The popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise over recent years has brought the “genre” of pornography called Bondage and Discipline Sadomasochism (BDSM) into the homes of mainstream society. In fact, Fifty Shades of Grey has been so widely accepted that it has even been labeled as “mommy porn” due to its popularity with mothers around the globe. Now it appears that even Cosmopolitan magazine has decided to jump on the BDSM wagon and has gone so far as to become a champion of the torture of women by featuring the torture porn website Kink.com in their recent “Top 15 Porn Sites for Women” article. Cosmopolitan Magazine has been considered by many women’s rights advocates as an enemy of progress, however, Cosmopolitan has now plummeted to new lows.
Kink.com is one of the most popular companies creating and disseminating Bondage and Discipline Sadomasichism (BDSM) torture porn for incredible financial gain. The acts inflicted on film and live webcams include flogging, whipping, caning, electrocution, submersion in water, cutting, hog-tying, defecating on, urinating on, public humiliation and simulating gang rape. These are just small samples of what is involved in the degradation of women on the site that Cosmopolitan magazine has chosen to promote. Women’s rights advocate Dr. Gail Dines has said that “if you were to take some of those images on Kink.com and you were to put them on an Amnesty International website, you would see them for what they are, which is pure torture.”
Those such as Kink.com CEO Peter Acworth, who profit off of the abuse of women, tout the idea of consent as a justification for anything and everything. “She signed the consent form so it’s ok,” is what they use as their defense. However it is important for everyone to know that defense does not hold up in a court of law. In fact, there is an established precedent both internationally and in the United States that has been set by numerous courts, demonstrating that consent is not a defense to a charge of assault arising from BDSM practices.
In addition to having precedent internationally, one would be hard pressed to find an appellate court decision anywhere in the United States of America that has accepted consent as a defense in an assault or abuse prosecution arising from BDSM acts. Any act of harm that is not considered to be “athletic” or “medical” is defined as a criminal act when serious bodily injury occurs, and courts have come to judge “any injury caused during a sadomasochistic encounter as being serious.”
In the U.S. case of People V. Samuels, which was cited as recently as 2006, the court not only rejected the defense of consent in this case, but also held that any such consent would be “some form of mental aberration.” In another 2004 BDSM case, State v. Van, the court held that “Our statutes defining first and second degree assault include no reference to consent…” This court has held that “all attempts to do physical violence which amount to a statutory assault are unlawful and a breach of the peace, and a person cannot consent to an unlawful assault.”
The abuse of Cameron Bay is one tragic example of what Kink.com has been able to get away with. In an exclusive interview, Bay described with tears in her eyes the details of her torture at the hands of Kink.com, which ultimately put her in the hospital for severe breast injury and may have been correlated with her subsequent diagnosis of having contracted HIV/AIDS.
Bay said: [DISCLAIMER: SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL BELOW]
“I got there[Kink], they did my makeup and they’re just, oh, you’re so beautiful you know, this is gonna be so amazing…we did my first photos in a padded cell in the basement, did my first, my initial interview down there, so I figured we were gonna shoot at there…[but] they put us in a van and we went to a bar somewhere… and we show up at a bar and it’s literally a bar, and there are people drinking, hanging out, you know, not tested… just random people and all you have to do is give your ID so they have your name and, we started there, I got tied up, I got bound and led into the area and while I’m being led to the table, one of the extras hit me on my left breast twice, which later on ended up being deep tissue damage, and now I have to get my breasts redone because of it, but, yeah, the scene was very rough, very in your face… and it’s crazy because when people sit and watch this for entertainment, they don’t realize the mindset that you have to be in in order to do this and it’s scary, it’s very scary, ‘cause you, you just blank out, I don’t really remember much of anything I just remember starting, I remember stopping because of an incident and then ending…it felt like an out of body experience and that’s what’s so scary about it, because I can’t take it back… I have one regret and that’s not putting my foot down and protecting myself…”
Further describing the scene, she said:
“[T]here were about 50 people in this very small room, it was a portion of the bar, I was completely surrounded, I couldn’t see over a sea of people at all..I was being laid on people, on top of people, while doing sexual acts, there were people rubbing my legs… I saw a picture of a guy, one of the extras, he was squatting near me and there was a condom on the floor, like he was gonna try to get in on the action… that wasn’t what I had signed up for…during the scene, the talent, the male talent that was shooting with me… nicked the tip of his penis, when he pulled out, he thought I was bleeding and it came to find out that he had a cut on the tip of his penis and it was bleeding like onto the floor and he had to like pinch it and hold it and it was traumatic, very, very traumatic, they cleaned it up immediately and did an incident report…after the incident report, they said okay, let’s start shooting again and we continued to shoot without protection…”
Shortly after that scene Cameron discovered she was HIV positive. When asked if she felt “taken advantage of,” Cameron replied in tears, “Very, very, very, very much so… there was nobody to stop it from happening, I was tied up, I couldn’t stop it from happening…”
What happened to Cameron Bay and many other women like her is truly an injustice. I call on the California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris, to pursue the prosecution of those perpetrating abuse through Kink.com, to the full extent of the law, for crimes of assault on those who have suffered serious bodily injury, because Kink.com desires to inflict torture for profit. I also call on Cosmopolitan magazine to issue an apology for promoting sexual violence against women. Kink.com continues to assault with impunity and it is time to put an end to it. Remember, consent is not a defense.