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Old 02-25-2015, 08:27 PM
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Default At Poly Living 2015 last weekend: Addressing abuse in the poly community

A theme developed at the Poly Living convention in Philadelphia last weekend: Addressing abuse in the poly community. We're going to hear more about this.
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Old 02-25-2015, 11:35 PM
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I think all of society, mainstream and margins, has the problem of physical and emotional abuse. If polyamorists want to act ethically as a whole, it is inevitable that abuse in poly situations has to be discussed.

Thanks for that link, I went through it and, I'm sorry to have to say, I had to think about my own actions in the past and conclude that I have the unusual "advantage" of knowing what it's like to be an abuser.

I'm less interested in detecting abusers so we can kick them out of our midst than I am in learning how to communicate with abusers in such a way as to reach them and help them overcome their problem.

But like the experts in the field, I don't have the magic answers. I don't know what lines we should draw and where, and I don't know how to reach out to abusers and their victims. It is perhaps harder to convince a victim to escape an abusive situation than it is to convince an abuser to get help. But I'll be the first to admit that helping the victim has to be our first priority.
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Old 02-26-2015, 12:20 AM
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Hi Alan,
Coincidentally, I had just finished reading your article only a few moments before you posted the link here. It sounds like the Convention was a fantastic thing to experience, leaving attendees with lots of deep stuff to think about. Thanks for your summary of events. I'd like to read more about some other aspects of the weekend.
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Old 02-26-2015, 07:03 PM
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I wish I could have attended, but I ended up being in New York that weekend due to a death in the family, so it worked out the way it should have, I suppose. This conference is definitely on my radar for next time though.
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Old 02-27-2015, 03:14 PM
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Thanks, Alan. I enjoyed that.

I do think it is a needed conversation. I think some good resources are out there already. It's having conversations in poly circles to help people know where the resources lie ahead of time.

When it happened to friends (both monoships/open relationships) I pointed them to this tool by Claire Murphy. It doesn't only happen to women -- the tool can still help guys determine abusive behaviors besides hitting. Like print the PDF version and highlighter what is happening to you.

I was glad to see the power and control wheel in the slides with some "red flags."

I would have liked to see the speakoutloud addition to it. Because not all abusers hit. They abuse in other ways and teaching to recognize those matters. It matches her PDF tool above.

I would have liked to see the equality wheel. And some "green flags."

There's websites to teach healthy dating. Here is one -- loveisrespect.org

I do not think having "special poly ones" is necessary -- though it would be nice to add a "poly tab" to existing ones. Just like "abuse for men" is a tab on speakoutloud.

Galagirl

Last edited by nycindie; 02-28-2015 at 12:02 PM. Reason: removed response to Asparagus (quoted in new thread)
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:28 PM
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Some tangential posts were moved from this thread to their own, but one of the posters whose message was moved would like me to quote her here, because she feels her post applies to both threads. So, here it is:

Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
I don't think veto is on its own abusive. It's generally not the best idea, very broadly speaking but it's not inherently abusive. There are couples (always couples-I've never heard of single or solo poly person who has a veto but would be curious to hear otherwise) who can use it responsibly. I have heard of a few instances where someone just has consistently bad judgment about possible partners and finds it really helpful if their main partner weighs in. But it can certainly be part of a pattern of wanting and/or having too much control and power.

. . . Not a good idea apparently but other options might not have been very obvious. The tit for tat thing never ever works well for anyone near as I can tell. And you both sound like you treated Third as less than a full person with control over their life and body. Don't they get to decide who they have sex with and who they don't? Accepting agreements that make one less don't solve problems. Iíve learned that I canít agree to anything that makes less than someone else in a relationship. And by Ďlessí I mean less able to make my own decisions, less able to take actions I find necessary, less able to control my own life. And I've also learned that trying to impose Ďsolutionsí on others that make them less in some way doesn't help me in the long run either. I make myself less imposing this on others.

I don't know if acknowledging that time as specifically abusive would be helpful. It just seems like a blanket, 'well, we certainly fucked that up all kinds of ways! Let's learn from it and not do that again!' would be more healing. Maybe a group acknowledgement of how painful it was for everyone - and to truly listen to each other's specific pain and acknowledge it. I have to agree with you that sweeping it under the rug is unlikely to be healthy in the long run.

I definitely share your reservation about Franklin's talking with people who abuse. It could easily shade into victim-blaming and putting the onus on victims to 'educate' abusers. This could be incredibly dangerous. On the other hand, kicking abusers out of smaller communities have proven to be utterly ineffective. He's right that the kink community has found no good way to deal with abusers and that ostracizing/banning them doesn't work anymore (and I am not sure it ever worked.) He is also right that lasting change can't happen without engaging with people who abuse.

However, the people who should be doing the engaging are not victims. It needs to be all of us. There is a massive unwillingness in all parts of American society (and I assume this to be global but I know the US best) to actually confront abusers and tell them what they are doing is abusive and they need to stop. We accept abuse so easily, keep our mouths shut, and nothing changes. And there is great push back just when victims want to tell their stories (and not necessarily press charges or get involved in the legal system). The whole #notallmen fiasco is an example of that.

People can stop abusing. It requires self-reflection and acknowledging the damage one has done. But without that conscious decision to work on oneís self, just talking to abusers is not very helpful, especially when the rest of society treats it like no big deal. We talk a good deal on how abuse is unacceptable but just about everything else in society puts the lie to this. (I also think we -the US again- talk a good game about caring for children but just about everything else in our society says otherwise.) Now peer pressure would be useful if abuse was truly considered unacceptable. Exercising peer pressure and having clear expectations that it is not truly ok to hit oneís partner, control their money, limit access to their children and all the ways unhealthy power and control are implemented. It would also be great if peer pressure helped make folks understand that while just about everyone feels jealousy, it isnít your partnerís problem to solve. Itís yours. It would be great if peer pressure helped ensure that it is never ok to have sex with someone who canít actively consent because they are high, drunk, or mentally ill in such a way that consent isnít possible. It would be great if peer pressure pushed back against the idea that anyone is entitled to anotherís body at any time for any reason. And so on and so on.

Ok, Iím tuckered from my rant here. Going to wrap this up.
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Click here for a Solo Poly view on hierarchical relationships
Click here to find out why the Polyamorous Misanthrope is feeling disgusted.
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:24 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Thanks NYCindie! I appreciate adding my bit of a rant back here.
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