The Importance of Vetting for Safety on FetLife
I am increasingly concerned by the amount of messages I have been receiving lately from those new to FetLife (mostly young males), offering to do “anything” in an effort to fulfill their fantasies of being a submissive to a Dominant female. They are often in a hurry to meet as quickly as possible. Many become frustrated when they realize this is not something I will do. What startles me are the chances these young people are willing to take with a virtual stranger. (This can also apply to young females looking for a male Dom.)
These “newbie” players can unknowingly become targets for those who may not have their best interests at heart. Unscrupulous individuals are keenly aware those new to the scene may lack the experience to know when something may not be right.
When someone new to the scene contacts me, I do what I can to help educate him or her about their safety on FetLife by showing them “I CARE”:
C – Caution.
A – Awareness
R – Responsibility
E – Education
Some of the topics I cover when responding to newbies are:
It is Imperative to Do Your Own Vetting on FetLife.
Take your time getting to know someone on FetLife. Fetlife is a great site. One of the best advantages Fetlife has is the ability for members to observe other members anonymously. This is especially helpful when trying to establish if someone is credible (or even a real person). Read profile pages in detail, including comments left on someone’s wall. Are potential contacts being seen out in the community? Are they having real-life conversations with others on the site? If so, how recent? Are they respected? How do they treat others? What groups do they belong to? Ask yourself if their beliefs and interests are compatible with yours.
Length of Time on FetLife.
If the individuals contacting them are new to FetLife as well, proceed with caution. Anyone can create and hide behind an online persona. If there is no profile picture, no recent conversations to reference, and few to no local friends, there may be a reason for this. My recommendation: steer clear. Why take chances?
Establish a “Safety Check” before agreeing to meet anyone you do not know.
A “Safety Check” is someone you trust and can rely on. This individual will be your lifeline to the outside world should you need one. When meeting someone for the first time, call/text your Safety Check at a pre-arranged, specific time upon arrival, and every hour thereafter. Provide your Safety Check with the name of the person you are meeting (both real and on FetLife), address/place of the meeting, and phone number of who you are meeting. Do not change times or locations without notifying your Safety Check first.
Be wary of anyone pressuring you to meet up quickly.
Those who prey are good salespeople. They know once you have had a chance to think about it, you may back out.
I also encourage those new to the area to attend Black Rose’s Gateway and Dungeon 101, as well as Happy Hours hosted by the local TNG Groups (for those 35 and younger), and Athletic & Kinky. A&K has a lot of young members and involved, respected group leaders. There are also outstanding educational groups such as C.L.U.E. and other focused educational groups around the region and country that are great, non-threatening, entry points for people new to kink and BDSM.
All of these are valuable suggestions for those new to the scene. They are also helpful practices for all of us, and a reminder to always be careful.
Note: The vetting process is something I use for my own safety as well. I ask the same questions I advise a newbie to ask. If someone contacts me and I am intersted in learning more about them, I follow the person on FetLife for a short time. I observe how they interact, and who they interact with.
We are never too experienced to let safety be a second thought.