’t understand how BDSM relationships work and it’s possible that this Sookie is one of those people. It’s possible that she got mixed up with bad Doms in the past who didn’t really bother to walk her through the more technical side of things. I’ve done my research on the topic. I know all about safe words and the importance of talking about the things you, as a sub, will or will not do. It’s important to have your limits known and for there to be open and clear communication about things. Trust is so very vital in those kinds of relationships.
But the most important thing is consent.
Without consent nothing is supposed to happen and that is where things get tricky if you don’t have beforehand agreed upon terms.
Personally, I think they’re both to blame for what happened in chapter 7. Sookie is the more experienced of the two in the arena, so assuming she really understands how it’s supposed to be, she’s somewhat at fault for not taking the proper precautions. However, when I was reading over the chapter, one section in particular jumped out at me as a little unsettling.
Sookie gags and shoves at me to get away. I don’t know if I should stop. I look down at her with a look that conveys my dilemma waiting for a sign.
I can understand Eric’s dilemma in all this, but if he was uncertain, wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to take a step back and ask her if she really meant no or if she was just playing? I have clear feelings about victim blaming and it makes me sad to see so much of that in the comments for this chapter. Sookie said no. She made it pretty damn clear that she was done playing and that her consent had been revoked, and she’s well within her rights to rescind it at any time she chooses.
But that’s why I wanted to keep this story going because when there are loose ends left, this is what can happen.
Signals get crossed, someone gets confused about whether they’re getting a red light or if it’s just a little spice added to play time and the other person ends up feeling victimized. Now do I believe that Eric intended for Sookie to end up feeling like a victim? Definitely not. Would I have done the same thing she did if I was in her shoes? A bite would have been the least of a guy’s worries if he put his dick in my mouth after I said no.
The sad fact of the matter is that Sookie wasn’t playing when she said no. She said no and more than once. Things could have happened differently but they didn’t. Fortunately this is just a work of fiction, but this sort of thing happens all the time.
She likes it rough.
She shouldn’t have been dressed like that.
She shouldn’t have led him on.
She shouldn’t have been drinking or getting high.
She shouldn’t have (fill in the blank).
There are a million things that women are told not to do all the time because for some reason, we’re supposed to have some sort of detector in our minds to tell us who a rapist is. Women get blamed all the time for being sexually assaulted and it’s pure bullshit. Blaming the victims of these crimes sends a message to the perpetrators that they’re not doing anything wrong.
I’m not suggesting that women shouldn’t be smart and protect themselves because they absolutely should. Use good judgment.
But if I happen to get dragged into an alley because I’m walking to my car from a restaurant at night and get raped, how is that my fault? Should I have had an escort walking me everywhere I go? How ridiculous is that? Instead of people telling women to watch how much they drink or how to dress, how about teaching children (both male and female since there are victims on both sides of the gender lines) not to rape? That seems like a much better idea for everyone.
Above all of that, there is also one other message I wanted to put out there, even if it’s to a small audience comparatively speaking. I don’t know how many people under the age of eighteen are reading our work. Obviously Missy and I aren’t checking identification with every blog subscription. Given the recent explosion of interest in BDSM and/or Dom/sub relationships, I wanted to put out somewhat of a cautionary tale. Clearly, what happened to Sookie in this story isn’t as bad as it could get, but the affect of it is something that will come back to haunt her later on.
Folks in the BDSM community do not look on 50 Shades of Grey favorably and for good reason. There are a lot of impressionable teenage girls gobbling that crap up, romanticizing a man like Christian Grey, hoping to find a guy just like him. They have this fantasy of a good looking, wealthy man whose cold, dead heart they can somehow revive and warm with their love. Yeah, well, in the process prepare for a whole lot of hell to rain down on your head, ladies. Newsflash: That’s not the way it happens in real life.
In real life, men like Christian Grey don’t change. Once they get stuck in their abusive patterns, that’s where they stay because it’s comfortable. There’s the occasional unicorn type that changes their ways but it’s so goddamn rare. I definitely wouldn’t go getting my hopes up thinking you’re going to change a man. Abusers usually get worse as time goes on. Scary thought, huh? It escalates. What starts as a slap across the face becomes a punch and then a kick and then you have broken bones and someday it puts you in the hospital because you have a collapsed lung or a broken cheekbone or worse, you miscarry the son of a bitch’s baby because you’ve been so badly beaten. It happens all the time.
It scares the shit out of me that girls are actively going out there looking for men who will do this because Hollywood has them convinced that they too can change a man, just like Ana did.
So if you’re considering getting involved in a BDSM relationship, please, please take the time to do the research beforehand. Know your rights. Get yourself educated. Clearly define your limits and for the love of God, use a safe word. Any Dom worth his salt will insist on having one. If he doesn’t, there’s your first clue that you should turn the fuck around and run the other way.
If you have ever been the victim of a situation like the one in chapter 7, you have my deepest sympathies. I sincerely hope that you had the courage to seek counseling if you needed it or that you reported it to the local authorities. Engaging in a kinky, sexual relationship does not nullify your rights. Liking it rough doesn’t mean you don’t get to say no.
Protect yourself, ladies. Be smart. Be strong.
She’s a hot mess but one of my favorite quotes comes from Courtney Love: “I am not a woman. I am a force of nature.”
Be that force of nature. Every day.