This is our truth, tell us yours
Since the marketing campaign for Fifty Shades the movie is rolling ever onwards with fake controversies about casting and so on, it’s time for our Fifty Shades the miniseries set of re-posts about BDSM and culture.
The first post was inspired by a court case involving a man called Steven Lock, which was linked by the media to Fifty Shades. As well as detailing the facts of the case against Lock, who was charged with assault, readers should be aware that some wonderful women gave Jem permission to share their own personal stories of abuse at the hands of men who hide behind the word “Dom”.
At first glance the acquittal of Steven Lockmight seem a step in the right direction for those of us who like to wander the dark side of human sexuality. If you are not familiar with the case he and his partner engaged in S&M, and he was charged with assault as a result of his actions. I shall leave it to better informed contributors to comment on the legal implications of this case, for my immediate concerns were not about whether it will mean I can visit the doctors now proudly bearing the beautiful marks a caning leaves, but with what it tells us about BDSM.
The newspaper reporting picked up on the link to Fifty Shades of Shite – the couple had read the book and mistaken it for BDSM for Dummies. They were on the surface silly people. (I am attempting not to use prejudicial language here, but it’s hard). When the book was published many familiar with BDSM warned that this would happen, and cite the dangerous use of the rope, the reliance on safe words, the failure of aftercare, the lack of understanding of the pleasure of pain, all of it so predictable, but those technical criticisms ignore the true dark side of BDSM.
Lock may have been ignorant, foolish and dangerous, however the defense he used,’she consented, it was BDSM, this is what we do’, has been used over and over by abusive men using the word Dom to hide their activities.
FSOG is a shite, dangerous book, but what is even more dangerous is to pretend that there are not abusers in BDSM – these are just a few stories from friends, I am not active on the scene, and don’t attend munches or fet events. Even in my quite solitary bubble I hear these stories. Of course part of the reason I hear these stories is I am willing to listen. I have no vested interest in a mythical community or pretending that simply because someone owns a leather kilt they must be A GOOD PERSON.
BDSM is not unique of course, Churches, charities, even the gaming community do exactly the same. Humans seem so determined to belong to a defining tribe, and see that tribe as defining them, that backs are turned and ears blocked. There is a backwards belief that if I am a good person then the group I join is made good merely by my presence. In fact if you do not actively challenge abuse in a tribe/ group call it what you will, you are not a good person, you are a willfully blind one, enabling abuse. Yesterday the excellent Yes means Yes blog published figures on how many people in kink relationships or scenes had experienced consent violations. To quote from their conclusion
“The best data we have shows that a third of kinksters have experienced a consent violation, 30% of kinksters have had their negotiated limits violated and 15% have their safeword ignored. This is much worse than any reasonable person should have anticipated coming out of this survey. It is a crisis. I think this demonstrates empirically that the biggest problem facing kinky people today is consent violations and everything else is less important. I’ve said that before, in reference to things like legal reform projects, and I think the data backs me up.”
Unlike the writer I am not surprised, I have no investment in believing that because a flogging makes you come, or giving it makes you hard, you are a GOOD PERSON. I do agree though that legal reform lies long behind fighting the idea that simply because it is BDSM then there is no abuse. I write this as someone in what might be labeled a consensual non consent relationship. We have no safe words, the idea of saying No banished from my mind. That doesn’t not mean the dom operates in a vacuum of responsibility, in fact it increases his burden, and that is a submission on His part, one he also willingly takes.
I have no idea what motivated Lock, I do know that he beat someone who was not prepared for it, ignored their reaction and failed to attend to their needs. The verdict was in my opinion wrong, and I do not want my freedom bought at the expense of another persons pain and suffering.
Carter who is far wiser in the ways of the web than I found out more details of the case. I am adding his comment in full,
“After the beating Lock had sex with her and left her chained up in his bedroom while he went on his computer.
The woman sent a text to a friend saying she needed help as she had been “chained up and whipped like a dog”. She had also sent the friend a picture of the chain and padlock on one of her wrists and asked him to call the police.
Lock eventually gave the woman the padlock key and told her to leave. Police officers saw her in a distressed state in the street as they made their way to Lock’s home.”
The whole case looks like a miscarriage of justice – you were far less critical of Lock than I would have been.
This case is an abusive man getting away with it, using BDSM as a cover, not the first, the woman has been let down by the courts, not the first, and with verdicts like this, not the last.