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Mr. Jetton, We Are Not Your Human Shield

December 10, 2009

There’s little that makes me more viscerally angry than when an abuser uses the BDSM community as cover. We haven’t worked for decades to have some modicum of peace with the mainstream and freedom to do what we do just so the same assholes and rapists can do the same abusing and raping they’ve always done and then point to us like we’re a fucking permission slip.

Rod Jetton needs to go to jail.

[Trigger Warning: sexual assault masquerading as BDSM]

He’s the former Missouri Speaker of the House. He’s single. He arranged to play with a woman. They had some wine. They arranged a safeword. But then something happened that, assuming the accuracy of the account (and I believe it) is not remotely dabatable.

He poured her a glass in the kitchen and then sat down with her to watch a football game. She noticed herself feeling hazy and felt like she was nodding off. Next thing she knew, she was on the floor and Jetton was allegedly choking her. She says he then hit her so hard she lost consciousness. He apparently stayed over and was all tender to her in the morning. “You should have said green balloons,” she quotes him as saying.

If he drugged her drink, the safeword is irrelevant. He has deliberately defeated her ability to use it. If he didn’t, he’s a highly unethical top. Even if we accept playing with a bottom he didn’t know well who had a few drinks as acceptable conduct — and I don’t, but arguendo — under those circumstances, it’s his heightened duty to make sure she’s fully mentally present during the scene. If he knows they have a safeword, and he knows she’s been drinking, he knows her access to the safeword is impaired, and he’s on notice. He has a responsibility to his bottom.

If it’s not intentional rape and abuse, it’s recklessness; I’m using that term in its technical, legal sense — a state between gross negligence and intent; a state encompassing disregarding a known risk.

On my account, there’s no defense other than that the facts are completely different. And, in a case involving BDSM, I’m going to go ahead and say that the prosecutors are god damned fucking sure they believe every god damned fucking word she said, because they know it’s an uphill battle.

I need a silver lining, and if you feel the way I do, you do too. Here it is: They brought the case. He picked an easy target, a woman he was almost certainly sure would have no redress. She did all the things that victim blamers use against women. She’s kinky. She arranged for sex with a man that, as far as I can tell, she didn’t know well. She was drinking. But she said what happened to her; and the prosecutors believed it and set out to vindicate her rights. They put the myths and blaming to one side and pursued justice.

Of course, there could be more dark clouds coming. As we all know, just because a woman did nothing wrong, just because a man admits he used force, just because a prosecutor believes the complainant’s story and gets an indictment, does not mean that a jury will do the right thing. They may decide to punish her for being the sort of woman they don’t approve of.

And about the survivor: I’ll never meet her and I may never know her name. But she does what it is that we do. She’s my friend and my sister, however far away. I wish her recovery and peace.

H/t Zuzu.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. sophia b permalink
    December 10, 2009 1:52 pm

    not only did he drug her so she couldn’t use the safe word, he also choked her, which sounds like it’d make it difficult to speak. Surely if you were going to be choking someone as part of playing you’d organise some signal other than a word? and discuss it beforehand.
    I wonder if he thinks of himself as kinky as opposed to an abusive rapist. I wouldn’t be surprised. “I like hurting women in a sexual way, so that means i practice bdsm, nothing wrong with that” totally ignoring the consentual aspect…
    Anyway, dispicable. Thanks for posting this

  2. Clarisse permalink
    December 10, 2009 3:08 pm

    God damn it, now I feel too sick to enjoy the brownies I just cooked.

  3. December 11, 2009 10:29 am

    It seems tangentially relevant that Jetton fought hard in his political career against the repeal of Missouri’s anti-sodomy laws. He said he did not want the state to condone “deviate sexual intercourse.”

    • December 11, 2009 11:35 am

      Orlando, it is indeed a bitter irony that someone so quick to use the force of law to delegitimize non-mainstream sexuality is also quick to draft on the success we’ve achieved against people like him when he needs a defense for his patriarchal predation.

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