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"When the Levee Breaks: A guide to dealing with and avoiding arrest and prosecution in BDSM scenes." 

"When the Levee Breaks" is a companion to the NCSF publication, "The Aftermath," and is a guide to provide a perspective for those who have, through mistake, misunderstanding, or a fleeting lapse of reason, committed an act of criminally actionable sexual assault.  It is not intended to provide a defense for indefensible acts. "When the Levee Breaks" also provides information on how to better protect oneself against arrest and prosecution.

Click to get a PDF of "When the Levee Breaks"


NCSF may be able to help - Learn about our Incident Response ProgramWhen you need help and don't know where to turn, NCSF may be able to help. Our Incident Response program helps hundreds of people every year. We make a difference for individuals and organizations facing discrimination, legal crisis and other important life events related to their kink interests. 

Back in June, 2008, we had set up a great private party for swingers. The plan was to have it at a local bar, the owner was going to close it for just our group. Lots of us had plans on eating dinner at the fine-dining restaurant above the bar, and many had rooms reserved in the hotel. The owner knew what type of group we were, and had no problems in having us.
 
Shortly before the party, the local Borough Council President 'found out' about the party and contacted the local paper. Next thing we know, the paper comes out on Wednesday, we're on the front page. The party was set for Saturday night. Now, most Swingers want complete anonymity, and it was rumored that the media would be there "in disguise" mingling thru the party and possibly some waiting for us to arrive. So, we felt it necessary to cancel our party to protect our guests.
 
The NCSF Incident Response team found out what had happened, contacted the local paper and helped them understand what we were trying to do, and how this affects us. My husband and I (as the party hosts) were unable to have any reply in the paper due to their demand that our names be published if they published our letter. Without the NCSF, there would have been no one to stand up for us and to speak on our behalf, and for that, we are so thankful to them! Thanks again you guys! You're wonderful!
 
~Name withheld by request

Every year, Leather SINS produces two national BDSM events in Chicago: Kinky Kollege and SINSations in Leather. Ever since the Concerned Women for America attacked five Midwest BDSM conferences in 2002, Leather SINS has consulted with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom to ensure that our events would not face the same problems if we were attacked by religious political extremists.
 
Leather SINS has consulted with NCSF about a variety of issues while producing our events. We asked Susan Wright to accept the position as our media spokesperson, posting her phone number on our website so she can respond instantly to any media inquiries. Susan checks every page of our website for each event, looking for statements and phrases that may need clarification or may possibly cause problems if taken out of context by the media.
 
Leather SINS has gratefully named NCSF as one of our "WE CARE!" charities (along with LA&M). We're proud to be a Coalition Partner of NCSF, and would urge any group to take advantage of NCSF's knowledgeable Incident Response program consultants when producing an event. 
 
In leather heart and soul,
Master Z
Leather SINS President & Event Director 

For over a year now, Folsom Street Events has been under attack by anti-gay and religious right groups from across the country. The attacks have been relentless. They have threatened our major sponsorships, picketed our events, called upon public officials to denounce us, and rallied their troops against our community. As a small organization with only two staff members, we do not have the capacity to stand up and respond to these continuing assaults.

We contacted the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom to access the Incident Response program. Within hours, we spoke with a highly trained and knowledgeable media and PR consultant for support. In addition to her moral support, we received a meticulous training for our Board of Directors and staff, preparing us to better manage these attacks. Also, the program consultant was able to field all media inquiries - and serve as a positive voice for our community - during our events, so that we could focus on our production duties. We can't thank NCSF enough for their good work and for being there when we needed them.

Demetri Moshoyannis
Executive Director
Folsom Street Events

 

My relationship with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) began like many others do. I was neck deep in a conflict that was based in my free expression of my sexuality through my writing. I was asked to leave my teaching position, an agreement was reached and I left quietly without creating a scene. I used to teach in a small, private school in North Carolina, where my daughter also attended school. When I left my teaching position I was assured that it would not affect her last and final year of middle school.

Months passed, and we were within days of her returning to the 8th grade when I received a call from the Head of School that he had decided to rescind his offer to allow her to go to school there. After heated debate, he agreed that she could attend school, but if and only if I could secure a $1,000.00 expense fee to cover her field trips and lunches in advance. It was a bullshit fee, to be honest. It’s not required of any other parent. He knew that we would not be able to come up with $1,000 in a matter of days. This was his way of keeping her out without risking litigation.

So I wondered what led this man, elder in his church, who had given me his word that my child would be unaffected, to suddenly revoke something that we had agreed upon? He said that based on an email to my husband, he had changed his mind. I looked at Marky, while still on the phone, and asked, “Did you exchange any emails in the last month with the school?” Of course he had not. Well the school made a terrible error. They contacted my ex-husband, not my husband. They contacted someone who has no legal custody of our daughter, and based on that conversation had decided that I would no longer be welcome in the parent community.

This happened, I’m sure by no coincidence, at the same time that I received threatening emails from my ex-husband, who suggested that due to my deviant behavior she should come to live with him.

I reacted immediately. First, I raised the money in a raffle that was initially supported by Lochai and quickly built into a huge CommUNITY movement of kinksters who were outraged. Secondly, I contact NCSF and accessed professional advice and consultations through their Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) listing. With the help of the community and the NCSF I felt prepared for battle.

Now, coming full circle, I am honored that my PR firm, Quid Pro Quo, will be working with NCSF on the launching of a new blog. We are doing the work pro-bono to show NCSF our appreciation and to give back to an organization that protects all of us. It feels really great to be in a position to give back. So do us a favor and help us help them. We’ll be asking people to re-post and tweet links and I hope you’ll consider it your way of giving back to such an amazing organization.

Catalina Loves
Best Sex Bloggers
Fetlife

The NCSF Incident Reporting & Response Team's purpose is to provide assistance to individuals and groups within the alternative sexual expression communities who become victimized by actions of local authorities in opposition to the freedom of expression of SM, leather/fetish, or swing practices.

 NCSF is not legal aid, nor do we offer specific legal advice for individuals. NCSF is a resource for the members of the kink, poly and Lifestyle communities and for people seeking information about them. NCSF provides publicly available information on kink and nonmonogamy for consenting adults. We advocate on behalf of the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities.

The issue must openly, directly, and specifically relate to BDSM, swing or poly activities between consenting adults; in other words, the problems you face must relate to or be caused from your involvement in BDSM, swing or poly without question.

 

NCSF is a resource for the members of the kink, poly and Lifestyle communities and for people seeking information about them. If you engage in BDSM, fetishes or non-monogamy practices, and you are being persecuted or discriminated against because of it, please contact NCSF. If you need help removing kink or non-monogamy as a barrier to public services, please contact NCSF. If your group or business needs help with outreach to local officials, please contact NCSF.  GET HELP NOW!

Feeling alone in your fight for your rights? NCSF's Incident Response Program may be able to help.The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)’s Incident Reporting & Response (IRR) 

The issue must openly, directly, and specifically relate to BDSM, swing or poly activities between consenting adults; in other words, the problems you face must relate to or be caused from your involvement in BDSM, swing or poly without question.

NCSF is not legal aid, nor do we offer specific legal advice for individuals. NCSF is a resource for the members of the kink, poly and Lifestyle communities and for people seeking information about them. NCSF provides publicly available information on kink and nonmonogamy for consenting adults. NCSF assists individuals in removing discrimination as a barrier to public services when they make a request to our Incident Reporting & Response program. We also advocate on behalf of the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities.

 

 


Incident Reporting & Response - 2014 Report

By Susan Wright

            NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response helps people who are being discriminated against because they are kinky and/or nonmonogamous: 184 requests for help were received in 2014. One-fourth of the cases evolved into weeks- or months-long projects, requiring the education of a number of legal, medical and mental health professionals about kink. Other professionals who requested information or resources to better serve kinky people included: academics, social services, vanilla nonprofit organizations & events, authors, merchant services, and insurance brokers.

            The drop in IRR requests can be partly attributed to the increased page views on NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals database, with over 1,200 kinky people directly accessing KAP in 2014 to find a lawyer, therapist or other professional rather than asking NCSF for help through Incident Reporting & Response. Recognizing the need for more professionals to be listed in KAP, in 2014 NCSF joined forces with GayLawNet, a free referral database of gay-friendly attorneys. GayLawNet also began offering a Kink Aware Professional category for their lawyers to self-identify as kink aware.

            Of the 184 requests for assistance, the majority dealt with BDSM while only 6 involved polyamory/swing issues:

73 criminal issues

33 child custody

26 requests for info from professionals

20 kink group issues

10 discrimination issues

5 job discrimination

6 media related incidents

4 divorce

4 civil law issues

3 outings

Criminal issues

            The 73 requests that involved criminal issues typically took the most time and effort to help resolve, including finding kink-aware legal representation and educating relevant professionals to remove kink as a barrier to services. The requests break down as follows:

42 – assistance with victim services, reporting an assault, sexual assault, blackmail or stalking to the police, and obtaining restraining orders

13 – referrals for kink-aware defense attorneys

6 – assisting sex workers who were arrested

6 – assisting people in dealing with: probation, sex offenders, sex traffickers

5 – research on state criminal laws and contracts

Child Custody/Divorce

            In 2014, there was a significant drop in requests for help with child custody/divorce issues. That is due to the change in the DSM-5 criteria, which made it clear that people who are kinky are not mentally ill:

2014 – 37 people

2013 – * see note

2012 – 87 people

2011 – 115 people

2010 – 125 people

2009 – 132 people

            An even bigger change due to the DSM-5 can be found in the percentage of kinky parents who now retain child custody. More kinky parents who come to NCSF for help are successful in removing kink as an issue in family court and with social service workers and Child Protective Services. Of the 33 cases, 3 are still ongoing, but of those that assigned custody:

2014 – 89% (27 out of 30 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.

2012 – 53% (41 out of 77 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.

2011 – 23% (23 out of 101 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.

2010 – 12% (13 out of 109 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.

Groups

            There was also a drop in the number of requests from BDSM, swing and polyamory educational and social groups. Most people are now aware that they need to get professional advice in setting up their clubs and association papers, and it is common knowledge how to produce an event legally. As a result, NCSF received fewer requests for establishing a nonprofit or dealing with zoning laws, and instead primarily assisted groups in handling adversarial members, liability issues, doing outreach to local law enforcement, and handling media incidents. NCSF helped 20 kink groups in 2014 vs. 77 in 2012.

            Requests for help with swing and polyamory issues dropped to less than 3% of the total requests in 2014 compared to nearly 9% in 2012 and nearly 5% in 2011. There has been a significant drop in the number of house parties as Lifestyle events have shifted toward a business model that uses club venues, cruise ships and hotels. This means fewer busted house parties, and less need for NCSF services.

            The decline in discrimination against nonmonogamists may also be due in part to the success of gay marriage. The mainstream media covers relationship issues like nonmonogamy much more positively than it did five years ago. According to the NCSF Media Updates, of the articles that involved nonmonogamy as a subject:

2014 – 53 articles: 77% were positive and 23% were negative.

2013 – 42 articles: 81% were positive and 19% were negative.

2012 – 21 articles: 62% were positive and 38% were negative.

2011 – 33 articles: 30% were positive and 70% were negative.

2010 – 50 articles: 16% were positive and 84% were negative.

For updates and details on IRR requests, look for our quarterly IRR reports in the NCSF Newsletter. Sign up by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

* Note: From 2002-2011, NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response received over 500 requests every year. In 2012, that number dropped to 474, likely due to the change in the DSM-5 and an increased use of KAP. The IRR data for 2013 was destroyed by Leigha Fleming when she deleted her emails and documentation from the NCSF server. Some people have reported receiving no response last year, and that may have contributed to fewer people coming to NCSF this year. Susan Wright took over as director of IRR in January, 2014.


NCSF is not legal aid, nor do we offer specific legal advice for individuals. NCSF is a resource for the members of the kink, poly and Lifestyle communities and for people seeking information about them. NCSF provides publicly available information on kink and nonmonogamy for consenting adults. We advocate on behalf of the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. 

Unfortunately, due to limited resources the NCSF is only able to take the cases that meet the criteria set by our mission. All of our work is done by volunteers and we accept no payment for our services.

We are however happy to receive donations earmarked specifically for use in the IRR Program. Click here to donate,  Make sure you note "Incident Reporting & Response" or "IRR" in the comment box if you want to restrict your donation. We do provide basic information as resources dictate and referrals to professionals as part of our Kink Aware Professionals database.

The criteria for acceptance listed were developed to meet the primary concerns of our voting constituencies, our Coalition Partners. When the NCSF agrees to take a case the impact can be realized by all of our constituents as a whole and therefore it is up to the policies set in motion by NCSF Coalition Partners to decide whether existing resources allow for a case to be handled effectively.

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)’s Incident Response (IR) Program uses three primary criteria for taking a case:

  1. The issue must openly, directly, and specifically relate to BDSM, swing or poly activities between consenting adults; in other words, the problems you face must relate to or be caused from your involvement in BDSM, swing or poly without question.
  2. The issue must be one whose outcome or precedent could affect not just the individual filing the complaint, but potentially a significant number of people with the same, or similar, problem.
  3. The incident needs to have a reasonable chance of a successful resolution: usually indicating that the individual filling has not also been found guilty of a crime other than behaviors currently considered illegal relating to BDSM, swing or poly. 
 
If you meet the above criteria file a INCIDENT RESPONSE (click hear).
You may also file a report by calling (410)539-4824
 
If otherwise, you may make a general contact with the NCSF by clicking hear
 
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    Tags: CDA Media
  • Adult Video News - February, 2002

    NCSF Tackles "Community Standards" For The Web By Mark Kernes Adult Video News, February Issue Washington, DC The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom may not be a household name, even in the adult entertainment industry, but if their recently-filed lawsuit succeeds, they may go down in history as the first group to secure Americans' core constitutional speech rights.  NCSF is based in the nation's capital [~] in fact, only a…






    Tags: Media CDA News
  • ABC News - July 29, 2002

    Love or Obscenity? S/M Photographer Challenges Internet Decency Standards By Dean Schabner ABCnews.com, July 29, 2002 When Barbara Nitke wanted to put her photographs of loving couples on the Internet, she thought she should check into the laws first. That's because Nitke's recent photographs have been focused on how some couples express their love through sado-masochism. What Nitke found after reading up on Internet law and talking to lawyers was…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • Govt Motion to Affirm Nitke and NCSF Reply (PDF)

    Govt Motion to Affirm Nitke 05-526 (pdf) (posted 3/2/06) NCSF Reply to Govt Motion to Affirm (doc) (posted 3/2/06)






    Tags: Civil_Rights CDA

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