A post over on FL had me thinking about safewords and the responsibility of all the people participating in a scene. The post can be found here. I thought it was very well said, given that safewords cause many who use them to be looked down upon. Oh the leaders of community talk a good game, no doubt. "These are the [standard] safewords. Play safe!" The truth is I've never seen someone safeword out of a scene. I have heard an occasional "yellow" but it's been a rarity. I've heard protests ignored as people were coerced to play with implements and in ways they very obviously didn't feel comfortable with.
I've had my safeword unheard at a friend's party. Because he brought out an object that causes very terrible things to my head space and other people had to explain quite loudly that it was an extremely hard limit for me. I've had someone interrupt my conversation with Sir to discuss said limit-object and was outright ignored. Apparently I was supposed to leave if I didn't like it. Then I had to explain why it was such a hard limit to have the person stop talking about it.
I've also been in a mindset where I couldn't safeword. I couldn't even form coherent sentences but only noises. Someone interrupted the scene I was in and because I was only making noises, no one thought there was any problem. Sir could tell you otherwise, from conversations after that. But no one stopped anything, not even Sir. He wasn't aware there was a problem. I think I may have managed a "No" and "Stop" but those aren't "standard" safewords. I also don't know if I said them loud enough to be heard because it was at a party.
I'm pretty sure Sir will never let anyone ever interrupt a scene or play again without my or His consent. Hopefully we all learned from that night. This is why there's so much noise about never putting yourself in someone else's scene. Because while it may not be a limit and even enjoyable, there was no negotiation or consent given. It's also never a good idea to surprise your sub or bottom with an additional person in your scene (unless that's something you've talked about, including the specific person or persons).
I have been in plenty of head space's where I couldn't have fathomed to utter my safeword. Why? Because sub space is one interesting place where reason and coherency often don't exist. I'll also admit that I have on occasion taken more than I could handle in terms of pain because I didn't want to use my safeword. I wanted to be stronger, better, more pleasing. I wanted to give the Top freedom to hurt me as much and as hard as they wanted.
I know my readers are mainly those who play with their significant others. I doubt many of you play in public or private events. That's fine and to each their own. But these situations can occur in your own bedroom too. I'm sure subs can attest to not being very coherent during play. Or taking more than they may have wanted in order to please their partner.
So for you Doms, Tops, Masters, etc: Safewords are NOT the end-all, be-all!!!!
If you see your bottom, sub, slave is incoherent and deep in subspace, be careful how you tread from that point forward. That's on you to be aware of the signs when that occurs. This is not a time to push limits, unless you negotiated that prior to the scene starting. That is the time to watch every movement and know how to read the person in front of you. It would be better for you to wind down the scene if you're uncertain, then go forward and do damage to the other person. Because that is playing safer.
It's on everyone in a scene and while playing to keep things safe. It's why I believe safewords, verbal and non, are important. I know people who don't play with them, but I never play without one because 98% I've used one, it's had the desired effect. It's one more way to protect myself and those involved from unintentional harm. But in no way should safewords be used as the sole protection from harm in a scene.