Victim Dictum

SM enhances, not abuses, life

Vancouver Rape Relief’s Suzanne Jay recently told The Courier that BIO’s upcoming Conference of Kink is troubling because the conference comes a few days (Dec 3-4) before the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Apparently, BDSM activities are so heinously degrading to women and encouraging to “violent men” that they shouldn’t be done in the first week of December-or heck, at all.

When someone coughs up twaddle about BDSM equalling violence and abuse, or implies that the happy sexual thrills I seek with my lovers could be linked with the insanity that makes a disturbed man round up 14 innocent women and shoot them, I have to blink at it for a bit to make it come into focus. Eh, what? Oh. This again.

Okay, Suzanne and Rape Relief. Since you’ve obviously never been to any of our workshops, seminars, facilitated discussions or just plain open-air rants on the matter, I’ll be happy to explain it again. And again. Pay attention. I’ve got 450 words, so I have to talk fast.

BDSM is about positives: personal growth and erotic pleasure. It requires pre-negotiated knowledgeable consent, and is initiated by the bottom as often as the top. SM play stops immediately when someone uses a safeword, in any scene, at any time, for any reason. Players follow guidelines for safe, responsible, positive play: acting out each player’s desires. After play, lovers feel fulfilled and close. BDSM is done with the support and knowledge of friends and community.

In contrast, abuse satisfies someone’s need to control or hurt. With no rules or limit, abuse is an uncontrolled act, with out-of-control emotions. The abuser does not respond to the needs, desires or limits of the person they abuse, while the victim has no rights within the relationship, has no control over the abuse, and feels used and hurt afterward. Abusers mistakenly assume their right to control another by virtue of some artificial scale, like gender or income. It’s done in isolation and abuse divides relationships and fractures trust.

Suzanne says, “Women are being hurt and killed by this behaviour and people are trying to mainstream it.” Oh, darlin’. Once we do manage to pull BDSM play completely out of the closet and into our supportive and education-minded community, the only people who’ll be hurt by it will be those who don’t attach their suspension points to the ceiling carefully enough.

A strong, informed woman isn’t victimized by expressing her personal sexual desires. And if her desires include being tied so tightly she can’t escape the spanking she’s been craving all week-why, that’s all about freedom, isn’t it?

Silence, fear and ignorance are tools of oppression. Sharing information, pride in self, and really good sex: now those are my tools for a revolution!


* Elaine Miller is a leatherdyke feminist. Hear her roar.

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