BALTIMORE – The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) launched the Consent Violations Survey in 2014 to gather details about consent violations in a BDSM context. We asked about: the severity of the violations, who is being violated, where they were violated, the relationship and intent of those involved, the power dynamic at the time of the violation, as well as information about false accusations and from people who have committed consent violations. This survey was intended to expand on the info gathered through the first NCSF Consent Counts Survey in 2012 that gauged attitudes about consent in a power exchange context.
Go to the NCSF website to read the entire survey results.
A total of 1,307 people (29% of 4,503 respondents) reported that their pre-negotiated limits and/or their safeword have been violated. Among those who reported why they thought it had happened, approximately 1 in 3 involved manipulation or coercion (345 people/8% of 4,503 respondents), and another 1 in 4 said they were attacked by a predator (245 people/5% of 4,503 respondents). Nearly 1 in 3 said the consent violation was caused by an accident, miscommunication, or a lack of skills or knowledge (310 people/7% of the respondents). 71 people said it was part of their dynamic and they were ultimately okay with it (1.5% of the respondents), while 27 people said it was a result of alcohol.
The majority, 70% of the people who said their consent was violated (775/1098), reported their first violation occurred before or within the first three years of their participation in the BDSM community. In all, one-fourth of the people whose pre-negotiated limits were violated said it happened before they started to participate on BDSM websites or attended a BDSM meeting, club, munch, party or event.
As for what happened, the largest percentage of participants said that they were nonconsensually penetrated in the vagina by a penis, finger or dildo (29%). One-fourth said they were touched nonconsensually in a way that violated their pre-negotiated limits, while one in five said they were touched on the genitals or breasts, penetrated in the ass by a penis/finger or dildo, punched or humiliated.
Twenty-nine people (2.7% of the 1,041 people who answered the question) say that they reported the consent violation to the police. 96 people experienced an injury that required medical attention (2% of the total survey respondents and 7% of the number of people who reported a safeword or limit violation). One-half of one percent (0.5%) of the survey respondents (23 people) reported receiving a serious physical injury that was life-threatening or serious enough to cause dysfunction in an organ or limb.
In addition, nearly 36% of the respondents reported being touched without permission at a BDSM meeting, club, munch, party or event.
Out of 4,578 respondents, only 7 people reported they had been falsely accused and reported to the police (0.1% of the sample). Just over 3% of the respondents (140) say they have been falsely accused within the BDSM community of touching someone without permission at an event or party. Just over 3% (137 people) reported they’ve been falsely accused of violating someone’s pre-negotiated limits in a BDSM scene.
For the complete analysis, go to: https://ncsfreedom.org/images/stories/2015_Survey_PDFs_ETC/Consent%20Violations%20Survey%20Analysis%20final.pdf
The survey questions were created by Susan Wright, M.A., Co-Principal Investigator, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, and Russell J. Stambaugh, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator. Derrell Cox, M.A., Department of Anthropology, Center for Applied Social Research at University of Oklahoma, assisted in the analysis and is the statistician. This project has been reviewed and endorsed by a community advisory board of the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS), a community-based research support organization which includes members of alternative sexualities communities.
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom