This article has been published anonymously.
[Featured Image: Artwork produced by Grace Millane in 2018. Image depicts a face painted in the yellows, blues, and purples of a bruise. The eyes are big, brown, and sad.]
“She was a slut
She was asking for it
She died in a sex game gone wrong
She liked BDSM
I guess I took it to far
She wanted it all along”
A lament sung by men far and wide poetically, tragically even, excusing the performance of their violence against women, the culmination of which is murder. Most recently, the man whom killed Grace Milane crooned this song, a defence of his murder.
Though I am loathe to offer up details of my sex life online, this example made me consider my own relationship with rough sex. More specifically, I am met with incredulity at how this ‘sex game gone wrong’ defence has been tried and in the last decade, effectively used to cast blame on women for their own murder. Viscerally, many have been disgusted. Logistically and realistically, this defence is at best poor and in a truly consensual relationship, impossible. So here I offer a very brief snapshot into my own sex life to highlight the chasm between The Murderer’s Lament and reality:
I like rough sex, I like being spanked during sex. Spanking certainly is by no means exemplary of the foray of extremities of BDSM but take the case in point as an example. During sex with my boyfriend, I asked him to spank me. He did. I wanted him to do it harder. And he did. Again, I wanted him to do it harder and he did and so forth. One time he hit me a little too hard – (he wasn’t being violent, and it important to stress that this is not a story of violence, our relationship was consensual and trusting.) I grabbed his wrist to stop him spanking me again. He apologised, we carried on having sex. My boyfriend never spanked me that hard ever again.
This is a case in which I had quite literally asked for it, he was doing what I wanted, it wasn’t a case of him not knowing the power of his own strength. When he realised he had hurt me, or I was in any sort of discomfort, he stopped, and he never did it again. I did not have to ask him not to do. This does not make him a great person. This is the bare minimum that anyone should expect. It is for this reason that I balk at the notion of a sex game gone too far. Women can enjoy rough sex and all manner of kinks and be wholly cognisant of the parameters of their sexual encounters. To paraphrase Pandora Sykes, we need to stop treating women as if they are too stupid and girlish to understand the complexities of BDSM. The truth however is not an issue of complexity, in a consenting sexual encounter, no matter how rough, there are boundaries. If you truly accidentally hurt someone, as my boyfriend did to me, it only happens once, it does not manifest in the extremities of murder, it never happens again. There is no one whom likes being dominated so much that they believe their life is an acceptable trade off.
The sex game gone wrong defence is implausible. Safe BDSM creates clear boundaries. Even if women were so stupid and girlish, they did not understand the necessity of safe words and boundaries, a sexual partner must be entirely receptive to their actions, movements, and sounds. Save for sudden death syndrome, you cannot die from sex without glaringly obvious warning signs. For those whom champion the Murderer’s Lament as their anthem, their behaviour is at best negligible, at worst, and in reality, it is deliberate, it is destructive, and it is a manifestation of their violence against women. To the Murderer’s Lament I say:
“She liked sex
No one asks for death
We have established this in law
You killed her
When will we stop blaming women for their deaths
Because we called them whore?”