Herr Kommandandt, Abuse & Montreal Fetish Weekend Pt. 4

new mfwurban logoOne of the more long running, cross-scene kink events is the Montreal Fetish Weekend, a multi-day little sister of things like the Folsom Street Fair. Taking advantage of the city’s traditionally liberal attitudes, it’s a giant party and celebration of BDSM and fetish. Unfortunately not only is Herr_Kommadant a regular volunteer, but his venue, Urban Dungeon, is closely affiliated. This year (2016) it was one of the venue spaces used with a great deal of cross promotion.

For Herr_Kommandant’s alleged victims, this creates a great deal of stress because it creates the impression that his (alleged) behaviour is condoned by the larger community.

As I already mentioned in my last post on the subject, different event organizers in Montreal have taken different positions on the subject, some explicitly supporting Herr Kommandant and some condemning or even confirming that they witnessed dubious behaviour. Montreal Fetish Weekend became aware of the issues shortly after I posted the first blog post, and their original organizer (MasterSin) reached out to me to schedule a meeting.

We met last week, and here’s how it went.

He listened, but it is his position that he does not discuss allegations of any kind. This included presenting any evidence to him or providing his own opinion other than that it is very serious and not to be taken lightly.

MasterSin explained that he had discussed with his lawyer and that participating in a conversation about possible abuse in the BDSM community might make him an accessory in a police investigation.

He also stressed the role that Herr_Kommandant had in supporting the staffing of the event he oversees. He feels that if he personally witnesses something he intercedes, but he does not feel that anything other than being present (or the intervention of the police) are adequate means to intervene. It is demonstrable that Montreal Fetish Weekend does not have a formal harassment or abuse policy in place for internal handling. They do, however, hire security personnel for the large events like the annual masquerade and latex fetish ball.

It will be interesting to see if Urban Dungeon keeps their close affiliation next year. Montreal Fetish Weekend certainly made their entire team open to contact┬ábut it’s hard to tell if it’ll have any impact on global opinion of the internationally known event.

I should also probably address the threats and warnings I got.

Outside of the conversation I had and hints made that I too could be dragged into a police investegation, I’ve been told I could be sued a lot. It’s important to stress that it is very unlikely that a libel case would be successful in Canada. This comes up whenever you talk about abuse in the community, that someone could sue you for defamation. This is not the UK or even the US- it’s challenging to get traction on these matters and since all I am claiming in the truth (I received 8+ allegations and in my judgement this is troublesome) or that Herr_Kommadant has a reputation, a fact that even those close to him have affirmed, it doesn’t fit the guidelines for slander.

As far as a criminal inquiry into Herr_Kommandant, I’m ok with being questioned. I hardly want my sexuality being made public, but can survive being outed with only moderate discomfort,

My perspective is that I care about the (alleged) victims getting help and support, and I am tired of them being frightened of everyone judging them poorly for something that happened to them. I am tired of not being able to trust experts and venue owners based on a flow of stories about people, particularly women, who have been assaulted.

This has to stop. I’m a relative nobody- my opinion is not all that important, but if I have any social capital at all I will happily put it in a pile and set fire to it if it protects anyone else from being abused, having their consent violated or any of the other terms we use to describe being on the receiving end of fucked up behavior.

Following Along?