Dear Mistress Matisse
Why is the BDSM community so reverse-sexist? I have seen your columns about people abusing slaves and it is always men who abuse women. Why do you not speak out about the women who abuse men and hold them in slavery and fear? We are human too and it is not right that we have to suffer, pay money, be denied our rights just because we are the slave. If you are really the fair Mistress then you should speak of this too.
Huh. I’m a little confused by this letter. I think what the writer is talking about is legal cases, like the utterly awful-sounding Edward Bagley case in Missouri, where BDSM is used as a false justification for non-consensual abuse.
(Google it if you want, it's so ugly-feeling that I don't even want to link to it. And be aware that the Bagley case has not gone to trial, so this is all theoretical. The defense has not, in fact, presented BDSM as a rebuttal to the prosecution's charges, and they may not. Everything you read about that case is only alleged, not proven. But I remarked on it on Twitter a few days ago, and I have a column coming out this week that concerns it and cases like it.)
Quite simply, I haven’t written about parallel cases like that involving female defendants and male victims because I’m not aware of any. It is true that women can – and do – physically abuse men non-consensually. But I have not seen any cases where a woman was accused of imprisoning a man against his will and subjecting him to ongoing, systematic abuse that caused him to literally and constantly fear for his life.
(Note: I am excluding cases of a mother/caregiver abusing a child. I know that happens. I refer to cases of two unrelated adults.)
But if you know of any recent (say, the last five years) US cases where a woman has held a man captive, and the relationship between them was described in ways that mimic BDSM relationships, feel free to draw my attention to them.
Separate completely from the serious abuse question: I am highly amused that the writer seems to be saying he’s a slave, but he doesn’t want to be “held in slavery”, suffer, or be denied his rights. I know a number of slaves, Masters, and Mistresses who would say that was the exact point of slavery. I certainly have talked to a lot of men who fantasize about that precise arrangement. I think if there was a woman who was accused and convicted of such behavior, she’d probably get a lot of love letters during her time as a prison inmate!