By Elizabeth Fawcett
A police officer who was a bit skeptical of the idea of consent to participate in BDSM activities told me, “I don’t understand how one day it is okay, and the next day it is not; I mean, when collecting evidence from a person who has made the accusation of domestic violence, pictures are often taken of the physical evidence: bruises, cuts and other injuries. What makes this bruise—the one that is said to be evidence of assault—different from that bruise—the one that is said to have been the result of consensual activities?”
I asked him to imagine this:
A person with a mask on is plunging a sharp blade into your chest. What is happening to you?
A criminal is assaulting you with a deadly weapon—It’s an attempt to end your life!
A physician is making their first incision to perform open heart surgery—It’s an attempt to save your life!
Now, how do you differentiate between the scars?
How do practitioners of BDSM/Leather/Kink lifestyles differentiate between engaging in consensual power/control dynamics in their relationships and abuse? And when it is abuse, do they feel their complaints are understood and taken seriously by service providers? These are two questions I will address 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. This research aims to promote greater understanding of BDSM/Leather/Kink lifestyles in order to improve of the quality of information, responses and interventions provided by outreach educators and service providers to this population.
I am grateful to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom for their support.
Invitation to Participate in a Needs Assessment Survey on Intimate Partner Abuse Among Practitioners of BDSM/Leather/Kink Lifestyle
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.