The problem with scary people is that they seem safe. The problem with predators is they look like you and I. The problem with consent violations is that they come with excuses that sound like reasons. The problem with every harmful thing in this community is that it looks like a sunset over Camps Bay in the middle of Spring. That is why we become victims, and not because we fail to use our safety tools. Trust is what lets the bad people squeeze through.
You can have safe calls, references, mentors, a known top, and a friend who is trusted in the community, and still be victimised. The first thing a predator has to learn is how to be successful. The best way to do that is to find out how to look like a sunset over Camps Bay in the middle of spring, so that is what they do.
Predators don’t look like monsters. Hell, sometimes they still look like teddy bears to you even after they’ve taken a piece out of you, so it can be difficult to feel confident about a consent violation even if the truth of it is clearer than that spring day.
Predators sometimes spend their entire lives learning how to look trustworthy. They also spend their lives learning how to figure out who’ll make the easiest victim. Sometimes a pushed boundary is not actually a pushed boundary: it’s a sociopath testing to find out if you’ll make a good long-term victim.
Victims of abuse have a few things in common, and one struck me more than the rest: those who landed up in relationships with abusers gave trust first and hoped for the best. Those who were not abused were more likely to wait for trust to be earned before giving it.
This is not enough to keep us safe. Nor is a guardian or a million safe calls or even getting the hell out of the kink community. No tool is perfect, but a box of tools is better than none.
One of the most important tools is the awareness that scary people seem safe, predators look like you and I, and consent violations come with excuses that sound like reasons. Every harmful thing in this community looks like a sunset over Camps Bay in the middle of Spring.