"Psychopaths have an uncanny ability to spot and use 'nurturant women' -- that is, those who have a powerful need to help or mother others. Many such women are in the helping professions -- nursing, social work, counseling -- and tend to look for the goodness in others while overlooking or minimizing their faults: 'He's got a problem but I can help him,' or, 'He had a such a rough time as a kid, all he needs is someone to hug him.' These women usually take a lot of abuse in their belief that they can help; they are ripe for being left emotionally, physically, and financially drained."
- Robert D. Hare, PhD
Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
Read the above quote. Now read it again and think about it.
We have psychopaths among us, in our lifestyle and everywhere. We also have many who suffer from various forms of mental illnesses. Some freely admit to them. Others quietly hide them away. Others develop 'habit' to protect themselves from harm, but in the end only harm others because of their actions.
But it is theirs to deal with, not ours to take on and try to 'cure, heal, fix or help' them. We actually have professionals trained to do that, we unfortunately are not. Yet, why do some feel this great need to fix what is deemed 'broken', or who are so enamored that they jump at the chance to be harmed mentally, or worse physically?
We are taught never to talk to strangers, but we do so willingly online, baring our souls to the universe and those that just say hello to us in private messages and in theirs/our writings. You don't really know anyone on-line-they are indeed strangers.
And yet, when does stranger become acquaintance, friend or lover?
There are many circumstances that lead us all to this lifestyle, and many more circumstances that should lead us out the first exit we see. Yet, we remain, seeking what we desire, need and want.
But, how do we protect ourselves in the meantime during our quest? Below are some suggestions on safety, both online while looking for our friend, lover, Dom/me or submissive.
1. Be aware that this is not just about submissives, or females only. Dominants and males are also at risk for dangerous playmates and predators. There is no one true face for predators. It can be male, female, top or bottom. Always remember that. And while time online may mean they have been around awhile, it does not define their experience levels.
2. Educate yourself on safety, your community and what it is that gets you off. There is enough online stuff that you can search for to get a good grasp of things before even doing it, so take the time to do your research. And do various searches on the same thing to get a commonality of the processes, techniques and safety protocols. There are some very good ones and some very bad ones (ie, not telling the whole story only part and you might miss some vital information).
3. Take things slowly and don't jump in head first. Many people WILL recommend you attend public events, our local playspace, munches, public events to get to know people. They do this for a reason! There is much to be said about safety in numbers, and munches and the local playspace give you that safety. So does meeting one-on-one in a public coffee shop. During the day is much better than at night, cause your visual perception gets screwed in the dark. Besides, meeting more people in a public setting means you can make friends and they can serve you better in your search for the "one", and eliminate others at the same time.
4. Don't believe everything you read. I know you are looking at number 2 and saying, WTF? But, a lot of the writings you see are fantasy. Some are actual scenes between two people (yup, there's the strangers again), yes, but real life scenes are just that. Real life, and things can go wrong that some exclude from the 'perfect scene'. Same applies to profiles and what people write to you. I'm really the Queen of Japan, but I'm not here to brag about that.
5. If someone seems too good to be true, they've probably been at this for awhile, and you just bared your soul online for easy pickings with all your writings about wanting the 'perfect Dom'. They will surely be it since you wrapped it all up nicely for them!
6. Listen to your gut. If it's screaming red flag, and you ignore it, it's your funeral. Or at least counselling later on.
7. Don't use your real name online. First name only or a pseudonym work well (and check your email set up if you are chatting off of places like Fetlife). Is your real FULL name in the settings? Hello, I CAN and WILL google you on places like Facebook and Linkedin to find out more information than what you aren't willing to share with me.
Speaking of what NOT to give out online before meeting anyone or just chatting with people in general:
- Full name, use only your first name or Fetname
- Home address, general city is fine, and if a small town, don't say which one
- SIN or SSN number. Why anyone would give those out these days is beyond me. Employers for payroll AFTER you have been hired yes, but strangers? NEVER!!!!
- Passwords to your accounts, any accounts. No, no and never! No matter what B/S the dude that you call your Domme in Antarctica says, there is NEVER any valid reason to give anyone your passwords to anything. Findommes may be an exception, but we won't go there because that in itself is a blog.
- Credit card information or banking info. Again, excluding Financial Domination (which is something that takes time to establish by the way as well as a firm trust), really, the only one that should have this type of information is your spouse/partner or an executor to your will when you end up dead cause you were stupid.
8. Ask questions of the sub/dom. What do I ask, you say?
- How long have you been in the scene
- How long have you been in the local scene
- How experienced are you
- How did you start
- What do you enjoy the most, exchange of power, role play, sensation, something else
- Who/what are you looking for
- What sort of relationship do you want
- Are you friends with your past playmates
- Have you ever made a mistake during a scene. What was it, and how did you correct it. Did you and the person you erred on talk about it.
Those open up the dialogue. Make sure you have them in writing cause you will need those answers later when you ask others about this person. It's called Vetting, ie asking others for qualifications/personality/experiences of the person you are interested in. Vetting is very, very valuable in your background check. And yes, do a background check so that stranger becomes more of a person.
9. Once you get the above questions answered in number 8, start vetting, whether they are a submissive or a dominant. Even ask for referrals. If your prospect gets upset, that's a red flag, because a: they probably are just bullshitting you and don't want you checking on them to find out you have been lied to, b: they have no experience or if they do, it's not good. Legitimate people will give references, because that's how it's done properly.
If not, there is something wrong here, and it's best to walk away. It is THEIR problem to deal with in how they solve their own issues with the public persona they have, not yours to wonder about. Maybe they are unsure as to what they want and it has confused people, or they haven't figured everything out in what they are looking for themselves, or have certain expectations that are unrealistic.
But, it's not for you to fix, understand? They have to be the ones willing to fix it themselves.
Just remember, there are those that simply won't get along with another, and bad relationships do happen, so you may get some bad references. Read into them carefully. Is it about abuse, or simple heartbreak that your reference is telling you about?
For vetting purposes, questions to ask the reference (those the prospect has provided and go on your own to ask random people in the community):
- do you know this person
- how are they viewed in the community as a whole
- what is their play style like (RACK, intense, demanding, soft hand, respectful, experience level, etc)
- what is their current situation, how long have they been looking, why are they still looking, etc
- what are their good qualities (this one is harder to answer but really push to get the information because you will be able to tell a lot about someone this way, both the prospect and the person providing the reference)
- what are their weaknesses that you see
These are only a few, but pretty important and valid questions to ask someone when vetting. Much like a in a job interview, these questions will reflect the type of person you are getting to know.
Relationships are about partnerships. You both agree to X, Y and Z. But if you are pressured into something you feel queasy about, or feel like you are rushed, shamed, guilted into, or threatened with, it is best to be clear about that and step back from talks with the person until what is being proposed, the agreement, feels right.
If you have followed the above and feel 100% comfortable in meeting the prospect, next is the meeting offline.
"If anyone is behaving in a manner that makes you uneasy, you should listen to your instincts."
Roger Shenkle, physical security analyst
- Have your own transportation to and from the meeting place.
- Set up safe calls (a safety procedure where people tell outside parties where they will be and when they’ll be checking back in by telephone. If a person does not check in, the third party calls for help.)
- If the person you're meeting objects to the safe calls, leave.
- If the person wants to change the location of the meet, make it clear you are calling your safe caller to give them the change of venue, or simply stay there and re-arrange another time to meet. (in the case of the venue being too full, it does happen, but make sure your safe call KNOWS where you will be-and drive there in your own car, never with them).
- Whenever possible bring a friend who knows you and your interests.
- Meet in a public place, preferably one where there are security cameras or where your friends frequent.
- Bring a cell phone.
- Don't let the other person see your license plate or follow you to your car.
- Don't leave your keys, wallet, or drink unattended.
- Stay sober. Date rape drugs can be slipped into anything, at any time, day or night.
- If the first meeting is a success, schedule another meeting before the first meeting is over.
- If the first meeting didn't go so well, don't promise another meeting at that time. "I'll let you know when" should be sufficient in not committing.
- Don't play the first time you meet, no matter how tempted.
- Be honest and straightforward
- If the meeting isn't going well or you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, leave. (Listen to your intuition.)
- If you decide you want to play with this person at a later time, exchange drivers licenses. Make a photocopy of the other person's license or ask him to bring a photocopy. Or write it down once you have seen it, including make and model of the car.
- Before you meet to play, negotiate what you'll be doing and how much you'll be doing. Do this in writing so you have a written back up.
- After the meeting make sure you're not being followed. (Drive to a police station if you feel you are.)
More on safe calls:
- Choose your safe call carefully.
- You should provide the person receiving the safe call with the following information about yourself: your full name, your home address, your phone number, car information (make, model, color, and license plate number) and detailed travel itinerary (flight numbers, departure times, arrival times, rental car information, etc.)
- You should provide the person receiving the safe call with the following information about the person you're meeting: his full name, his screen name(s) / logon ID(s), his address, his phone number(s), his age, description, drivers license information, and anything else you know about him.
- Also provide the safe call receiver with the location of the meeting, phone number of the meeting place, time and date of the meeting, the local phone number of the police, and a list of people to contact in case of an emergency.
-Use a minimum of three code words or phrases: 1) All is well, 2) I feel uncomfortable about this and I want to leave, and 3) I feel that I'm in danger and I need help right away.
-The code words or phrases should be common usages that are easy to work into a casual conversation.
You should have a clearly defined "all clear" phrase. Something the safe call recipient expects you to use unless the situation is very bad.
Be sure to communicate what your codes words and phrases mean and what sort of response they warrant.
Too Vague: "If I use my code word that means I may be in trouble."
Better: "If I say that I 'left my window open' that means I feel uncomfortable and I'm gong to leave as soon as possible. But if I don't use the 'all clear' phrase -- even after you prompt me -- that means he's listening in on the call, he's threatening me not to use my safewords, I'm being held against my will, and you should call the police right away!"
You don't want any doubt in anyone's mind what the code words mean or whether or not you need help.
- Set up a course of action if you fail to call at the appointed time or if you use your code words . Both safe call participants need to understand the appropriate actions which correspond to which phrases: either for the safe call recipient to call the police and explain the situation or to show up at the meeting. You don't want the police to show up at Starbuck's with their guns drawn because your date is 100 pounds heavier than he had claimed to be. On the other hand, you don't want the safe call recipient to be driving across town in rush hour traffic to save you from an embarrassing first meeting when you've already been taken against your will to an abandoned meat packing plant.
- Make safe calls after the first 15 minutes, after the first 45 minutes, after the first 2 hours, when the meeting is over, and then 30 minutes after. If the meeting is longer than 3 hour make the call every 2 hours.
- It would be a great help if the person receiving the safe call had Caller ID.
- Safecalls are not the beginning and the end of safety. Their effectiveness is limited.
I know this is a lot of information, and I am assuming most of it should already be ingrained in everyone's heads. But it's always nice to have the reminder.
For the record, this is not only useful in a BDSM sense, but should be followed in everyday vanilla life. Facebook has its predators as do other dating sites too.
Excerpts taken from evilmonk.org (originally posted June 16, 2013)