Boundaries Crossed: Part 2

Consent violations from a sub/bottom perspective
Emily Anne 
Updated: January 28, 2020

Boundaries Crossed: Part 2

How to deal with crossed boundaries or a consent violation as a sub/bottom.

Consent Accidents

Consent violations can also include consent accidents.

A consent accident is when someone pushes past your boundaries mistakenly. However, a mistaken consent violation is still a violation, even if the person didn't mean to do it and their intentions were pure.

Determine Consent Accident

Let's make a distinction here between an intended violation of your consent, and an accidental one. Here are some factors to consider.

  • Was it a misunderstanding?
  • A failure to communicate? - Was this boundary actually not communicated?
  • Did somebody make an assumption because there was not enough communication around the boundary?
  • Did you feel pressure to consent to something—and therefore didn't set a boundary—because there was some inherent power imbalance? (For example, your partner is: your boss, someone significantly older, someone in a position of power over you outside of the BDSM dynamic)

What Should You Do?

If you've determined it was an accidental violation and not a purposeful one, what should you do from here?

Communicate the Error. If you want to let your partner know, do it as soon as possible. You don't have to, if you're scared to do so (which is completely valid), but I highly recommend you do. It's part of setting boundaries and protecting yourself.

Forgive the Person. This is optional! You don't have to forgive anyone. It may have been an accident, but you still experienced the consent violation, so it's your right whether or not you forgive them. Take a look at their behavior first before making your decision.

Don't Gaslight Yourself. Remember, consent was still violated even if the intent was not to cross your boundaries. Don't start making excuses and shove down your feelings about it. It was still crossed, and it needs to be dealt with.

Decide if you want to continue the relationship or play, and under what circumstances. If your top/dom is trying to make reparations, you can choose whether or not to accept it.

This is also an opportunity to:

Learn more about your boundaries and how to communicate them.

Educate your partner about where your boundaries are and potentially about consent.

Institute new rules and precautions for the future.

Consent Violations

We've gone over accidental violations, now, let's go over purposeful ones.

You said "no" and your "no" was ignored.

Examples of "no" include, but are not limited to: the word "no", body language and safe signals, and your safe word.

An example of a purposeful consent violation: you told your partner your safe word beforehand, but when you used it during a scene, they just kept going. That is a clear consent violation.

Seek Help

You may need to seek help and reassurance outside of the dynamic. That could include a therapist or BDSM mentor.

Just know it might be difficult for you to articulate the violation, especially if you're in an intimate relationship with the person who violated your consent. People don't want to hurt their partner's feelings.

Give yourself time and space if you need it. Get an awareness of what you're feeling and of the consent violation. Name what that boundary was and communicate it.

Now, if there was sexual assault or rape, you want to consider reporting it immediately if you are able and willing.

How to Handle Violations

A lot of this is circumstantial, so it's up to you how to handle the violation since you're the one who's consent was violated.

If you're in the middle of the violation, assert your boundary or "no" again until they comply. Use your safe word emphatically. Do whatever you need to do to get them to stop.

Experiencing a consent violation will affect your trust for the person. If you want to continue a relationship with them, first look at how explicit your "no" was. If it was very explicit and stated repeatedly, your trust in your partner would naturally erode. It would have to be rebuilt over time.

After the consent violation, consider whether you want to have a discussion with them about it.

You are not required to have that discussion with the person who violated your consent. It could feel unsafe, it could bring up a lot of emotions for you.

Ask yourself if you feel comfortable and safe giving your partner feedback.

  • Yes? Then take your time. Communicate your feelings. Make sure you've come out of subspace/fight-flight-or-freeze and have a clear head.
  • No? Find a trauma specialist or trusted friends.
  • If you want to, but you're not ready to talk about it, you can wait to have the full discussion about it later.

If you're not sure, consider the signs that it might not be safe for you to talk about your violation.

  • Your partner gets defensive when you bring it up
  • They personally attack you
  • There's narcissistic behavior
  • In the past, there's been a track record of them crossing your boundaries
  • They get angry - that's a big red flag
  • They don't take responsibility - they don't even see the violation
  • Blame - blaming you or blaming circumstances instead of taking responsibility
  • They don't apologize

When you want to give your feedback to the person who violated your consent, if you're worried about pushback, you can ask for:

  • Time and space
  • That they not try to discuss anything with you before you're ready
  • That you solely have the right to communicate the violation

Keep in mind, if they don't listen to your request, they might not listen to your feedback either. If they disregard your feedback, reconsider continuing the relationship.

This is how to handle a consent violation from the sub/bottom perspective.

This is for the truly kinky

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