The Importance Of Consent (More On The Grace Millane Case)

Good afternoon lovelies,

I don’t normally write on this blog on a Thursday and yet, as I’ve been following the Grace Millane case so intensively, I felt the need to come on here and write for you all today. I’ve also written previously about this tragic case, and the importance of knowledge, consent, communication and awareness in BDSM.

You see, as I sipped my morning tea this morning, this BBC article caught my attention.

First of all, I want to point out that I do feel that this article absolutely oozes a sexist “men are violent idiots vibe”. It’s written by a woman, for women. It paints men out to be violent thugs who think it’s okay to beat and abuse women during sex because of what they’ve seen in pornography.

Woah there, lady!

As a woman who has attended court to defend a man who was a victim of sexual assault and attempted rape, I know that it’s not only men who attack women. I’ve also seen other men be sexually assaulted (NB. Kicking a man in the nuts ‘for a laugh’ is never okay) so I know that men too can be the victims. This isn’t merely about men beating women, this is about consensual and non-consensual sex acts and aggression, generally.

As a practitioner and educator of BDSM, I feel it is imparative for me to highlight the importance of consent and communication in BDSM. If we don’t, we risk a step back to a time where BDSM becomes taboo and we are marginalised again. In order for our lifestyle to be taken seriously and considered as part of our normal sexual interests, we need to demonstrate the ability to underscore the importance of safety.

The real key focus here is on that sentence “More than a third (38%) had experienced these acts and said they were unwanted at least some of the time..” consent is not something you give once and have done with it (or at least, it shouldn’t be). You can give or revoke your consent at any time and for any activity. If your partner doesn’t know you well enough to know what you do or do not enjoy, then you should not be engaging in BDSM with them. If you’re partner disregards your consent, kick them out on the street. I update my checklist annually, and even then I can stop anything and at any time by simply saying “red”. We’ve been together thirteen years, and even we still regularly have discussions about our BDSM activities – and I have to write in a journal!

For me, perhaps, this article comes at a sensitive time. Only last night I had some incredibly dark and deviant thoughts involving spit, which won’t be featuring on my blog. People do what they do and they enjoy what they enjoy, and Grace Millane should be in no way stigmatised or blamed for that. Personally myself, I am not a fan of choking. The last time I was choked, I went into a panic attack almost immediately. That people are choking one another out without any prior knowledge or experience is more alarming than that people are into BDSM. That Grace fell into the hands of a man with a history of compulsive lying and who eroticised death is a tragedy, and that is where the problems lie.

Fortunately, many BDSM practitioners have a threshold between fantasy and reality, safe and unsafe. Those of us who prioritise consent and open communication are many, and those will ill intentions are few. That doesn’t mean that they don’t slip through the net, and we in the BDSM community need to take responsibility for improving education and finding ways to weed out potentially dangerous scenarios or individuals. Avoiding kink-shaming is one thing, but allowing even one murder to happen in our community is another.

In honour of Grace Millane and all of those who have died through misadventure, I have now prioritsed completing my BDSM workshop. I may not know everything, but something I do know that is shared on my blog may just go one step towards saving more lives.

Stay well everyone,

Elena xx

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