I feel like I have “Abuse Me” written across my forehead! Why does this keep happening to me?
Over the years I’ve lost track of how many people have asked me that question.
The first time an individual is victimized, they often take on the responsibility for the abuse. This can be a way for a victim to reclaim control. It is reassuring to believe that changing habits, behaviors, or interactions will ensure that the abuse will not reoccur.
When someone is victimized a second or third time (or more), research shows they are even more likely to feel guilt and shame and to judge themselves harshly. Unfortunately, they are not alone. Family, friends, professionals, and the media often respond to revictimized people with far more judgment than compassion.
Saints, sinners, heroes, villains, the beautiful, the scarred, disciplined, undisciplined, strong, weak, and people of every other type have been victimized. Abuse, whether it is a single or a repeated event, is not elicited by victims; it is perpetrated against them by an offender.
A traumatizing abuse experience will often leave a victim in severe emotional and psychological distress, and sometimes in physical pain. The resulting symptoms, including those of post-traumaticstress disorder (PTSD), are attempts by the body, mind, and emotions to regain stability and to reduce this extreme distress. Ironically, defensive responses can place the victim at greater “risk for later interpersonal trauma.” (Jaffe et al. 2019) These trauma symptoms include: dissociation, alcohol and substance abuse, distorted perceptions, low self-esteem, risky behaviors, cognitive accommodation to on-going violence, learned helplessness or passivity in the face of danger, willingness to tolerate maltreatment in order to avoid abandonment, adaptation to socioeconomic stressors and discrimination, (Briere, 2019) increased irritability and anger. (Jaffe, et al. 2019)
Facts, provided by research, can serve as instruments of kindness.
Jaffe, et al. (2019) stated it succinctly: “The most consistent predictor of future trauma exposure is a history of prior trauma exposure.” A child who is abused is at a significantly higher risk of being revictimized in adolescence and/or adulthood. (Aakvaag, et al., 2019; Zamir, et al., 2018)
These facts, established by scientific research and supported nearly unanimously by experts across the fields of mental health and the social sciences, provide a strong rebuttal to knee-jerk reactions that place blame for revictimization on the innate characteristics of individual victims.
The field of psychology has gone through its own evolution in understanding revictimization. In 1920 Freud published Beyond the Pleasure Principle, in which he identified repetition compulsion as a repeating and reliving of painful experiences in lieu of holding them in memory. (Zamir, et al. 2018) This theory, part of Freud’s developing understanding of human instinct, when applied more recently to revictimization, places the bulk of responsibility squarely on the psyche of the victim.
As the understanding of trauma and PTSD developed in the field, via both research and practice, new theories of revictimization developed based on the impact of an original trauma on a repeatedly abused person.
The facts establish that when a person is sexually assaulted multiple times or in several domestic violence relationships, the cause of that pattern is not some underlying masochism, a characterological failing, or any other personal flaw. All abuse, original and subsequent, is due to the actions of offenders. A victim’s vulnerability to revictimization is often directly related to the impact of inflicted trauma.
A central component to the theoretical models of revictimization, developed in the 1980s and 1990s, was the role of dissociation as a risk factor. (Zamir, et al., 2018)
Dissociation is a defense mechanism that protects the individual by breaking up consciousness to avoid being overwhelmed by an experience, memory, or sensation. This fragmenting can be as commonplace as distraction or daydreaming, or it can manifest more problematically as emotional detachment, numbing, or out-of-body experiences.
Disassociation may provide relief from distress, but when it develops into a behavioral pattern, outlasting the threat of the immediate abuse, it leaves the person increasingly vulnerable. They miss cues of danger and have a disrupted, discontinuous experience of themselves and their life.
Guilt and shame are two distinct, common remnants of having been victimized. While guilt involves the belief that one “should have thought, felt, or acted differently,” shame is a “painful emotion related to beliefs about threats to one’s social position, including devaluation and rejection.” (Aakvaag et al., 2018)
Guilt can increase the risk of revictimization by focusing our attention, in an exaggerated manner, on our own thoughts and feelings, leaving us vulnerable to missing external cues of danger.
Shame often leads to social withdrawal and isolation. (Aakvaag et al., 2018) Decreasing our connections to others increases our vulnerability because while we may be avoiding people likely to cause us harm, we are also losing access to those who would provide protection, support, an increased sense of personal worth, and the expectation of being well-treated.
Shame is strongly correlated with mental health problems in general and with many PTSD symptoms specifically. The Aakvaag et al. findings suggest that shame may be central to the causal link that earlier studies found between mental illness and revictimization.
Kindness and compassion demand that we consistently hold a conscious place for the role of the abuser in any dialogue with or about victims. Experience has taught me that when an abuser is forgotten, the victim is implicitly left to absorb responsibility for the abusive acts and the resulting conditions, thereby increasing the victim’s feelings of both guilt and shame. This pattern is all the more common when the offender is a loved one, providing further motivation for a victim (child or adult), to absorb responsibility for the actions and patterns of the other in an attempt to rescue a crucial, valued relationship.
Source: Dave Lowe/Unsplash
A person who has been victimized needs to heal from the injuries of abuse. Family, friends, support networks, medical, and mental health professionals should be united in promoting that healing for the purpose of restoring health and wellness. A secondary benefit of compassion is the reduction of trauma symptoms, hence a decrease in vulnerability to revictimization.
Jaffe, A. E., DiLillo, D., Gratz, K.L., Messman-Moore, T.L. (2019). Risk for revictimization following interpersonal and noninterpersonal trauma: Clarifying the role of posttraumatic stress symptoms and trauma-related cognitions. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 32, 42-55.
Briere, J. (2019). Treating Risky and Compulsive Behavior in Trauma Survivors. New York: The Guilford Press.
Aakvaag, H. F., Thoreson, S., Strom, I. F., Myhre, M., Hjemdal, O. K. (2019). Shame predicts revictimization in victims of childhood violence: A prospective study of a general Norwegian population sample. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, Vol 11, No. 1, 43-50.
Zamir, O., Szepsenwol, O., Englund, M. M., Simpson, J. A. (2018). The role of dissociation in revictimization across the lifespan: A 32-year prospective study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 79, 144-153.
Gay, P. (1988). Freud: A Life for Our Time. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.Morereferences
French porn industry in turmoil following shocking revelations of abuse • FRANCE 24 English
The French porn industry is facing its moment of reckoning. A two-year police investigation has blown the lid on widespread abuse of vulnerable women. A Senate report is now aiming to improve conditions by bringing about stricter controls. In this show, we meet three women who are trying to change the way the X-rated industry in France operates.
Read article here‘Hell behind the scenes’: French Senate blasts porn industry after abuse scandal
A rape investigation targeting a prominent French pornography website is prompting actresses to disclose their own experiences of abuse, a moment of reckoning for an industry where speaking out has long been taboo.
Prosecutors said last month that Jacquie and Michel, which bills itself as a hub for “amateur” porn videos, and other sites had been under investigation since July after feminist groups collected testimonies from several women.
Actresses warned that users should be aware that the concept of “amateur” porn is a misnomer and belies the experiences that performers may have had to endure.
“Those who might be tempted need to know that they abuse women,” Estelle, who asked that her real name not be published, told AFP.
She is one of a few dozen women, according to lawyers and women’s associations, who have contacted lawyers since the inquiry was opened.
Estelle said that she was 22 when she set her sights on becoming a “star” for France’s leading porn production company, Dorcel.
Unable to get a break, however, she started making videos with smaller producers, many of which were shown on Jacquie and Michel.
The experience turned into a nightmare.
One director forced her to accept certain scenes ― despite her objections ― that left her in intense pain for several days.
“He said, ‘She’s crying because she’s not used to it. Stop crying, we can’t sell that ― Smile!'” Estelle recalled, saying she was paid 250 euros ($290).
She said that she was forced to perform without a condom with a man who had lied about having tested negative for a sexually-transmitted disease but in fact had a herpes infection.
“They pay you hardly anything for doing scenes that you’ve never said ‘yes’ to.”
– Amateur acts? –
Other women told AFP about directors who suddenly demanded additional sex acts they had not been warned about in advance.
But Marion Lew, 32, who documents her adult film career on Twitter, said: “The legal system has a very difficult time recognising sexual assault.”
Additionally many women hope to force Jacquie and Michel and other sites to remove their videos, arguing they were unaware that they would be available permanently.
“Many women complain first about the images, which have the most immediate impact on their lives, and initially play down the serious violence they have suffered,” said Lorraine Questiaux, a lawyer for the Mouvement du Nid, an anti-prostitution group.
Jacquie and Michel has denied any wrongdoing, saying it only distributes films and is not responsible for how they are made.
But it has promised to stop working with anyone convicted of rape or other crimes.
Many actors and actresses scoff at the claim, saying the site effectively requires directors to meet certain aesthetic standards.
“We really need to stop with this idea of ‘amateur porn’,” said Tony Caliano, who has acted in X-rated films for the past 10 years.
“The women are always paid, and the idea is to make you think the girl next door is ready to fool around,” he said.
He indicated however that the women were not likely to have long-term “professional” careers either.
“Jacquie and Michel’s business model is based on always having a new actress,” he added.
“The average girl who gets into the industry will do just 15 or 20 scenes, over three or four months.”
As part of an investigation on the “French Bukkake” platform, an actor is accused of human trafficking in an organized gang and gang rape.
The investigation into the “French Bukkake” pornographic video platform is progressing. An actor was indicted for trafficking in human beings in an organized gang and gang rape to the detriment of two victims. According to a judicial source, which confirmed information from BFMTV, this 39-year-old man was placed under judicial supervision. This actor was arrested on Monday January 23, said a source familiar with the matter.
This is Tony Caliano, said several sources familiar with the matter. On the IAFD reference site, he appears as an actor in the credits of at least 600 pornographic productions between 2011 and 2021, including many productions of “Jacquie et Michel” and a certain number of Marc Dorcel. After the first crackdown in this investigation, in October 2020, he told the weekly Marianne that the actors were “equally responsible for the abuses of the producers”. “By saying nothing, by not speaking with the actress of the scene, they condone what is happening,” he added.
At least 17 people – actors, directors, producers – have already been indicted in this judicial investigation opened in October 2020 for aggravated human trafficking, gang rape or even aggravated pimping. More than forty victims have joined as civil parties, as well as associations.
Suspicions of pimping
According to elements of the investigation consulted by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the platform of “Pascal OP” identified under the name of “French Bukkake”, named after a sexual practice, first attracted attention of investigators: a subscription allowed customers to participate in priority to these collective ejaculations [bukkake], with places reserved for sessions without condoms. This system, aimed at making individuals pay in exchange for organized sexual relations, has fueled suspicions of pimping in the eyes of the courts.
According to the source familiar with the matter, the investigation is coming to an end and should be closed “by the end of the first quarter”.
The French porn industry has been in the spotlight for two years: another survey carried out in Paris since July 2020 targets “Jacquie et Michel”, the embodiment in France of amateur porn and tricolor pillar of this industry. Michel Piron, the site’s founder, was indicted in June for complicity in rape and human trafficking in an organized gang. Three other men are also prosecuted in this judicial investigation also opened for aggravated pimping or rape with torture and act of barbarism.
DEMOLITION PORNOGRAPHY, ARE YOU WATCHING? SHE EXCITES YOU? YOU REVOLT?
The damning testimonies of mistreated actresses on French porn sets are multiplying following the investigation of Le Monde last September revealing the degrading practices of the “French bukkake” site and the indictment of Michel Piron, the director of Jacquie et Michel , one of the biggest French broadcasters of X, as part of an investigation by the first judicial police district of Paris for “rape and aggravated rape”, “pimping”, “trafficking in human beings” and “forcible confinement” .
These violent practices do not date from today. They began in the early 2000s when porn sites without means and without any rules multiplied on the Internet, practicing an escalation in sexual violence in order to stand out from classic X productions and attract an increasingly public. jaded, in search of new thrills. This is how “ ultra-hard” sub-genres appeared such as “gonzo ”, “ demolition ”, “ throat gagger ” , “ bukkake ” (“splatter” of sperm together, from Japan ), etc. In 2007, in Gang Bang, an investigation into demolition pornography(Threshold, coll Non Conforme), I had given the floor to several actresses revolted by what they had endured and investigated this ultra hard cinema.
At the time, I was shocked by the arrival of these films of extreme violence, wondering how spectators could endure such scenes of degradation of “actresses” without protesting or being indignant – and paying for their subscribe to it. I then understood that this porn was entering a new phase: it appealed to the sadism of the spectators, to their excitement in front of the sufferings inflicted live, in a gonzo style , on young women. He was selling them a cruel and humiliating “gonzo” reality show to get them hard – the justification being that it was “cinema” not debasement or filmed violence. To find myself the ” next door witness”, the “bystander” of these scenes appealed to me. At the time, a declared intermittent amateur of X, I wrote this book not to be an accomplice. Here are some excerpts – they testify to how long it has been since porn has gone off the rails…
January 2006. Random click on the first “Demolition Porn” site. On the first pages, a few advertising pitches flash: ” THROAT GAGGER ” (Gagged throat), “C’ IS DEMOLITION”. Films are sold there individually or by monthly subscription. Click on a photo. On the screen comes “Natacha”, a frail blonde peroxide in cheap underwear. High heels, thong, silicone mouth. A pretty, pale, slender girl, 20 years old at the drop of a hat. With a small smile, she falls to her knees on the tiled floor in front of a pot-bellied man in socks, whose face we will never see. Immediately the guy grabs her by the hair, opens her mouth with five fingers, spits in her, yelling “Bitch! (Bitch!). The young woman jumps. It’s obviously a bad surprise for her. She may be playing, but nothing is less certain. The man starts again, fiddles with his lips, spits on them, “Bitch! », Grabs her hair, and shoves his whole cock in her throat. Direct. Already, he slaps deep in her face.
Natacha, “18 years old” according to a cartridge that appeared on the screen, emits a kind of liquid squeak, while her nose crashes into the guy’s stomach. Right away, I wonder why I’m watching this. I hate this guy, what he does. My “masculine gaze”, although accustomed to twenty years of erotic magazines and porn films, my “male gaze” (my eye desiring- objectifying the body of a woman spotted by the psychoanalyst Laura Mulvey) does not support the stage. It’s very violent. The big guy blocks Natacha’s face, preventing her from freeing herself. She tries to push him away with her hands. He pushes them away violently, yelling “Without hands, bitch! (No hands, bitch!), and goes back to dabbing it deep in her throat. It makes the funny noise, kind of siphon disgorging. Natacha chokes, rolling wide eyes. She has a spasm of rejection, saliva overflows from her mouth, she vomits.
I stop the movie. I can’t stand what I see. The brutality of the man, the twisted face of the young woman triggered in me an intense emotion of disgust and anger. There is absorption in seeing, incorporation. I don’t want that image in me. Get used to it. Already, I know that it will be difficult to forget. I tell myself that the scene, the filmmaker trapped me. They’ve managed to trigger such a strong, traumatic feeling in me that basically they’re questioning me about what I’m looking for in porn. Isn’t that a strong visual sensation? Isn’t this shock, this disgust, this rejection a form of excitement? Perhaps the film traps me, what I believe to be real is only cinema intended to mobilize my sadism – if it exists?
I click again. It starts again. The fat man hits hard down Natacha’s throat. She drools continuously. She is visibly choking. Suddenly, she pulls away, her head falls back. This time, I’m sure, I see in the hollow of her eyes, in her frantic gestures to wipe himself, revulsion, fear, suffering. She does not play, she endures, she suffers. She hadn’t expected such brutality. She looks groggy. She looks at the guy, visibly distressed, wondering what’s next. Here we go again. Throat gagger. Natacha is suffocating, her eyes go white, she pulls away, shaking. The man drags her like a sack towards a sofa, throws her there, goes back to beating her full face. So he pinches her nose to block the air flow. She rolls her injected eyes. The man makes it last. Natacha hiccups, her gaze fails…
A rustle on the screen, the image jumped visibly. Here is Natacha again planted full throat by the big anonymous. It’s obvious. Her convulsion, her contortions were cut in the editing. The spectator barely had time to notice the vomiting. But we had time to understand. She’s not pretending, Natacha. She does not play violence, she takes it. She did not pretend to return, she pukes for real. The worst happens behind the scenes, between two clashes of images.
I have the feeling of finding myself in a situation of non-assistance to anyone in danger. I am outraged that it is possible to inflict such violence on a woman to shoot an X movie. A scene of violence inflicted and suffered remains violence inflicted and suffered, even under the acronym X. Everyone has already tried to to be surrendered with just a finger on the glottis, everyone knows how Natacha feels. I now understand the meaning of the title block: ” THIS IS DEMOLITION !” and flashing calls announcing to the audience, ” All of our bitches are getting fucked in the throat. ” GUARANTEED ! _ “. On the internet, we’ve gone beyond the “hard” (the hard fuck), we’ve entered some sites in the demolition live. In the imposed suffering – this, without any of the customary manners and precautions of sadomasochistic cinema, with its experts in bondage and whipping, its rituals, its specialized and seasoned actresses (SM, BDSM also increasingly extreme, less and less ritualized, more and more close to the aggression of unfortunates).
Natacha is an anonymous non-rank of this unbridled porn, I will see her again on another video, withered, extinguished. She does not produce a signed “performance” or a provocative film, she does not degrade herself in complete freedom to experience “the extreme sensation of the moment” like an “actionist” artist or the performer Chris Burden; nor is she a hardcore professional, one of those overstrained actresses supporting onslaughts of body-built athletes who rest between two sessions, stopping the game when they get exhausted. She is not a respected star on a set like the French actress Ovidie who refused all sodomy and demanded the wearing of a condom. She doesn’t have the fame of an “X star” who does it several times with each hard scene, before being photographed in lingerie for the specialized press and exhibited at the “Hot d’or”. It is not crossed by the “paradox of the actor” according to Diderot, who knows very well that he is not the character he is playing. She is not an actress according to the Actor’s Studio, somehow possessed by her character, who would vomit from identifying too well with him. She does not embody a “demanding role”.
Natacha suffers the situation. She was seized with several reflex spasms. She vomits during a choking. She couldn’t bear – accepted – the scene. We can only ask the question. What happened during the cut? What about the balance of power between her and the production, her consent and her acceptance, off-screen? Natacha, 18, is unknown to a website among hundreds of other videos presented under the theme “throat gagger”, with dozens of other young women, Vera, Candy, Kinky, only first names, never people, all 18 or 20, come to be abused, humiliated and forced down their throats until they vomit, by faceless guys – a real internet mania today, the “throat gagger”, very trendy.
What happened between the two scenes, during the frame jump? We see nothing behind the scenes of gonzo and the cinema of demolition and “choking throats”. We don’t know anything about ultra-hard off-screen. How is the pornography of pornography? Just looking at Natacha for a single minute portends fierce exploitation.
What does “Carla” (her name has been changed), one of the stars of the X media scene for 5 years, guest on television, making the cover of hard magazines say about it? She is 24 years old, but her black, impassive eyes reveal a strong personality. Her fan club still exists, although today Carla prefers erotic photography and striptease shows. She talks calmly, lucidly, about her past as a hardcore actress. She is proud of what she has done – ” I assume ” – as an underground rock star who has explored where no one goes, she knows what she gives when she releases “Naomi”, her invented character on the sets, “Naomi” which ignites the film. What does Carla think of the “throat gagger”?
“It’s a very ’trash’ practice. It can cause choking and vomiting. As far as I’m concerned, I caught a big bruise on my lips. Gonzo comes from the United States, it’s very violent “hardcore”. In Europe, directors are now doing it in succession, with girls from the East. They follow fashion. You should know that many porn directors have shitty tastes! They are often embittered and failed filmmakers. They love silicone blondes, their approach to sex is minimalist. For them, the guys must be a hit like nags and the girls scream. It’s a shame ! In gonzo, the scenes are shot very quickly, without camera movement, like reporting, always very violent. No games, no dialogue, no fantasy. Anything that would support the excitement,would enrich the sexual atmosphere, is evacuated. When I started, at 20, if I had seen the gonzo films, I would never have done porn. »
Now let’s listen to Raffaëlla Anderson. She played one of the first two roles in the thriller by novelist Virginie Despentes, Baise-moi ( 2000) where two young women kill men with the rage of despair, humiliate them – as revenge after their rape. Before, she shot hardcore X movies. She was the first actress to lift the omerta on certain degrading practices of pornography in her book Hard (Grasset, 2001)). She tells the backstage of several violent filming, describes distressing sessions with “double fist” – two fists in sex scenes that evoke torture. Interviewed in January 2002 in the magazine Blast #4 , she declared: “When I think back to those scenes, it’s simple, I could never watch them in movies, I know how much the girl must suffer! I’ve seen a lot of them bleed, cry. Girls who are 18, super pretty, models. A real mess. They get slaughtered. “She further specified:” At the end of the scene, we told them: “We are going to put a little Biafine on you and tomorrow it will come back on its own!” [Biafine is used for the treatment of second degree burns]. Or: “Okay, you can go wash up… and tonight you sleep with so-and-so!” What do I think of it ? How bad. A woman is no longer even a woman. It’s not even a hole anymore. It doesn’t even have that value. »
The throat gagger. A doctor to whom I showed these films, who treats porn actresses, will explain to me that in addition to the pain, an untrained person can choke during a “deep throat” by pushing saliva back into their bronchi. It can be deadly. Nerves responsible for creating a rejection spasm indeed line the back of the throat, near the trachea, to avoid any dangerous intromission. If your nose is blocked, the repression reflex can take place inside. According to this doctor, this has already happened in hard cinema.
Certainly, one could say that a woman who accepts being abused until she vomits, suffocates, faints, who endures such aggression out of necessity, bad luck, poverty, does so of her own free will. She freely disposes of her body, in a situation of distress, in order to survive. She gives her consent. But isn’t it under pressure behind the scenes, isn’t it forced to go further, beyond itself? Isn’t she subjected to acts of influence, threats, blackmail? And then, this violence would it be consented to – and so badly lived –, should it be tolerated, legal on the set? Should it be given as a show to embellish cinema sites? Should sexually violating, exhausting, damaging a person, making them suffer become the driving principle of a kind of reality show?
In classic X movies, actors mime sex, strike a pose, moan outraged, shout basic obscenities. It’s overplayed, we pretend while doing it, we go back to the same scene several times, we stop if it goes wrong, some expert actresses swallow boners like in the circus of sabers. But they are trained. They are getting ready. They rest between two exhibitions. It is performance, almost martial art or combat sport.The editing, the cutting, certain movie tricks, fake sperm, salacious dialogues help create the impression of a gripping scene. We are sometimes in the sexual Grand Guignol, the Barnum, even contortionist numbers. It’s professional cinema, coded, standardized, heterosexual and terribly macho, often difficult for actresses – trying. But in the internet videos of “Gang bang”, “Demolition”, “Punishment”, “Tournante”, the “Bukkake ”, the women no longer play. The guys let go, the girls endure. Hard banging, throat choking, double or triple penetration, dildos punched, fisted or fisted in the vagina. It’s very hard.
“Gonzo” ads among a hundred others: DOUBLE DROP IN A LANDFILL. These 6 brutes savagely smash a little blonde in a filthy dump! The blonde gets all her orifices bombarded by the 6 cocks! Then fuck the face, smash the pussy, fist and rip the anus wildly by 6 guys at the same time!
NO PLACE FOR THE DEJA – VU ! This blonde only likes anal DESTRUCTION and I can tell you that she is going to take a real punishment. The time has come to introduce him to MONSIEUR GODE. Ten centimeters in diameter to blow her ass off. She looks a little perplexed… The guys literally impale her on it without her having time to understand and force her to get in as hard as she can. She has her ass well demolished. A veritable deluge of anal pounding ensues.
FIRST CAST. Jenny, a 23-year-old Swedish bombshell, is starting to dildo herself just to show that she can fit 40 CM OF DILDO! Once ready, a porn star gives him a deep throat for 5 GOOD MINUTES! If you want to save Jenny, type 1. Otherwise just download this excellent video.
In these films, beyond the standard sexual language of the ad – “I fucked her”, “I blew her”, all this male phantasmagoria, these popular tocsin words of sex – everything happens as indicated. It’s brutal. of the ship. Low budget. No time to take precautions. A camcorder. A few static shots. A young woman harassed by the video. Some sequences recall this dark scene from the film The important thing is to love by Andrei Zulawski, where a tyrannical old mafia, wearing a disturbing strap-on, attacks a drug-addicted teenager. He is going to spin a clandestine reel with her. The girl staggers, we understand that he is going to hurt her, torture her. Zulawski shows us the possible cruelty of porn cinema. He is not mistaken.
It seems to me that if I witnessed a scene of “demolition” in real life, I would intervene. I wouldn’t let these men. I would not behave like a “voyeur”. Besides, a lot of my enraged reaction comes from there: from my inability to stop what the young woman is enduring. To have no other solution than to stop watching, not to stop the ongoing rampage. I feel like an accomplice. To be a “bystander.” A “next door witness”. This Anglo-Saxon term designates a person in spite of himself in the presence of unacceptable violence, sexual assault, abuse of power, and who is indignant. Reacts. The bystander is a neighbour, a passing spectator, a civilian, a colleague, or even a doctor, a nurse, a civil servant who witnesses a war crime, a street attack, a rape, a sexual harassment, an abuse of power. It happens in front of him, at the bottom of his house. He is concussed. So the bystander refuses to be silent, decides to act, to intervene in one way or another. To testify. He wants to “do something”. Let the filth be known. So he comes out of his reserve. He protests. He is ringing the alarm bell. He sounds the alarm. He speaks. He cannot be silent.
I show these films to a writer friend who like me likes cool porn. I need to hear a woman’s point of view on what ultra-hard “actresses” can feel. She immediately points out to me that the girls spit and drool a lot in the “throat smash” movies. In these scenes, always, at the start, they spit on the penis, smear it with saliva. They seem to be drooling with envy, for good, to suck it, while no doubt they moisten it to make the intromission more bearable. The hardest thing to bear, deciphers my friend, is when the blows in the throat force them to make spit clots. It’s as if they ” wet ” through their mouths, “enjoy being choked“, while it is a reflex drool, reactions of rejection. This is what frightens: they vomit, we are made to believe that they enjoy. It is a terrible lie. A cinematic falsehood.
We move forward in “freeze frames”. At first a certain Amber endures the suffocation, blows in the trachea, between two bizarre cries she distributes little automatic smiles. She is paid for that, to look good, to spit, to sink, to collect. Very quickly, the situation deteriorates. The guys force themselves, go deeper, stay longer, take turns, while the others hit her face with their penises, slap her, plug her nose. They have fun making breaking her, suffocating her longer, triggering spasms of disgust. They warm up between them, we hear them. They take advantage of the fact that she has to stay there, to finish the film, to break her resistance. Then we both understand. This is the purpose of the show. Humiliate her. Hurt her. Let it show on the screen. That the viewer has a hard-on out of sadism. Let him see it’s for real. It’s a reality show of suffering, live submission.
In mainstream porn reality show, proven by ‘cum facials’finals (the actor has enjoyed for real), the spectators fantasize that they undertake the actresses who give it to each other on the screen, but that remains a fantasy. Of mental masturbation, accompanying the physical. In the long run, this fantasy is exhausted, the enjoyment remaining visual, scopic: onanism. So the ultra-hard thinks he has found a way to maintain the fantasy excitement of solitaire. He films the degradation of the actress. Her jolts, her reflex reactions to violence, to suffocation, to blows, to dildos. Her humiliation proves that the “hardeur”, with whom the spectator identifies himself, enjoys her for good, takes advantage of her. Its defeat must burst the screen, pierce the virtual. It’s a barbaric reality show. Sadism without a masochist.
What is most disturbing in this logic of the hardcore reality show where the victim offers herself to the pornstar is her virtuality – the dilution of violence in the hollow of Internet screens, throughout videos where pixelated women – the same scene of “choked throat” shown in the theater, with the people in flesh and cries, would be unbearable, the spectators would intervene. Their jolts and sufferings have become electromagnetic chimeras. Derealized images. We have reached the total absorption of the traumatic real by the virtual, by the total screen – what the philosopher Jean Baudrillard calls “the perfect crime “. The pornstar-suffocator and his victim have become “actors” in a degrading reality show where violence itself is simultaneously proven, shown, tracked, sought… and banished, virtualized – and therefore accepted. that’s what it takes to get the sadistic onanist to subscribe to VOD services.
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According to information from BFMTV, revealed this Friday, January 27, a new pornographic actor was indicted as part of the investigation in Paris on the “French Bukkake” video platform for “rape in meetings” and “human trafficking”. human beings in an organized gang”.
New twist in the investigation targeting the “French Bukkake” video platform. A new pornographic actor was indicted this week for “rape in meetings” and “trafficking in human beings in an organized gang” , tells us this Friday, January 27, Vincent Vantighem, journalist at BFMTV. “A week ago, he published his videos on his social networks. But last Monday, he was arrested and finally indicted and released under judicial supervision, “ he said on Twitter.
Vincent Vantighem: [Info @BFMTV] #FrenchBukkake : Ouverte il y a plus de deux ans, l’instruction du dossier “French Bukkake” continue d’avancer. Cette semaine, un nouvel acteur porno français a été mis en examen pour “viols en réunion” et “traite des êtres humains en bande organisée”.
Last November, Guillaume F., – known in the community under the pseudonym “Rick Angel” and former technical adviser to Michèle Alliot-Marie at the Ministry of the Interior in 2008 – was also indicted for “trafficking in human beings human beings in an organized gang” . On the other hand, he was placed under the intermediate status of assisted witness for rape, which means that the investigating judge considered that he had not gathered at this stage the serious or concordant evidence necessary to initiate proceedings for this qualification. They are now 18 individuals – actors, producers, directors – implicated in this case. More than forty victims have joined as civil parties, as well as associations.
SECTOR OVERTAKEN BY BUSINESS
According to elements of the survey consulted, the platform of “Pascal OP” identified under the name of “French Bukkake”, named after a sexual practice, first attracted the attention of investigators: a subscription allowed customers to participate in priority to these collective ejaculations, with places reserved for sessions without condoms. This system, aimed at making individuals pay in exchange for organized sexual relations, has fueled suspicions of pimping in the eyes of the courts.
The French porn industry has been in the spotlight for two years: another survey carried out in Paris since July 2020 targets “Jacquie et Michel”, the embodiment in France of amateur porn and tricolor pillar of this industry. In June, four men, including the founder of the site, Michel Piron, were indicted in an open judicial investigation, in particular for aggravated pimping, trafficking in human beings in an organized gang, rape with torture and acts of barbarism.
Since Jeroen van der Klis of BizarreDesign and Bob Roos (not his real last name) of the RopeMarks brand have written about me on Facebook, I feel it’s time for me to write about my side of the story.
(Scroll down to read Jeroen & Bob’s texts about me and other additional information)
Jeroen I want to let you know that it isn’t personal that I’ve requested content removal. We always had friendly communication in the past. I’ve send you an email in which I’ve asked for all content depicting me to be removed from your websites and social media accounts, just like I have asked other people the same question. Me-Chiel, Kaskuyken and CarmineWorx have all removed the content immediately after I’ve asked them, they all worked with me to remove the content from their websites and social media accounts, without any problems.
After your first reply to my email you haven’t responded anymore, which ended the conversation about the content removal, even though I’ve asked you via email to remove the content again and again. Since you didn’t respond to my emails I’ve asked you to remove the content on Twitter by writing a comment under each tweet depicting me (Just like I have asked other accounts who share content depicting me to remove their tweets), which you have also ignored. That is why I started the process of reporting all tweets depicting me or referring to me. Which eventually led to Twitter blocking your account.
It’s important that you understand that there is not much else that I can do when an uploader refuses to remove the content. The only thing that is left for me to do is to report the content. Content that is online without my consent from the moment I first requested content removal by email or otherwise. After this request has been received and responded to, the uploader is aware that I have withdrawn my consent and therefore the content that is still on the internet is shared without my consent. The other option for me is to contact my lawyer which isn’t something that I want to do if I don’t think it is necessary.
Bob/RopeMarks, you write that there is a lot wrong with me, “more than I have let on to show”, you say that I am “too chicken” to confront my “collaborators” yet as you can see in my previous message to Jeroen is that I have contacted many people that I’ve “collaborated” with.
You say that there is a lot wrong with me, more than you thought at first, which shows that you were aware that I have had problems already when we first started collaborating. Before we made content together I have already been through some very harmfull events in my life and I was already in contact with people who have mislead me for years and who have turned out the be very harmfull to me during the time that we were “collaborating”. Results of these harmfull events were visible as seen in the scars on my body, they were visible to you and anyone else I’ve worked with and everyone who has seen the content that we have made. At the time I wasn’t aware of the way some of these people have negatively influenced me and I wasn’t aware of how far their abuse would go but I am fully aware of what has happened now.
All the signs of abuse were already there when we first started collaborating, yet you offered me a contract which basically stated that I give up my rights to you and to use the content for commerial purposes, without any financial compensation. During the time that we collaborated I believed that we were friends and we never spoke about the contract again. Making content for free for one or a few times doesn’t really strike me as odd but we have made a large amount of content, “as friends” content which you have been able to make money off for many years. The contract has many contradictons and doesn’t seem to be a legally binding document. I’ve also had contracts with some other producers who have removed the content depicting me after my request.
You were aware that I have wanted to build my own website from the beginning, in order to have more autonomity. I’ve come across a few people who have wanted to “help” me build my website but I sensed that they wanted to exploit me in some way. During the beginning of the covid era you offered to “help” me with my website as a friend and I accepted and trusted you. Just like I trusted you when making the extreme content that we did.
The result of this “help” was a website that, before anything else, had banners on it to all your websites. You made a website that was basically an extention of your RopeMarks websites. In the stories you have written about me on your websites and social media accounts you have refered to me as the RopeMarks house slave or other similar terms. As if Arienh was an extension of your brand. While my reason for having my own website was being able to do what I wanted with my stage name, you knew this. From the moment you started to “help” me you have made it seem like having a website was very difficult, you would help me with this, “as a friend”, the website would be on your server. You basically controlled the whole website instead of me. Yes you paid me a few hundred euros over the years when some content was sold but you never gave me full transparancy of the websites finances. You said you would “help” me but I have had no autonomy or control over www.arienh.com whatsoever.
My request to you, to remove the content we made, was different than the way I approached other people. This is because I’ve began with a request to you, to take down the website www.arienh.com on December the 20th, 2021. Which on January the 20th , 2022 you redirected to a page on Clipspool.com. (Now I know you have a clipspool account as well), then on 21st of January you redirected www.arienh.com to your website. Which I at first agreed to because I believed I had no other options. This all was way before I contacted anyone else about the removal of content depicting me. Since December the 20th, 2021 you have never once asked me, or anyone contacting you in my name, what had actually happened to me. You asked how I am doing but you haven’t asked why I left the scene or anything like that. You also wrote that I was “passive aggressive”, while I was being formal and straight to the point, which I had to be to get my point across.
In our whatsapp conversation at the time I can read that you have said that you can’t and won’t give me full transparancy of www.arienh.com ’s finances (you send me a few screenshots instead), you also wrote many reasons why you couldn’t transfer the domain yet. By then it was already May 2022. I’ve repeatedly said that it is possible to transfer a domain to someone else at any time, you said I had to wait for the domain to reach the end of the contract date, which as I could read on the internet wasn’t necessary and multiple real friends have adviced me on this matter as well. And it turned out that it wasn’t necessary at all when you finally transferred www.arienh.com to me on July the 10th, 2022, more than 7 months after my first message to you about www.arienh.com. I have downloaded our full whatsapp conversation, so I can read the exact dates.
Since I’ve gained control over my own website and with everything I had to do to gain control over my own domain in mind, I have created a website with the purpose of telling a bit of my story. Which I probably would not have done if I didn’t feel mistreated by some of the people that I have “collaborated” with. Nothing on my website relates directly to you or your brand, however it does now.
After the whatsapp conversation about www.arienh.com I’ve asked help from a lawyer to get the content depicting me removed from your websites and social media accounts, because I was sure you wouldn’t agree with removing the content if I requested this by myself. The situation concerning www.arienh.com has shown me that your main interest is making money off of the content and by doing so of off me and other women who have never asked you for any financial compensation in return.
I know you haven’t paid other models because you told me many times while “collaborating” that paying the models is not something that you do. I accepted this at the time believing we were friends. Knowing that a friend would remove anything refering to me from the internet if I’d ask them, I do not consider you my friend anymore nor do I see our previous relations as friendship. Seeing you as my friend so far has been a “misinterpretation of reality’’ indeed.
The only time when I have received some money from our collaboration, other than the few hundred euros I’ve earned from www.arienh.com over the years, was when we went to do a show at the tattoo convention in Germany, both of us received financial compensation for doing the show “@tattooconventionnewgeneration on Facebook”, October the 6th, 2019. During this show you hit me with a wooden cane while being completely suspended “for the show effect”, multiple times on the same spot and so hard that it left a permanent dent in my left upper leg. I’ve told you about this but you never once said that this was something you shouldn’t have done. In my opinion, hitting a dent is someone’s leg isn’t something you do just because you want to give a crowd something spectacular to see. I’m not saying that you did this on purpose but you never once said you might have made a mistake there, even though we were “friends”. I mentioned the dent in my leg to you once when Jeroen was present, we were at his atelier. I’ve send you the photos of the dent in my leg via Whatsapp as well and you acknowledged it was visible. I’d rather not have had the money, nor the dent in my leg.
My partner has requested “@tattooconventionnewgeneration on Facebook” to remove the photos they share from the show from Facebook. You haven’t removed the links to the redirection to these photos, that you shared from their Facebook account either. At first they were very understanding but somehow the photos are still online and there hasn’t been a response from the tattoo convention anymore.
My lawyer has contacted you about removing all content depicting me, as well as the stories you’ve made up about me. She contacted you on November the 15th, 2022. What you did was remove the content from your websites. Make your social media accounts private – the content depicting me is still online on these platforms, except Twitter.
You also didn’t contact SMRevenue/Shopmaker to end the affiliate programs with third parties who showed content depicting me that was shared from your websites. You even wrote to my lawyer that you don’t have control over what third parties are sharing on their websites. When I send an email to these websites to remove the content, they often say I have to contact you, Bob, if I want the content removed. Which I already have requested through my lawyer. However some websites actually do remove the content, when I ask them. I’ve been working on getting the content removed for the past year, something which you could’ve done in days. I’ve learned that it doesn’t take long for content to disappear from the internet, even though you have claimed in an email to my lawyer that it can take a long time for content to disappear because of my search engines cache. Which also isn’t true, because a removed image will change into an icon saying “this image has been removed”, or a variation of this, which will be gone in about a week after content has been removed.
You are aware that I have been raped, that I have been violated and that the videos of this experience have been shared all over the internet, yet you share my real name on social media, by doing so you are putting me in danger. Since you haven’t asked what has happened to me you aren’t aware what my concerns are based upon, nor if my behaviour is a healthy response to the situation I am in or not. At this time I am not at liberty to disclose the full extent of the situation but you are able to read enough about the matter on my website www.arienh.com just like anyone else, to understand that my behaviour of the last 1,5 years doesn’t spring out of nowhere. Since you are not a licensed psychiatrist I also advice you not to make assumptions about another person’s mental health. I also want you to know that I am the driving force behind all my interactions and those send in my name and that I have a large support system standing by me, privately and professionally.
I’ve preferred to have kept our communication private through my lawyer but since you’ve made claims about me so openly on Facebook I feel obligated to share my side of the story, which I have tried to avoid. It came to my attention that this isn’t the first dispute you have had with a former “model” that you have openly communicated about online. As you know, my lawyer has requested removal of all content depicting me as well as all other references to me, “Arienh”. Afterwards ending all communication. We can make this a slow process or just get it over with.
Emails with Jeroen and comment I wrote to Jeroen on Twitter.
On December 29, controversial online influencer Andrew Tate was detained by Romanian police as part of a human trafficking investigation that began in early 2021. According to Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), Tate’s brother and two Romanian nationals are also under investigation for creating “an organized crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing, and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialized websites for a cost.”
Before the arrest, the Bucharest Organized Crime Brigade initiated five home search warrants for properties belonging to the Tate brothers. Since then, Romanian police have seized 11 luxury cars and several buildings owned by the detainees, with investigators claiming they will be held as collateral for any payments required to be made to the alleged victims.
DIICOT has confirmed that Tate will be detained for up to 30 days while the police continue investigating.
Human Trafficking and Rape Allegations
According to the DIICCOT press release, Tate and the three other suspects are being investigated for forming an organized crime group operating in Romania, the UK, and the USA.
The allegations include Tate using British nationals to recruit victims by misrepresenting their intention to enter a marriage or cohabitation relationship. Commonly known as ‘the loverboy method,’ the victims were then transported and housed in buildings in Romania where they were sexually exploited by group members and forced to perform pornographic acts for social media distribution. Thus far, the police have identified six victims who experienced physical violence and mental coercion from the group.
Red Flags Indicators
According to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), human trafficking is estimated to be one of the most profitable proceeds generating crimes in the world, with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimating that the business of forced labor globally generates $150.2 billion per year.
Because the financial flows from human trafficking are so diverse, detecting attempts to launder the proceeds can be challenging. Compliance teams should be aware of the following red-flag indicators that could point to human trafficking activity:
Large deposits that are immediately withdrawn in towns close to international borders
Patterns of card transactions in even amounts of money between 10pm and 6am
Sudden deviations from expected customer account activity
Use of anonymous financial instruments to pay bills
Structured deposits across multiple physical banking locations
Multiple victims sharing bank account information, including a phone number or address
To prevent and mitigate the risk of human traffickers laundering money, compliance teams should consider the following best practices for customer screening and transaction monitoring:
Contextual information: Many indicators of money laundering and human trafficking intersect with legitimate financial activities, making the crime challenging to identify. With this in mind, firms should consider indicators combined with as much contextual information as possible to create a more accurate determination.
Information sharing: When evaluating potential trafficking activity, compliance teams should seek to share information to establish a more accurate picture of suspected trafficking operations. Many legislative frameworks include information-sharing mechanisms allowing institutions to share information amongst themselves and regulators.
Suspicious Activity Reports: When reporting human trafficking activity in a suspicious activity report (SAR), firms should understand how to help the authorities investigate traffickers by including key terms and information.
In Frankrijk is een grootschalig en breed gedragen offensief gestart tegen misstanden in de porno-industrie. Het gaat onder meer om geweld, verkrachting en seks met minderjarigen.
De Franse Senaat sprak zes maanden lang met pornoproducenten, actrices en experts. Het resultaat was een snoeihard rapport van 200 pagina’s. De Franse politie speurde online naar daders en slachtoffers en pakte mensen op. Justitie deed onderzoek en kwam met officiële aanklachten.
Meer dan twintig mannen – pornoproducenten en -acteurs – zijn inmiddels in staat van beschuldiging gesteld. Een deel van hen werd in preventieve hechtenis genomen, in afwachting van een proces. Meer dan zestig ex-pornoactrices hebben aanklachten tegen de mannen ingediend.
“De verdachten worden beschuldigd van verkrachting, aanzetten tot prostitutie, mensenhandel en in één geval: marteling”, vertelt Céline Piques van de feministische organisatie Osez le Féminisme. “Het is echt uniek wat er gebeurt, voor Frankrijk en Europa, maar misschien wel in de hele wereld.”
‘Camille’ werd als porno-actrice slachtoffer van verkrachting. Ze vertelt anoniem hoe ze in de pornowereld belandde, en hoe ze daar werd misbruikt:
De aanleiding voor veel van de initiatieven ligt bij een boek van journalist Robin d’Angelo. Hij werkte ruim een jaar undercover op de filmsets van pornobedrijven. En hij was naar eigen zeggen geschokt door de hoeveelheid geweld die hij zag. Zijn boek verscheen in 2018, toen de MeToo-beweging volop gaande was. Seksueel geweld kwam daardoor hoog op de agenda te staan, ook in Frankrijk.
Feministische organisaties stapten met het boek naar Justitie. Alles stond zwart-op-wit, d’Angelo had met eigen ogen misdrijven gezien en daarom was vervolging nodig, zei onder meer Osez le Féminisme.
“Er is volop bewijs van misdrijven. Want veel van die strafbare feiten in de porno zijn gewoon te zien: de video’s circuleren nog steeds op internet”, zegt Céline Piques.
“In zo’n 90 procent van de pornofilms die wij hebben bestudeerd, wordt geweld gebruikt.” – Senator Laurence Rossignol
De Franse politie, en met name de cybercrime-afdeling, ging aan het werk. Twee Franse pornoproducenten kwamen in het vizier. Producent Pascal Ollitrault werd eind 2020 in voorlopige hechtenis genomen. Hij wordt verdacht van verkrachting en prostitutie.
In juni van dit jaar werd oprichter Michel Piron van de pornosite Jacquie et Michel in staat van beschuldiging gesteld. Hij zou vrouwen voorafgaand en tijdens opnames gedwongen hebben tot seksuele handelingen waarmee ze niet instemden. In totaal zitten ruim twintig mannen in de beklaagdenbank. Een proces wordt op zijn vroegst volgend jaar verwacht.
“Bijna eenderde van al het internetverkeer is porno. En in zo’n 90 procent van de pornofilms die wij hebben bestudeerd, wordt geweld gebruikt”, vertelt senator Laurence Rossignol. Zij deed mee aan het onderzoek van de Franse Eerste Kamer naar de misstanden.
Vaak worden vrouwen onder valse voorwendselen binnengehaald als actrice. Er wordt bijvoorbeeld beloofd dat de film alleen voor een beperkt publiek is, terwijl de beelden daarna wereldwijd via pornosites te zien zijn. Eenmaal op de filmset moeten de vrouwen vaak doen wat hen wordt opgedragen. Verzet of protest heeft geen zin: de vrouwen worden dan met fysiek geweld gedwongen, blijkt uit het senaatsrapport. Actrices die achteraf klagen worden bedreigd en geïntimideerd.
“Pornofilms zijn ook steeds gewelddadiger geworden”, zegt Rossignol. “Pornoproducenten willen hun publiek tevreden houden. Maar de pornoconsumenten hebben steeds nieuwe kicks nodig om opgewonden te raken. Daarom worden filmscènes gewelddadiger gemaakt.”
In Frankrijk kijken per maand zo’n 19 miljoen mensen online naar porno: dat is bijna een derde van de bevolking. Daaronder vallen ook 1,2 miljoen kinderen jonger dan 15. “Kinderen kunnen getraumatiseerd raken, ze kunnen gewelddadig of risicogedrag gaan vertonen, en ze kunnen een misvormd beeld van seksualiteit krijgen”, aldus het senaatsrapport.
Door critici wordt nogal eens gepleit voor een algeheel verbod op pornografie. Maar Osez le Féminisme en senator Rossignol pleiten daar niet voor. “De wet moet gewoon worden toegepast”, zegt Céline Piques. “Als bij filmopnames strafbare feiten worden begaan, denk aan verkrachting of seks met minderjarigen, dan kan dat gewoon met de huidige strafrechtelijke middelen worden aangepakt.”
Door de verschillende onderzoeken is de Franse porno-industrie in het defensief gedrongen. De grote pornoproducent Dorcel kwam met een ‘gedragscode’ voor iedereen op de filmset. Daarin staat bijvoorbeeld dat bij gefilmde seksuele handelingen altijd sprake moet zijn van wederzijdse instemming van de deelnemende partijen.
Een collectief van onder andere pornoproducenten en -actrices kwam vorige maand met een open brief in de krant Le Monde. “Pornografie is niet per definitie altijd crimineel”, schreven zij. “Als sekswerkers zijn wij ervan overtuigd dat het mogelijk is om op een verantwoorde wijze kwaliteitsporno te maken. Een verbod op porno is geen oplossing.”
I had never strayed far from a “vanilla” sex life until my ex-boyfriend slapped me in the face during a kiss. This was very early on in the relationship. I did not see it for the bright red flag it was. I balked, mouth agape and asked him, “What the hell was that?!” He simply told me “I thought you’d like it,” as if it was something so common it didn’t even cross his mind to ask.
Even though the slap was an unwelcome and unexpected intrusion, I brushed it off. The friend who introduced me to him told me he was into some kinky stuff, describing him as reminiscent of the man from 50 Shades of Grey. I ignored the violation. Maybe he was used to women who did that sort of stuff. We continued seeing each other, and he didn’t slap me again. At least, not until after he’d systematically groomed me into accepting it.
Now I understand the initial boundary violation for what it was: a test. He wanted to know what he could get away with. At first I had a strong reaction to physical abuse. However, he slowly broke down my boundaries, becoming increasingly violent and verbally abusive during sex.
Throughout the relationship he subtly emotionally abused me outside the bedroom, and outright physically assaulted me—but “only” during sex. It took me nearly two years to extricate myself from an extremely abusive relationship. I wholeheartedly believe I would have been able to clearly see the abuse, if not for the normalization of many of his behaviors by pornography.
I began to be disturbed by the things he said during sex. He called me a stupid sl*t, worthless, a slave. There was genuine hatred in his eyes when he strangled and hit me. If I brought up my discomfort with the things he said during sex, he casually brushed it off, saying it was “just sex, it doesn’t mean anything.” His excuse that he didn’t mean anything during sex seems to be fairly common among men.
It was as though he had two distinct personalities.
Immediately after sex he became a caring and loving partner. He would get me water, hold me, and act as though he hadn’t strangled me and told me he wanted to kill me. Within the BDSM community, this is known as “aftercare,” but I believe it is a form of trauma bonding. Trauma bonding is a psychological term for a deep connection with one’s abuser, especially when the abuse occurs as a cycle: periods of abuse and periods of regret or “fixed” behavior.
Outside the bedroom, we had a “normal” relationship. We went on romantic dates, hiking trips, adventured, made plans to go skydiving, and had regular board game nights with friends. When I got sick he took care of me. We were outwardly a happy couple. My family liked him, and my uncle even told me I should marry the guy. Nobody knew I’d tried leaving him twice, and he’d followed me in his car while I tried to find somewhere to hide. Nobody knew he’d held me down in our shared home and wouldn’t let me out the door until I threatened to scream. Nobody knew the police had been called by a good Samaritan after he wouldn’t stop following me. He ended up taking my dog so I’d have to go back to his place. I couldn’t leave. There was no way out, nowhere to go where I’d be safe. I couldn’t tell anyone. I stayed.
I remember the look on his face after he anally raped me. I was bleeding. Wide eyed, he profusely apologized. He claimed he didn’t think it hurt me—even though I had repeatedly cried “Stop!”
He hadn’t stopped. He promised me he wouldn’t do it again (he lied). There were tears in his eyes. I forgave him. I knew it was no accident but I couldn’t bring myself to face the fact that my partner raped me. It was easier to ignore the truth. He got carried away. It was an accident.
He loves me, he’s sorry.
The sexual and emotional abuse took a toll. I became depressed and withdrawn. When I mentioned I’d like to go back to university to finish my degree, he asked me, “Are you sure you can do it? I think it’ll just be a waste of money.” Maybe I really was too stupid. Worthless. I didn’t apply.
I made friends with a woman I worked with. My abuser didn’t like her, and would have panic attacks when I’d make plans to see her. He went out of town one weekend and I took the opportunity to meet up with my friend. After a few drinks I started crying. I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
I told her everything. He showed up at her house that night, stood outside her window and listened to us talk. I don’t know how long he watched us, but when we spotted him outside a jolt of fear ran down my spine. My friend’s male roommate forced him to leave. The woman I’d only known tangentially opened her home to me. She let me stay until I was able to move as far as possible from my abuser. I owe her my life and freedom.
After I left him I wrote about the harassment, emotional abuse, and coercive control I’d survived. He was calling me at least 30 times a day, texting incessantly. He called my own mother multiple times to tell her how “crazy” I was for leaving him after I blocked him. He got new numbers and continued to harass me. One of my close friends (ironically the woman who introduced us) refused to believe me because “he’s a great guy, you’re blowing this all out of proportion.” Public shame didn’t deter him from attempting to contact me. He claimed repeatedly he was moving across the country to be with me. Only after I threatened him with a restraining order did he stop contacting me. He was terrified of law enforcement, and cleverly hid his abuse within acceptable confines to escape legal consequences.
BDSM acts as a magnet for abusers. It’s an easy out, when your partner “consents” to being harmed. Even those who aren’t abusive may become desensitized to extremely abusive acts common in porn. Children are being exposed to porn, and internalizing what they see. Younger and younger girls are expected to accept violence during sex. Teen Vogue has written articles grooming young girls to accept BDSM, strangulation, and anal sex—so long as it’s “consensual.” Can one truly consent to an act that is expected as part of “normal” sex?
Many people within the BDSM community claim strangulation is “safe,” and there is a correct way to safely cut blood flow to the brain. Women’s Health Magazine wrote an article describing “choking” (choking is a misnomer; strangulation is the proper term) as a thrilling and exciting way to spice up one’s sex life. Strangulation is posed as harmless fun.
But the truth is, there is no way to safely strangle someone.
Dr Helen Bichard of North Wales Brain Injury Service and The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust says of strangulation (also known as erotic asphyxiation): “I am extremely concerned by the cultural normalization of strangulation. Erotic asphyxiation should be as much of an oxymoron as erotic brain damage, because brain damage is the potential result. Much of the online advice is misguided; some of it is fatally wrong. When you compress the carotid artery you cut off oxygenated blood flow to the brain, and the brain therefore cannot function properly. Consciousness can be lost in as little as four seconds—a sign that the brain is being compromised. Any pressure to the artery can lead to dissection, in which blood clots can form and cause stroke, sometimes delayed by weeks.”
I’m sure there are those who will claim my ex wasn’t actually into BDSM, since he didn’t seem to care about consent. I may even be called a “kink shamer” for critiquing BDSM and its ability to disguise abuse. I’m not interested in shaming anyone.
I’d like to understand why “kink” is something that cannot be criticized or questioned, especially when the BDSM community is rife with abusers and women with stories like mine.
Why must we unquestioningly accept the hordes of men chomping at the bit to physically and sexually abuse women under the guise of “kink”? Obviously consent is an important issue but we can’t overlook the fact that the abuse of women is considered sexually rewarding to men. Can abuse truly be consented to, so long as it is relegated to the bedroom, or are we as a society playing with fire by normalizing the brutalization of women during sex?
It’s been years since I left him. I still have nightmares of being trapped in that house, that relationship. Now, I’m in a healthy relationship with a man who has never even raised his voice at me. Even so, I still have flashbacks to the terrorizing vulnerability I felt. The echoes of sexual abuse haunt me when my current partner tenderly caresses my neck in intimate moments. A flash of terror courses through me, despite the loveliness of the moment.