Rape and other sex crimes have risen to epidemic levels around the world. No one is safe. Woman, man, transgender. The very young, the very old. Members of all these categories are targeted on a regular basis yet it is still so difficult to find help. Not just help to prosecute, but help just to cope.
Within the BDSM community, some believe that the lines are blurred as it can appear very confronting to those who do not understand what is going on. I assure you, as in any community, though predators do walk amongst us, the three requirements of BDSM activities are for them to be safe, sane and consensual.
For this reason, I have found that many survivors flock to our ranks as submissives, Dominants and everything in between. They find that they are able to take back control within our community, knowing the great importance we place on consent and trust.
Above all else, trust is considered sacred. We acknowledge that it must be earned and not readily handed over. There are guidelines for new dalliances and sexual encounters or “scenes” are discouraged before an interval where trust can properly be established. In this, we see the necessity of viewing each other as whole people with individual desires, limitations and expectations.
In an extension of trust, open and honest communication is required. We realise that without the free exchange of opinions, feelings and concerns there can be no trust. We rely on each other to be honest about our limits and what brings us pleasure. About what is acceptable and what isn’t for every individual, as we acknowledge that this is very different from person to person. Dominants rely on submissives to deploy safe words if required as submissives trust their Dominants to respect them.
BDSM encourages body appreciation – for all body types. Be they large or small, scarred or unscathed. No body type is placed above another because we understand that every body is sacred and every person’s preferences differ from the next. We have no desire to stereotype or pigeonhole and instead encourage each person’s uniqueness to shine through in order for them to realise their true self.
Self control is another reason survivors feel safe in the BDSM community. It is important that we each know ourselves and our emotions and never lash out in anger. There are also strict rules about not engaging in a “scene” or punishment under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Dominants always try tools out on themselves first in order to understand the impact they have so degrees of force can be carefully calculated, depending on the requirements of the submissive.
For these reasons and many others, the BDSM world is a community rich with survivors. Should you be a survivor yourself or have a loved one who has suffered through a sexual assault, I sincerely hope that the stories and information gathered here help you with your healing process.