When It Is Abuse
August 6, 2013
by Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Fawcett
Trust has been lost; consent has been revoked; the relationship has become threatening; you face real danger and possible harm. It’s not the “lifestyle”—it’s this relationship—and you need help. Where do you turn?
What happens when kinky folks seek help from publicly available domestic violence services to deal with a relationship that may have become abusive? Are the unique circumstances of those who engage in relationships with negotiated power exchange dynamics such as BDSM, Leather or kink, understood and treated with sensitivity and respect by service providers?
“When I called the police, they said it was my fault because I consented.”
“The people who worked at the shelter talked openly about my D/s relationship, and it got back to my kids. They didn’t know! My children were bullied by other children at the shelter because of it.”
“Every time we had a disagreement, my partner threatened to call the police and tell them I beat him. But he asked me to! Who am I going to ask for help? I’m the Dominant! I’m the sadist!”
“I was told to leave the lifestyle altogether; they said that the power/control dynamic IS abuse.”
Anecdotes such as these prompted my interest in researching and documenting the experiences of those who engage in BDSM, Leather and kinky lifestyles whose relationships became abusive. Do kinky folks feel that they are discriminated against by service providers? Do they feel that they can even ask for help? These are the two major questions I aim to answer in a ground breaking research project on “Intimate Partner Abuse Among Practitioners of BDSM/Leather/Kink Lifestyles.” By placing a spotlight on the experiences and perceptions of individuals who have ever sought help in dealing with an abusive power exchange relationship, or who wanted to seek help, but didn’t, it may be possible to determine if kinky people comprise an underserved population, in order to promote improvement of the quality of information, responses and interventions provided by outreach educators and service providers.
Invitation to Participate in a Needs Assessment Survey on Intimate Partner Abuse Among Practitioners of BDSM/Leather/Kink Lifestyles
All interested individuals who are involved in BDSM/Leather/Kink lifestyles are invited to participate in a survey about intimate partner abuse. The purpose of this survey is to gather information regarding the quality of experiences had by those who sought help from domestic violence service providers, or those who wanted to seek help, but did not do so. The overall goal is to help service providers and outreach educators improve the quality of information, responses and interventions regarding the unique needs and experiences of individuals who live a BDSM, Leather or kinky lifestyle.
You are invited to take the survey whether or not you have been involved in an abusive relationship because the survey will collect basic demographic information about those who engage in BDSM, Leather and/or kink, as well.
The survey link is available here: https://www.psychdata.com/s.asp?SID=155554
The survey will take approximately 25-35 minutes to complete.
Please respond no later than January 31, 2014.
Your participation is voluntary. All responses are anonymous. However, there is potential risk of loss of confidentiality in all email, downloading and internet transactions. The final results of this study will be used for research and may also be published in a summary format in a peer-reviewed journal.
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Elizabeth Fawcett, Ph.D., M.P.H., at firstname.lastname@example.org. This study has been reviewed according to accepted Institutional Review Board (IRB) procedures for research involving human subjects, and approved. If you have questions about the rights of research participants or the way this study is being conducted, you may contact Texas Woman’s University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at 940-898-3378 or via email at IRB@twu.edu.