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Categorie: Sexual Abuse

Unraveling the Dark Mystery Behind Fetlife Murders: An Insight

The Fetlife community has been rocked by a series of gruesome murders in recent years. These crimes, committed by individuals who used the platform to connect with their victims, have left law enforcement officials and members of the community struggling to understand the motives and methods behind the violence.

The Fetlife Murders remain shrouded in a dark mystery, leaving many to speculate on the potential dangers of online communities and the psychological factors that contribute to violent behavior. In this in-depth analysis, we aim to provide insight into the Fetlife Murders, exploring the broader societal and cultural implications of this tragedy. Through examining the cases and patterns, psychological profiles of the perpetrators, and the impact of media sensationalism, we hope to shed light on the complex nature of these crimes.

Our analysis delves into the virtual realm of Fetlife, examining its influence on users and potential implications for the murders. We explore the darker aspects of the platform, including the potential risks and dangers associated with engaging in online communities like Fetlife. Additionally, we’ll discuss the blurred line between fantasy and reality in the Fetlife community and how it may have contributed to the murders.

By evaluating law enforcement’s response to these crimes, as well as the legal ramifications and victims’ support networks, we hope to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Fetlife Murders’ full impact. Lastly, we’ll offer practical advice on safety measures and precautions that individuals can take when engaging in online communities like Fetlife, and speculate on the community’s future changes and adaptations.

This article serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of ongoing discussions and awareness surrounding the risks associated with online communities. Through this analysis, we hope to provide insight into the Fetlife Murders and contribute to a larger conversation surrounding online safety and personal responsibility.

Understanding the Fetlife Community

Fetlife is an online social networking platform that caters to individuals into BDSM, kink, and fetishism. It was founded in 2008 and has since grown to include millions of members worldwide, making it one of the largest BDSM communities online.

The Fetlife community is formed around the idea of providing a safe space for individuals to explore their sexual interests and connect with like-minded individuals. The platform allows users to create profiles, join groups, attend events, and engage in discussions.

It is important to note that while Fetlife is associated with BDSM and kink communities, it is not a dating platform. [It is used as a hook up platform and pornographic website]. Instead, it is designed to facilitate conversation, education, and exploration of BDSM interests.

Exploring the Virtual Realm: Fetlife’s Influence

While Fetlife’s primary function is to facilitate communication and connection between like-minded individuals interested in alternative lifestyles, it has created a virtual realm that extends beyond its online platform. Users have reported that their involvement in the community has impacted their day-to-day lives, influencing their social interactions and shaping their personal identities.

As a result, Fetlife’s influence extends beyond the boundaries of the site and into the lives of its users, with the creation of subcultures that embrace alternative lifestyles and practices.

However, this influence is not without its potential dangers. The anonymity of online interactions can lead to a false sense of security and trust, potentially leading individuals to engage in risky behavior or trust others without adequate vetting.

Additionally, the nature of Fetlife’s community and the emphasis on fantasy and role-playing can lead to psychological impacts, blurring the line between fantasy and reality. This can result in individuals becoming desensitized to dangerous behavior and potentially contributing to the perpetuation of risky activities.

It is important to acknowledge the potential influence of Fetlife on its users and to approach interactions on the platform with caution and awareness of the risks involved. By staying informed and mindful of the impact of virtual interactions, users can mitigate potential dangers and maintain a safe and fulfilling experience within the Fetlife community.

Unveiling the Dark Side: Risks and Dangers of Fetlife

While the Fetlife community can provide a safe space for individuals with unique sexual preferences, it also has a darker side that cannot be ignored. The platform’s open nature and lack of regulation make it a breeding ground for potential risks and dangers.

One of the major risks associated with Fetlife is the possibility of encountering individuals with malicious intent. Predators can easily create fake profiles and prey on unsuspecting users. Additionally, the platform’s anonymity can make it difficult to verify the legitimacy of users and their intentions, leaving users vulnerable to exploitation or abuse.

Another danger of Fetlife is the potential for users to engage in risky or illegal activities. The platform’s focus on alternative sexual practices can attract individuals with extreme or non-consensual fetishes, leading to harmful encounters. Furthermore, the lack of regulation on the platform means that illegal activities such as prostitution or human trafficking can go unnoticed.

Finally, the unmonitored nature of Fetlife can be detrimental to individuals struggling with mental health issues. The platform’s open discussion of controversial topics can exacerbate conditions such as depression or anxiety, leading individuals down a dangerous path.

It is important for users to be aware of the risks and dangers associated with the Fetlife community and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves. This includes verifying the legitimacy of users and their intentions, avoiding engaging in risky or illegal activities, and seeking help if struggling with mental health issues.

The Murders Unveiled: Cases and Patterns

The Fetlife murders are a tragic example of the potential dangers of online communities. Over the years, several cases have emerged involving individuals who met through the platform, with fatal consequences.

One such example is the case of Brady Oestrike, who engaged in a consensual BDSM relationship with a couple he met on Fetlife. However, his behaviour soon became erratic and violent, leading to the murder of the couple and the suicide of Oestrike.

Another case involves the murder of Texas woman Jacqueline Vandagriff by Charles Dean Bryant, whom she had connected with on Fetlife just days before her death. It was discovered that Bryant had a history of violence and stalking.

These are just a couple of the many cases that highlight the risks of engaging in online communities like Fetlife. Certain patterns have emerged, including individuals with violent or criminal histories and those who engage in fringe sexual practices.

The complexity of these cases shows the need for greater awareness and education regarding the dangers of engaging in such communities, and the importance of taking precautions and being vigilant.

Examining the Role of Online Interactions

As with any online community, interactions on Fetlife can have a significant impact on users and their offline lives. In the context of the Fetlife murders, it is important to examine the role of online interactions in relation to the crimes.

While it is impossible to definitively determine the influence of Fetlife on the perpetrators’ actions, there is evidence to suggest that the platform may have played a role. For example, messages exchanged between the murderers and their victims on Fetlife have been cited as potential evidence in court.

Furthermore, the anonymity and platform’s focus on kinks and fetishes may lead users to engage in riskier behavior or disregard personal safety. The lack of face-to-face communication and physical boundaries may also contribute to a blurred line between fantasy and reality, potentially desensitizing users to dangerous situations.

It is important for users of Fetlife and similar communities to be aware of the potential risks associated with online interactions. Engaging in conversations and activities that prioritize consent and safety, as well as being cautious about sharing personal information, can help mitigate these risks.

Ultimately, while online interactions cannot be solely blamed for the Fetlife murders, they serve as a reminder of the potential dangers of engaging in virtual communities without proper precautions.

The Line Between Fantasy and Reality

The Fetlife community is known for exploring taboo sexual desires and fetishes in a safe and consensual manner. However, the line between fantasy and reality can become blurred, leading to dangerous situations.

Many users of Fetlife engage in role-play and fantasy scenarios that involve power dynamics, BDSM, and other potentially risky behaviors. While these activities can be harmless when conducted with consenting partners, they can also create a false sense of security and lead to dangerous situations outside of the virtual world.

The Fetlife murders highlight the potential dangers of blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Some of the victims were involved in BDSM and other fetishes with their attackers, but the situations ultimately turned violent and deadly. This serves as a stark reminder that even when engaging in consensual activities, it is important to maintain a clear understanding of reality and potential risks.

Furthermore, individuals who struggle with distinguishing fantasy from reality may be particularly vulnerable in online communities like Fetlife. It is important to recognize the difference between harmless fantasy and potentially harmful behavior, and seek help if necessary.

Investigating Law Enforcement’s Response

Law enforcement’s response to the Fetlife murders has been a topic of debate and scrutiny. While some applaud the efforts of law enforcement in solving the cases, others criticize the lack of attention given to the potential dangers of online communities like Fetlife.

The murders highlighted the need for law enforcement to better understand and monitor these virtual communities, as they may provide a platform for dangerous individuals to connect and communicate with potential victims. There have been questions about whether police departments are equipped with the necessary tools and training to effectively investigate crimes that occur within these online spaces.

Furthermore, the murders have raised concerns about the accountability of law enforcement in addressing crimes that occur within online communities. Given that many of these communities operate on a global scale, it can be difficult for law enforcement to track down and prosecute perpetrators, particularly when they are located in jurisdictions that have differing legal systems and enforcement mechanisms.

Despite these challenges, law enforcement has made progress in solving the Fetlife murders. Through extensive investigations and collaborations with other agencies, several individuals who committed these crimes have been brought to justice. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of individuals who participate in online communities like Fetlife.

Investigating Law Enforcement’s Response:

Learning from Tragedy: Safety Measures and Precautions

The Fetlife murders have shed light on the potential risks and dangers of online communities. While it is important to recognize the benefits and freedoms that the virtual world offers, it is equally important to take precautions and steps to ensure one’s safety. Here are some practical safety measures and precautions to consider when engaging with online communities like Fetlife:

  • Exercise Caution: Be cautious when communicating with others online and always be mindful of personal information that you share. Trust needs to be earned, and it is crucial to be careful and wary of those who may have malicious intent.
  • Safeguard Your Identity: Protect your identity by keeping your personal information private. Avoid using your full name, address, or phone number when creating your online profile. Using a pseudonym can help preserve your anonymity.
  • Meet in Public: If you decide to meet someone you’ve met online in person, always meet in a public place. Inform someone you trust where you are going and who you are meeting. Consider taking someone with you.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, trust your instincts. Always prioritize your safety and well-being over any social or emotional pressures.
  • Continuously Evaluate: Continuously evaluate your interactions and relationships with others online. Be aware of warning signs of abusive or manipulative behavior and take steps to protect yourself if necessary.

It is crucial to take these safety precautions seriously and prioritize one’s safety when engaging in online communities. By being cautious and vigilant, individuals can enjoy the benefits of these virtual communities without putting themselves at risk.

Support Networks: Victim Advocacy and Resources

Victims of the Fetlife murders, and their families, require extensive support networks to cope with the aftermath of such heinous crimes. These networks must provide practical assistance, emotional support, and advocacy services to help victims navigate the complex legal and psychological aftermath.

Fortunately, victims have access to several resources that can support them during this difficult time. One such resource is the National Center for Victims of Crime, which offers a wide range of support services, including counseling, financial assistance, and legal advocacy. Similarly, the Sexual Assault Legal Institute provides free legal services to victims of sexual assault, including access to restraining orders and advocacy in court.

Other resources include local rape crisis centers, which often offer counseling, support groups, and assistance with medical and legal procedures. Many victims also benefit from the support of family, friends, and faith-based communities.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that these resources may not always be accessible to all victims. Barriers such as financial constraints, geographic location, and social stigma can prevent some victims from seeking the support they need. It is therefore essential for communities to work together to create more inclusive and accessible support networks for all victims of sexual violence and online crimes.

Finally, it is important to recognize that advocacy and support for victims should not end with the resolution of a particular case. This support should be ongoing, recognizing the long-term impact of these crimes on victims and their families.

Legal Ramifications: Prosecution and Justice

The legal implications of the Fetlife murders are significant and far-reaching. Law enforcement agencies across the globe have been tasked with investigating and prosecuting the individuals responsible for these heinous crimes. The successful prosecution of these cases has led to the award of justice for the victims and their families, as well as serving as a deterrent for potential future perpetrators.

The prosecution process begins with the collection and analysis of evidence, followed by the formal charging of the accused. This may be followed by a trial, where evidence is presented to a judge and/or jury, and a verdict is reached. The sentencing phase then follows, where the severity of the punishment is determined, often taking into account aggravating and mitigating factors.

Despite the successful prosecution of some Fetlife murder cases, there have been instances of perpetrators being acquitted or receiving less severe sentences than expected. This has led to criticism of the legal system and calls for reform. Victim advocacy organizations have also raised concerns about the need for greater support for victims and their families during the prosecution process.

Ultimately, the pursuit of justice for the victims of the Fetlife murders is an ongoing process. As such, it is important for law enforcement agencies and legal systems to continue to adapt and evolve in response to the changing nature of online communities and related criminal activity.

Societal Impact: Discussions and Debates

The Fetlife murders have sparked widespread discussions and debates surrounding the safety of online communities, personal responsibility, and ethical considerations. Many have questioned the role of online platforms like Fetlife in facilitating dangerous behavior, leading to calls for increased regulation and oversight. Others argue that individuals must take personal responsibility for their actions online, recognizing the potential risks and making informed choices.

One important point of debate has been the blurred line between fantasy and reality in the context of the Fetlife community. While many users engage in BDSM and other taboo activities purely for pleasure, others may harbor dangerous intentions that can lead to harm for themselves and others. The question of how to distinguish between harmless fantasy and genuine danger remains a subject of ongoing discussion and debate.

At the same time, the Fetlife murders have brought attention to the importance of victim advocacy and support networks. Resources and organizations have emerged to provide support to survivors and victims’ families, highlighting the need for greater access to emotional and legal support for those affected by online crimes.

Ultimately, the societal impact of the Fetlife murders extends far beyond the specific cases themselves, sparking vital discussions and debates about our collective responsibility to ensure safety and ethical behavior in online communities.

Future of Fetlife: Changes and Adaptations

With the tragic events surrounding the Fetlife murders, it is unlikely that this community will remain untouched. Significant changes and adaptations may be necessary to ensure the safety and security of its members.

One possible change that Fetlife may undergo is the implementation of more stringent safety protocols. This could include mandatory verification of user identities, more thorough background checks, and enhanced monitoring of user activity. Additionally, Fetlife may need to increase its moderation efforts to prevent harmful content and behavior from being promoted or shared within the community.

Another potential adaptation could be the development of new technologies or features that prioritize safety. Fetlife may need to look to other online communities or social networks for inspiration and guidance on how to best protect its members.

However, any changes or adaptations must be made with care and consideration to avoid alienating existing members or compromising the purpose and values of the community. It will be crucial for Fetlife to continue to listen to feedback from its members and make informed decisions that prioritize safety and wellbeing.


The Fetlife murders represent a dark mystery with numerous implications for online communities. Through our analysis, we have gained insight into the risks and dangers of platforms like Fetlife, as well as the potential impact of media sensationalism.

It is crucial that individuals engaging in online communities understand the blurred line between fantasy and reality, take precautions to protect themselves, and seek support when needed. Furthermore, law enforcement must continue to develop effective strategies for preventing and solving crimes in the virtual realm.

As for Fetlife, the community may undergo changes and adaptations in response to the tragedies that have occurred. However, it is vital that ongoing discussions and awareness surrounding the risks of online communities continue to take place.

Overall, the Fetlife murders serve as a reminder of the importance of online safety and personal responsibility. We must continue to evaluate the impact of virtual interactions on our society and prioritize the well-being of individuals engaging in them.


Q: What is Fetlife?

A: Fetlife is an online community focused on BDSM, fetish, and kink. It provides a platform for like-minded individuals to connect, share experiences, and explore their interests.

Q: Are there any risks associated with using Fetlife?

A: Like any online platform, there are risks involved in using Fetlife. It is important to practice caution and take necessary precautions when engaging with others on the site.

Q: How can I ensure my safety on Fetlife?

A: To ensure your safety on Fetlife, it is advisable to thoroughly vet the individuals you interact with, maintain boundaries, and communicate openly about your expectations and limits.

Q: What should I do if I encounter suspicious or inappropriate behavior on Fetlife?

A: If you encounter suspicious or inappropriate behavior on Fetlife, it is recommended to report the user to the platform administrators and, if necessary, involve law enforcement.

Q: Are the fetlife murders isolated incidents?

A: The Fetlife murders are specific cases that have occurred within the context of the Fetlife community. While they are not representative of the entire community, they highlight the importance of online safety.

Q: How can I support victims of the Fetlife murders?

A: Supporting victims of the Fetlife murders can be done by raising awareness, advocating for resources and support networks, and encouraging open and honest discussions about online safety.

Q: What is the role of law enforcement in addressing the Fetlife murders?

A: Law enforcement plays a crucial role in addressing and investigating the Fetlife murders. It is important to evaluate their response and effectiveness in solving and preventing future crimes.

Q: Can media sensationalism have an impact on the understanding of the Fetlife murders?

A: Media sensationalism can have a significant impact on the public’s understanding of the Fetlife murders. It is important to critically analyze media coverage and consider its potential consequences.

Q: How can individuals ensure their personal safety when engaging in online communities like Fetlife?

A: Individuals can ensure their personal safety when engaging in online communities like Fetlife by implementing safety measures such as using pseudonyms, being cautious about sharing personal information, and setting boundaries.

Q: What are some available support networks for victims of the Fetlife murders?

A: There are various support networks and organizations available for victims of the Fetlife murders. These resources provide advocacy, counseling, and assistance to those in need.

Q: What legal ramifications are associated with the Fetlife murders?

A: The legal ramifications of the Fetlife murders involve the prosecution of the perpetrators and the pursuit of justice for the victims. The legal process plays a crucial role in holding individuals accountable for their actions.


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[Translated from French]

The Haut Conseil de l’Égalité entre les hommes et les femmes (HCE) (High Council for Equality between Men and Women) has warned of the proliferation on the Internet of content constituting offences of sexual assault, rape or paedocriminality, with too easy access for minors. It recommends stepping up the fight, in particular by making better use of the existing criminal arsenal.

In a decision handed down on 5 January 2023, the French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) made an important clarification to Article 227-24 of the Criminal Code. According to this article, “the fact (…) of producing, transporting or disseminating by any means whatsoever and whatever the medium, a message of a violent nature, inciting to terrorism, pornographic (…) or of a nature seriously prejudicial to human dignity (…) is punishable by three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros when the message is likely to be seen or perceived by a minor”. And according to the Cour de cassation, this text applies “even if access by a minor to the messages results from a simple declaration by the minor indicating that he or she is at least eighteen years old”. In other words, publishers of pornographic videos must find a more effective way of preventing minors from accessing their content than simply declaring their age, or risk being prosecuted.

The problem is made all the more acute by the fact that some of the content available on these platforms falls within the scope of several criminal offences. It is against this backdrop that the French High Council for Equality between Men and Women (HCE) recently published a report on the spread of pornocriminality, highlighting the risks incurred as a result of the ever-increasing consumption of content by ever-younger users.


The HCE report notes the existence of ten or so categories of pornographic videos, some of which are particularly violent, promoting misogynist hatred and rape culture. These videos include sexual assault (article 222-27 of the Penal Code), rape (art. 222-23, Penal Code), child pornography (art. 222-22) and child pornography (art. 227-23-1), all of which are punishable offences, as is the sharing of these videos on networks, as they incite violence and hatred (L. 29 July 1881, article 24).

According to the HCE, the proliferation of this type of video depicting illegal acts, and the ease with which it can be accessed, has the effect of altering the vision of healthy sexuality for consumers, who are increasingly young: 51% of 12-year-old boys consume it every month, and their first exposure to pornography begins at the age of 10. This illegal content stems from practices that are outside the law, in which pornography producers engage in pimping, sex trafficking or child pornography.


According to the HCE, the taboo surrounding pornography contributes to the fact that platforms disseminating illegal content continue to benefit from a “false belief in legality”. There is a platform called “PHAROS”, set up in 2009, for reporting manifestly illegal content on the net: this is the “Platform for harmonising, analysing, cross-checking and directing reports”. It is responsible for centralising reports in accordance with the French law on confidence in the digital economy (LCEN) of 21 June 2004.

Article 6-I-7 of the LCEN aims to prevent so-called child pornography (featuring children), incitement to violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, and offences against human dignity, by means of repressive measures, in particular through reporting. However, despite the many reports made about them, violent and sexist pornographic content, involving torture and degrading treatment, is not removed from pornographic sites. In fact, in its report, the HCE presents tests carried out on the largest platforms displaying pornographic content: none of the content reported has been removed, even though it would qualify as “child pornography” within the meaning of the LCEN. The association Osez le féminisme had carried out the same operation before the HCE, obtaining the same result.

The findings confirm the risks of minors being exposed to pornocriminality, which is contrary to article 227-24 of the French Penal Code, which was strengthened on this point by the law of 30 June 2020, requiring filtering devices to be installed on entry to the sites in question. Platforms were thus required to put in place measures to prevent the risks of minors being connected. The CNIL, which was heard by the HCE, states that “the General Data Protection Regulation of 2016 does not preclude online age checks for access to pornographic sites”, and even adds that it might be possible to introduce checks using bankcards. Alternatively, a device for analysing facial features could also be introduced.


According to the HCE, the European authorities must “take up this issue”, starting by supporting the draft European regulation on online paedo-crime. It is also proposed that pornography be included under the heading of sexual exploitation in the European directive of 5 April 2011 on trafficking in human beings. The report also recommends criminalising the illegal sharing of sexual content, particularly intimate content distributed without consent: this could be included in Article 7 of the draft directive on violence against girls and women.


Similarly, the HCE urges the authorities to act more firmly, in particular by legally defining prostitution and procuring, so that national laws can be better applied in the event of litigation. By redefining procuring, it would be possible to take into account all forms of commodification of sexuality, particularly those present on pornographic content platforms. In addition, the HCE proposes that pornography be assimilated to “filmed sexual exploitation”, a practice that is developing as a result of the expansion of digital technology. Jurisprudence has a poor grasp of prostitution on digital platforms: a ruling of 27 March 1996 shows that the Court of Cassation has stuck to a purely physical definition of prostitution: “prostitution consists of lending oneself, in return for remuneration, to physical contact of any kind, in order to satisfy the sexual needs of others”.


The Haut Conseil de l’Égalité (High Council for Equality) also asserts that it is necessary to introduce a criminal policy equating certain forms of pornography with sexist and sexual violence, based on existing offences: exposure of minors to pornography (art. 227-23 C. pén.), child pornography (art. 223-27), incitement to hatred and violence (law 29 July 1181, art. 24). The HCE also advocates training magistrates on this issue, by including a module on pornocriminality in their initial and in-service training.


Lastly, the HCE calls on the Pharos reporting platform to act effectively, through collaboration with the competent authorities and Internet service providers (article 6-1 of the law of 21 June 2004), in order to remove or block illegal content, by extending its administrative police powers to content that glorifies physical and sexual violence, which could be done by assimilating it to acts of torture and barbarism.

The publication of this report therefore seems to reflect a growing awareness of the dangers of certain forms of pornography and the inaction of institutional players. On 18 October 2023, the Court of Cassation ruled that a child protection association can request the blocking of Internet access to a pornographic site accessible by minors, without going through the publisher (i.e. the person who broadcasts the site): all it has to do now is ask the Internet service provider directly (i.e. the person who transmits the site, such as Orange, Free, Bouygues Télécom, etc.). This is a major step forward for these associations, faced with publishers who are often based abroad.

This article was written, when it was first published, as part of a partnership with the Master 2 in Electronic Media Law at the University of Aix-Marseille, between October 2023 and January 2024. More articles can be consulted on the website of the Institut de recherches et d’études en droit de l’information et de la culture (IREDIC).


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[Translated from French]

The president of the High Council for Equality between Women and Men (HCE) presented, on Wednesday November 15, to the deputies of the Law Committee the conclusions of the report “Pornocriminality: let’s put an end to the impunity of the pornographic industry “. The former journalist also criticized the government’s strategy regarding age control on websites offering adult content.

Women “crushed, massacred”. On Wednesday 15 November, Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette, Chairwoman of the High Council for Equality between Women and Men (HCE), presented the report “Pornocriminalité: mettons fin à l’impunité de l’industrie pornographique” (“Pornocriminality: let’s put an end to the pornographic industry’s impunity”), published on 27 September, to the National Assembly’s Law Commission. The former journalist, who wants to put an end to a “massacre for profit”, described an industry with “absolutely monstrous” practices and spoke of the need to strictly “regulate” the digital space.


Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette began her presentation to the MPs by repeating the figures given by the public prosecutor in Paris, Laure Beccuau, at her Senate hearing in June 2022: “90% of pornographic videos contain violence that falls under the criminal code.” The president of the HCE, who denied wanting to “ban pornography”, believes it is necessary to “fight against the illegalities that it involves”.

“It is illegal to violate the integrity of the human body”, stressed Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette, citing several degrading practices, such as “prolapse”, with women “so damaged that they are eviscerated, you can see the viscera coming out”. According to Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette, “the degree of violence increases every year” for “click-through and commercial reasons”, in order to “win over new followers, new consumers, and make more money from advertising”.

In this case, the President of the HCE has high hopes for future trials relating to the French Bukkake and Jacquie et Michel cases: “This will prove that these are not just the ravings of specialists”, she explained, describing an industry that is a far cry from the “daddy porn”. These images, easily accessible on the Internet, have “absolutely abominable consequences for young people”, she warned. “They are rushing to the open bar of porn on iPhones from a very young age, 8-10 years old…”.

The President of the HCE is concerned about the “manufacture” of “whole generations of deranged people”, going so far as to speak of a “human tide of deranged or traumatised young people”. Another frightening fact: “85 million videos of child pornography are broadcast around the world every year, and 30% of them involve children under the age of 10”, the former journalist told MEPs.


“We must continue to prosecute the perpetrators, the managers, the producers, the rapists, the organisers, all those who are complicit in this illegal violent activity”, said Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette. But the President of the HCE believes that this will not be enough: “I don’t think the Internet can be totally free on footage like this”. In its report, the High Council for Equality proposes giving new powers to the Pharos reporting platform, so that it can remove or block videos containing “serious intentional attacks on the integrity of the person”.

The former journalist welcomed the adoption of a Socialist amendment to the bill “aimed at securing and regulating digital space” along these lines. This “introduces new content subject to Pharos control: the depiction of acts of torture and barbarism, and the depiction of rape”. However, the President of the HCE warns members of parliament about the use of the terms “depiction of rape”: “These could be simulated scenes”, explains Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette, which could lead to confusion with cinematographic scenes, which are devoid of “real violence”. The issue could be settled at the next joint committee meeting on this text.

THE GOVERNMENT’S STRATEGY QUESTIONED Referring to a “very alarming report”, Jean-François Coulomme (La France insoumise) expressed doubts about the government’s strategy: “The bill aimed at securing and regulating the digital space led us to believe that we could base the protection of minors online solely on technical devices”, said the elected representative, who believes it is necessary to insist on sex education during the school curriculum.” “As soon as a technical solution is put in place, the possibilities of circumventing it emerge very quickly”, he said.

This concern is not dissimilar to that of Cécile Untermaier (Socialists): “In view of the number of videos you have given us, it is quite clear that a judicial response will not suffice and that we need to work on prevention”. In particular, the HCE report proposes “rolling out a plan” to ensure the implementation of “three sessions on sex and emotional education in all classes”, provided for by law since 2001. Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette has herself expressed doubts about the government’s strategy for controlling the age of Internet users on pornographic sites.

The bill to secure and regulate the digital environment gives Arcom the power, in certain cases, to block websites that allow minors to view pornographic content. The bill stipulates that Arcom, after receiving the opinion of the CNIL, will publish a “reference system determining the minimum technical requirements applicable to age verification systems”.

“We’re in for 10 years of litigation”, laments Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette, who believes that the guidelines will be “challenged before the European Court of Human Rights, the [European Union] Court of Justice and 50 other bodies”. According to her, “by the time all this has been sorted out, the guidelines will be obsolete”. The President of the HCE would have preferred to let the sites themselves define the control procedures: this would have made it possible to “observe” that their methods “are not effective” and therefore to “close down these sites”.


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The hidden face of Wyylde

By CAPP, original French article: READ HERE

What is Wyylde?

Wyylde is a porn-prostitution site. It presents itself as a libertine site, connecting and organizing meetings and evenings between “practitioners”.

After some research, we discovered that Wyylde is the official competitor of Jacquie et Michel, a French porn “company” accused of aggravated pimping, aggravated human trafficking, torture and barbarity.

Libertine? No way. If you listen to the survivors of porn-prostitution, you will learn that libertine sites and circles are a gateway to prostitution networks. Many survivors attest to having started out this way.

We will return another day to a feminist critique of licentiousness. You can always read our posts on BDSM and polyamory.

After lifting the veil on the alleged “sexual freedom” promoted by Wyylde, we discovered that this site, formerly Netechangisme, is an instrument of pimping, serving as a platform for women victims of prostitution – just like Onlyfans can be. And besides, why this change of name? An effective marketing strategy, intended to erase the term “swapping”, very marked because of the many scandals linked to pimping and the sexual exploitation of women. What could be better than choosing a new English name to seduce an ever younger audience and transform a specialized practice, whose abuses and dangers are well established, into a so-called mainstream, acceptable, fun fantasy, “ wild”. Harmless and Freed, Wyylde? Don’t be fooled by their new branding. The protection of women and minors is not ensured on this platform: according to several testimonies, no moderation of the profiles or the site seems to be in place.

The more we investigate, the more we discover cases of procuring minors. Among the many alerts, one case, involving a magistrate recently brought to justice, was the subject of extensive media coverage: read for example the articles of Mediapart , Le Monde , or France Info . And Wyylde is not limited to a presence on the internet and social networks. In 2022, the site launched a massive advertising campaign in newspapers but also in the public space, with large posters in the street, on bus shelters and in the metro.

An aggressive promotion of their platform, which trivializes their messages on swinging and the hypersexualization of women. The public space and transport being open to all, the children were exposed and were able to discover this platform, its name and its objective. However, a simple click on their site, followed by a very easy registration (an email address is enough, no proof of identity is required) allows access to explicit and ultra violent pornographic content: images on profiles showing erect penises, penetrated women; groups to organize gang rapes in motorway service areas or racist- themed parties. We are far, very far, from the pseudo “party of pleasure” promised by the site on its advertisements, with smiles and candy pink color.

On social networks, Wyylde plays on several niches to increase its influence and reach an increasingly large audience. 

It naturally ensures its publicity in its quasi-native environment, pornography. We thus discover that one of the women promoting this site via a podcast is an effigy of Jacquie and Michel (Anna Polina), their competitor. 

More recently, Wyylde has extended its ramifications into the world of sex accounts created by women, via paid partnerships. These accounts, which define themselves as educational, liberated, even feminist, are perceived by their subscribers – women and young girls, mainly – as protected spaces. Insidiously, Wyylde can thus benefit from positive publicity with them, thwart their mistrust and make themselves known, while continuing to build the myth of a sexually “uninhibited” platform.

It is in this way that Wyylde gradually made its appearance in certain liberal spheres claiming to be feminist or displaying a so-called “sex positive” discourse, but also in the circles of radical feminists. This is also how we heard about it. We would also like to offer our deepest apologies to the women and survivors that we may have indirectly influenced, by following and sharing accounts that we thought were safe. We should have been more vigilant. 

Because we say it and we will always say it again: the so-called “libertine” sites, like Wyylde, are traps for women and obvious gateways to porn-prostitution. There are men who invent a bisexual tendency in their wives to fulfill their fantasies. There are also men who force women and spouses there or who manipulate them into accepting practices that they deem a priori unacceptable.
Wyylde also does a lot of promotion around candaulism. Candaulism is the act of “OFFERING” one’s partner to others. It is not only a reifying practice, but it is based on hypocrisy. Make no mistake about it: it is actually women who are generally offered, exchanged, treated like commodities.

Contrary to its official presentation, Wyylde is not just a simple dating site for “libertines”. Like porn sites, profiles are sorted by skin color and weight. It can be navigated by means of categories, including of course BDSM, gang bang, hardcore… but also cam sex, with the broadcast of live videos of “exhibitionists”, some of whom are underage – a copy of the camgirls porn sites.

Wyylde has nothing to envy to Jacquie et Michel.

It is very clear to us that the women remaining on this site are already very alienated from porn culture – and for some, are victims of prostitution.
Several testimonials relate the dangerousness of the site for women, especially for single women.

What men are looking for on Wyylde is no different, in practice, from what they are looking for in prostitution: a way to penetrate and submit when they want, how they want. The only difference is that on Wyylde, the man pays his subscription and the victim pays him too. Women looking for free relationships, men looking for hookers.

Full article on Wyylde by CAPP: READ HERE

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Sex Trafficking of Women for the Production of Pornography

Donna M. Hughes
Co-founder, Citizens Against Trafficking

Women used in the production of commercial pornography in the U.S. are often subjected to
violence and coercion during filming. Often they protest and try to stop the filming or back-out
before filming begins. Their protests are ignored or they are pressured by their agent or the
director to continue. Their experiences of coercion and trickery often meet the criteria for sex

Sex trafficking is a federal felony. Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation,
provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act which involves force, fraud,
or coercion, or in which the person involved has not attained 18 years of age. Sex trafficking is
punishable by up to 20 years in prison or life in prison if there are aggravating circumstances.
Since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000, almost all federal sex
trafficking cases have involved prostitution. The use of adult victims in the production of
pornography has not been investigated. I believe this is an area that needs much more
attention by activists and law enforcement.

In cases of sex trafficking involving minor victims there have been numerous accompanying
charges for production of child pornography because the perpetrator has taken naked images
of the victim. To be a federal crime, the perpetrator does not have to use the images for
commercial purposes, nor is there a need to prove that force, fraud or coercion were used
because the victims are minors.

For our purpose, we are interested in demonstrating that there is sex trafficking of adult
women (over the age of 17) in the production of commercial pornography in the U.S.

I reviewed the testimonies of women used in the production of pornography to see if their
experiences met the criteria for sex trafficking. Several of these testimonies came from the pornography industry. She is now working to assist other women to escape pornography and hold the sex industry accountable for the harm it does to women

Force or Coercion

If any force or coercion is used to compel a woman to engage in a sex act that is filmed for
commercial purposes, that meets the legal criteria for violation of federal law. This
interpretation of the TVPA was first used in a BDSM (bondage and sadomasochism) case in
which the perpetrator, “slave master” Glenn Marcus filmed the torture of a victim and placed it
on his subscription-based web site. The Supreme Court upheld the forced labor and sex
trafficking conviction on May 24, 2010.

Most women entering the pornography industry don’t know what they will be subjected to.
Like most victims of sex trafficking, they need money and are looking for opportunities. The
agents, directors and producers take extreme advantage of these often naïve young women.
Their first experience making commercial pornography is often brutal and traumatic.
Madelyne knew nothing about the business or what was required, but was eager to make
money because she was broke and in debt.

She was “terrified” when she arrived at the studio to shoot her first scene. She said, “I tried
backing out and wanted to go home and not do porn at all.” She was reminded that she had
signed a contract so she couldn’t back out. “I was threatened that if I did not do the scene I was
going to get sued for lots of money.” “I experienced rough sex scenes and have been hit by
male talent [pornography actors] and told them to stop but they wouldn’t stop until I started to
cry and ruined the scene.”

She told the agent that she had “no limits” on what
she would do. Later, she said she had no idea what that meant. She signed a one year contract.

Madelyn’s description of her experience qualifies as coercion. Even if a victim initially consents
to sexual activity, she always has the option of withdrawing her consent and the activity should
stop. If her wishes are ignored, sex trafficking is occurring.

Alexa wrote: “My first movie I was treated very rough by 3 guys. They pounded on me, gagged
me with their penises, and tossed me around like I was a ball! I was sore, hurting and could
barely walk. My insides burned and hurt so badly. I could barely pee and to try to have a bowel
movement was out of the question.” 7

Sierra Sinn wrote: “My first scene was one of the worst experiences of my life. It was very scary.
It was a very rough scene. My agent didn’t let me know ahead of time… I did it and I was crying
and they didn’t stop. It was really violent. He was hitting me. It hurt. It scared me more than
anything. They wouldn’t stop. They just kept rolling.”8

Both Alexa and Sierra Sinn’s experience describe the use of force in the production of
pornography. If the women protested or asked the actors or directors to stop and they did not,
this qualifies as force and is sex trafficking.

Preying on Drug Use or Addiction is a Form of “Non-violent and Psychological

The William Wiberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 added a new
type of coercion that can be used in sex trafficking cases. Preying on a victim’s drug use or
addiction (whether pre-existing or created by the trafficker) will, in and of itself, form the basis
for convicting traffickers under the TVPA.

Many testimonies of women used in the production of commercial pornography describe their
drug and alcohol addictions and how the pornographers manipulate them.
When Madelyne wanted to back out of doing her first pornography scene, in addition to being
threatened, “I ended up taking shots of vodka to get through it. …Porn producers provided
alcohol and drugs for me.”

Madelyne added: “As I did more and more scenes I abused prescription pills which were given
to me—anything I wanted–by several Doctors in the San Fernando Valley. I was given Vicodin,
Xanax, Norcos, Prozac and Zoloft. The doctors knew I did porn but still gave me any prescription
pills I wanted. All I had to do was tell them I needed them to get through hardcore scenes. … In
preparation for a scene in which multiple men ejaculated on Madelyne’s face, which she didn’t
want to do, “One of the crew members offered me vodka and beer.”

“My agent forced me to use a driver because he knew I was always wasted. About 75% of the
women who make porn have to have drivers because they’re addicted to drugs and alcohol.” 10
When Madelyne could not longer perform in porn scenes because “No one wanted to hire me
because of my drug and alcohol problem was out of control,” her agent suggested she go into
prostitution and stripping.
Madelyne suggested that the doctors might be receiving kick-backs from the pornography

According to Alexa: “There was always alcohol and drugs readily available on the sets….
Whatever you wanted, they would or could get it. In fact, the set I worked on for two videos,
the stars had their own ‘doctor’ with them! I would see the doctor giving out pills or giving …

As anti-sex trafficking activists, we should be pressing the Department of Justice and the U.S.
Attorney in California to investigate the sex trafficking of women for the production of
commercial pornography by preying on victims’ addictions.


If a person is compelled to engage in a commercial sex act (which includes the filming of
commercial pornography) through fraud she is a victim of sex trafficking. Using fraud means
tricking someone into doing something she didn’t anticipate.
Madelyne wrote: “The worst scene I ever did was during my first couple weeks in the business.
The agent who handled all my bookings called me the day before the scene and said it would be
similar to a solo masturbation scene. Then he added that there would also be about 10-15 guys
masturbating to me and ejaculating on my body. In the pornography industry this type of scene
is known as a ‘Bukakke.’

He said it would be quick and easy money. When I arrived I saw a
massively long line of men outside the studio. I recognized very few of them….most of them
were strangers I had never seen before.”Once inside the studio Madelyne learned that the men
lined up outside had been recruited by an ad in the LA Weekly to come and ejaculate on a
young porn actress’s face. She called her agent and protested, saying there were at least men waiting for the scene. “My agent told me that I had to do it and if I can’t, he would charge me and I would lose any other bookings I had because I would make his agency look bad.

These actions to compel this woman to make pornography constituted both fraud and
psychological coercion.

Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking Online Petition on Sex Trafficking in
the Pornography Industry

More anti-trafficking organizations and activists are investigating and raising awareness about
sex trafficking in the production of commercial pornography. The Florida Coalition Against
Human Trafficking has launched an online petition urging FBI Director Robert S. Mueller and
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. to investigate the pornography industry for use of sex
trafficking against women and girls in the production of pornography. (The full text of the
petition is in the appendix.)

Women used in the production of pornography are victims of sexual violence and coercion.
They deserve the attention and support of anti-trafficking activists and law enforcement. In
your work to educate others about sex trafficking, remember to discuss sex trafficking in the
production of pornography.


WHEREAS, Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT), through evidence
uncovered during research and investigations, has identified potential sex trafficking
victims inside the pornography industry.

FCAHT has found indicators that:

  • teen girls, boys and women are being recruited into the pornography industry
    with fraudulent promises of legitimate jobs at exaggerated pay rates;
  • once these victims are recruited and arrive at the trafficking destination, they
    are being held there by means of debt bondage, physical force and psychological
  • their pay for work performed is given directly to their “agent” or trafficker and
    these debts are deducted before any money, if any remains, is given to the
  • the victims are given the “choice” to perform “privates”, which is illegal
    prostitution, to pay off their debt;
  • if the victim attempts to leave and/or speak out against the industry, they are
    physically and emotionally threatened to hold them captive and to keep them
    from seeking help with law enforcement agencies;

WHEREAS, the United States has identified the above actions to be indicators of sex
trafficking which is illegal per the United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act and
Reauthorizations of 2003, 2005 and 2008;
WHEREAS, the pornography industry is a legal industry inside the United States and as
such, must submit to the laws of the TVPA and Reauthorizations of 2003, 2005 and
WHEREAS, spokespersons for the pornography industry have openly admitted in public
forums that they do not follow the laws of the United States;
WHEREAS, the pornography industry, in the United States alone, produces 89% of the
entire world’s hardcore pornography websites with earnings between $2.8 – $13 billion a
year, making it is one of the most profitable industries in the United States;
WHEREAS, FCAHT takes the stance that these indicators should be evaluated for
further awareness and possible action;
THEREFORE, I add my name and voice to those of countless American citizens calling
upon our United States Government to immediately join with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking in efforts to end the exploitation and trafficking of teen children and women in the pornography industry and stop modern-day slavery in the 21st century.

Specifically, I call on FBI Director Robert S. Mueller and Department of Justice Attorney
General Eric H. Holder, Jr. to:

  1. Initiate an investigation of these indicators to determine if, in fact, sex trafficking is
    taking place inside the pornography industry and, if so found, to take possible legal
    action against the pornography industry per TVPA and Reauthorizations provisions.
  2. Work with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking to establish and enforce a
    human rights-based code of conduct, including zero tolerance for forced labor,
    servitude, debt bondage and illegal commercial sex acts within the pornography
    industry in America.


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‘Wife’ of alleged BDSM sex cult leader charged with child grooming offences

ABC Investigations / By Elise Worthington

A bald man wearing a black T-shirt
James Davis is facing almost 60 charges.(Supplied)

A 22-year-old woman who was involved in an alleged BDSM sex cult has been charged over sexual activity with minors and morphine possession.

Key points:

  • The woman received bail after appearing before Blacktown court 
  • She is facing 12 charges including transmitting child abuse material
  • The 22-year-old was one of several women who called themselves “slaves” to a man who is now facing dozens of charges

The woman was arrested yesterday in Blacktown, in Sydney’s west, and charged with six counts of using a carriage service to prepare or plan to engage in sexual activity with a minor and five counts of transmitting child abuse material.

The charges carry a combined maximum prison sentence of more than 25 years.

The arrest comes as part of an ongoing AFP human trafficking investigation code named Operation Saintes which began earlier this year after a Four Corners investigation into the group.

The woman’s partner, 40-year-old James Davis, was arrested during a dramatic AFP raid on a rural property near Armidale in March where he was living with several women he called his “slaves”.

Mr Davis was a prolific user of social media before his arrest, calling himself a “patriarchal overlord” and publicly boasting of his “alternative lifestyle”.

The women in the group shared on social media that they had signed slave contracts, wore collars and claimed they were living in a consensual BDSM master/slave relationship with Mr Davis.

Social media posts obtained by the ABC reveal several women, including the 22-year-old, joined the group while they were still teenagers and in high school.

Sexual assault support services:

The AFP raided the rural property where James Davis lived with his partners in March after the ABC provided information to police.

Mr Davis is now facing 58 federal and state charges spanning 20 years including rape, assault, animal torture, child pornography and kidnapping offences, along with several counts of using a carriage service to prepare or plan to engage in sexual activity with a person under 16.

The AFP spent more than two days scouring Davis’ property at Yarrowyk for evidence and confiscated illegal weapons, ammunition, filming equipment and hard drives which were being forensically analysed. 

Police now say during the raid they also discovered an IV bag containing 30 grams of morphine which they allege was stolen from a hospital.

The woman appeared before Blacktown Court House on 12 charges including possessing the schedule 8 drug. 

The ABC can reveal she was registered to work as a nurse but had restrictions placed on her registration earlier this year. 

The conditions included that she must not supply, check or administer any drug of addiction, or work without supervision.

The 22-year-old was granted bail this afternoon under strict conditions including not accessing the internet or going within 500 metres of children.

AFP Detective Superintendent Craig Bellis said police were continuing to investigate and asked anyone with information to come forward.

“AFP investigators have worked tirelessly to investigate this matter, and further analysis of material seized in March 2021 search warrants has resulted in these charges against a second person.

“The AFP will not rule out further charges in this matter.”

The matter is due back in court in January. 


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Swedish man accused of killing girlfriend in Fifty Shades of Grey-style sado-masochistic sex game

German woman died after being hit 123 times with a wooden blackboard pointer while bound with nylon tights and condoms

A Swedish man is to go on trial charged with killing his girlfriend in a Fifty Shades of Grey-style sado-masochistic sex game.

The unnamed 31-year-old is accused of killing his German girlfriend after she was hit 123 times with a wooden blackboard pointer while bound with nylon tights and condoms.

The man claims the 28-year-old woman was a willing ‘sex slave’, but police later found a diary in which she wrote: “You once said you did not want to see me in real pain. I am subservient but no masochist.”

The man was charged last week in connection with the woman’s death in October. She is said to have been an exchange student who had only been in the country for nine days to meet the boyfriend she had befriended on a previous visit and had kept in touch with online.

Police said the man raised the alarm after he noticed his partner had stopped breathing during their S&M session at his home in Umea, northern Sweden.

He tried in vain to resuscitate her before the ambulance arrived, with the woman spending two days in intensive care before her life support machines were switched off.

She is said to have sustained “terrible” brain damage as a result of her airways being restricted.

Police said the woman had been taking a cocaine substitute and drinking alcohol before she died.

Local prosecutor Åsa Jonsson said she also had her mouth stuffed with something which led directly to her death, adding: “It is our belief he is directly responsible for her death.”

The manslaughter trial gets underway next week.


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Rape is exceedingly common in the BDSM scene

Rape is exceedingly common in the BDSM scene. In fact, even the community’s own lobbying groups such as the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom—one of their board members doubled as FetLife’s community manager, by the way—admit to a 50% higher occurrence of consent violations among BDSM practitioners than the general populace. That’s nearly as bad as police officers, who statistically speaking are also twice as likely to be perpetrators of domestic violence. The BDSM scene has a self-delusional belief that they are “all about consent,” but in reality, they are at least as bad with sexual consent as everybody else, and likely a lot worse given their penchant for eroticizing abuse. Many women and Submissive-identified people within that community, including myself, had been saying this for a long time, but had been routinely ignored.

Even during the height of these national debates about “the BDSM community’s consent crisis,” the Consent Culture working groups were pitifully meek. They had collectively decided that “something must be done,” but what they chose to “do” was make a petition calling for the removal of the clause in FetLife’s Terms of Use that the site’s management was using as justification for censoring rape survivors. But as is often the case, when you must beg for something from a master, you find that they will not grant your request. Three years later, FetLife has still refused to change their policy and is still censoring rape survivors—unless those survivors use the Predator Alert Tool.

In October 2012, I realized that the root cause of the FetLife problem was simply that site management got to control what users saw when they browsed the site. But the Internet, which was made famous by mashups, allowed a unique opportunity to route around FetLife’s censorship in a way FetLife could not control. I wrote a simple mashup between a public Google Spreadsheet and FetLife that enabled anyone to report a negative experience with a FetLife member. With a mere 260 lines of JavaScript, that information could then be overlaid directly on

With Predator Alert Tool for FetLife, the problem of FetLife’s censorship all but vanished: FetLife users could now warn other FetLife users about predatory behavior, and FetLife’s site management was powerless to stop it. Just a few weeks ago, we met a woman right here in Albuquerque who had used the tool to alert others about a local “Master” violating her consent.

Users of the tool then began asking for a similar capability on other sites, like OkCupid and Facebook. There are now seven variations of the Predator Alert Tool browser add-on, each designed to work with a particular social network or dating site. Importantly, none of these tools has been developed in collaboration with the social network in question. Most sites have refused to acknowledge the tool, despite inquiries from journalists and community members. Some sites are actively hostile, sending DMCA takedown notices and even threatening to ban Predator Alert Tool users. Meanwhile, the already overwhelming positive response from the user community continues to grow.

Predator Alert Tool arose directly from the needs of the community that it serves. It enabled the user community to do exactly what the authorities at FetLife didn’t want done, or what OkCupid and Facebook don’t want users thinking too critically about. And it accomplished this by just implementing that capability rather than waiting for permission to do so. Its impact was immediate and disruptive—on purpose. These characteristics are indicative of all direct action software development projects.

Today in 2015 the petition proposed by the “Consent Culture” working groups has still not achieved its goal of stopping FetLife from silencing rape survivors. Predator Alert Tool was able to accomplish that goal in one night of coding, with these 260 lines of code, three years ago.


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Robin d’Angelo: a regulatory strategy

Written by CAPP International, translated from French with DeepL.

At a time when the debate on pornography is beginning to gain momentum in France following the opening of an investigation against the Jacquie & Michel website, and the subsequent arrest of several pimping “producers” thanks to a tip-off from three feminist associations, the filmed prostitution lobby is organizing to fend off the blows of abolitionists.

Together, we will analyze the way the media have communicated on the subject since the opening of this investigation, in order to pinpoint the strategy of the defenders of porn-prostitution, notably through the example of Robin d’Angelo.

Robin d’Angelo is a journalist who has “infiltrated” the porn industry in order to write a book on the subject. Some abolitionists relay his work to show the misogynistic violence that is commonplace in the industry.

Don’t get me wrong: although he’s helped expose this violence, this man is no ally, because he’s a regulationist. His goal? To make you believe that there is such a thing as “good porn” and “bad porn”. This idea obviously runs totally counter to the values of abolitionist feminists, for whom “ethical” porn doesn’t exist.

In all his interviews, Robin asserts that he believes this activity should be “regulated”, not “banned”. He argues that we need to create laws, supervise and protect “actresses”. These are exactly the same arguments as those hammered home by associations such as STRASS, which maintain that there is a difference between “forced” and “consenting” prostitutes.
In this debate, one of the trump cards played by those in favor of regulation is to blur the definitions of rape and pimping, by communicating in such a way as to make them ever more confusing.

For example, porn producer Nikita Bellucci posted on her twitter account the news that her colleague Pascal OP had been arrested for rape and pimping, candidly proclaiming that the industry needs to be cleaned up. It’s hard to believe her sincerity when you consider that she and her husband had known about the facts for a long time, without ever having denounced them… With this statement, we rather get the impression that Bellucci is brandishing this sordid example in order to better dissociate herself from the caricatured portrait of the pimp using violence to physically coerce women into prostitution, thus reinforcing the archaic belief that rape can only be defined by violence.

Yet the legal definitions of rape and pimping are very clear:

“Pimping is the act, by anyone, in any manner whatsoever:
1° Helping, assisting or protecting the prostitution of others ;
2° Profiting from the prostitution of others, sharing the proceeds or receiving subsidies from a person who habitually engages in prostitution;
3° To hire, train or divert a person with a view to prostitution, or to exert pressure on them to prostitute themselves or continue to do so.”

As for rape, it is defined by the penal code as.

“Any act of sexual penetration, of any kind whatsoever, committed on the person of another or on the person of the perpetrator by violence, constraint, threat or surprise”.

Consent is not mentioned.

  • This notion, often invoked by feminists who want to combat rape, but also by defenders of the prostitution system, is problematic. Indeed, when you consider the subject of prostitution and porn, it becomes clear that consent can be monetized and manipulated – particularly in a situation of control – that it is conditioned by our social construction based on sexist stereotypes, and that it can be the consequence of traumatic arousal.

It’s clear that regulators brandish consent to make you forget the constraint that leads women to say yes, a yes behind which lies a whole system of domination and pressure: patriarchy, capitalism.

  • It’s in the very nature of porn-prostitution to buy the yes of its victims, to make them consent, thereby suggesting that they alone are responsible, and to use this to prevent them from denouncing the intrinsic violence of this activity.
  • But back to Robin. In a recent interview on Konbini, he recounts the sexism and violence he witnessed on the Jacquie & Michel and Dorcel shoots he attended. In particular, he recounts how producers manipulate women to force them to “consent” to certain practices, for example, by taking them by surprise during the scene, then insisting, often to impose sodomy.

Robin makes it clear: “actresses don’t have the option of saying no”. So he describes rape, but without ever uttering the word. He also cites the reasons why the women he has met do porn: need for money, to feel valued, to please a boyfriend…

So we have a man who is clearly aware of the damage porn does to women. It would be easy for an uninformed audience to see him as a well-meaning man, eager to denounce an unfair situation and bring about change…

  • The interview starts to become problematic when he admits, with a mixture of embarrassment and amusement, to having taken part in certain scenes. However, he denies having shot penetration scenes, which he presents as the most dangerous for women. An insidious way of mitigating the violence of bukkake, the theme of the scene in which he admits to having made an appearance. Bukkake is a very popular practice in porn which consists in ejaculating as a group on a woman’s body, often her face or breasts. The aim of this practice is clearly to use women as “vessels”, to humiliate and dirty them.

At the start of the interview, Robin introduced himself as a pro-feminist and explained that he had been inspired to infiltrate the porn industry because he felt disturbed by the contradiction presented by watching porn that he identified as degrading to women. However, when he talks about it, bukkake seems to be acceptable to him, although he doesn’t go into detail and passes over it quickly.

It’s at the end of the interview that it becomes clear that his apparent criticism of gender-based violence in porn is very superficial. Indeed, he ends by saying that, in his opinion,

“porn is just a mirror of society and those who want to censor it want to make the mirror disappear as if it will destroy the image it reflects of them.”

We note the use of the word “censorship”, a pejorative term that designates an “arbitrary or doctrinal limitation of everyone’s freedom of expression”.

Speaking of censorship, he presents porn under the guise of fiction, a simple cinematographic work, an artistic means of expressing creativity. This is pornographers’ favorite technique for concealing the fact that, unlike action films in which scenes of violence are produced by special effects and acting, porn “actresses” actually suffer the abuse inflicted on them: strangulation, beatings, penetrations causing anal and vaginal tears, etc…

It’s surprising that Robin should present things this way, after going to such lengths to highlight the power imbalance between men and women in this industry, and the physical damage caused by repeated penetrations and other violence inflicted on “actresses”.

The ambiguity of its positioning is thus obvious from this final statement.

  • To sum up, porn-prostitution is a hotbed of misogynist violence, but the solution is not to “censor” this violence, but to try to improve the “working” conditions of “actresses”. In the end, it’s back to the myth of “good” porn and “bad” porn, “good” pimping and “bad” pimping, etc….

Pour faire passer cette idée – dont dépendent d’immenses profits pour l’industrie pornographique ainsi que le maintien d’un privilège masculin archaïque, la stratégie de Robin d’Angelo est la suivante : il commence par dénoncer des violences qui ne peuvent plus être niées maintenant que la parole des survivantes de la porno-prostitution se libère, faisant croire qu’il se range du côté de ces dernières, avant de conclure que la solution réside dans une meilleure réglementation du secteur pornographique.

It’s striking that all the media reporting on the Jacquie & Michel affair chose precisely the same angle.

  • On September 11, 2020, the newspaper 20 minutes published the testimony of Karima, one of the first Jacquie & Michel victims to speak out.
  • Barely a few days later, a second article appeared in the same daily newspaper, containing several more of the dozens of survivors’ testimonies that followed Karima’s story. The facts of psychological and sexual violence recounted by these women were chilling, but the journalist nonetheless managed to conclude his article… by promoting Onlyfans, presented as a “safer” platform for those wishing to launch into “sex work”.
  • As for Elle magazine, in its September 18 issue it published a double-page article entitled “porno mais réglo”, extolling the virtues of so-called “feminist” or “ethical” porn. The article only hints at the “all-too-frequent abuses in the porn industry”, without a word for the victims, and presents the solution as better salaries, “a more humane environment, and above all better supervision”. Here, the main argument in favor of this type of “porn” is that more and more women are consuming it, and this demand must of course be met.

Nowhere did we read that attempts to regulate prostitution have always failed, nor that studies have proven that desireless penetration, whether on camera or not, is a form of violence in itself, with serious physical and psychological consequences.

  • Above all, it’s striking how quickly the media diverted the public’s attention from these revelations to instantly offer them an alternative presented as revolutionary. The observer’s reasoning is thus short-circuited before the conclusion can be drawn in his or her mind that porn-prostitution is filmed rape, because of the constraint it implies for the “actresses”. Rape is essential to the production of the pornographic images demanded by consumers.

The words of survivors, now too numerous to be ignored, are misused to make them seem like a new wave of revelations in the wake of #metoo, putting them on the same level as those of victims of sexual violence in sport or cinema, for example. It’s as if porn “actresses” could be protected in the same way as figure skaters, and that all it would take to put an end to rape in this field was to raise awareness.

The strategy deployed by the defenders of filmed prostitution, from Nikita Bellucci to the editors of Elle and Robin d’Angelo, lies in superficially criticizing the obvious sexism of this milieu, pretending to be indignant about the violence revealed by the victims as if we were only just discovering it, and then using the “ethical porn” model as a decoy to avoid questioning the industry itself at all costs.

We can therefore measure how far we still are from the demands made by abolitionist feminists and, in the first instance, by survivors of porn-prostitution.

Survivors are calling for an end to the commodification of bodies in all its forms – the only real way to put an end to this unbearable violence.

To this end, they are trying to inform the general public about the disastrous consequences of pornographic practices, not only for the “actresses” – whether “consenting” or not – but for society as a whole.

They insist that content presented as “ethical” is nothing but a scam, both a new loss leader and a front to whitewash an industry that continues to enrich itself on the most despicable macho violence.

They try to dismantle the notion of consent, because they know the mechanisms that construct this famous “consent” based on economic pressure, manipulation, traumatic terrain and sexist societal constructs that lead women to believe that their value lies in their degree of “fuckability”. They also understand that “consent” in no way alleviates the physical and psychological consequences for women who are victims of the violence of repeated unwanted sexual encounters filmed and broadcast on a large scale, with no possibility of controlling these images for the rest of their lives.

Feminist abolitionists are calling for real reflection on what it means for society as a whole, and for new generations in particular, to agree to place our imaginations and fantasies in the hands of profit-hungry industrialists.

Finally, they alert us to the danger posed by lobbies who use every means at their disposal to keep public opinion on their side, using well-honed communication techniques, as the examples cited in this article show. Any intermediate proposal between the current situation and the total abolition of porn-prostitution is a scam.

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Abused submissives in the BDSM community through a gendered framework


This study examines how abuse is viewed and talked about in the BDSM community. Particular attention is paid to gender actions and how a gendered framework of masculinities and femininities can further the understanding of how abuse is discussed within the community. The study aims to explore how sexual abuse of submissive men is viewed and discussed within the BDSM community, as compared to that of women. The study furthermore focuses on heterosexual contexts, with submissive men as victims of female perpetrators as its primary focus.

To my knowledge, victimological research dealing with the BDSM community and its own views and definitions of abuse has not been conducted prior to the present study. Thus, the study is based on previous research into consent within BDSM, as this research provides a framework for non-consent as well.

To conduct this study I have interviewed six BDSM practitioners. Their transcribed stories were then subjected to narrative analysis. The analysis of the material shows that victim blaming tendencies exist in the community, and that these vary depending on the victim’s gender.

The findings indicate that the community is prone to victim blaming, and that this manifests itself differently for men and women. Furthermore, my results show that male rape myths can be used to understand cool victim-type explanations given by male victims of abuse perpetrated by women. After discussing my results, I suggest possible directions for further research.

Results and Analysis

The most commonly overlapping themes during my interviews were the concepts of shame, blame and responsibility in relation to gender roles and victimization. These themes were often intertwined, and as such it would be difficult to completely isolate them from each other in the analysis. Shame was found in connection with models of explanation that emphasized masculinity in contrast to victimization, but also in connection to female victims of abuse. However, the concept of shame seems to have different implications for men and women. Similarly, responsibility appears to be gendered. This concept was mainly found in stories regarding victimization and what led up to it. Lastly, blame was found in narratives concerning victimhood, often intertwined with ideas about responsibility. These themes will be discussed in relation to theory and previous research.

5.1 Gender roles

To a certain extent, the rules for submissive men and women appear to differ in ways which go in line with the activities assigned to each gender; for instance men still need to retain some aspects of dominance and activity even in their submission, an action which stands in contrast with the actions valued in submissive women:

I: About being a sub… Would you say that there are differences, like different rules for how men and women should be to be a good submissive?

Sophie: Well… yes, I would think so. […] I get the feeling that there are a lot more demands on guys. Girls are expected to look good, to be pretty and all that stuff, but it’s almost preferred if they don’t know too much. If you can, if you have a lot of experience, it’s like no, I wanted to train you from the start, why do you know so much already? You’re supposed to be fresh and new, somehow. While guys, going by the emails I get even though I don’t ask for emails like that, they try to prove that they know a lot and that they can fulfill all my needs, and they’re so good at this and that and they’ve already been trained by someone else.

The mentioned differences between female and male submission go in like with the normative gender actions outlined by Pettersson (2003:142). This suggests that gender roles are stronger than the community-specific roles of submissive or dominant. Furthermore, the narrative indicates that men do not surrender their control the way women do, since men are emphasizing that they are knowledgeable and active, in that they can “fulfill all [her] needs”, as opposed to submitting. This notion also translates into how men deal with abuse, even if they do not necessarily define it as such. For instance, when Sophie dominated a man and later asked how he had liked the scene, he talked about disliking some of the painful elements of it in the following way:

Sophie: [H]e said that “nah, I just took it anyway. I can’t just give up like that!” […] Then, later on he said that “well, you were pretty wimpy” [as a dominant].

By refusing to “give up” while also refusing to admit to having felt overpowered in a negative sense, the man in Sophie’s story exemplifies one way in which submissive men can express a need to retain control. By maintaining that he actively “took it”, but also that she was a “wimpy” dominant, he places himself in control of the situation by making himself out to be the strongest. This kind of controlling actions while in submission was not encountered when participants described submissive women; however several similar accounts regarding 22 submissive men surfaced during interviews. It seems probable that this prevalence of traditional gender actions over BDSM specific sexualities accounts for submissive men’s tendency to avoid discussing abuse as openly as women do:

I: So there’s no support group or some such for submissive men, if there’s abuse? Arthur: We’re men, we don’t talk. No, we don’t talk about stuff like that [abuse]. We don’t come together like that. In general, at least the subs I know, we talk to each other if we’re friends. We can’t talk the way women do, y’know, just because we’re all subs.

This could be understood as a collective masculinity project among sub men, with the purpose of upholding what is considered as normative masculinity. As Fisher and Pina suggest, masculinity entails strength and dominance which stands in opposition to normative femininity, meaning that men cannot be victims of abuse by female perpetrators due to their superior strength. Thus, “if a man [is] to report a sexual attack by a woman he could […] be considered as having lost his masculinity” (Fisher & Pina 2012:58). Arguably, loss of masculinity could induce feelings of shame. Especially given the premise that normative masculinity contrasts normative femininity and the societal expectations attached to these conceptions “discourages men from reporting sexual attacks [by women] because of fear that they will be labelled effeminate and essentially weak” (Fisher & Pina 2012:58).

5.2 Differentiating between grey areas and abuse

According to interview participants, the distinction between grey areas and abuse (to the extent they can be differentiated at all) largely lies in communication, intention and insight. Furthermore, some participants led on that to parts of the community abuse is nonexistent:

Arthur: Sometimes people say that BDSM is consent and that as soon as there is no longer consent then it’s not BDSM anymore, then it’s something else.

This implies that the concept of grey areas is, in fact, the only scope within which abuse can be made to fit in the BDSM community. This could be understood as denial of abuse in BDSM contexts, meaning that the idea of grey areas is to be understood as containing the idea of abuse. In the cases where they are considered as different concepts, grey areas are still not necessarily preferable to outright abuse:

I: So grey areas are not safer or… more innocent, than abuse? Emma: No, no, no. You know that this is the line, then you shouldn’t go right up to it. Maybe you could build up to it, over time, like one small step and then another next time if it feels okay. You can’t just jump right into a grey area and hope you land on the right side of a boundary.

However, there are basic rules for BDSM play most participants agreed the breaking of which constitutes abuse. These are things such as ignoring safewords or other revocations of consent, though not all participants agreed on these rules. Furthermore, some argued that while continuing an act without consent is wrong, it still might not be abuse. As such, the line between abuse and grey areas is difficult to outline:

I: How would you say abuse is different from grey areas? Nathan: I think a lot is in the talk you have afterwards. If someone is really feeling bad and crashes12, that you’d catch that and realize that shit, I messed up, or that, woah, this is my responsibility, I’ve made this person feel bad and that makes it my responsibility to make them feel good again. As a dom you can’t explain it all away by saying “you should’ve said no”, or “you should’ve used a safeword”, no. It’s your responsibility. […] So a lot of it is in accepting responsibility, if you accept responsibility for you actions I think the risk of it being abuse lessens.

I: So it’s not about the act itself as much as it is about the reactions to it?

Nathan: Yeah, that and the talk you have before. If there’s a line drawn, and someone crosses that, and then tries to talk about it a lot… If you’ve crossed an explicit, clearly set boundary and you were aware of that, you meant to do it, then that’s abuse.

What this implies is that a situation can be defined as either abuse or as a grey area depending on several factors, to whatever extent the community can differentiate between the two at all. These factors include practitioner’s intentions, insight into their own actions as well as into the feelings of their partner(s), communication before, during as well as after the scene, and the parties’ willingness to accept responsibility for their actions. Two possible outcomes thus exist in a nonconsensual situation; either it was abuse, or it was a grey area. Furthermore, these two terms seem to exemplify the same type of situation, which perpetuates the notion that the two concepts are mutually inclusive to some extent:

Arthur: We can’t know, in BDSM it’s enough that someone messes up. And I know, I’ve even seen that, someone didn’t hear a safeword, and then that becomes abuse.

When someone does not hear a safeword and continues to act out a scene without consent, this “becomes abuse”, regardless of the dom’s intention. Even though the victimization was unintentional, the situation was still defined as abuse. Thus, intention cannot serve to differentiate between grey areas and abuse. Furthermore, grey areas were described by participants as including all kinds of potentially abusive situations:

William: If you’ve gotten yourself into this, especially as a sub, you should probably be prepared to find yourself in… situations you hadn’t counted on. And then you shouldn’t necessarily blame that on the partner you’re with, rather maybe you should’ve thought it through from the beginning. […] If you’d see abuse as a concept as a grey area, I’d say that in one end of the scale it might not be much to talk about but as it gets worse there might be reasons for dealing with it differently at the opposite end of the scale.

In conclusion, abuse and grey areas are not easily defined in opposition to one another, quite the contrary. This implies that the concept of grey areas could in some cases be a substitute for the concept of abuse or that grey areas serve as a term which includes abuse in its definition. This could be detrimental to a victim’s credibility; since grey areas is a wider term than abuse in that it also incorporates a lot of less severe actions. In turn, this could explain some of the victims blaming tendencies found in the community, since the ideas about shared responsibility inherent to communicating about grey areas in BDSM are similar to ideas incorporated in victim blaming13. Furthermore, this responsibility, as well as the community’s views on abuse, grey areas and victims, seems to be different for men and women.

5.2.1 When situations are defined as abuse or grey areas

According to the interview participants’ stories the community not only defines submissive men and women differently, but also defines abusive situations in different terms depending on the victims’ gender.

Sophie: I think it might be a bit different in different groups, but from what I’ve heard [about female victims] they say things like well maybe she was young and thoughtless, maybe she was a bit credulous, maybe even… a bit stupid. But when they talk about men I think people often have this idea of them as… as having to be pretty… pretty weak, mentally too, not to be able to stand up to a woman.

While women are blamed for their own victimization to some extent, men seem to have not only their actions, but their masculinity questioned. Female victims are regarded as naïve; however male victims are regarded as mentally and physically weak because they were unable to stand up to a female perpetrator. Therefore, according to participants it is shameful for a submissive man to be abused by a dominant woman:

William: If a woman abuses a man, I think a submissive man would have a tough time talking about his experiences because the perpetrator is a woman. Because this is shameful, there is a lot of shame placed on it and there is nothing desirable about that kind of shame, there is nothing pleasant to it.

As opposed to types of degradation incorporated in BDSM play, the kind of degradation men experience from admitting to having been abused by women is described by BDSM practitioners as potentially detrimental to one’s masculinity, as being overpowered by a woman (as opposed to submitting to one consensually) contrasts conceptions of typically masculine actions (Pettersson 2003:142). As previously stated, this goes in line with male rape myths. These, in turn, have been found by previous research to be strongly related to victim blame (Fisher & Pina 2012:57). For instance, responsible submissive men are supposed to know better than to engage seemingly bad dominant women in the first place, but if they fail to do so and are subjected to abuse, they are still not considered as victims. According to the participants, the community is seemingly prone to share an idea of toughness as an ideal masculine behavior, regardless of sexual identity.

I: Do you think the community treats men differently from women, as abuse victims? Sophie: I think that when it comes to men there’s more slut-shaming, like… You should’ve known better, why did you go home with her in the first place, if you thought she was nasty, why did you have sex with her?

One noticeable aspect is that when asked about the community’s attitude towards men as victims of abuse, the participant still talks about a man’s responsibility in relation to consensual sex, and the “slut-shaming” associated with not living up to it. This narrative goes in line with male rape myths and attitudes towards male victims of female perpetrators as pointed out by previous research (Fisher & Pina 2012:57, Davies, Pollard & Archer 2006:277). This could explain the way in which men present themselves as victims. For example, men seem prone to shame dominant women as being incompetent as BDSM practitioners when things go wrong, rather than talk about their own feelings in terms of victimization. This could be understood as a defense, in order to avoid the shame connected to being blamed “for not preventing the assault” (Fisher & Pina 2012:57).

5.3 Responsibility and victim blaming as gendered phenomena

In the early days of victimology Hans von Hentig (1948) stated that the victim of a crime contributes to his or her victimization through the participation in the events leading up to the crime. This has since been heavily criticized as being the foundation for victim blaming (Ryan 1971:3-4). Ryan points out that “victim blaming is often cloaked in kindness and concern” (Ryan 1971:6); which is a statement that my interviews have validated to some extent. When talking about the responsibilities of others, several interview participants led on that the community’s line between responsibility and victim blaming is as blurred as that between grey areas and abuse:

Isabelle: It really is incredibly important that the dominant owns up to their mistake and is mature enough to say that I was wrong and I’m so, so sorry about that, to really apologize. It isn’t to lie down or grovel, to apologize because something went bad. And then the sub has to be able to say that it’s not just your fault, I encouraged you to do this. And then you can straighten out what happened from there.

While Hentig’s notion of varying degrees of shared responsibility14 between the victim and the offender is critiqued as being tantamount to victim blaming, many of my interview participants nonetheless seem to express similar ideas regarding abuse and grey areas within BDSM. This similarity is not to be read as an indication that BDSM has any inherent processes of victimization. Rather, this similarity is brought up to further illustrate the complexity of abuse and grey areas in BDSM, since consensual participation can become non-consensual at any time15. The process of negotiating scenes beforehand, verifying consent throughout the scene and the process of aftercare thus require that both the submissive and the dominant parties accept their responsibilities towards one another and themselves. However, the concept of responsibility appears to be gendered. While responsible submissive men are supposed to know better than to “have sex” with “nasty” dominant women (as examplified in 5.2), submissive women are viewed as irresponsible if they fail to avoid high-risk situations:

Sophie: This woman was just starting out in BDSM, as a sub, and she felt that she wanted to try this out with someone who was experienced, that felt like a smart move. […] So she looked around and found this guy who she thought seemed nice, and he asked if she wanted to meet up for coffee and talk, see how it feels. So she said that yeah, we can do whatever you want. She said that a lot, we can do whatever you want. They go out for coffee, it felt good, he asked her if she wanted to follow him out to his car. She said sure, so he said that they were going out into the woods to enact a scene and asked if she was okay with that. She said that she thought it sounded very interesting and went along, so they went into the woods and he tied her to a tree. She was kind of scared, and then he told her that just so you know, I could do whatever I want to you now. I think you should understand what a bad position you’re in, and that you should never do this again […] He wanted to show her that it’s a bad move to say that you’ll do whatever someone wants, especially when it’s someone new, someone you don’t know.

While underlining the importance of clear communication on BDSM, this narrative shows tendencies of victim blaming. Having said “we can do whatever you want” is viewed by the dom as tantamount to contributing to her potential victimization. While this is a story of a submissive woman and a dominant man, the narrative focus is still on the woman and her failings even though the dominant man could be construed as the one at fault. Seemingly, responsible submissive women should know better than to agree to anything presenting a risk. While this is similar to the “you should’ve known better” line of reasoning in the previous example, the implications are somewhat different. Both submissive men and women are supposed to “know better”; however for men the results of not doing so are discussed in terms implying consensual sex rather than victimization. The previous narrative shows a view within the community which makes submissive men responsible for abusive situations while denying them the role of victim, since they should “know better” than to “have sex”, not know better than to say something (e.g. “we can do whatever you want”) that could lead to them being abused. This implies that the concept of men being abused by women is regarded as unlikely in the BDSM community, which goes in line with previous research into attitudes towards male victims of abuse by female perpetrators (Davies, Pollard & Archer 2010:286).

While both men and women are made out to be responsible for finding themselves in abusive situations, abused women are made out to be bad BDSM practitioners while men are made out to be weak as men if they are victimized.

An example of blaming women for their own victimization, as well as shaming their incompetence as BDSM practitioners, is provided by the following narrative:

Emma: They [dominant men] sent emails like “well this [the abuse she was subjected to] happened because you’re not supposed to use safewords. Then you’re not really submissive, so it’s your fault. It’s you, you’re not really submissive, that’s why it happened to you”. This happened a lot when I crashed, for months I wrote about how I felt and stuff. A lot of people were supportive, but then there were these guys who said that maybe you’re not submissive, maybe that’s why you crashed. Or maybe you need more spanking to get over it, and I was like… well, no! They were questioning me but not the guy I was with. They never questioned him, never.

Again we see how men explain abuse through women’s ineptitude as BDSM practitioners, blaming them for their own victimization while simultaneously shaming them for being irresponsible. According to the dominant men in the narrative, her responsibility can be considered as being towards the dominant man in question, as well as to herself. Someone who is “really submissive” would never use safewords, meaning that if she would have taken her responsibility as a “real” submissive and learned how she was “supposed” to behave to fit in, she would not have been abused. Thus, she is blamed for her own victimization. However, her femininity as such is not questioned, even though her sexuality is.

In conclusion, the case of the male sub who should have “known better” than to “have sex” with a “nasty” dominant woman implies that what he experienced was an unpleasant, but consensual, sexual encounter. His masculinity thus denies him credibility as a victim, as it is assumed that he consented to having sex. The narrative also points out a tendency to shame dominant women for being bad at what they do, rather than to accuse them of perpetrating abuse. In the case of the female submissives, both narratives show them to have been abused (or to have run the risk thereof) due to their own inability to accept responsibility for their own safety. As a result, all three situations include an element of emphasizing female incompetence at BDSM and its social rules as a fundamental part of the explanation. This line of reasoning goes in line with the overall submission of women inherent to the notion of complicit (and thus also hegemonic) masculinities.

5.4 Complicit masculinities shaming female dominance

Connell’s writings on complicit masculinities serve as a useful framework for understanding the concept of shame in relation to abuse the BDSM community. According to the interview participants, shaming women for being bad doms is one way for submissive men to avoid presenting themselves as weak while still addressing the problem of abuse. Thus, the dominant/submissive dynamic is placed as as secondary to the male/female dynamic through “the overall subordination of women” which benefits men in general (Connell 2005:75). As such, submissive men are still higher up than dominant women in the social hierarchy in the community at large. This is partially realized through the masculinity in men’s submission being accentuated by their placing shame on feminine enactments of dominance:

Arthur: We had this… situation at a club. This… old dominant woman was coming on to this young, submissive guy [man 1] like crazy. We could see how uncomfortable he was, like, he really didn’t like it, but as a guy you just don’t say no to stuff like that, we’re not taught to say no to that stuff. And after a while, we sort of, we thought it was getting really hard for him, and he was new there, so… eventually we told a friend of ours [man 2] to go over there and take care of it, help him out. So he went over there and grabbed hold of her, led her away. That new guy made it out okay, he left pretty soon after that [man 1 leaves the club, and the narrative, at this point]. Then it turned out that this woman, she’d beat up my friend [man 2] out on the stairs. And it’s not allowed to play there. I don’t know how much, but I know he was not happy. […] But what he said was that “nah, you have to take stuff like that”, because somehow he’d got that in his head. But no, you really don’t have to take that stuff. So even though it was as wrong as it can possibly be, he just took it, he just accepted it. He didn’t think, if he’d seen that happen to a girl he’d been furious, but when it happened to him he didn’t even consider that it could be wrong.

The dominant woman in question is being presented as unattractive from the start, as the interview participant takes care to underline that she was both older than and unattractive to the submissive man she was “coming on to”, while giving her actions an air of mental instability by adding “like crazy”. As such, she is being presented as enacting femininity which contrasts normative femininity and the expectations placed on a woman. While this study does not focus on age in particular, it is worth noting that the age difference is presented as an important part of the narrative. She is old, and therefore unattractive. This can be understood as a way of emphasizing how unlikely it would be for any of the men in the narrative to consent to sexual activities with this woman. Furthermore, this is a factor I have not come across in previous research regarding men as victims of abuse by female perpetrators; the importance of attractiveness. When describing the woman as old and unattractive, the interview participant implies that this is a key part of why the men in the narrative dislike her advances. In order to clearly show that any sexual interaction between the straight men and the straight woman in the narrative is undesirable, the woman is portrayed as stereotypically unattractive. This can be understood as a protection against ideas of straight men as unlikely victims of abuse by females (Davies, Pollard & Archer 2006:277). This line of reasoning is furthered by presenting her as coming on to them like “crazy”, which in this case seems to mean sexually aggressive; something that further contrasts ideas about normative femininity. As the situation progresses, she is presented as violent as “she beat [him] up”, as well as ignorant of the rules of the establishment as it is “not allowed to play there”. In short, the narrative focus is on her failings which in turn seem derived from a discrepancy between dominance and femininity, mirroring the masculinity/submission discrepancy discussed earlier. Disregarding the dominant/submissive dynamic and replacing it with a male/female one, the narrative presents the situation based on traditional gender expectations; while the woman is presented as contrasting the things a woman is “supposed to be” (Lander 2003:33), the men are shown as active, competent and strong.

5.5 Cool victims

What we are told of the victim’s response in the example above goes in line with Åkerström’s study of cool victim-type enactments of masculinity, as he “took it” without contemplating the abusive nature of the situation, even though he would have been “furious” if a girl was subjected to the same treatment. This model of explanation can in turn be understood through the idea of complicit masculinities as being socially superior to femininities. As a result, the situation is shown to be abusive (since a girl would be regarded as a victim) while the man in question is presented as remaining above being victimized by it, since the feminine enactment of dominance is still socially inferior to his own masculine model of submission. This furthers the assumption that the submissive role is different for men and women, while also implying that “victim of abuse” in heterosexual BDSM contexts is regarded as an exclusively female role by the community. In addition, he “took it” in order to “take care of” the problem at hand, which creates the impression of him as an active, capable man. Underlining what he does (e.g. “takes it” to help a friend) rather than what he is subjected to (i.e. abuse), allows him to retain aspects of normative masculinity in his submission. He was not abused by a woman; rather he acted to help a friend. However, the woman was at fault as she was found to be undesirable as a woman and incompetent in her actions of dominance.

5.6 Subordinate masculinities’ compliance

The archetypes of the hypermasculine man and the submissive woman serve as the extremes of the gender hierarchy as constructed in the BDSM community. Subordinate masculinities (Connell 2005:78) as a social process related to that of complicit masculinities places submissive men between dominant men and women of any sexual identity in this gender hierarchy. Subordinate masculinities are still complicit in this context; since different types of masculinities are not static submissive men are still complicit in the sense that as men, they are above women in the gender hierarchy.

William: About how abuse is defined in BDSM, I get the feeling that… that it’s dominant men who make the rules based on a male culture where the strongest survive. […] I think that it’s a result of living in a society where traditional masculinity is the norm, and I get the feeling that this norm might get a bigger… It’s sort of intensified in this community.

We have previously seen that submissive men are described by participants as enacting submission in different ways than submissive women do. They enact masculinities in submission, meaning that normative masculinity takes precedence over sexuality. Submissive men thus incorporate aspects of “traditional masculinity” in their submission, meaning that normative masculinity is not only “intensified” for dominant men. This also creates active, dominant aspects of male submission, aspects which are ideally lacking in their female counterparts. However, submissive men still enact subordinate masculinities in relation to hegemonic masculinity (the dominant men). Thus, submissive men are socially superior to women, while being inferior to dominant men. Since the definitions of abuse are based on a “male culture”, this places men above women in the gender hierarchy regardless of sexual identity. The narrative also perpetuates the idea of hypermasculinity as hegemonic in the BDSM community, since dominant, “intensified” varieties of masculinity are the norm. These social processes could be used to understand submissive men’s tendency to shame dominant women (thus asserting their own social dominance) for being bad practitioners while giving cool victim-type explanations of non-consensual events (thus avoiding being labelled as effeminate by dominant men), rather than discussing having felt victimized. In this way, ideas associated with male rape myths are perpetuated; (strong, active) men cannot be abused by (weak, passive) women, etc.

6 Discussion and Conclusion

In relation to the research questions, this study has found that the BDSM community largely talks about abuse in terms of grey areas. Furthermore, the study found expressions of denial regarding the existence of abuse in BDSM, thus making the concept of grey areas include abuse by default. While the concept of grey areas is important given the sometimes complicated boundaries involved in BDSM play, it seems to include cover for victim blaming given the premise that grey areas include abuse rather than contrasts it. The notions of shared responsibility which are intrinsic to grey areas then lend themselves to placing responsibility on abuse victims. The implication is that by discussing abuse in terms of grey areas, victims of abuse are found less credible since abuse is often not defined as such, but rather as a grey area where both (or all) parties are equally responsible for the outcome.

The study has also shown that there is a tendency to discuss abuse and grey areas in different terms depending on the victims’ gender. The discrepancies between traditional gender roles and submission (for men) and dominance (for women) could be used to understand the victim blaming tendencies and their gender variation. Abused submissive women are often described as having been labelled as bad submissives by the community in BDSM practitioners’ narratives. However, while they are presented as naïve or irresponsible, their femininity as such is not questioned. Contrariwise, abused submissive men are described as either giving cool-victim type explanations or as mentally and physically weak. Ideas which fall in line with male rape myths seem prevalent, which ties into the cool victim-type explanations given by abused submissive men. Through their denials of abuse, submissive men are in a sense dominant to the women who dominate them sexually in the social interplay of the community at large, since women are thus described as too weak to be a threat. This could be understood as an effort to minimize the masculinity/submission discrepancy. It could also be understood as an expression of male rape myths; the men might not think themselves credible victims. As such, men seem to have difficulty being recognized as victims of abuse by female perpetrators.

As I stated in the introduction, the abuse suffered by submissive men is seemingly missing from the ongoing debate in kink communities. The cool victim-type presentations offered by interview participant’s stories lend themselves to the idea that traditional gender roles take precedence over the dominant/submissive dynamic. Since none of my interview participants’ stories contained information about submissive men openly discussing abuse suffered by dominant women in terms of their own feelings of victimization, one could assume that maintaining traditional enactments of masculinity is valued by the submissive men in the community. This could explain why men seem reluctant to discuss abuse openly online the way women do. However, that tendency could also be understood through the lack of credibility ascribed to men as victims of female perpetrators.

In conclusion, based in the interview participants’ narratives the BDSM community seems to incorporate ideas about traditional gender roles and the expectations attached thereto as well as victim blaming phrased accordingly in its discussion of abuse. This implies that a gender/sexuality discrepancy exists in the (heterosexual) BDSM community. For submissive men this results in their giving cool victim-type explanations in cases of abuse, possibly in order to stay close to the ideas of what a man is supposed to be. It also results in the prevalence of male rape myths, which may be part of the cause for these mentioned cool victim-type explanations of abusive situations.

Written by Tea Fredriksson


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