In his post, Master James tries to turn SSC into a triangle.... thing is, SSC is not a mathematical algorithm, and it's not a geometric equation. Words like "safe," "sane," and "consensual" are completely subjective. But MJ would like people to think SSC is straight and true, and he gives an example of his point: the guy who found someone to butcher and eat him.
This is, obviously, an extreme example. There's a reason why MJ's example had to be so extreme: get any less extreme, and you'll have people arguing over what's safe, what's sane, and what's consensual. Which they did, in the comments section of his post.
Who gets to decide what's abuse, and what's not?
According to Master James, "abuse is not a question of whether or not you can scrape together some people who have been at the nasty end of your abuse to defend you. It's that your triangle is clearly missing a side to it. And it remains abuse no matter how well you sensationalise it. No matter how well you sexualise it. No matter how well you managed to target people who are so new they don't know enough about this stuff to know they don't have to blindly accept whatever you tell them. Or no matter how well you managed to target people who had become so accustomed to abuse in their past, that they were willing to accept your abuse as normal." Which basically means that we, as a community, get to slap on the label of "abuse" on any behavior we think is abuse...whether the "victim" is calling it abuse or not. This is where MJ and I disagree.
It is a very dangerous, slippery slope, deciding that we, as a community, can judge what's safe, sane, and consensual in other people's relationships. It means we are taking away the ability of bottoms everywhere to decide for themselves whether what they experience is abuse, or not; whether what they're asking for is abuse, or not. We end up infantilizing bottoms everywhere, as an entire group. We take away their right to consent.
Bottoms have the right to call 'abuse' when that is their personal experience. I take that as an absolute statement—period, the end. If you don't agree with that—if you think bottoms should have to jump through hoops just to be able to share their truth...like, say, call the police before they dare complain, or take "personal accountability" for the part hey played in their own abuse, or make them apologize for taking so damn long to gather up the courage to say anything—then you and I are going to be on opposing sides to this argument, and there will be no compromise here.
(Do bottoms feel comfortable with sharing their stories of abuse? No. But they should.)
The thing is...if we want bottoms to feel comfortable sharing their stories in cases of abuse, the corollary must also be true: bottoms should feel comfortable sharing their stories when they do NOT think it's abuse.
Personal story time: A while back, I had what many would call an 'extreme' scene with my Top. There was chain, a spreader bar, and whips involved. There was a lot of screaming and swearing going on. There was sobbing, too. There was choking on snot and tears. There was loudly wishing him a deadly case of hemorrhoids. It took me a few days just to start processing that scene. I was wary to talk about it. But people were asking me, so I felt obligated to say something. "It was intense," I would answer them. "Very intense." "I'm sorry it was bad for you," more than a few immediately jumped in. "That's hard." "I didn't say bad," I replied. "I said intense. It was not a bad scene at all. Just...intense." It was the only word I could come up with. Some scenes are like that. They are beyond articulation. Frankly, I feel lucky to have experienced scenes like them.
We want bottoms to feel comfortable sharing the experiences of their own scenes. We want them to have safe, sacred ground to tell their stories, and bare witness to others. The best thing to do is often to just listen. Do not judge, do not critique...just listen.
I could end my post with that. But that would be dangerous, too.
Because some bottoms are grappling with the idea that what they experienced is abuse, and they lack the articulation for that, too.
What you end up with is a bottom who is beginning to feel the effects of the abuse—they might be small, they might be well hidden, but abuse always has an effect on the body and mind—and the bottom doesn't know what to do.
On the one side, she has a Top who is making damn sure to tell her whatever he's doing to her, or did do to her, is not abuse. No how, no way; she's crazy if she thinks it is. On the other side, she has friends who are telling her "It's up to you to decide what's abuse and what's not, dear. We support you either way." And on the other side...she's got the entire kink community doing a very good job of showing her that if she comes out with allegations of abuse, she will be mocked, shunned, ostracized, disbelieved, and possibly outed. ...Gee, I wonder what she'll choose to do.
There is no easy answer here, no right or wrong way. Every case is different, and every case must be handled with compassion—and hopefully, a sense of principle. Like I said, this is not a mathematical algorithm. This is the human condition.