BDSM and D/s Relationships vs Abuse

I received this comment on my post on female supremacy.

It’s a good read, but I think that what should be spoken about is when FLR/Dominance is used as abuse. There are cases where a person who has serious abuse in his past can be placed into a submissive state by female on male abuse, rationalized as female supremacy.
These women do not know, or more accurately, do not care of the outcome when the guy finally realized what he has been made to do. This is nothing short (when talking about the supremacy mindset) of stockholm syndrome and trauma bonding.
I see nothing wrong with consensual agreements with boundaries and limits and safewords. With that being said, BDSM as abuse allows zero recourse and it is traumatic when it has been long term. Edge play can create Complex-PTSD, and that’s what we’re talking about. Slave training is part of the extremes of FLR and female supremacy.
Imagine waking up one day and realizing that you were subjected to mental and physical torture, sexual assault, non-consensual cuckolding, massive amounts of betrayal and cheating. Realizing that your free will was taken at some point, not even knowing exactly when. That you were being totally humiliated in certain circles without your knowledge. There is video recorded of you in a humiliating way that was shared publicly when you escaped.
Then, to have female supremacists continue to ruin your reputation for two years following your escape from abuse. Having a divorce lawyer continue the abuse by using the legal system to continue inflicting emotional pain and stress through unneeded depositions, subpoenas of mental health records, employment records and falsifying financial documents. That’s enough to make anyone have mental issues. Put all that on top of when that man was a child and was molested by his own family, raped while in a boy’s home and had parents who are severely emotionally disturbed.
No one will really speak out about this. When I have, I have been laughed at, humiliated, degraded and told by others that I have made all of this up.
I have not.
I am glad you are against this type of mindset, but you do not seem to understand the reality of the extremes of female supremacy mindsets and the resulting damage that I have been working for three years (and continuing) to resolve. The BDSM community as a whole seems to turn a blind eye to this. It almost seems acceptable, or possibly seen as collateral damage to the community. It is unacceptable to me.
It is torture and she should be in prison for what she has done to me and her first ex-husband. But they get away with it, and I believe until this is brought to light, they will continue to do so.

First of all, whoa….

I want to take a moment to acknowledge what you went through and the strength it took to get away.  Leaving an abusive relationship is never easy, regardless of the circumstances, and many people do not have the strength it takes to escape, particularly when there are very real repercussions for leaving.  I commend you for that, and admire you for it.

That being said, it’s not difficult to discern why you’ve been met with the attitude you’ve been met with.  I am in no way defending the people who laughed at you, humiliated and degraded you, or implied that you made it all up.  Those people obviously do not possess the emotional intelligence or emotional maturity to really register what you were saying, rather than the (misguided) way you said it.

You deserve better from the kink community, but the issues with the kink community and the close-minded intolerance that runs rampant there is a whole different post.

I’m going to explain to you why the way you’re going about spreading this awareness isn’t working.  When I do, I want you to understand that I am in no way attacking you or trivializing what you went through.  This is something you’re obviously very passionate about, and I want you to know that I respect that.  Tone can sometimes be misinterpreted through text, so I want to point out now that nothing I am going to say is meant with any degree of hostility.

But seriously, stop doing what you’re doing.

First of all, I absolutely understand the very real potential to cause permanent physical and psychological damage to a submissive (which is something I have talked about, repeatedly, on the blog).  Outright telling me that I don’t, based on one post, has the potential to put someone on the defensive and shut them down to the point that they no longer wish to hear anything you have to say about it.  Saying something like that to someone you do not know comes across as close-minded and self-righteous.  And the person you’re speaking to will care more about the feeling that you’ve insulted them and implied that they don’t understand anything than the message you’re trying to spread.

You do not know me.  You do not know what I understand about the capacity for abuse within any given dynamic expressed through D/s relationships.  That mindset needs to leave your mind forever.  It’s not helping you in any way.  In fact, by putting people on the defensive, it’s hindering you, because their irritation with you will make them immediately discount anything you have to say.

And in situations like this one, where you’re talking to a woman who was raped by a family member, and understands better than many what you went through growing up (which you would know, had you read the blog), it has the potential to do more than put them on the defensive, it has the potential to piss them the fuck off.  Especially when, if you had taken the time to read their blog before making assumptions like that one, you would have already known that.  Those people would be completely justified in being pissed at you.

That alone is enough for me to completely understand why no one has listened to you.  But that’s not the only thing you’re doing wrong.

Here’s the thing about abusive relationships.  They’re bad, through and through.  Regardless of whether you put BDSM or D/s in the mix.  Abusive people are deplorable and cruel and evil.  Regardless of whether they call themselves Dominants or not.

But you cannot lump abusive relationships in with consensual D/s ones.  This is something many people within the kink community have had to fight for years.  There are a great many people who run around shouting that all BDSM relationships are abusive, and that it’s not okay to want to hit the people you care about, or that it’s not okay to want to be hit by someone you care about.

Let’s use a specific example.  The gentleman I spoke about in that post is a submissive in a female supremacist relationship.  He very enthusiastically follows his wife, yields to her, and obeys her.  He also feels fulfilled in that relationship.  He wants it.  He enjoys it.  He enjoys it to the point that he runs a blog about it, singing the praises of the dynamic.

If you wrote this same message to him, attacking the relationship dynamic that he loves, then you become just another naysayer that tells him he shouldn’t want it.  You become background noise.  Hell no, he’s not going to pay attention to anything you have to say.

I don’t believe the same things he does, and there are a lot of things that seem “too extreme” to me, but at the end of the day, he’s happy, and if that’s the relationship both he and his wife want, then that’s the relationship they should have.

And then there’s this:

I see nothing wrong with consensual agreements with boundaries and limits and safewords. With that being said, BDSM as abuse allows zero recourse and it is traumatic when it has been long term. Edge play can create Complex-PTSD, and that’s what we’re talking about. Slave training is part of the extremes of FLR and female supremacy.

I’m sure it’s unintentional, but you’re kind of saying, “I see nothing wrong with BDSM relationships, but BDSM relationships are bad and cause harm.”

Abuse is traumatic, whether it’s short term or long term.  But you’re not making enough of a distinction between D/s relationships and abusive ones.  And when you say that to someone who is in a happy, healthy, mutually consensual BDSM relationship, they’re going to take offense, and they will care more about that than what you’re trying to say.

So I need you to say this to yourself.  Out loud.  Multiple times a day.

There is a difference between BDSM relationships and abusive relationships.

Because, fun fact: you do know that all three of my relationships are FLR relationships, with a total power exchange as the eventual goal, right?  You do know that I often engage in edge play, right?

How much of my blog have you actually read?  How much effort did you take to get to know me before lecturing me?

This is your problem.  You’re so busy trying to shout from the rooftops about the small number of abusive relationships parading as D/s ones, and trying to make people understand the (very real) dangers of such relationships, that you’re not taking the time to listen, get to know, or care about the people you’re talking to.  You’re not talking to people, you’re talking at them.

No, people are not going to respond well to that.

By lumping all FLRs in with abusive ones parading as female supremacy relationships, and making blanket statements about edge play and “slave training” typical of most FLRs, you are unintentionally, but very effectively, attacking my relationships.

For the record, I am fully aware of the damage I can cause to my subs should I lose my control.  This is something I have talked about, in great length, here on the blog (which is yet another thing you would know if you opened your mind before opening your mouth… I’m repeating this because I’m hoping it registers with you, and you realize why it’s such a big issue, and why it would cause someone to immediately discount anything you try to tell them).  I, and most people in healthy BDSM relationships, are fully aware of the difference between BDSM and abuse.

But because I get the feeling from your message that the line between them is a bit fuzzy for you, and because I’m getting the impression that you have never been in a mutually consensual BDSM relationship, and therefore do not know what that looks like, here’s a cheat sheet.

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Female-led relationships are not abusive relationships.  Female supremacist relationships are not abusive relationships.

Abusive relationships are abusive relationships.  It doesn’t matter what you call them or what an abuser uses to justify them, they are abusive relationships.

Is there potential for a BDSM relationship to become abusive?  Yes.  Is it important for people like you to share their experiences so other people are aware of the warning signs?  Yes, absolutely.

But when you need people to listen to what you’re saying, you have to make them want to listen to you.  You’ve got to talk in a way that engages them and enables them to relate to you.  None of the comment you wrote to me even remotely conveys that sentiment, or makes me think that you have any interest in me or the relationship dynamic I represent.  Even the first sentence comes across as condescending.

No one is going to listen to anything you have to say, regardless of the validity of your message, if you don’t pay attention to the way you’re coming across.  Tact and diplomacy, especially in text, is unbelievably important.

Hopefully this helps, and hopefully you’re able to get your message across more effectively.  I absolutely think you should continue to talk about the warning signs of an abusive relationship, and spread awareness to people who may find themselves questioning their relationship is healthy or abusive.  It may be enough to save someone from an abusive partner parading as a Dominant.

18 thoughts on “BDSM and D/s Relationships vs Abuse

  1. greg says:

    I thought you handled that very well. Your advice about listening first, understanding second, then trying to give what insight you can in an appropriate way is spot on in my mind. Hopefully he will listen and understand.

  2. Poster says:

    I appreciate the time you took to express your thoughts. Regarding your responses, I accept and agree with some of your perspective. However, I do not agree with your view in entirety.

    For a start, previous to my marriage and divorce, I was vanilla. I wanted a vanilla marriage, I was a vanilla person. I knew next to nothing about D/s, FLR, BDSM or really anything to do with the kink world. When you said that your impression of me is that I have never been in a consensual BDSM relationship, you are 100% correct. I never wanted it.

    I have seen that cheat sheet before, and that’s part of why I am so upset with how the kink community chooses to respond to things like this. They know, yet I feel the community chooses to sweep it under the rug. Not all, but a good portion of the community in my personal experience. I believe that it is due to the real potential of abuse stemming from the BDSM lifestyle.

    I accept your criticism of my approach, I can see where some of what I have said seems like an attack. With that being said, when I have been repeatedly denied chances to speak, the reality of this abuse being ignored, my frustrations did come out. Not defending my approach, but explaining why I come across that way. I will work on changing my approach in some areas.

    One of the reasons I chose to communicate on your blog, versus the other ones is because I read a good amount of your posts, I enjoyed how you went deeper into opinions and theory. I felt that you would be someone who would understand the core of what I am saying and challenge my thoughts and opinions as well. As I feel I can now challenge some of your responses.

    The very real damage I cannot say you do or do not fully understand. What I do think is that there is knowing the consequences, and then there is dealing with the consequences. You may be aware of the long term damage, but do you know what the experiences are like? I’m asking specifics here, this is not judgmental or accusatory. I want to know. Have you had nightmares and flashbacks that come on a almost nightly basis? Do you know the feeling of terror waking up from a nightmare sweating so much that your sheets are wet? Do you know the feeling of panic and anxiety that can come at any time so you are constantly worried about it? Do you know how to deal with uncontrollable shaking when flashbacks are triggered in public places? Are you going to therapy weekly to confront the memories of horrible and sadistic treatment? Does it affect your job, your relationships, your life?

    “I’m sure it’s unintentional, but you’re kind of saying, “I see nothing wrong with BDSM relationships, but BDSM relationships are bad and cause harm.”

    Nope. Not what I’m saying at all. My relationship was 100% non-consensual. I was tricked, manipulated, abused and then trained. If people want to have a D/s, TPE, FLR or whatever, that is their choice and as long as they follow SSC/RACK or the other consensual guidelines done with care and love for their willing submissive, I have zero issue and it is not my place to judge. That is another reason I chose to communicate with you versus others. I read somewhere else that for a woman to take the role of a dominant, she has to love men, otherwise she might kill them. Might be a slight exaggeration, but when I read that, I was drawn to the statement. You seem to be one who understands the reality of abusive potential and what can happen in extremes if care and concern for the submissive is thrown out the window.

    “You’re so busy trying to shout from the rooftops about the small number of abusive relationships parading as D/s ones, and trying to make people understand the (very real) dangers of such relationships, that you’re not taking the time to listen, get to know, or care about the people you’re talking to.”

    Agreed with counterpoint. We don’t really know how big the number of abusive relationships are masked as D/s ones. When you get into slave training and edge play, that is reprogramming the mind of the submissive. I have read much about IE and O&P. Changing a person into the literal definition of a slave. That’s brainwashing and has major potential for misuse and abuse.

    Secondly, the kink/BDSM community and people within didn’t give one shit about me, so my responses to them have gotten more aggressive. They didn’t take one moment to show compassion or understanding when I first started to speak about this, when I was far more gentle and more willing to listen to what they had to say. I wanted to learn about this and figure out how it all worked so I could undo the mental programming, prostate training and other addictions that were mentally created.

    Think about it this way. For a decade, I went through something that was horribly abusive, controlling and domineering. Do you really expect someone who didn’t want this experience or lifestyle to be compassionate to a community where all of this appears to be acceptable? I agree that I should change my approach, but I think you should be aware that a vanilla person thrown into something they didn’t want, something that was very extreme to them, can feel to them like their soul was taken. Maybe the community should have had more compassion and understanding to my (and others) experiences rather than being so quick to defend their lifestyles.

    “Female supremacist relationships are not abusive relationships.”

    I wholeheartedly disagree. The mindset of a female supremacist is no different than a white supremacist, black supremacist or any supremacist. Would you say that a white supremacist is not abusive to black people because they see themselves as superior and therefore justify bad treatment to blacks because they are not white? I have read RWDDH, articles from elise Sutton, Three Strikes by lucy ellmann and other female supremacy documents/articles/books. They see men as objects, not as humans. They advocate complete and total disrespect to the basic human tenants of life for another human being. No different than how we saw black people during slavery, other ethnic backgrounds in past decades. The supremacy mindset self-justifies abuse and mistreatment. A consensual FLR and even slave training on someone who consents and really craves that lifestyle is not my cup of tea, but that is consensual and different than a supremacists mindset.

    What really bothers me through this whole experience is the remnants of the abuse and what it has done to me as a human and as a man. I have not had sex with anyone since I have left my ex-wife. I cannot be touched by a woman without fear spiking through my body. I cannot trust because of the betrayal. I don’t know if I will ever be able to date or have a relationship with a woman again. This has taken pieces of me that I don’t know if I will ever get back. That is heartbreaking to me, knowing that I will never be the same as I was.

    Again, I want to make sure that you understand that I am not against this lifestyle or anyone who consents to be in it. Yes, the extremes when I read about them do make my skin crawl, but that’s extremes in anything. BDSM, politics, religion, anything…

    This was a lifestyle that was forced on to me through abuse and manipulations. It ended up to be very extreme and to this day, I am still horrified with the memory of consuming the ejaculate of another man. I am not happy that I was emasculated, degraded, humiliated and trained like an animal to serve. To have no needs of my own, to live in a completely powerless environment, to be made to feel weak and submissive when all I wanted was a loving, healthy relationship and marriage.

    Thank you for expressing your thoughts and your willingness to discuss what is a challenging subject that most would avoid.

    • Domina Jen says:

      The fact that you are vanilla and were pushed into a nonconsensual female supremacist relationship by an irresponsible, ignorant woman angers and disgusts me. I am a very vocal advocate for BDSM relationships, whether female-dominated or (to a lesser extent, but that’s a whole different subject) male-dominated. But when people like your ex exist, and quite effectively poison the minds of anyone unfortunate enough to be under their control, they use a healthy, healing, intimate, all-around incredible lifestyle and twist and pervert it to become something dark and ugly.

      They use what I love as a weapon to hurt the people who trust them. And while there aren’t many I’ve personally encountered who have gone so far as your ex-wife, I am no stranger to the (sometimes irreparable) damage these cruel, heartless, evil women can do.

      As far as whether or not female supremacy is a flawed mindset, I still believe that, when it’s consensual on both sides, there’s nothing wrong with it. “And ye harm none, do as thou will.” There are plenty of people I think I’m superior to. And, as I said in the original post, science does tend to point to females as being biologically superior to males. The biggest issues I had were the kids being thrown into the mix, but I feel that way with many things.

      I am a bit of a nudist, and don’t ever bother to hide that from my daughter (and she’s started taking after my habit, which means less laundry for me, yay!) but she will never see me hit/degrade/humiliate/beat her father. That’s something kids don’t understand. Even teenagers don’t fully understand. I was 16 when I entered this lifestyle, under the guidance of a mentor, and holy hell I was an idiot back then. Even with his training, advice, and lecturing, trying to make me understand, it was difficult.

      And I know there are some female supremacist relationships with children that look extremely similar to my own relationship with my husband when the kids are around. Mommy makes most of the decisions, Mommy makes the rules, Mommy is the disciplinarian, and generally just don’t fuck around when Mommy tells you to do something.

      Many vanilla relationships are run the same way, and the kids thrive. So for a couple who believes in female supremacy and engages in that lifestyle, but tones it the fuck down around the kids, I really cannot force myself to find fault with that.

      Especially when a quick Google search shows that it’s really hard to find actual, intelligent discussion about female supremacy as something separate from female domination. You’ve either got the tumblrs, erotica, or pornos, or you’ve got people sarcastically insulting women who believe in it. And yes, I’m sure there are plenty “men are worthless” quotes/articles in the tumblrs, but those are perused primarily by males looking to get off. Hell, I’ve called Kazander and Sounder worthless before, in the moment, to produce a specific emotional and physical reaction in them. They know I don’t mean it, they know I respect them. I use it to influence and manipulate their headspace. And they’re fine with it. It’s consensual.

      But I don’t use it just any time, and I don’t do it to men who don’t want me to. Steel, for example, loves being humiliated by being called a bitch or a whore, but really doesn’t react well to things like “worthless.” So I don’t use it.

      My point is that you can’t use tumblrs or erotica as an accurate representation of anything. And the very few intelligent posts I found (written by women) acknowledged their opinion that females are superior, but also acknowledged that men have value, and worth, and it’s more of a case-by-case basis. Some men should absolutely be looked up to, while some women are horrid and small.

      So no, I just can’t see it the same way as I would see a white supremacist, using his belief to cause genuine harm to an innocent person who doesn’t want it. The men who serve female supremacists do it because they want it. They want to be objectified. They want to be degraded. It’s a release for them. It’s cathartic. And these people can still function in the vanilla world. The female supremacist can still work effectively under a male boss, and a male who believes in female supremacy can still effectively lead and manage female employees working under them. This is not the case with white supremacists, black supremacists, etc.

      But really, I find myself struggling to find ways to accurately express my beliefs about the female supremacist lifestyle. Even with the mild or moderate cases, that don’t have the extremes I find disturbing, it’s just not a mindset I’m interested in. Gender is too fluid for that, and even the biological superiority of females must be understood to be strictly biological, and has very little to do with actual gender.

      I would have the same struggles trying to defend a male-dominated relationship, when I have only ever personally met one male Dominant I could trust. Every single other one has inevitably crossed a line. It happens so often I don’t even pay much attention anymore. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but submissive women love it, and love their Doms, so cool.

      I just can’t really see a problem with a female supremacist lifestyle or mindset when it relates to the way two consenting adults interact with each other. But I can’t really keep defending it, either, simply because I don’t know all that much about it, and don’t subscribe to that mentality.

      I can understand your frustration with the kink community as a whole. For people who love to tout about how open-minded and accepting they are, they’re pretty close-minded and intolerant.

      But for the record, NO, what you went through is in NO WAY acceptable.

      No, that’s not strong enough.

      Hell fucking no, it’s not the least bit goddamn acceptable. The fact that you went through that, the fact that you’re still dealing with the effects of it, and the fact that you feel like no one in this world you were forcibly thrown into will give you the time of day, is rage-inducing. You deserved better than that, and you deserve better than that, and I’m embarrassed to be a part of the world that has shunned you for doing nothing more than make people aware of a very real danger, and aware of the warning signs, so no one else has to go through what you went through.

      Kinksters are supposed to be better than that. I guess the only thing I can say is that the internet brings out the ugliest side of people. But even that feels flat and empty as I write it. Really, there’s nothing I can say to defend the people who treated you so disrespectfully.

      But while the kink community often gets that herd mentality and loves to gang up on the little guy (dear God, don’t get me started on the “submissive men and the women who love them” group on Fetlife), there are truly many caring, compassionate, empathetic people willing to listen to and truly understand what you have to say. I’m going out of town in a few days, but if you give me some time, I can get together some names of some of the local community leaders here and in California who would be more than willing to hear your story (again, tact is key, community leaders often face the brunt of the hostility from the vanilla public, but I’d of course be willing to vouch for you if you decide to reach out to them. Still, should you decide to go that route, you might find more success if you leave out the part about female supremacy in itself being abusive, even in consensual relationships. I understand your points, and I believe you’re justified in feeling the way you do, but someone in a consensual, happy female supremacy relationship will take offense and shut down. You will immediately alienate the very people you’re trying to reach).

      But there are many good, respectable, admirable, honorable people in the BDSM community. Many people will respond to you with empathy and compassion and give you the chance to have your voice heard.

      For the rest, there really is no excuse. There’s nothing I can say to defend them, and hell, I don’t WANT to defend them. Abuse within the BDSM community, while not extremely common in my personal experience, is a very real risk, and something everyone needs to be made aware of, and then be made aware of again. And then, just for fun, be made aware of one more time. And we need to encourage people to speak up if they see a dynamic they think might be abusive (with one caveat: Consensual nonconsent, one of my favorite kinks, and one of the most confusing and convoluted, can get a little tricky, and can sometimes look like flat-out nonconsent. But the best way to tell is to ask the subs. When the Dominant isn’t present. If you talk to the subs and get anything other than a quick, eager, enthusiastic, confident, “Yes, I gave my consent,” then you maybe might be looking at something abusive).

      How different might things have gone if any of your ex-wife’s friends or bulls had been able to recognize your relationship for what it was and been willing (and able) to help you get out of it? There is a very prevalent it’s-not-my-business mindset in the kink world, which is good for some things. You know, your kink is not my kink but your kink is fine and all that. But the community as a whole needs to be able to recognize when someone might need help and feel inclined to help that person.

      As of now, I really have no idea how to do that effectively. Appealing to the masses has never been one of my strengths. The masses tend to annoy me.

      As far as understanding the damage, you’re right, I have never experienced it myself, I have never been treated that way, I have never dealt with flashbacks or uncontrollable shaking. I have experienced panic, anxiety, and night terrors (and I do still have a recurring nightmare occasionally) but that’s about something else.

      So you’re right. Even what I have experienced had nothing to do with being in a nonconsensual relationship with an abusive partner. The reason I do understand the damage, including everything on your list and then some, is because I’ve had to help undo it. Repeatedly.

      And this is why it’s so personal for me, and your story resonates so strongly with me. The fact that your ex wife treated you that way, caused those reactions in you, is infuriating because I’ve seen it in people that I loved, and I’ve had to help them untangle themselves from it. It’s not an easy process, and to be honest, some wounds are just beyond my ability to heal, but seeing them go through that pain simply because they trusted the wrong person STILL makes me tense and angry, all these years later.

      One boy in particular would cry every night, not wanting to go to sleep because of the night terrors. He would often thrash in his sleep (and once gave me a black eye from it, THAT was fun), but if he woke up and I wasn’t in the bed, he would panic to the point that it would take an hour or more to calm him down. Whenever I played with him, I had to avoid his triggers, and when we started working on removing/changing those triggers, the tiniest mistake would send him spiraling right back into that hell.

      For awhile, he was almost as bad as you describe. He could be touched by a woman without much trouble, but as soon as that touch became sexual, he’d start hyperventilating. He had often been left for hours or days in a cage, and had huge abandonment issues because of it. So he couldn’t be comfortable with me near him, but he couldn’t be comfortable if I left. It took a long time and a lot of patience (on his part, not mine. He always got more frustrated with himself than I could ever be with him. He was angry at himself for not being able to get past it, or for shutting down if I made a mistake and accidentally pushed him too far) to get past just that, to the point that he could handle me touching him in a sexual way without that fear. And even that required getting rid of some pretty strong triggers.

      I talk about breaking subs, how that process usually takes months or years. With him, I had to do it almost immediately just so I could go deep enough into his mind to get to those triggers. And I wasn’t as experienced as I am now. Breaking him was necessary, but with not knowing him as well as I wanted to, it was sloppy and clumsy, and I ended up unintentionally causing some damage of my own that I needed to undo before I could go back to the damage she caused him.

      I was with him for two years, and we never stopped working on that. There were some things that we couldn’t fix. For example, before his ex, anal was one of his biggest kinks. He loved it. But she had raped him, and had others rape him, so many times, with so many things that are just too gruesome to repeat, that he couldn’t handle being touched there. And in two years, even with him wanting to get past it, with him wanting me to touch him there, we couldn’t break that trigger. Had we been together longer, and worked on it longer, who knows? I don’t like the idea of her permanently taking something he loved away from him. I want to believe that he was able to get past it in the years since.

      Since then, I’ve gotten better. Had I known then what I know now, I fully believe I would’ve been able to help him get past it. There’s nothing she did to him that he didn’t have the strength to heal from.

      But I’m telling you this because it IS possible for you to get past what she’s done to you. You CAN teach yourself to trust again, to be touched again. You don’t have to continue living with that. And there is nothing she could ever take from you that you can’t get back.

      There is nothing she did to you that you’re not strong enough to undo. There is nothing she took from you that you’re not strong enough to get back.

      And please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that to be nice (I’ve never once claimed to be a nice person, and I’m not going to start now). That’s something I am confident is true. Something I KNOW. The fact that you continue to advocate against abuse, despite the reactions you’ve received, is all the proof I need to know that.

      Will you ever be the same? No, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. You’re wiser for the experience. Stronger, because you know you can stand up to that, even when it threatens to destroy you. You know the hell you’ve endured, and you know that you got through it. When compared to that, can you even think of anything that could happen in the average person’s life that you wouldn’t be able to endure and get through? I sure as hell can’t.

      When you’re ready, it’ll help your relationships too, and it’ll protect you. Now you know what abuse, narcissism, and selfishness parading as love looks like, you’ll be able to see the warning signs and avoid it. You’ll be a more accurate judge of character, because you know what that toxicity looks like. You’ll be able to feel more secure in a healthy relationship because you know it’s not abusive. You’ll be able to put your trust in a sane, empathetic, compassionate woman because you know she’s not toxic. Because you KNOW what a toxic person looks like.

      When you’re ready, it’ll help you appreciate a healthy relationship more, help you appreciate your partner more, because you’ve seen what the worst looks like. And that appreciation will be felt by your partner and subconsciously returned to you, strengthening the relationship. When you’re ready, you’ll be able to love more deeply, because you know what it’s worth, and you’ll know the value of the gift you’re giving.

      I know from experience, receiving a gift that pure, and knowing what it means for my partner to give it, is indescribably precious and valuable. I know that a gift like that will inspire your partner to want to give the same back to you, even if she doesn’t realize it.

      When you’re ready, the one you give your heart to will be a very lucky woman. And you never would’ve had that without the pain you went through.

  3. Dan says:

    Would it be possible to get some specifics on how the non-consensual D/s relationship came about? I had a commenter on my blog suggest recently that his D/s relationship was “against his will,” but when I pressed for specifics, what he really seemed to mean was that he was given choices that he didn’t like. Deciding to do something because it is better than an alternative you have been presented with is still a choice.

    I have seen real abuse in a relationship, and it took place because one party was physically stronger than the other and, through that, could in fact impose his will on the other, through plain old physical violence. But, the reality in most male-female relationships is, the man is physically stronger. I admit this reply may not seem particularly compassionate, but I’m just never clear on how a non-consensual D/s relationship comes about in the F/m context.

    • Domina Jen says:

      Wow, bro…

      Alright, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I never thought I’d see this coming from a man. This is something I’ve seen in extreme feminist-misandrist circles, but I never expected to meet a man with this mindset.

      There is so, so, so very much wrong with literally everything you just said.

      You said, “Deciding to do something because it is better than an alternative you have been presented with is still a choice.”

      So with that logic, any and all forms of blackmail are completely acceptable and consensual arrangements? The victim of the blackmail is choosing to do what the blackmailer tells him because it’s better than the alternative, right? So you believe there’s nothing wrong with that?

      Well damn, and we’ve gone through all that effort and work to make it illegal for nothing, then.

      Yes, physical abuse by a person physically larger and stronger than his victim is tragic, and awful, and needs to be stopped. Recognizing other forms of abuse does not take away from the physical abuse you talk about.

      This idea that only men can be abusers, and only women can be victims is archaic and sexist, and part of the reason why I have such issues with things like extreme feminism and misandry.

      Especially when 1 in 5 men will be physically, sexually, or psychologically abused by their partner at some point in their lives. 20% of men are abused by their partner (and this is both heterosexual and homosexual men, the statistics are about the same, with a very slight increase- as in a couple percent- with homosexual men. But, interesting to note, lesbian women are far more likely to be abused by their partner than heterosexual women).

      By perpetuating the mindset that men cannot be victims of abuse, we’re quite literally torturing and isolating them. They feel like they can’t find help or support, they feel like what they’ve gone through and the effects they’re dealing with aren’t validated, and they feel like they’re being pushed away from the friends and family that should have been their support system.

      Which might have something to do with the fact that, while 24% of domestic abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial, and emotional) victims are men, suicides among survivors of abuse are more than double with male survivors than female ones. And some sites I looked at put that number at 40% instead of 24%, but let’s stick with 24.

      We already know that men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women just in general, but in survivors of abuse, that number is downright fucking scary.

      To put that in perspective, let’s take 100 survivors at random. 24 of them are men, and 76 are women. Survivors of abuse (particularly sexual abuse but math isn’t my strong suit so we’re keeping it simple) are more likely to commit suicide. In fact, 13% of survivors will attempt suicide. So of those 100 survivors, 13 will try to kill themselves. 4 (and change, but again, math, and keeping it simple. I think it’s closer to 4 and a third) of those people will be women. 9 will be men.

      4 out of 76 is tragic, and sad, and shows just how much our system fails the survivors of abuse. But 9 out of 24 men.

      9. Out of 24 men.

      More than one third of male victims of abuse will attempt suicide.

      In no small part, because male victims of abuse are often not taken seriously, or the response they receive is, “you’re physically stronger, so she couldn’t have abused you.” Where a woman is encouraged to talk about her feelings, get help, and given constant support, a man is told to “suck it up,” and made to feel isolated and alone.

      Psychological abuse (http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissistsuicide.html is an eye-opening article) and emotional abuse are real, and every bit as damaging as physical abuse (depending on who you’re talking to, it’s even more damaging than physical abuse, because the victim cannot produce visible scars or damage to show the extent of the abuse. So people will tell them they’re exaggerating. Or they made it up. Or sometimes they’ll doubt even themselves, because they’ve been the victims of perspecticide and coercive control for so long… and women are much more likely to use methods like perspecticide, coercive control, narcissistic abuse, gaslighting, emotional blackmail, invalidation, aggressive isolation, guilt and denial, constant chaos, and using friends/online communities to help humiliate or control their partner than men).

      Oh and here’s a fun fact. A study done in 2013 by the National Institute of Health found that emotional abuse is every bit as traumatic as physical abuse, and what’s worse men’s overall risk of emotional abuse is increasing steadily. And yet our mindset, and the programs to help and support survivors, are not changing to accommodate this scary fucking statistic. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3876290/

      And this is ignoring the fact that one out of 8 men have experienced severe physical violence from their partner. And that number is roughly the same, whether it’s a homosexual relationship in which a man is beaten by someone bigger and stronger, or a heterosexual relationship, in which a man, who has been conditioned all his life not to hit a woman, even in self defense, simply doesn’t know how to make it stop.

      He loves the woman who is hitting him. He doesn’t want to hurt her. If he hits back, what if she claims he hit first? The police never take male victims of abuse seriously anyway. She’s just angry. It’s his own fault for pushing her this far. If he could just get her calmed down and talk to her, he could fix this. He could change, he could make sure he never makes the mistake that pushed her this far again.

      Sound familiar? That’s not too terribly different from what goes through a female victim’s mind.

      And in all forms of abuse, it’s common for the abusive partner to wait until the relationship has gone on for some time, and is well established, before showing the abusive behavior, leaving the victim confused and hoping that “the person I fell in love with” will eventually come back.

      Have you been on the internet, ever? Try googling anything regarding domestic abuse, and then try finding anything written specifically for heterosexual male victims of domestic abuse. There’s not a whole hell of a lot out there.

      And even when you do find something acknowledging that men also experience abuse, the writer of the article may even justify it by saying the majority of women who abuse do it in retaliation as “battered women syndrome.” (http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/articles/are-you-being-abused.htm)

      Or this: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20121009224826AAJfSB5 where someone quite vocally insists that a woman will never kidnap and rape a man. To quote their words, “That has happened literally ZERO times.”

      And then, do you really want to be disgusted with mankind as a whole? Check out this social experiment, in which a couple walked down a busy street, arguing, and the boyfriend began getting physical with the girlfriend. Within seconds, people had gathered to intervene. Later, the same couple walked down the same street, and got into an argument. This time, the girlfriend began getting physical, shoving the boyfriend and eventually grabbing him by his hair, pinning him against the fence, and hitting him. No one stepped up. One of the hidden cameras shows a woman sitting on a bench laughing. And she’s not the only one who seems amused. I’m a sadist, and I know that this was rehearsed and they weren’t actually abusing each other, but they’re good actors, and watching her hit him, and him recoil and try to get away is downright disturbing.

      And not a single person stepped up to help him. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/why-will-no-one-fund-male-domestic-abuse-charities/

      THAT’S how men can be physically abused by women, whether in vanilla relationships or F/m ones. Because literally no one cares. And because no one believes them. Because men can’t get raped. Because what kind of man would let a woman do that to him?

      Are you fucking kidding me?

      Men are killing themselves. Men are dying, and they’re dying because we’ve failed them, because “he’s bigger and stronger, so he chose it. He was given the choice between obeying his wife or being hit, and he chose to obey her and allow her to keep her control over his mind, so it was consensual.”

      With the mindset like the one you have, and saying what you said to that commenter on your blog, even being condescending here by putting “against his will” in quotations, and implying that his abuse isn’t “real” because it wasn’t physical violence by someone bigger and stronger, you contributed to making him feel isolated and alone, like no one can help him, like his pain doesn’t matter, and like there’s nowhere he can turn to get any kind of support. You made him feel like shit, like it’s his fault that he was abused. You made him have to defend and relive what he went through, and possibly fucked up his concept of self worth even more than it already is by putting down his feelings and invalidating (hey, invalidation, that’s a common tool emotional abusers use) his perception and his pain.

      That man has a 1 in 3 chance of attempting suicide. Because of reactions like that.

      • Dan says:

        No, you’re mischaracterizing what I said. I did not say or even insinuate that abuse against a man is not possible. What I suggested was, details matter, particularly if someone says they were part of a D/s relationship against their will. For example, you brought up the issue of blackmail. Of course blackmail is both wrong and illegal. But, let’s contrast that to a woman saying, “I’m tired of dealing with your bad behavior. I think you need to be spanked when you do something bad. So, agree to this or we’re finished.” Is the latter abuse, or is it just presenting someone with a choice, which they can take or leave? Sure, divorce is an uncomfortable choice to be put to, but marriages are voluntary on both sides and, absent some kind of physical or severe economic compulsion, they involve a choice to continue by BOTH parties, and BOTH can decide the terms on which they are willing to continue.

        As I said, details matter. One of the studies you cite makes that very clear. Here are only a few excerpts that set out the very real differences in abuse patterns and consequences:

        “Some relationships suffer from conflict-related outbursts of violence: Situational or common couple violence. In this form, either partner may ‘lose control’ and act violently, but this rarely escalates into more injurious or life-threatening behaviors (Johnson, 1995; Waltz et al., 2000). Alternatively, some relationships suffer from systemic male violence, which is rooted in the patriarchal tradition of men controlling ‘their’ women (Johnson, 1995). This form of violence is rarer but frequently devastating and often involves economic subordination, threats, isolation, and other control tactics; it is referred to as intimate terrorism or patriarchal terrorism. With time, the severity of violent behaviors tends to intensify (Johnson, 1995).”

        “Archer (2000) also concluded that measures based on acts of violence (e.g. slap) versus consequences of violence (e.g. injury ensuing a hospital visit) yield different results. When measures were based on specific acts, more women than men used physical aggression; when measures were based on consequences of aggression, men were more likely than women to injure their partners. It is also vital to consider the sample, as there is likely to be more mutual aggression in community samples, but more male violence in severely victimized samples such as women’s shelters.”

        “Despite high perpetration rates across genders, a review has concluded that women are still disproportionately victimized by IPV and more frequently sustain serious injuries (Hamberger, 2005). Overall, a better understanding of gender effects on IPV is needed as it pertains to emotional abuse.”

        So, it is just way too easy to say “abuse is abuse” and women are as likely to be abusers than men, because to get there you have to equate all acts of aggression (a slap to the face in the heat of an argument is the same as a boot to the kidneys or head of a prostrate victim) and the consequences (a reddening of the skin after a slap versus a broken and battered face, hospital admission, etc.) That alone may explain the study you raise regarding a male being yelled at and then hit on the street by a female and no one helping — because the risk of injury in male v. female and female v. male aggressive encounters is wholly different. Did any of the bystanders have reason to think that injury was likely? And, honestly, equating the slap during an argument with a man physically overpowering and sending his wife to the hospital really trivializes the abuse suffered by those who have actually ended up in hospital ERs or the morgue due to acts of real and sustained physical violence.

        This “abuse is abuse” mindset that you seem to be suggesting also has had some troubling implications for domestic violence survivors. For example, laws requiring an arrest when police respond to domestic violence calls have been found to lead to increased incarceration rates for women because more calls result in “dual arrests,” i..e both parties getting arrested. Because, hell, if the details don’t matter and yelling and calling someone names is as abusive as locking someone in the basement against their will, and if a slap is the same as punching someone’s teeth out, then let’s just arrest both, right?? But, that can have some tragic consequences: “Arresting women who are reaching out for help for domestic violence can be detrimental to survivors’ chances of receiving help. Research finds that battered women who have been incarcerated are significantly less likely to utilize the legal system for help with abuse (24), and that these women may be more likely to cope through substance abuse and become further involved with the criminal justice system (24, 25).” https://opsvaw.as.uky.edu/sites/default/files/05_Mandatory_Arrest.pdf

        Similarly, “”A reason a woman may not report abuse because of mandatory arrest policies is that they fear retaliation by the abuser may be worse because an arrest is mandatory,” comments Novisky. Another reason is that a woman may believe the police will mistakenly arrest her as the aggressor, so she won’t report it. This reasoning supports the data that mandatory arrest policies result in higher arrest rates of battered women, which could deprive them of the support they need.””http://www.uakron.edu/im/news/mandatory-arrest-laws-may-hurt-domestic-violence-victims

        I’m sorry, but someone yelling at you or calling you names is just not the same thing as actual domestic violence. It just isn’t. And if we define “abuse” in terms of the “acts” instead of taking a hard look at both the consequences AND the whole context of consent (which was what I was asking for in the question you responded to), then every BDSM act that you have engaged in would technically constitute an assault. But, when you hurt someone and they want it, then it really isn’t abuse, is it? Similarly, if you say your wife subjected you to D/s against your will, was it because she held a gut to your head, or blackmailed you, or because she gave you a choice to be a D/s relationship or to not have a relationship with her. Those are two very, very different situations. Again, details matter.

        Here is, btw, what the commenter I referred to wrote when I probed about what he meant by being in a DD relationship that began against his well. And, the reason I was probing had nothing to do with wanting to degrade or humiliate him. I asked because my blog is devoted to “consensual” domestic discipline relationships, so if someone is a “non-consensual” one — big, big difference between the two — (a) they need to get counseling or other help; and (b) their relationship is one that I am not going to highlight because, again, my blog is for consensual relationships, period. But, in any event, here is is his response, and I am sure you will agree not quite “suicidal,” and this was after he initially said his relationship was against his wil:

        “Dan, Sorry if I’m not being clear. Here’s my answers to your questions. Yes, I did voluntarily, but reluctantly, enter into the HOH/Househusband phase of our relationship. Why the reluctance? She refused to reveal what the R,R&R that I mentioned would entail until after I signed over complete control of our relationship to her. Now I had a great deal of trepidation about doing so under the circumstances but I did. When I say sign I mean it. We were with her lawyer and it was either file both a Restraining Order and Divorce docs, or sign the Power of Attorney forms which I did.”

        Now, were his wife’s actions in demanding that kind of relationship “blackmail”? No. Did he have a choice to go along with her demands, or end the marriage if it was on terms he didn’t agree with? Yep. Is she an “abuser” and he a “victim” — that is a call that would be impossible to make without a lot more detail.

    • Poster says:

      To Dan:

      You do not understand who I was at the time, what my childhood history is and what led me to be in this type of relationship. Her intentions were hidden for years. You seem to be telling me that if I don’t give you all the details, that somehow I’m making it up. This is exactly the response that has made me very angry.

      To get my point across, I will give some details, but not all.

      This D/s relationship was against my will, but not in the sense that you seem to want to use.

      I was raised by two very toxic parents and there is incest and molestation in my history before the age of 8. Anyone who knows anything about childhood sexual abuse (which I showed EVERY major sign of by the age of 12) is that if a child is victimized before the age of 8, they are 1000% more likely to have multiple attackers.

      My father has a diagnosis of malignant narcissism. My mother, although undiagnosed, shows most traits of the same or similar disorder. She used a lot of guilt and shame to control me as a child. My mother was domineering and abusive. With that kind of traumatic history, where there was no escape, no help, no one to save me, my only way of dealing with the abuse was to be submissive to it, to numb myself out, to accept my fate and to be completely submissive to my parents.

      This is what is known as “grooming”. A child abused mentally and emotionally during formative years can and does create submissive and weak mindset and personality. The child (me) believes that to be loved by anyone, he has to do everything that they want and never have his own needs or wants. This is the entry point to mental and emotional manipulation and abuse. This is why kids who grow up in homes like mine are targets for abusers in adult life. They know what to look for in a person. People pleasing behavior, the “nice guy” syndrome and so on.

      At the beginning of our marriage, she loved me, we were soulmates, she believed in me, etc, etc…. This is known as “love bombing”. It is a way to reassure someone that you care about them when they feel that the rest of the world hates them, and the shame they carry from years, if not decades of abuse is being overlooked. As a man, I felt whole. I felt cared about. That was the beginning of her manipulations.

      As the marriage progressed, she became very overbearing, domineering and cruel. I was told that everything was my fault, I was yelled at literally every day near the end of our marriage for things that I had no control over. Things that she did, I was accused of doing. My reality was twisted so badly I didn’t know which end was up. Everything I did was wrong or not good enough. Every year that went on, I was more and more to blame, wrong in what I thought, believed, spoke. Everything.

      That is one of many ways that a person is broken down to feel completely powerless in their environment. She used my childhood experiences against me, to control me. When I felt I had no value, she could beat on me and even though I was physically stronger, the fear of being degraded and humiliated again was enough to make me sit there and take it. I did not want to fight back. I felt that I would lose anyway, so why fight?

      When a person has no identity, no self-esteem, no understanding of healthy boundaries and the ones that they might have had are repeatedly ignored and trampled on, there is no escape. You become mentally weak and in a sense, you identify with your abuser. You begin to believe that your abuser is right about everything. You don’t feel happy or content. You feel numb. That’s what keeps people in abusive relationships. The feeling of complete and total powerlessness.

      How does BDSM come in to play here? Because of the powerless environment. The core of a D/s relationship is power. If you create an environment where your submissive or your target feels and is convinced that they have no control, no voice, no power, and that is reinforced daily, they will not try to escape. Again, no different than what happens to POW’s or kids who get kidnapped. They believe that there is no chance for escape, so they submit to their “reality”.

      Internal Enslavement, Ownership and Possession was used to cement her control. The purpose in those processes are to use the submissive’s history against them. The 5 roles are what is used to get into the mind of the submissive. When in a abusive context, that is removal of free will. There was no discussion, there was no document signed. This was her intent from the start. Total control over me. It was not a choice at all. Powerless environment led to acceptance of domineering behavior. Acceptance led to further reprogramming and total control. I believed I had no choice.

      That is abuse. Male on female, female on male. It’s abuse.

      One thing that stands out to me, in the last 3 months of the marriage is when I would get home from work, I would clean and cook dinner, then I would just sit. I would sit and do nothing. No music, no television, just sitting there waiting. This still makes me very angry because I remember my thoughts being “I can’t do what I want, I’ll get yelled at.” I remember double and triple checking the house to make sure everything was done so I would not be yelled at. She would always find something anyway. That’s reinforcement of weakness and treating me as if I had no value. That’s how you treat someone you see as a slave, as beneath you, as a bitch.

      Was that consensual? Do you really think I had a choice when my core beliefs were fucked around with? Not being able to think and choose for myself and my own wants and needs is okay?

      What about the prostate training that was done? When I smell a certain perfume, I become highly aroused. She trained me to that smell so when she wore a certain scent, I “knew” it was time to clean her up. I have vague memories of the training, so I know it happened. I’ve never had the ability to arouse myself using my prostate, but today I can do it on command. That’s not another remnant of her abuse? Retraining me so my pleasure comes from anal stimulation instead of normal? That’s total emasculation, nothing less.

      “I’m sorry, but someone yelling at you or calling you names is just not the same thing as actual domestic violence. It just isn’t.”

      In a once a month or every once in a while, I would probably agree. Not one of us is perfect, we make mistakes. However…..

      When it is every day being yelled at for nothing that is your fault, nothing you are responsible for, nothing under your control, that is abuse. It is constant degradation and humiliation. It is showing dominance for the sake of dominance, to keep me submissive and weak. If your intent in physical, mental or emotional harm is to reduce the other person to a complete mental mess to maintain control and power over them, that IS abuse. Plain and simple. When it is every single day wondering what you’re going to be yelled at for, called names for, and it drives you to work that much harder to avoid the fights and arguments, that IS abuse. It is the fear of repercussion that kept me motivated. That IS abuse.

      Next month will be two years from when I left. In these two years, I have had to learn quite a bit about the BDSM lifestyle. I still have some of the hypnotic commands/triggers in my mind. That’s a remnant of her abuse. I still have some of the addictions she created that I cannot stand. They disgust me, so I have shame every time I attempt to please myself. That’s not abuse? Taking away my ability to enjoy masturbation? Did I ask for that? No. Even though she is out of my life, I still deal with the abuse. I still have to face the reprogramming and conditioning.

      I am physically stronger than my ex-wife. I have a background in combat. I could have easily taken her out in a physical fight. With the constant mental and emotional abuse, I couldn’t even put my hand up to protect my face when she would slap me. That is because of the fear of what the repercussions would be. Not from the cops or the law, but fear of the repercussions that she would take out on me herself.

      Size don’t mean shit. Not all the time.

      I would strongly encourage you to educate yourself on abuse. Know that when talking about female on male abuse, more is emotional and mental than physical. And anyone who has been through all forms of abuse knows that the emotional and mental are two of the most heinous forms. They take away what makes you, “you”. Add BDSM as abuse onto that, and you have a person who can feel like they were raped physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

      • Domina Jen says:

        You don’t have to defend yourself to him. You don’t deserve to have your past and your experiences questioned. And besides, I won’t allow him to reply, anyway. There’s absolutely nothing he could ever say that I’m even remotely interested in hearing. The fact that people like that exist, that THIS is what you’ve been dealing with for the last two years, makes me sick to my stomach.

        You don’t owe him an explanation. You don’t owe him a goddamn thing.

        On a different note, I sent you an email, but am unsure if I got the right address, so I’ll put it here, too, just in case.

        I know how to undo the conditioning and training you were left with. I can tell you how to undo the prostate training, the reaction to the scent (as long as you know the name of the scent and can purchase a bottle of it), and any other triggers or addictions she may have left in your head.

        I’ve never *told* anyone how to do it, as opposed to doing it myself, but you seem intelligent and highly self-aware, so I think it would work. I can explain the process to you and use the information you provide to tweak it and keep it effective.

        It’ll take time, and it’ll require you telling me quite a bit about yourself, but I can help you.

        So much of what I do is mental. It’s what I’m good at. It’s what I excel at. I can use that to help you.

        You don’t have to continue living like that. You don’t have to be stuck with the things she put in your mind.

        If you’re comfortable with it, and if you’ll let me, I can tell you how to fix it. If you’re not comfortable with the idea, or are not interested, that’s completely fine, you don’t have to say anything at all, and I’ll leave you alone. I just want to put the offer out there, if you want it.

  4. James says:

    http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/sexual-assault.html#“What is sexual coercion?:

    “Not all sexual assault involves a physical attack. Sexual coercion is unwanted sexual activity that happens after someone is pressured, tricked, or forced in a nonphysical way. Anyone can use coercion — for example, husbands, partners, boyfriends, friends, coworkers, bosses, or dates.”

    https://dominajen.com/2016/07/22/and-part-2/:

    “Forced bi became a soft limit. Something he was willing to do for me, but reluctant as fuck about it. That’s the way he was the first time Sounder sucked his dick. He was really almost at a freak-out level leading up to that, and it took every bit of the control and influence I have over him to keep him calm-ish. But he discovered that night that maybe he didn’t hate it as much as he thought he would. Oh, he still didn’t like it, that’s for fucking sure . . .”

    I doubt you will publish this, but you might give it some thought next time you are laying out these infinitely expansive definitions of abuse, assault, coercion overcoming free will, etc. Of course, I have never met a Top yet who did not figure out a way to exempt their own actions from the realm of assault, coercion, rape, etc. But, in your case it may be a little harder, since you just spent all that time documenting how every act of aggression is abuse and how psychological pressure and trickery deprives the victim of all freedom of choice.

    • Domina Jen says:

      You didn’t think I’d approve this comment? Oh come on, give me a little more credit than that. Haven’t I already shown you that I don’t immediately shut down or bite the head off someone for disagreeing with me?

      And to be frank, you simply haven’t shown that you have the eloquence or emotional intelligence to get under my skin the way Dan did. Amused indifference is back, my dear.

      First, man, you really don’t have a high opinion of me, do you? Seems like you don’t have a high opinion of Tops in general. Why is that? Where is the hostility coming from? It feels personal. What happened to cause it? And if you despise the lifestyle so much, why have you frequented at least two Femdom blogs that I know of?

      It’s either that, or you’re unhappy in life, you’re feeling taken advantage of, neglected, and ignored by the people who are supposed to care about you, so you compensate for that loneliness by trying to get attention from people on the internet. Even negative attention is attention. And if you succeed in getting someone riled up, you’ve definitely accomplished that. Multiple people will join in to talk to you, to tell you how wrong you are. And for that moment, all eyes, all thoughts are on you. The loneliness disappears. That despair disappears. For the moment. But it always fades, and when that darkness comes crashing down on you, you need something else to help pull you back up. And this is a hell of a lot less damaging than alcohol or drugs (or maybe used in conjunction with, I don’t know, but you don’t strike me as self destructive).

      I’m serious, I actually want to know. I want to understand where it’s coming from. I want to understand you. So whether your hostility is coming from hate or loneliness, you officially have my attention. And you’ll continue to have my attention as long as I have access to the internet (which, fair warning, will be severely limited starting the 5th, and probably won’t be available again until the 9th, unless I can get a hotel somewhere that has wifi, but that’s not hugely likely). Until then, and after then, if need be, you’ve got it. Email, comments here, whatever you want, you’ve got it.

      To answer the question I think is hidden there under all that aggression, yes, there’s a difference. I can sum up the entire difference in one word. Two letters.

      No.

      My boys, all three of them, have the ability to say no. This is something they know, because all three have said no to me at least once. And they know, because I’ve proven it to them, that if they legitimately can’t handle something, if I’m pushing too hard, too fast, all they have to do is tell me and I will immediately back off, let them calm down, and find out where I made the mistake. That’s why Hell Night never happened. I was pushing Sounder too hard, past what he was able to handle, and as soon as he told me how much trouble he was having, how badly it was affecting him, I canceled it. Without question, without hesitation. Even when he protested, talking about not wanting to disappoint me, I told him no, I wasn’t going to do that to him, I wasn’t going to harm him, and we would slow down, take things more at his pace, and keep it manageable.

      The night you refer to, Kazander could have said no. He came close a couple of times. And every time he did, when I stopped and asked him, “are you sure you’re alright with this?” he took a deep breath, and assured me that he was alright, that he could do it, that he just needed help getting past that barrier in his mind, and could I help him, please (hence the part about using all the influence and control over him I had). Before we got to Sounder’s house, we agreed on both a word and a signal for him to use to stop the whole thing, and another signal that meant he needed to take a break and get his thoughts together.

      He could have stopped it any time he wanted. And he’s done that, in the past, when it was just too much for him. So he knows, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I will never hold something like that against him. I will never “punish” him for not being able to handle what I put him through. I’ll never “punish” him for needing to slow down, or change direction, or take a break.

      It’s consensual. He agrees to it. He has the power to say no, he knows he can say no, and he consents to what I do to him. He consented to that night, he consented to what I did, and he thanked me afterward for pushing him to get past that obstacle in his head. It’s what he wanted. That’s why it was a soft limit, rather than a hard limit.

      I don’t, for the life of me, understand why there’s all this gray area in the kink world’s perception of abuse. Hitting someone who doesn’t want to be hit, no matter how hard, is abuse. Blackmailing someone who doesn’t want to be blackmailed (you’d be surprised how popular that fetish is) is abuse. Coercing someone who a) doesn’t want to be coerced, and b) doesn’t want to be coerced into that particular thing, is abuse. Forcing someone to stay in a relationship, when they don’t want to be in that relationship, is abuse. Causing harm to someone who trusts you by being selfish and reckless is abuse. Using psychological and emotional manipulation to destroy someone’s trust is abuse. Using scare tactics to cause fear in someone who doesn’t want to be afraid is abuse. Using that fear to control someone who doesn’t want to be controlled is abuse.

      There’s no gray area. It’s black-and-fucking-white. I’m kind of shocked at how much kickback I’ve gotten for this. Is maybe-pro-abuse the new political fad or something? What is the deal? Is “well, it’s technically emotional abuse, because there was, you know, no consent given, but this and this and this happened too, so that makes it okay” the new popular mindset in the kink world? You sneer at me, saying that “every act of aggression is abuse,” as if that’s not the case when it’s directed at someone who doesn’t want to experience that. I mean, really? When did that become okay?

      When did it become okay to hurt someone, physically, sexually, or psychologically, who doesn’t want to be hurt? Where the hell have I been, that I didn’t realize this is the new super-cool, trendy BDSM political climate? And if that’s not your definition of abuse, then please enlighten me. Tell me how you make it okay in your head to be aggressive or use psychological pressure and trickery with someone who really doesn’t want that, in any shape or form. I’m serious, I’m not being hostile. Apparently I’m not understanding something here, that the majority of the BDSM world so obviously understands. So tell me how that is justified. Tell me how hurting someone who doesn’t want to be hurt, in any way, shape or form, regardless of the tactics used to hurt them, is even remotely okay.

      • James says:

        “And to be frank, you simply haven’t shown that you have the eloquence or emotional intelligence to get under my skin the way Dan did. Amused indifference is back, my dear.”

        I will try to get right on fix that, beginning with this comment. 🙂

        My goal in that very succinct comment wasn’t to attack you or to suggest that I feel any hostility toward you or toward the Femdom lifestyle. It was to point out that a lot of what you wrote in your last two posts was not terribly consistent with other things you have done and written about. You laid down some pretty broad and all-encompassing “rules” that every aggressive act is abuse, every manipulation that overcomes someone’s previously stated resistance is abuse or coercion, and every instance of someone doing something that they otherwise didn’t want to do added up to being abused, assaulted, or victimized, etc. But, as your own posts show, the context of all those things is critical, and sometimes what looks like abuse is really pushing someone’s limits when they want them pushed.

        You just did it again in this comment. You state: “Blackmailing someone who doesn’t want to be blackmailed (you’d be surprised how popular that fetish is) is abuse. Coercing someone who a) doesn’t want to be coerced, and b) doesn’t want to be coerced into that particular thing, is abuse.” What the commenter who got under your skin seemed to be asking about was the “doesn’t want to be coerced” and “doesn’t want to be blackmailed” aspects. As you just said, there are a surprising number of people who are into that kind of thing, so someone saying *I got into an FLR relationship against my will,” is far from the end of the story or any definitive statement about whether (a) they *want* things to be “against their will” because that is part of their fetish; or (b) they just don’t like taking responsibility for the choices they make; or (c) something genuinely was done to them against their will through real force, real coercion, etc. Any of those three (and possibly more) are a possibility, so the context really does matter, and the context isn’t always clear when some anonymous commenter says something like that on a blog.

        Where I really disagreed with on some of your last two posts was you seemed to place no responsibility at all on the submissive party to just fucking saying “no,” which is what you say distinguishes your arrangement from real abuse or real coercion. I am not disagreeing with you at all on that, by the way, and I do not personally think that what you did was abusive, or was coercive. But, if you give an honest read to what you stated in your comments and the lack of any discrimination between one act and another and one impact and another, under the standards YOU were advocating in those last couple of posts and comments, what you did was arguably abusive, because you manipulated your partner into doing something they didn’t want to do and that they didn’t like. As I said, I do NOT see what you did as abusive, because I violently AGREE with you that the ability to say no makes all the difference in the world, as does whether that party really doesn’t want something or, rather, likes being pushed past their boundaries. But, in that situation, the submissive party has some responsibility to fucking say it if they really don’t want to do something or if they really don’t want to be in a relationship involving certain things. Now, that may very well result in a parting of the ways, because the “top” wants one thing in the relationship and the “bottom” wants something else. Those things are choices. So, I guess what I am saying is, you seemed to be taking a very “one size fits all” stance on defining “abuse” in your comments, while your posts demonstrate that you do recognize that context matters and that just because someone says something was against their will, it doesn’t mean that it actually was, as it may be part of their fetish.

        You say that you don’t understand all the gray area around consent, but it exists because of things like consensual non-consent. By its very nature, it creates some gray areas. Those areas become less gray only if the parties are very, very open about everything, and I also believe it really only works in (a) healthy relationships; (b) with two(or more) healthy people; that (c) has been established long enough that one party (really, the Top) can be safe in knowing whether he/she is in a “consensual non-consent” area or in real non-consent. Because if the communication isn’t there or the history isn’t there, they can look a hell of a lot alike. It’s really the Tops who can be an impossible situation in those cases, because they are expected to figure out whether someone is *really* not consenting, or in the large context wants something even if it is uncomfortable to them or unpleasant at the time.

        So, I really honestly am not hostile to you or to your position. Instead, I felt like you were going off pretty hard on someone who was expressing a pretty simple idea that nuances matter, and that you yourself displayed those nuances all the time. You’re wrong that I don’t have a high opinion of you. I obviously don’t know you one way or another. But, if I I wasn’t at least interested in your point of view and intrigued by it, I wouldn’t waste time writing something on your blog, and I certainly wouldn’t wast time reading it.

        Regarding Tops, my comment was too broad (though, in all honesty, because I was pissed off at the breadth of your own comments), but I do find a lot of self-professed tops to very difficult personalities. That need for control can go off the rails whenever they encounter someone who isn’t their submissive and doesn’t agree with them. Ironically, it ties back to your discussion on Female Supremacy. I am in a relationship in which I submit to my wife, but I don’t submit to anyone else, man or woman. I think that many bad Tops, or Top wannabes, have real problems when they encounter anyone who doesn’t just accept them as the dominant party even in interactions with people who are not their subs. And many of them do seem to have a hell of a lot of “flexibility” when condemning every competing opinion, value, lifestyle, etc., while somehow always justifying their own acts, values, etc. I believe you yourself have said there are a lot of bad Dominants out there, and my personal view is they are bad because they really are insecure, and they are being “dominant” to compensate for some pretty nasty insecure stuff inside.

        You said you want to know why I’m hostile, and I hope I’ve explained that I’m not. I had a hostile reaction to what I saw as some inconsistency and, truthfully, hypocrisy in the positions you were taking. But, where I think you and I may have a genuine disagreement is on the primacy of choices and consequences. I usually hate relying on personal history to make an argument, but you asked and did so with a lot of openness, so I’ll tell you. I grew up in home with a very bad episodes of domestic violence with real people getting real hurt. Given your very broad definitions of “abuse,” it is arguable that both parties were abusers, because my mother frequently was the instigator and gave as good as she got where emotional abuse was concerned. But, she was the one that ended up in a bloody heap. So, to me there is a very real, very important difference in accountability there, and calling him a victim because she called him names and may have shoved or hit him at some point does not make what they did equally wrong. The person who really got hurt and bloodied is the victim, not the one who crossed the line into a real physical beating. But, while I very much see her as the victim, I also do insist that there were real decisions by everyone that had real consequences. Those two people chose to stay together over years of fights and turmoil, and they chose to keep their kids in it, and all of us have showed some kind of long-term damage from it, largely in the form of PTSD-like symptoms, among other issues. I even hold myself responsible for not running away, not taking siblings with me, not knee-capping the abuser, etc. Now, I have no idea whether splitting up would have been better or worse — for her, for him, for the kids. As you point out, leaving an abuser can have terrible economic and other consequences, and maybe those would have been even worse than the bad, but sporadic and episodic, violence we witnessed. There is no way to look into a crystal ball and know that. Maybe the choices made (and not made) were good in the long run. Maybe not. I have no way of knowing, but I do believe that denying that choices were made and could be made makes everyone completely unaccountable, while paradoxically making everyone even more of a victim and even less empowered. Yeah, choices involve taking responsibility, but without them we are all pure victims with no power to change things.

        Anyway, thanks for the frank exchange.

      • Domina Jen says:

        Alright, it’s possible maybe I wasn’t as clear as I could’ve been regarding what constitutes abuse vs what doesn’t. Honestly, because I didn’t think that was something that needed to be spelled out. I assumed it was just one of those universal truths.

        As has been made very clear to me, by numerous people, it’s very obviously not.

        Alright, so for the context I didn’t realize was necessary:

        We’ll use blackmail for example, since that was the example I used, and since that was my big fucking issue with the example Dan gave.

        Let’s name two people (Man A and Man B). Man A is the man in Dan’s example, who claimed that he was in the D/s relationship against his will. Man B is one of my exes, who has a blackmail fetish.

        To the outsider, to someone who isn’t in the relationship, both may look like nonconsensual. Both may look like abuse.

        But if you ask those men if they’re in an abusive relationship, you’ll get a very different answer from each. Man B, who fetishizes blackmail, may not necessarily enjoy some of the things he’s made to do, but a) that’s part of being a submissive, and b) he still gives his consent, he wants it. If asked, he will emphatically state that he gives his consent and he wants to be in the relationship.

        Man A will have a very different answer, as was illustrated in the comment. He didn’t want to be blackmailed into signing that much power over to his wife. He didn’t consent to it. And it’s very heavily implied that he did say no.

        When I hit my boys, they may or may not like it, but there’s no illusion. They have at least some say in how hard I hit them, where I hit them, and for how long I hit them. Before, during, and after the fact, if someone were to ask them if they were being abused, they would all say no. They’d say that they consent to what I’m doing to them.

        A domestic violence victim would have a very different answer. And we’ll use a woman as an example, because they suffer from violent relationships more often than men, and have a higher chance of being seriously injured.

        If a woman runs up to you, sobbing, completely hysterical, with a black eye and busted lip, telling you that her husband beat her, would you ask her for context? Would you ask her to tell you how her husband’s actions were abusive? Would you say, “Yeah, that looks like it hurts. But I mean, really, are you sure that’s abuse? What happened before and after he started hitting you?”

        No. You wouldn’t.

        Although lately, I don’t have nearly the confidence in that answer when talking to people I don’t know that I did last week. I seriously, seriously hope you wouldn’t.

        So why, when a submissive says basically the same thing, that his partner abused him, is he expected to explain how her actions were abusive? And then have his reasons questioned and doubted? To me, there’s literally no question.

        Maybe it’s because I’m a survivor of abuse myself, but my first reaction when someone tells me they were/are in an abusive relationship is very much not: “Well, that’s fine that you feel that way, but what’s the context, here? I mean, was it really abuse? Did you try saying no? Why didn’t you just leave?”

        And as far as a submissive (or any victim of abuse) saying no, I have never met/spoken to/heard of a victim never saying no, or making it clear they didn’t want it. Again, it was very heavily implied with the man Dan spoke of (I have not spoken to that man myself, and could not find the comments, so I can’t say for sure) that he expressed the fact that he didn’t want to do what his wife was blackmailing him into doing. And as far as the gentleman going by the name Poster, who originally spoke to me of abuse, he repeatedly expressed to his ex-wife that he didn’t want what she was doing to him, and begged her to stop.

        The young lady I mentioned, who was in an abusive D/s relationship, repeatedly begged her husband to stop. I repeatedly begged my abusers to stop. The idea that a victim doesn’t express their displeasure is a completely foreign one to me. So no, I’m not taking any responsibility off of the submissive. They have said no. They were ignored.

        Even consensual nonconsent doesn’t have any gray areas for me. And seriously, that’s probably my absolute favorite fetish, and something I do with all three of my boys.

        You see, it’s the “consensual” part of “consensual nonconsent” that does it for me, that erases all those gray areas.

        “Those areas become less gray only if the parties are very, very open about everything, and I also believe it really only works in (a) healthy relationships; (b) with two(or more) healthy people; that (c) has been established long enough that one party (really, the Top) can be safe in knowing whether he/she is in a “consensual non-consent” area or in real non-consent. Because if the communication isn’t there or the history isn’t there, they can look a hell of a lot alike.”

        Uh, yeah.

        First of all, a Top who isn’t emotionally/mentally healthy should absolutely fucking not be in any kind of control over someone else. They need to get that shit taken care of first. And what kind of irresponsible, unethical, lazy, piece of shit human being would attempt edge play like consensual nonconsent (or extreme humiliation, or fire play, or needle/knife play, or insert-fetish-here) without a ridiculous, almost laughable amount of communication within a healthy, established relationship?

        Or even in a new relationship, what kind of irresponsible, unethical, piece of shit human being would engage in something like that without a damn safe word? Isn’t that the whole point of safe words? So that the bottom can lose themselves in the experience, beg and scream and cry, but still have a way to very clearly let the Top know when they’re nearing a line that cannot be crossed?

        Isn’t that kind of D/s 101? Like literally the first thing newbies are taught?

        And really, I don’t care how it looks to an outsider. Many outsiders would call all three of my relationships abusive. That’s kind of the nature of D/s. I care about the subs, and their perception. If any of my subs begin to feel like they’re being abused, yes, it’s their responsibility to tell me, but it’s my fucking responsibility to figure out what the hell is going on and to fix it rightfuckingnow.

        If I don’t do that, then I’m an abuser. End of story. No gray area.

        We do disagree on some aspects. Using your history and experience, I personally hold you mother just as accountable. Do I defend the man she abused? Hell fucking no. But I can’t defend her, either.

        It’s my opinion (an opinion shared by, from my experience, the vast majority of abuse victims) that physical and, to a lesser extent, sexual abuse is far easier to heal from than emotional or psychological abuse. The physical stuff healed, and doesn’t really affect me at all. The sexual stuff took longer, but I’m over it. Don’t care. The mental shit? I’m still not over it. I liked to think I was, but again, it was made very clear to me over the last few days, that I’m not. I just buried it. Bringing it out again was pretty eye-opening for me. It’s a million times worse, and for example, even now, no one can ever pull my hair.

        If someone pulls my hair, even on accident (and I’m not expecting it. Things like going to the hair dresser, I can handle, that’s fine), I freak the fuck out. As in, get-violent freaking out. Although over the years, my control is improved, and the last time someone pulled my hair, I was able to refrain from hitting him.

        Not because it hurts. Not because it even really hurt all that much when I was younger. But that was something my mom always did whenever she was going to hit me, and something my uncle always did whenever he got pissed off with me struggling. It was a mental thing.

        And the shit that my parents have said, the emotional and psychological abuse, taking my reality and fucking it up, is a million times worse than being thrown down the stairs. That stuff doesn’t leave scars anyone can see, and that was the hardest to heal from (and as I’ve said, even now I’m not as healed as I wanted to think I was).

        So yes, calling someone names and using psychological abuse tactics is exactly the same as beating someone in my book, because I’ve experienced both, and I’d rather be raped or thrown down the stairs any day of the week. I will literally pick that ten times out of ten. I know of at least four people who agree with me, and people like Poster, I assume agree with me, based on comments made.

        So yeah, to me, it’s all the same. Abuse is abuse is abuse. And while yes, your mother absolutely was a victim, there’s no argument from me there, she was also an abuser.

        Of course, one doesn’t make the other acceptable. They don’t cancel each other out, and it’s very common for victims of abuse to become abusers, themselves. She didn’t deserve to be beaten, and perhaps that’s why she became so verbally and emotionally abusive. Perhaps it was her way of lashing out, finding some way to feel like she has control. I don’t know, I’m not going to try to speculate. My point is that no one will ever be able to convince me that any form of abuse, to any degree, is even remotely acceptable.

        Being verbally abusive makes you an abuser. In my mind, that’s the end of it. There’s no argument, there’s no situation that has existed or will ever exist that will make me feel like it’s acceptable to treat someone that way. Someone being cruel to you does not make being cruel okay. It just doesn’t. That’s a lesson I had to learn, myself, when the only way I could feel like I had any control over my life was to be cruel to the people who trusted me. It’s not okay.

        The details don’t matter. I was never as cruel as my abusers were, but that doesn’t matter. It wasn’t okay, and it’s not okay, and it’ll never be okay to be cruel because someone was cruel to you.

        So we may just disagree on that. And that’s fine, that’s a unique situation, and a difference in perspective based on unique experiences. I don’t necessarily expect you to agree with me.

        But yeah, I’m right there with you on the Tops with difficult personalities. There are a lot of them, and I have no respect for any Top who feels threatened by a submissive. It’s like they expect every submissive to be a doormat, to allow themselves to be taken advantage of. Even the woman who owned the group I helped run for awhile, I knew not to introduce to my boys. She expects every submissive to call her “Miss Firstname,” and I flat out just won’t make my boys use an honorific with anyone but me. If they want to on their own, then great. But I won’t demand it (unless it’s at a high profile event or something, in which case they’ll know exactly what to expect. But at a munch? Hell no).

        And yes, a lot of them are extremely insecure. That’s why they feel threatened, because they’re just barely hanging on by a thread, and they’re terrified someone will see them for what they are.

        I’m kind of the opposite. I don’t want subs to use an honorific or a title with me “just because I’m a Dominant.” I’m Jen. Call me Jen. I have allowed some subs who respect me to do so, because the honorific is a show of respect, but it’s not something I encourage. I want to be challenged socially and mentally, even by the subs I own. I want to be able to respect the person I’m talking to, whether they’re submissive, Dominant, or vanilla. Weak people have their place, I’ve owned my share of weak submissives, and will always adore that sweet, vulnerable, meek way that they love, but I love the strong-willed, the strong-spirited, the ones who aren’t afraid to get in your face (tactfully, preferably) if you’re wrong.

        So anyway, that’s my (extremely long-winded) explanation on what I consider abuse.

  5. James says:

    Jen, sorry, I also noticed that the email I provided was not live any more. Here is an active one.

  6. James says:

    It’s funny, but I feel like you and I kind of end up at the same place on a lot of this after talking it out, even though we do seem to be coming at it from polar opposite starting positions, with yours being “It’s all really simple” and mine being “It’s all really complicated.”

    You asked: “If a woman runs up to you, sobbing, completely hysterical, with a black eye and busted lip, telling you that her husband beat her, would you ask her for context? Would you ask her to tell you how her husband’s actions were abusive? No. You wouldn’t. Although lately, I don’t have nearly the confidence in that answer when talking to people I don’t know that I did last week. I seriously, seriously hope you wouldn’t.”

    To answer that simple one: no, no, no. I absolutely wouldn’t. I would get her help, then probably go after her husband with any convenient baseball bat, hammer or shotgun that happened to be close by.

    “So why, when a submissive says basically the same thing, that his partner abused him, is he expected to explain how her actions were abusive? And then have his reasons questioned and doubted? To me, there’s literally no question.”

    Because he is not coming up to me sobbing, with a black eye and busted lip. The physical evidence isn’t staring you in the face and, isn’t even being claimed, and the rest of the story is sending mixed signals, In Dan’s example, the guy is saying his relationship was non-consensual, then seguing into how great it is that after an appropriate period of being controlled, manipulated and spanked, he loves his Mistress and lives to serve her. Now, one of three or four things is going on there: (1) The relationship started as abusive but now really is something he likes; (2) It never really was abuse because he has that non-consensual fetish going and feeds it by commenting on blogs about how he didn’t consent, while also talking about how much he now lives to serve, because the “non-consent” is part of the persona he has built around the fetish; (3) it was abusive in the beginning and still is but he is now so immersed in it that he doesn’t see it as abuse anymore; or (4) he has some serious emotional or psychological issues that should be addressed medically.

    The coercion aspect also just doesn’t seem equivalent to me. What happened to you and your sister was horrific. Same with the physical beating of the anonymous woman you described who runs up to me on the street. In those cases, there simply is not the physical ability to successfully resist. So, in those contexts, consent as a concept just isn’t even really in play. But, when a man is saying, “I am or was in a non-consensual FLR relationship,” chances are the physical coercion component was not in play there, so resistance or just getting up and leaving was at least physically possible. My 120 lb. wife could hit or shove me (though she hasn’t) but the reality is those things just wouldn’t hurt very much coming from her, and she doesn’t have the practical ability to overpower me. So, it’s not that I don’t think a man CAN be abused. It’s just that in the context of lifestyles where some people do get off on things like consensual non-consent and where, if something is really truly objectionable to him a man has the *physical capacity* to resist. In those contexts, the claim of non-consent isn’t self-verifying by things like the black eye and busted lip example you gave. So, if he could have left and didn’t, there has to be a back story of some sort to explain how a truly non-consensual situation was imposed on him.

    I also do think there are a shitload of people in the world–maybe most of them, in fact–who fall into that gray area I mentioned in my last comment in which they just don’t like taking responsibility for their choices. It’s just easier to say, “I didn’t have a choice” or “she made me do it” in all sorts of situations, where they kind of sort of did have some choice to make. I had a situation at work last year that I won’t go into because it requires a lot of background and isn’t directly on point, but it just hammered home to me how many mature, experienced, highly-educated professionals just really truly want to be lead and fucking hate being responsible or accountable for anything.

    But, that is absolutely, totally, and in every conceivable way different from the situations you described with yourself, your sister and your friend. Children are practically, ethically, morally and legally incapable of consenting to anything remotely like that. Period.

    I don’t disagree with you that both my parents were abusers, but I do see the culpability as different. Whatever was going on with her had some kind of fucked up physical/psychological component that today probably would be diagnosed as some kind of manic-depressive disorder or something like that. That she could literally be a thoroughly normal, nice, caring woman one day and a complete raging psycho out of Mommy Dearest the next. Unfortunately, it was a time and place where you couldn’t book a psychiatrist session at your local Wal-Mart. But, while she had an ability to figure out exactly what buttons to push, he still let her push them and reacted in a way that just is not acceptable, ever. But, I began this entry saying “it’s all complicated” and I’ll end it the same way. The common wisdom in Domestic Violence circles is abusers can’t change, but my parents eventually went on to stop about 90% of their shit. They are never going to be Ward and June Cleaver, but the physical abuse did stop completely, and they both learned to act like real adults. It just took them a couple of decades longer than it takes most people.

    • Domina Jen says:

      Oh I absolutely believe that abusers can change, if they want to. It’s not easy, and it’s not comfortable, and it often requires breaking a pattern that started long before they were even born. The weak can’t do it (and admittedly, most abusers seem to be weak people), but I know for a fact that it can be done.

      We’ll just have to disagree on whether or not physical abuse is worse than psychological. To me, physical abuse is basically nothing compared to the psychological. I’d take that ten times out of ten. And I’ve been in enough people’s minds to truly understand the absolutely unreal kind of damage that can be done. Literally, I don’t have the words to accurately express just how thoroughly (and sometimes irrevocably) you can destroy someone.

      And I still don’t agree with the notion that men don’t seem to have the right to feel helpless because they’re bigger and stronger than their female abuser. I’ve seen enough men being beaten nonconsensually by a woman, and every time I’ve seen it, the man has either walked away/held her down/hit back/etc, or, more often (six times, off the top of my head. 4 in a D/s relationship — 3 abused by me) the defense mechanism is the same. They’re overwhelmed, they’re scared, they don’t know what to do. Even vanilla men, in a relationship where they’re not serving a Dominant woman.

      So they bring their hands up to protect their face, they turn away, they sink down, they try to make themselves smaller, they cower and just take the beating. And these aren’t small or weak men. But I think part of it is that it’s been so thoroughly beaten into every man’s head that any physical aggression toward a woman is abusive, they just don’t know how to make it stop.

      Or maybe it’s a continuation of a pattern of abuse, and the man is already broken, and doesn’t have a desire to fight back. Maybe his thought process is to just wait her out, and then do whatever it takes to lessen the chances of being hit again.

      Maybe he believes he doesn’t deserve any better. Maybe he doesn’t realize that there are people who can love without possessing, people who can express anger or frustration without getting violent.

      Maybe, for either financial reasons or something else, they can’t leave. Maybe they’re too scared to.

      One of the most insensitive and dickish things you can say to a female victim of domestic abuse is, if not THE most insensitive and dickish thing, is “Why don’t you just leave?” Literally, there’s no excuse for anyone to be that ignorant, to say that to someone who already feels like they have no control.

      And it’s the same for a male victim of abuse. The thought processes between male and female victims are identical. The same reasons that a female feels overwhelmed, afraid, powerless, and hopeless, are the reasons that a male feels the same way.

      “Why don’t you just leave? You’re bigger and stronger.” That’s just not an acceptable thing to say. It’s not an acceptable thing to think. And really, the only answer I can give as to why it’s not acceptable is simply that you were never a victim of that kind of abuse, so you don’t understand what happens to someone’s mind when it happens.

      There was nothing in Dan’s example that gave me the impression that the gentleman eventually enjoyed and wanted the relationship, but again, I couldn’t find the conversation itself, and if that’s the case, there are a number of possibilities that jump to mind that could explain the switch in his mind. But without seeing the conversation, or talking to that man, there’s no way I can tell for sure, and to be completely honest, I’m not interested in speculating.

      So we have different opinions, and while it still bothers me a bit to discover that the rest of the world has a much more lax definition of abuse, and that there exists a tendency to “rate” abuse, and judge that certain “kinds” of abuse are somehow “less unacceptable” than others, it’s apparent that I’m not going to change your mind, and no one will ever be able to change mine.

      To me, abuse is abuse is abuse. And all of it is wrong. Trying to continue explaining why it’s wrong, during this particular month of my life, is opening up a bunch of things I prefer not having opened up. Thank you for the conversation, and explaining where you’re coming from. But I’m going to need to take a break from this subject for a little while.

  7. throw away says:

    it is sorry it is ok it didn’t read everything. it is happy. how does it get it’s post erased. can it erase post please

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