Monday, March 7, 2011

Consent and abuse

Consent is one of those topics that gets a fair amount of time under the limelight. A lot of people say that the biggest difference between BDSM and abuse is consent. I disagree. Even abusive relationships require consent. Now, I'm sure this will get plenty of people up in arms sputtering away and running to tell me how wrong I am and that's fine. But I'm still going to think I'm right lol. So slander my opinions if you want but this is an area where they are not going to change. I have spent far to much time on the phone in the middle of the night and watching Alpha go pack up their shit to believe that abuse does not require some form of consent from the abused partner.

Now, before everyone goes getting their panties in a twist, this post is not intended to be a dig at women in abusive relationships. It is simply my musings about consent and abuse just like the title says. My sister has become the poster board for the formation of my beliefs and I don't love her any less for it.

I will accept the concept that it is possible to be so abused that you can't tell up from down and lose the concept of what a healthy relationship is; that it is possible to be so afraid, that you stay with an abuser because of fear for your life or the lives of your children. I will not however, accept the concept that the biggest difference between BDSM and abuse is consent. Sure, no one says "lets spend the night breaking everything in our house in front of the kids while you beat the shit out of me, oh yay!" But when it comes to abuse, after a certain amount of time (the first time), staying equals consent. Before throwing things at the computer, or rushing to tell me how full of shit I am (be my guest, I haven't deleted a comment yet and don't really intend to start now), take into account how many times I have watched women go back to these shit relationships when they had gotten out and were offered every support necessary to start over without the asshole (aka abusive shit bag. Take your pick of terms, there are plenty to go around).

The long and short of it is, to be in an abusive relationship requires the consent of the abused as well as abuser. By staying with an abuser, the abused are giving their consent for the abuse to continue--whether they realize it or not. That's my opinion from both inside and outside of the situation.
I am not talking about when BDSM turns into abuse because that's not something I have any experience with and I would imagine the complications to be much deeper.

Since I have a house full of kids who are now beginning to stir, I'll end my ramblings here. I realize that I didn't go into the actual differences between BDSM and abuse but I'm always happy to share my opinions (because after all, I just Know that I am usually right). Rumor has it March is Q&A month here in blog land so if you want an excuse to throw more shit at your computer, ask away lol.


  1. You make a good point. I think one of the main differences between BDSM and abuse is the intent. If the violence happens with a sexually gratifying intent, it is not abuse, but if it happens with the intent to actually harm and in anger, I think it qualifies as abuse at that point.
    It is a thin line and some Dom/mes do cross it, giving a bad name to those who do not.

  2. You are right! I know you know that, but it had to be said again ;)
    I'm sure we've all seen one person, even a family member who let's it go on. Yes I said they let it go on.
    There are so many resources for people who are abused these days(not to mention family and friends) it's pure insanity that anyone would stay in a relationship like that ... or go back.

  3. I've seen it go on with my mom for years she finally divorced the bustard. i was like 7 when it was happening. i can even remember how long it was i think 3 or more years. she didn't deserve it but she was the one who stayed for so long and we talk about it and she does see where i was coming from and if you wouldn't mind if i showed her this post or just read it to her please let me know.

  4. I think that there is a thin line there in many situations and the difference can't always be put into words. I think it is more of a feeling that both parties have and that maybe they are the only ones that ever really know if what they have is abuse or not.

    Different strokes?

    This post also reminded me of my little sister. I think nearly every relationship she has ever been in has been either physically or emotionally abusive in some way.

  5. To say one person is the demon or the villian, or to switch it around and say the other person consented or let it happen are both far too simplistic. I've spent most of my life believing both are true and are the whole story. Yes, everyone has choices, and in some cases, I'm sure the right versus wrong choice is cut and dried. And it does, in the end, take one person sticking around for abuse to happen. It's really only on TV though that making the right choice doesn't still carry consequences, far reaching, weighty consequences. In real life sometimes there isn't an easy answer, but it does make it easier to live with ourselves to think that there is.

  6. Brighteyes, it can be a very fine line and I do think that anger and emotion makes all the difference in the world.

    Naida, the resources can be difficult to get, but they are there. I would say that the greatest and most reliable resource is family (assuming they are worth calling "family").

    Mommy09, if you think it will be helpful, feel free to show your mom the post.

    centipede, feelings can be so friggin hard to put into words lol. And yea, my little sister too.

    greengirl, it is a very simplistic way to view things and it's always easier to be the outside observer and say how things should be done. I wasn't necessarily trying to switch it around--after all, if the abuser had a modicum of self control, it wouldn't happen in the first place. I do however think that saying the difference between BDSM and abuse is consent, is an incorrect statement (not saying you said that lol). And there are always far reaching consequences. Especially if there are children involved. And I would agree on taking the stance of both directions--abuser as villain and abused as a consenting party. It seems to be a classic defense of men who can't keep their fists to themselves that "she asked for it" or "she provoked me and therefore deserved it." Which is of course, a crock of shit lol. To be clear, I was not playing the Devil's advocate (on this subject anyways lol).

  7. I think the biggest difference is BDSM is done in ways that SHOULD make the person healthier (so to speak). There should be a learning process, and there are (when done correctly) controls that should be followed to assure nobody is damaged.
    And I totally agree that consent is involved in abuse, at least to a point. I truly believe that people can only do what you let them do to you. I could even buy that someone truly believed it was a one time thing, after that, it is a form of consent, if not one that should be accepted. That form of consent does not come from a healthy place, unfortunately.

  8. this will probly be the hardest thing i ever wrote. after reading several of your posts, the words just wouldn't stop. like you said, sometimes its hardest being STILL!
    took me 9 yrs and many insistent friends to bail out of an abusive situation. poor thing thought she deserved the punishment in some way.
    18 yrs later there are still nightmares, flashbacks if you will. things can never be the same, people are not perceived the same after an encounter like that.
    you said it right lil. the abused IS consenting, by their very silence, to what they are receiving. until they decide they dont deserve it, there is nothing anyone can do.
    apologies to any and all who might be hurt by this.
    life's a bitch and then you die.

  9. agog,
    well put and very true. Abusive relationships do not encourage personal growth and its a downward spiral that is truly unhealthy; whereas I have found BDSM to be completely the opposite in both those aspects.
    And I think that most people really do believe the first time abuse happens will be the last. I have never seen it work that way for anyone though.


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