BDSM versus Abuse

One of the greatest misconceptions about BDSM is that it cannot be distinguished from abuse or domestic violence.  In fact, there is a clear distinction between BDSM and physical/emotional/sexual abuse: 

BDSM Abuse
~ Always consensual ~ Never consensual
~ Negotiated beforehand ~ Inflicted without warning
~ Desired by the recipient ~ Always unwanted
~ Planned to assure well-being ~ Unplanned with no regard for well-being
~ Done according to established rules ~ Has no rules
~ Dom/top retains emotional control ~ Abuser out of control
~ Not to be done while under the influence of alcohol or drugs ~ Often done while abuser is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
~ Not to be done in the presence of children or nonconsenting adults ~ Often done in the presence of children, family or friends without consent
~ Can be stopped with a safeword ~ Cannot be stopped by the victim
~ Followed by supportive aftercare ~ No aftercare of victim by abuser
~ Done in the context of emotional intimacy and mutual pleasure between equals ~ Done by the abuser to release rage and exercise power and control over the victim

Groups like the National Leather Association-International and the Leather Leadership Conference have taken steps to educate our community about domestic violence and abuse, and local groups have even raised funds and done other work in support of domestic violence programs in their respective communities.


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