Over the years i have heard time after time that BDSM is abusive to the submissive or bottom person in a D/s or M/s relationship. Most often it had to do with the sub’s position in play – usually that of the recipient of control in the form of bondage or of pain. What the general public is not aware of is the basic tenet of BDSM – safe, sane, & consensual. They don’t understand how or why a person would submit willingly to the infliction of pain, so of course they assume the submissive is being coerced or abused. While this can and probably does happen at times in BDSM relationships, i believe it has more to do with the individual’s psychological make-up than the presence of the BDSM dynamic.
i thought tonight i would elucidate the problems of domestic abuse, so Y/you will have a greater understanding of the types of abuse and be able to identify abusive tactics employed by the perpetrators.
Generally, there are five categories of domestic abuse:
These categories are not exclusive meaning an abuser may utilize tactics from more than one category in order to maintain control over the victimized person.
Physical violence or even the threat of violence is intended to enhance the power and control of the abuser over the partner. Physical abuse can be defined as the threat of harm or any forceful physical behavior that intentionally or accidentally causes bodily harm or property destruction, including:
- Hitting, beating, choking, pushing, slapping, kicking, pulling hair, biting, punching, backhanding, arm twisting, shoving, kicking or burning.
- Threatening to use or using a weapon against the partner
- Punching walls or doors
- Denying or interfering with the partner meeting their basic physical needs (e.g. Eating and sleeping)
- Smashing, damaging, stealing, or selling the partner’s possessions
Physical abuse also can be used against children, pets, and even the partner’s family & friends
***Recently i was told one should know their potential partner in BDSM well since most of the consensual activities could be considered felonies***
Sexual abuse is any forced or coerced sexual activity or behavior motivated to build power and control over the partner. It can also be any contact meant to demean or humiliate the partner and instill feelings of shame and vulnerability.
- Unwanted touching
- Demeaning remarks
- Berating partner about sexual history
- Forcing sex without consent
- Rape with an object
- Refusing to comply with request for safe sex
- Coercing partner into sex with others
- Unwanted sadistic acts
Some forms of sexual abuse are crimes
Emotional abuse is the use of words, voice, action, or lack of action meant to control, hurt or demean another person. It typically includes ridicule, intimidation or coercion.
- Verbal threats
- Demeaning person in front of friends, family, or even strangers
- Constant criticism or humiliation yelling to intimidate
- Obsessive jealousy
- Being irresponsible with money
- Using insults, sarcasm or sneering
Frequently the abuser is seeking to socially isolate the partner. Behaviors used to socially isolate include:
- Blaming partner’s friends or family for their relationship problems
- Monitoring phone calls, mail, or visits
- Demanding an account of daily activities
- Insulting, threatening or assaulting the partner’s friends or family to drive them away
- Stalking or using other means of surveillance
Financial abuse is the use or misuse of the partner’s financial or other monetary resources without the partner’s freely given consent.
Common examples include:
- Forbidding the partner to work
- Refusing to work yet contributing to expenses
- Controlling shared resources
- Demanding partner account for all the money they spend
- Taking credit cards, money, or checkbook
- Forging partner’s signature on financial documents
Identity abuse is the use of personal characteristics to demean, manipulate and control the partner. Some of these tactics overlap with other forms of abuse, particularly emotional abuse. This category includes racism, sexism, ageism, able-ism, beauty-ism, and homophobia. Also the fear of being outed as a kinky person can be a form of identity abuse.
- Outing or threatening to out someone
- Asserting partner will never have another relationship because they are too ugly or too old
- Blaming the abuse on the person’s identity (gay, bisexual) or behavior (S&M)
- Exploiting partner’s internalized racism
- Ridiculing partner’s physical challenges
i am simply listing the characteristics of Abusive Men
- Control – achieved through criticism, verbal abuse, financial control, isolation, cruelty
- Entitlement – belief in having special rights without responsibilities
- Selfishness & Self-centeredness – expectation of being center of attention, having needs anticipated
- Superiority – contempt for partner as stupid, unworthy or as house keeper
- Possessiveness – seeing partner as property
- Confusing Love & Abuse – explains violence as expression of deep love
- Manipulativeness – confusion, distortion, lies. Projects self as good, while portraying partner as crazy or abusive
- Contradictory Statements & Behaviors – saying one thing and doing another
- Externalization of Responsibility – shifting blame for their actions to others, especially the partner
- Denial, Minimalization, & Victim Blaming – not acknowledging the seriousness of his behavior and its effects
- Serial Battering – abusive in one relationship after another
Men can exhibit some or all of these characteristics and NEVER PHYSICALLY assault a partner
Some of this material was edited or summarized from Lundy Bancroft & Jay Silverman (2002). The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Thanks for reading,