One of the sites I frequent, FetLife, has had a spate of people posting about predators. Now whilst it'd be funny to say that it's warning you about shimmering figures armed with knives, plasma bolters and a tendency to explode when defeated... this is about sexual predators.
The problem is that whilst much is said... little is actually done. Because much like the Trans community it's full of little cliques and community leaders of that clique and nobody is going to let you point a finger at their little king (or queen)... its much simpler, safer and harmonious to kick your ass instead.
Or... victim blaming.
But predators aren't just after sex, we focus on it because rape and other forms of sexual abuse are violent crimes. The BDSM people, because most of them see BDSM simply as spicing up their sex life REALLY focus on it. But in fact, most predators are after something quite different, they're after your money. They're nice people, they smile, they make you feel welcome, they're the goto for getting shit done and always make themselves available to help. We make them community leaders, we give them our trust.
You think I'm paranoid? Well maybe I am but lets use a somewhat recent example, that of John Paul Aleshe, aka The Mysterious Mister Hokum of Jason Scott's talk of the same name. He ran a number of scams in to the 1980's revolving around BBS's and finally started an ISP... even though this ISP was making money it was discovered that he'd been squirrelling away vast sums of money, he had a lock-up with a car fuelled ready to go and several fake ID's.
Does anyone know what a bust-out is? Here is how the bust-out works. You go to a place and you ingratiate yourself with the community, and you end up telling people that you’ll help them.
It’s, ironically, a lot of work to do this. You basically have to become friends with people; when there are shitty jobs, nobody wants them, you take them. You offer to get in on stuff and help people with things, and then over time the community depends on you. And that is when you fuck them. You, basically, step in and you say to them: “I came up with a deal. I’ll do this investment with you. You’ll give me some cash, I’ll do some cash; maybe even do one successfully.” But then you push for an unusually large one. And then when the money comes in and you go to do the next part, you disappear. And this is what he had done.
Mr. Aleshe worked hard at his scam. VERY HARD. He was a respected and trusted businessman, he was a pillar of the community and looked up to, he's someone the BDSM community in his local area would probably have elected an ambassador had he been involved in it. But it doesn't change the simple fact that when the dust settled and the truth came out he was a common criminal. A con-man.
These are the predators we should be making sure we keep an eye on just as much as those who are after sex because if someone made off with all your money it can be just as devastating long term as meeting any other predator in the metaphorical dark alley.
If someone, in your community, given a position of authority starts asking for money and is defensive and coy about the reasons? Just remember John Paul Aleshe had to start somewhere.