Friday, May 7, 2010

Good info to share

I've been volunteering at a women's shelter in town, and in their informational materials they had some great resources regarding abuse/assault in queer relationships. They also had a list of warning signs and myths about abuse in BDSM relationships, which I thought I'd share here. This comes from the Survivor-Centered Advocacy for Trans Survivors of Violence at the FORGE Forward 2007 Conference.

Abuse is not S/M and S/M is not abuse
Whether you are topping, bottoming, or both, these are some questions to ask yourself:
  • Is your partner turned on by violating your limits or terms?
  • Does your partner not use a safeword, and then later say you violated their limits?
  • Does your partner claim to know more about your s/m "energy" than you do?
  • Does your partner try to extend a dynamic outside of a scene without your consent?
  • Does your partner expect you to read their mind about what they want?
  • Does your partner refuse to talk about what felt wrong or confusing to you about a scene?
  • Does your partner negotiate while in role when you haven't agreed to do that?
  • Do you feel like you're playing because you have to?
  • Does your partner involve others in your scenes without asking?
  • Does your partner say you pushed them too far even though you stayed within the limits you negotiated?
  • Does your partner humiliate you by talking about your play in public without your consent?
  • Does your partner use arousal or orgasm as evidence of consent?
  • Do you feel fear or dread about ending a scene or setting a limit?
  • Does your partner say you're not "real" for wanting to switch, or do they pressure you into switching?
  • Are you confused about when a scene begins and ends?
  • Do you feel that if you could just play better, be hotter or give/take more, everything would be okay?
  • Does your partner use scenes to suppress or cover up anger and frustration?
S/M play is consensual; abuse is not consensual.
S/M play is negotiated and agreed upon ahead of time; abuse is not negotiated.
S/M has responsible limits and safety rules; abuse has no rules or limits and there are no safewords.
S/M is fun, erotic and loving; abuse is manipulative, selfish, and hurtful.
S/M play is enjoyable by both; victims do not enjoy abuse.
S/M play can be stopped by either partner at any time; abuse cannot be stopped by the victim.
Players exchange power in agreed-upon roles with negotiated boundaries; abusers force control using non-consensual manipulation and violence.
S/M creates a bond of trust; abuse destroys trust.

Adapted from the Northwest Network, 2001
So yeah. Spread this around, if you like. Awareness is the first (and arguably most important) tool in fighting and stopping abuse, no matter what community it occurs in.

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