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Distinguishing from Abuse: Adapting the Power & Control Wheel for Power Exchange Dynamics

When abuse happens in BDSM communities, systemic support is harder to access in part because many definitions of intimate partner violence rely on evaluating patterns of power and control. However, because the “bargained-for” exchange in BDSM culture is based in consensual control & power exchange, these relationships often are mislabeled as abusive per se, contributing to greater marginalization of these communities from support when abusive situations arise. This class with Janet Rose adapts the power & control narratives to better identify happy, healthy BDSM from abuse disguised as BDSM and provides a trauma-informed framework for responding to and preventing abuse in their communities.

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