[M/s 365] When M/s becomes “lurid news”

A master-slave relationship between the accused kidnappers of two Amish children will likely complicate the criminal case against them, a lawyer for one of the defendants said today.

Bradford Riendeau, a lawyer for Nicole Vaisey, said after court today that she and her boyfriend, Stephen Howells, were in a relationship that was “at the extreme end of the continuum.”

“I don’t know how she could not have been afraid of him,” Riendeau said. But as has been demonstrated on the domestic violence cases involving National Football League players, women stay in abusive relationships, he said.

The reality is, a lot of women in relationships don’t leave and they’re willing to put up with what everybody else sees as a lot of abuse for a little affection,” Riendeau said.

(from syracuse.com article– emphasis added by me)

This article was posted earlier on the NCSF and caught my attention, as unfortunately there have been a spate of lurid news articles about criminals and their “Master/slave” relationships or activities. These sorts of things crop up from time to time, but it seems like lately there have been far more. Maybe that’s just my anecdotal impression.

Anyway, I mentioned the article in a discussion on our favorite KinkyNet. Someone responded with this:

We in the M/s life need to have this discussion of how we avoid being lumped in with people in these headlines.

I don’t believe that we, as a community, can control those sorts of things being done, or the way the press is going to cover and sensationalize news like this, especially when it’s as awful of a crime as these two are accused of. Ask any pro-domme or men/women of the LGBT community who lived during the times when gay/lesbians were demonized in the press. It’s not too far in the past when this was very common. Still is, if you watch enough of the far-right, fundamentalist media. It also is a tactic of lawyers to use whatever weapons are available. Just the few comments of this lawyer makes it seem like he’s done his homework and knows a bit about the kink community. It sounds like he’s going to use that knowledge in defense of his client. It could be a legit defense, if the man did indeed abuse his partner that way – or it could be that the lawyer is using the mainstream view of what “Master/slave” is about to pursue a “reasonable doubt” tactic on his client.

This is going to happen until we live in a society where living in a consensual, sex-positive, kink-positive, but-not-mainstream relationship is accepted. That comes with, again, education and some who are willing to be positive role models outside of the kink community. So the discussion, I hope is not about “how we avoid being lumped in” but rather “how do we educate/come out so that we don’t have to worry about being lumped in?”

Especially with statements like this that subtly links M/s to abuse: “a lot of women in relationships don’t leave and they’re willing to put up with what everybody else sees as a lot of abuse for a little affection”

If that doesn’t give you the whillies…

We have work to do.



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Master Michael S

International Master 2014. Member of: Chicago Leather Club, Chicago Leathermen Group, MAsT: Greater Chicago. Longtime leatherman. One of the Four Horsemen.

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