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Personal responsibility (equals not: Not my problem)

I am not talking trash about PRICK.

I am talking about the misuse of the phrase "personal responsibility" when addressing community problems such as new person support, abuse and slandering.

Personally Responsibility is a popular buzz word in this site and in society in regards to consent violations (which we will not call assault or rape because we would not want society to see our community as one that has room for predators in it). Whenever a discussion regarding community policies about banning predators arises this buzz word will be brought to the table. Whenever talking about helping newbies navigate the community this phrase will buzz around.

Personal Responsibility. It is a beautiful phrase isn't it? On the surface is seems so empowering. Take responsibility for yourself and your own choices and actions. You can CHOOSE and then you get to live with your choice. Personal responsibility is the concept that we, as humans, cause our own actions and because of this we are morally and legally accountable for our actions.

It is a beautiful idea. I even agree with it. We DO need to own our shit, to take responsibility for our journey and not expect someone to do it for us.

Unfortunately this phrase has been perverted to mean that in turn, we cannot look out for our fellow man. That because we are each personally responsible for our journey that if we see someone about to step in a pile of doggie doo we should shut up and let them learn the hard way. And that, friends, is where this empowering phrase has become a buzz word.

It's bullshit. It implies that I DO have control over everything that happens to me. It implies that where I stand today is entirely of my own making. It implies that I am empowered in situations where I sure as hell am not. Saying that we should have personal responsibility is another way of saying that what happens to Jane or John is not my problem. And that is utter bullshit.

I can only control my own actions, not anyone else's. There is fuck all I can do to guarantee my own safety while still having a meaningful life. I can exercise my own judgment, try to be aware of potential hazards and risks, and learn from my mistakes. For the most part, this will work to my advantage. Yet, there are those not so wonderful persons who do not follow these rules. I have no control over their choices, and sometimes they choose to cause others harm, for their own gratification.

Why is it then, that when a grown up enters the BDSM community we say that they need to have personal responsibility in lieu of US having the MORAL BACKBONE to ban predators and those 'socially awkward' persons who touch people without consent? Oh, Johhny? Yes, he is a known dangerous player, but we keep him in the community because who are we to judge? That newbie he scarred? He/she should have personal responsibility. Jane? We know she likes to penetrate her subs once they are tied up without their consent, but that is the subs fault.. he/she should have vetted her better and needs to take personal responsibility for his/her kink journey. Judy? She is new and we know she doesn't have a clue but hey... she'll learn the hard way.

Don't mistake me-I firmly believe that in order to evolve, be self aware and grow as a human and as a bdsm practitioner that personal responsibility is paramount to our journey. I try to look at myself and improve. I strive to be proactive in my life rather than reactive. I own my choices and I would like those around me to do the same. I suggest to newcomers that they not assume anyone has magical authority, to vet players, and to attend munches and socialize in order to meet others. I certainly do not suggest that they are passive in their journey. Empowering ourselves and encouraging others to do the same is wonderful.

But...When we are talking about players in our community who are KNOWN to be dangerous, to rape and harm and to touch without consent the personal responsibility gambit is victim blaming. The person who SHOULD have personal responsibility did not and does not as we can see from their continuous string of violations. When he protect these people,(and yes when we turn a blind eye and a silent mouth to these known predators we are protecting them) WE are condoning their acts.

When we are talking about how new persons should be just left to figure it out on their own ("like we did") because they have to have personal responsibility we are being utter jackasses.

Seems to me that back in the "old days" mentoring was in place. The community was smaller and it was easier for the experienced players to mentor the occasional new person. It is more difficult now. Having a group that polices itself (banning those that use the group to meet newbies to play with, greeting in pairs to prevent mishaps etc) and welcomes newcomers, shares information with them and answers questions does not dis-empower the newcomer. It gives them the tools they need to be able to make responsible choices (or not, as they choose).