The Importance of a Safety Net

A thread was started on MDOM, a listserve owned by Carter Stevens of SM News by undomiel in her quest to put together a Safety Net FAQ. This a huge undertaking on her part as she is also organizing a nationwide Safety Net. I'll keep you updated on the progress of the Safety Net FAQ here. As there are no clear definitions of a Safety Net I'm going to refer you to several essays on "Safe Calls", Below is a definition by TheScreamer from Online/Offline BDSM Safety reprinted on this site and More on Safe Calls. They are both excellent starting points.

SAFE CALLS: There are many ideas out there about how safe calls should be done, but I'll only offer you my humble opinion, and what has worked for me in the past. Let 2 friends, preferably local to where you'll be meeting, know your complete schedule. Give them the full name of the person you'll be meeting, their phone number and a brief physical description. You can even go so far as to give them the make, model and plate number of the car your date' will be driving. Make sure that your friends have an accurate description of you, as well, and the phone number of the local police. Arrange to call these 2 friends immediately after you've met your date'. Give them a key word' beforehand, that you can say if you need to get away from your date' - for example, you could say that everything is great' if you need help, or that everything is wonderful' if you're okay. Your safe calls should arrange to come get you, or give you some sort of out' if you use your keyword. If you'll be spending more than a few hours with your date', it's a good idea to call your safe calls every few hours, at least at first. -TheScreamer

More info: Who Needs a Safety Net - Guidelines to Follow

I have also obtained permission to reprint several of the posts that came from MDOM. I have been asked to change the nicks used in several posts also, not the authors themselves, but references made to others. You will see XXXX in their places.

   First off I'd like to say that a Safety Net is not only for the submissive, but for the Dominant as well. A Safety Net is not just a precaution, but can be aftercare also. A Safety Net is not meant to show lack of trust in either partner, it is there to allow both peace of mind on those first few meetings. A Safety Net is a tool in protecting yourself and your partner, you both have the right to feel safe within your relationship.

  And most importantly a Safety Net does NOT take the place of your "gut instincts" or your common sense. A Satety Net cannot absolve the "Red Flags" that serve as ones natural warnings. You and only you are ultimately responsible for your own safety. If this sounds like I am preaching, well I am. In reading the posts I sincerely hope you will see the need for a Safety Net. Nothing posted here is meant to scare, but to make you aware of the dangers, and to offer advice, and hopefully to make you aware that safety should be nothing more than second nature.

  If you have questions, comments, a post to add here or anything, please write to me. This is one issue where I honestly try to put my money where my mouth is. If you are able to be part of a nationwide Safety Net write to me and I will pass your name to the right person. If you are able to build a safety net with your own friends, please make sure you follow the rules, and you are each responsible for your roles in it. If you need a safety net, write to me and I will pass along your information. Tm`sKttN Play Safe!

  As I mentioned, these posts were generated from a thread called "Safety Net Update", it was an effort by undomiel to help her in compiling information for her Safety Net FAQ. There were literally humdreds of posts in this thread. I have only added a few and will add more in time. Often the debate was heated and through it all Cailin would step in and more or less say, listen to yourself, you are the only one to be able to protect yourself, and what you choose to do is up to you, but do something. So, i'm going to start with posts from Cailin before you read on.

Ultimately YOU Are Responsible For YOUR Safety

I have to agree with the post about the fact that ultimately each and every one of us is responsible for our own safety.

The best safety net in the world is not going to "save" you if you do not pay attention to the very good points that XXXX (I think it was XXXX) listed in her post. I think to reject her points because she seems to be going against the "safety net" concept is doing a disservice to both her and the validity of her post.

Why is it an all or nothing thing here? I think that what the safety nets proponents are proposing is excellent.... and very needed. I have submitted myself as a name in the "net".

But I can't help but agree that each and every one of us (Doms included) should heed the advice given about taking care of ourselves.

Then we have a "perfect" solution... ourselves to rely on... and a wonderful safety net to back us up.

In another post Cailin goes on to say:

The safety net is very very needed. But let's not forget the fundamentals of "self-protection" as well! I would recommend to anyone meeting a new "playmate" (I state it that generically, because let's face it... Doms should be involved in safety too!) should combine the aspects of the safety net with the aspects pointed out by XXXX.

And in another:


As usual, you posted excellent information... and gave everyone very valid pointers.

I would like to take a moment to address this:

<<< That area of responsibility applies to all of us that are involved in this world, in my opinio n. That area of responsibility embraces the idea if you see someone suspending the laws of common sense don't shake your head and mutter. Grab them by the shoulders and say.... I love you as a friend and a partner in our world......we need to talk. let them know you care them to a safe first meeting.... offer ideas..... if they are out of control, tell them, dont let them make a potentially fatal error because you didn't want to risk their friendship.....>>>

I couldn't agree more. There have been a few times that I have "tested the boundaries of a friendship" by being blunt enough to say -- hey, wait a minute... stop here and think about this... not with your libido, but with your BRAIN.

The responses I have gotten back vary... some of the things I have heard are: "I don't understand why you don't want me to be happy" "I think you are jealous of the opportunity that I have here" "Why are you so negative?" "You know, Cailin, not every potential Dom is a serial killer" "I've talked to him online, via email, on the telephone... I know him... YOU don't... so stop worrying".

Have I strained my friendship with some over my "dour and pessimistic" outlook on this? Perhaps. But I would rather live with a strained friendship than with the knowledge that something could happen... and all I did was smile, nod, and say "How wonderful for you... that sounds so exciting."

and I personally don't find my outlook dour and pessimistic... I prefer to be thought of as a cautious realist :)

LOL... in case you can't tell by the number of times I have posted on this thread today... it is something that I believe in so strongly I can't shut myself up :)

~*~*~ Cailin ~*~*~
The Hunter's Prey
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First and Incidental Erotic Power Exchange Contacts
by The POWERotics Foundation
(input by members of the Maledom discussion list)

We do not intend to scare you away from incidental or first contacts. On the contrary. However, it is wise to be careful with your first contacts. For a first contact the following guidelines are helpful and tested out many times by many people.

When you respond to a personal ad, or intend to meet somebody in person that you have met on the Net or through a phone chat box or dateline in person, make sure you know something about him or her. If you responded to a personal ad, try writing or phoning a couple of times first and use a post office box when corresponding. You don't want strange people ringing your doorbell unexpectedly.

The first time you actually meet, make an appointment in a public place like a restaurant and not at either one of your homes.

Regardless of where you meet, be sure to get pertinent information from him or her first: full name, address, phone number, (if in the US) social security number and driver's license number. If this sounds a bit drastic to your potential partner, s/he should understand that you do trust them and hope they trust you enough to provide this information. You cannot be too careful - even if you think s/he is the most wonderful person on earth, your safety should be uppermost in your mind.

Once you have this information, give it to a trusted friend (preferably someone who is aware of your lifestyle) as well as where you will be meeting and when you can be expected to return. This is not, as we've said, to scare anyone away from meeting someone met through the Internet or other "blind" services. It is to protect yourself from any problems which may (or may not) occur.

You might want to rethink meeting someone who is not willing to respect your desire to protect yourself by giving you this information upfront. By the way, be prepared that the one you are meeting may ask you the same questions.

The general advice is not to start active play the first time(s) you meet, but spend time talking and getting to know each other.

Blind erotic power exchange dates are intriguing but very risky.

Incidental contacts - on a party or group meeting - may be risky as well. Within a BDSM group you are usually safer because somebody will probably know the person you want to date, so you can ask around first. Do not hesitate to ask. BDSM people are used to these situations and will be happy to be of assistance.

If you have no chance to ask, observe before you go into anything.

And, if you planning to take part in active play on a party or group meeting, always make sure there is a dungeon master around.


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