This past weekend, I took a friend with me to Noir.
It was his first time there though he ran into a few people he knew, mostly from his days in the electronic music scene or from providing medical services at music festivals. Initially, I kept an eye on him, to make sure he was comfortable and in case he had any questions, then I wandered off to be social and deal with the various things.
At some point, I hooked up the Neon wand, gave him the basics of operating it, and left him running it as a demo station. That seemed quite entertaining for him. At one point, while I was electrified, Ira, our photographer, patted me on the shoulder, didn’t notice the zap, and so I gave him a quick zap after. I probably should have checked with him before that, but at the time, I didn’t think of it.
Around 2 am, we hopped in the car and headed over to pick up the Van, so we’d be able to move all the furniture out of the venue. I made the mistake of parking it where I’d planned to park it, on the ramp, rather than leaving it around the side until we were actually ready to load out. I had to move it twice before I gave up on having it on the ramp. Lesson learned for next time. Though I still say we can probably just use the smaller van and pack it higher, which means we can actually drive down the damn ramp and into the parkade.
After that, we unloaded in the locker, packed it to the ceiling, and headed out to the after party, at the House of Ravens, were we provided a bit more of the electrical play demos. Including to people who had said they were scared of electricity prior. So that was a decent accomplishment.
When things had settled down, we brewed up a pot of coffee and sat in the living room, discussing the evening and various other things. At that point, he told me that one of the women he’d been talking to, had had an issue with me, and had been talking about how she wanted to get me kicked out of the club or banned from it, for being creepy. Apparently, I had a habit of approaching her, not talking to her, talking to whoever she’d been talking to, and then walking away, and she was bothered by this. At least that’s what I understood the problem to be. I may have missed certain details.
I can’t comment specifically on previous events, as I can’t recall them with any clarity. I do know that that night, I approached Ian to check on him, saw that he was talking to someone I didn’t recognize, tried to place the face, and then moved on to attend to other things.
When he mentioned who it was, and how I knew her, it made a bit more sense. She’s someone who has had an issue with me since a disagreement a few years back. Probably sometime roughly 6 years ago, I think, though I’m not actually sure now that I try to recall the details. In any case, she isn’t really someone who crosses my mind; though apparently she still has a strong opinion about me.
His interpretation of it was that she was being catty. I’m not sure of his reasoning, but I’m sure he’ll comment if he wishes to share them.
I shared this story with a few other individuals involved with the event, looking to get their opinions. One of them reacted with a “Wow, that’s crazy. Good luck trying to get rid of one of the most useful volunteers.”
We then proceeded to have a conversation about reputation and the protection it provides. I told him that while I appreciated the fact that he’d doubt her story based on knowing me, I still wanted him to take allegations seriously, because as a community, we need to handle things that way. We need to not allow anyone to be protected by how much they contribute.
The other person had a similar opinion, but wanted more details. We had a similar conversation about what might have upset this person, and if anything could be done to avoid it in the future. And then we had the conversation that inspires this post, which is how we can ensure that there is a balance between taking allegations not being taken seriously, and allegations being used as a weapon, or if that balance is even possible, if a different approach is required to ensure that things are handled in the best and safest manner possible.
So, if the allegations had been more than just bitterness, and she had actually complained to someone in earnest how would they have been handled? Would the fact that I contributed to the event have been a factor? Would the fact that I have a decent collection of people who would vouch for me be a factor? On one hand, it probably should have some tempering of the concerns, but at the same time, just because I’m not a problem with those people, doesn’t mean I’m not a problem for her.
Would the allegations have been more serious if they were about different level of violation? Probably but how does that scale function.
The timeline should be a factor probably, since time can change a recollection of events, and people do change over time. But to what extent.
What is the appropriate method for dealing with someone you have hostilities with in the community, especially if they’ve embedded themselves into an event?
Ideally, we don’t want people to be able to use the fact that they contribute to events to be able to use that as a shield that allows them to violate people. Abusers should not be tolerated, no matter how connected they are. And while the idea of accusing someone of something is abhorrent, it isn’t unheard of. It seems to be more common in the kink community than false rape allegations in the vanilla community, but that might just be my impression of it.
Part of that could be the gradients that are available in the kinky community, and how the accuser will be perceived. In the vanilla community, there is still a considerable amount of sex negativity that the accuser will be branded with, which may be less prominent in the kink community.
Update : The friend who had mentioned this whole conversation to me clarified things. It wasn’t the girl who wanted me banned, but her friend, who I don’t know that I’ve ever met. So that renders the discussion rather pointless, except for the sake of discussing how to handle such circumstances.