National Consent Month embraces the freedom of expression achieved when informed consent is present.
Join us in participating in an event or workshop during the month of September that highlights the importance of consent. Check out the consent workshops happening in September on the Consent Month Calendar.
NCSF hopes to collect thousands of signatures and plans to submit our petition in September prior to the next meeting of the American Law Institute which is considering making changes in the Model Penal Code provisions relating to sexual assault.
NCSF has urged the ALI Committee to treat BDSM under a category they define as “sexual contact” even if there is no contact with the breasts or genitals. Under the ALI’s draft proposal, “sexual contact” is not a crime if consent is given for such contact. If consent is not given, sexual contact is a misdemeanor, not a felony. Such treatment of BDSM—as not a crime if consensual and as a misdemeanor if nonconsensual—would be fully consistent with the concept that BDSM is intended to be a mutually pleasurable activity rather than an act of violence. If a rape is committed in a BDSM encounter then it can be prosecuted as felony sexual assault and the fact that BDSM activities were also included will reduce the confusion for prosecutors and courts. Judgment can be made solely in the context of whether there was consent for each act that was committed.
A further benefit of our proposal would be that a person who is injured in a nonconsensual BDSM incident would have the shelter of “rape shield” rules, which prohibit introduction of evidence of prior acts and provides the victim anonymity. This protection applies to complaints in sexual assault cases, but not in criminal assault cases. People who are assaulted in a BDSM context typically choose not to report what happened to the police because they will be outed as kinky by the public court documents and they may even face media exposure if their assailant is charged with criminal assault rather than sexual assault.
But first we need to persuade the ALI to agree with our proposal, or at least something like our proposal.
Petition to the American Law Institute:
Consent should be a Defense for BDSM activities
I urge the American Law Institute in its consideration of proposals to revise the Model Penal Code (MPC) provisions relating to sexual assault, to provide in the MPC that prosecutions arising from BDSM (bondage, discipline, Dominance & Submission and sadomasochism) conduct be pursued as “sexual contact” rather than as criminal assault. I believe this is appropriate because consensual BDSM is intended to be a mutually pleasurable erotic activity and not a violent assault by one person against another. Criminal prosecution may be appropriate if consent is not given, but consent should be allowed as a defense.
National Consent Month embraces the freedom of expression that comes with informed consent.
Join us by dedicating one of your events or workshops during the month of September to consent. Let us know the date of your event, and we'll put it on our calendar and publicize it on our social media.
Get your “Got Consent?” T-shirts, mugs and dog tags in the NCSF shop!
Submit photos of your Consent Month celebration to our Consent Photo Contest. We’ll post the photos and award the winner top billing on our Consent Month website for the rest of the year. You’ll also be featured in an NCSF media campaign about Consent Month.
Consent Month is proudly sponsored by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and the Arizona Power Exchange.
Thank you for celebrating September as Consent Month!
NCSF thanks AASECT for allowing us to produce A Taste of Kink with the AASECT Alt Sex SIG at their annual conference this past weekend in Minneapolis. 109 members received 3 Continuing Education credits for attending the event which showed demonstrations of BDSM activities and allowed participants to "taste" the sensation.
It was an exciting event that has been years in the making by the kink-aware sex educators, counselors and therapists of AASECT. Attendees had the opportunity to talk to kinky people about their relationships, and how and why they enjoy BDSM and fetishes.
Thank you to all the MN kink volunteers who gave generously of themselves, welcoming the AASECT members into the inner workings of our community!
NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response received 54 requests for assistance from individuals, groups and businesses in January, February and March. NCSF maintains the confidentiality of those who come to us for help. However we balance that need with the need to report the services we are providing and to provide the community with a record of where the need is the greatest. Here is a breakdown of the cases we assisted on in the first quarter of 2015:
There were 18 requests for assistance with incidents involving criminal law. 12 of those requests were from survivors of a kink-related assault/sexual assault who needed assistance in connecting with kink-aware victim services, education of law enforcement, investigators and prosecutors. 5 were requests for kink-aware defense attorneys and expert witnesses knowledgeable about BDSM vs. abuse. The other incident involved obscenity law.
13 professionals and organizations asked NCSF for information and resources to assist in them in providing their services to kinky clients. These included victim services, medical clinics, therapists, prosecutors and college professors. We also provided information and resources to 2 kink activists to assist in their training of professionals in their area.
There were 12 requests for help involving BDSM and swing groups. 6 groups asked for advice on banning members and dealing with consent violations. 4 groups asked for assistance in setting up a club and dealing with zoning. 2 groups needed assistance with reporters who wanted to attend one of their events.
There were 8 requests for help with child custody in which BDSM was brought in to contest custody. That is an increase from the 4th quarter of 2014 in which there were 6 requests for help with child custody. We assisted in family court cases in Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas and Canada.
There were 2 requests for help with kink-related discrimination. One person is being denied hospital visitation and the other needed help finding a kink-aware therapist in her area.
Civil law incidents
Only 1 request for help with a threatened outing, involving their FetLife profile.
If you need NCSF’s help because of discrimination or to remove kink as a barrier to service, please contact our Incident Reporting & Response today! Email
NCSF has supported our Coalition Partner, Leather & Grace, as they have worked to gain greater tolerance for kinky members and staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Unitarian Universalists have a long history of courage in tackling issues around human sexuality, yet the UUA's current leadership has not responded well to Leather & Grace's concerns.
"Communication with the UUA has been a struggle since Leather & Grace got off the ground in 2011," reports L&G's Moderator, Desmond Ravenstone. "The litany of issues basically comes down to our perceiving a lack of clarity, responsiveness and credibility on the part of the Association’s leadership and their designated liaison."
In response, L&G's leadership has selected an outside intermediary, for the purpose of helping negotiate a covenant of right relationship with the Association.
"The UUA appoints Right Relationship Teams at its annual General Assembly, to deal with issues of conflict and miscommunication," Ravenstone explained. "Based on that model, we recommended that someone be appointed to serve a similar function in our case. But that was rejected, and the bulk of the problems faced by kink-identified UUs still remain. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find someone willing to fulfill this task, and to ask the UUA’s leadership to respect our wishes that any further communication be channeled to that intermediary."
Many difficulties stem from the refusal of their designated liaison to communicate L&G's questions and suggestions to various UUA departments, compounded by non-committal and evasive answers from UUA leaders to a number of questions. Issues reported by kinky UUA staff, for example, took two years to be resolved. Meanwhile, L&G has repeatedly pointed out a major problem with the criteria for recognizing "related organizations," which the UUA's senior administrators have failed to address.
"We will continue our mission of educating and building greater awareness among all UUs," Ravenstone affirmed. "But our experience with the UUA's current administration has led to a serious erosion of trust, and it will take sincere effort to repair this breach. We believe the intermediary we've found will be able to help. It's now up to the UUA to take the next step."
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is fighting for your rights. Please support us by joining today!
For the month of February, as Fifty Shades of Grey sweeps the nation, NCSF is holding a membership drive in honor of the BDSM activists, authors and organizers who have helped pave the way for greater tolerance for all kinky people. As a coalition, NCSF is proud to bring together groups, businesses and professionals so we can work together to eliminate discrimination.