Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Let's define consensual

Today, Lynn Harris over at Broadsheet calls our attention to a website called Christian Domestic Discipline/Loving Wife Spanking in a Christian Marriage. She points out that the site is designed for "married couples who practice safe and consensual Christian Domestic Discipline, or for those who would like to learn more about it."

Umm. Ok. I guess.

But the part that I find troubling is that the site sets up the relationships in power dynamics that appear frighteningly exploitable, explaining that a domestic discipline marriage is one in which one partner in the marriage is given authority over the other and has the means to back the authority, usually by spanking. But it's not one partner as in, umm, either partner.

It's partner as in the husband: "A Christian Domestic Discipline marriage is one that is set up according to Biblical standards; that is, the husband is the authority in the household. The wife is submissive to her husband as is fit in the Lord and her husband loves her as himself... It is the husband loving the wife enough to guide and teach her, and the wife loving the husband enough to follow his leadership."

In case any of this remained unclear, the non-debatable rules are succintly repeated: "The wife is to submit to her husband, and the husband is to love the wife... the husband has authority to spank the wife. The wife does not have authority to spank her husband."

Well, call me crazy, but while entering into the agreement may (may) be consensual, it doesn't sound all that easy to extricate oneself if one ultimately decides that subservience and discipline isn't quite what she fancies after all. I wonder if my concern is borne out by some of the womens' blogs, which include commentary about needing/deserving a spanking, trusting one's husband to know when they've been disobedient (and therefore need a spanking), listing household rules they may not break as well as general self-esteem issues pre-dating the relationship.

Again, what goes on in the privacy of a consensual bedroom is none of mine or anyone else's business, but... this just doesn't sound like consent to me. (Especially since the site also includes a disclaimer saying that: "Though we believe the Bible gives a husband the authority to use spanking as one tool in enforcing his authority in the home with or without his wife's permission, in today's world we recognize the legality that mandates that all CDD must be consensual....")

But, I dunno, maybe I'm just not the submissive type.


And thanks to Cara over at The Curvature for blogging about the absolutely horrific rape and assault of a woman and her 12 year old son in the Dunbar Village housing project in West Palm Beach, Florida last month. Both the woman and her 12-year-old son were attacked and beaten. The woman was repeatedly raped and sodomized by up to 10 men. At gun point, she was forced to perform oral sex on her son. Then both were doused in household cleaners. The attack lasted for 3 hours, and nobody came to their aid during or after.

I had not previously seen media coverage of this, seems there hasn't been much. MSNBC did write about the crime, including the neighbors' tragic "this is what it's like here" response.

For more, click here or here.

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

So... their position (no pun intended) is that S&M is OK as long as it's performed in the confines of a church-sanctioned, Christian marriage?