At times there are stories that you come across or are sent to you that are so gruesome and filled with acts of violence that the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. One such story came to my attention upon reading Jan Goodwin’s article Silence=Rape which appeared in The Nation magazine. I decided to bring this story to light when I wrote of it in my piece, The Congo: A Hidden Terror That is Not Our Top Priority. The acts of brutality against both women and children in that country was unfathomable to me where children as young as three-years-old were being used as sex slaves.
For the most part stories of sexual slavery or slavery in general do not make the headlines here in the United States. But that does not mean they do not exist. One story however did gain the media’s attention where a Long Island couple, Varsha Sabhnani, 45, and her husband, Mahender, 51 were convicted of holding two Indonesian women as slaves as reported by The New York Daily News. This couple treated two Indonesian women as sub-human beings where they were, “starving them and hitting one in the face with a rolling pin, cutting her with a knife and forcing her to eat her own vomit after feeding her chili peppers.”
Treating women like this is the ultimate in subjugation in which they are punished and humiliated beyond our comprehension. Often these cases are prosecuted using the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which was passed into law in 2000 and according to the New York Times, “prosecutions have increased from less than a handful nationwide per year to about a dozen. The law is probably best known for its focus on prostitution and child-sex traffickers” This act was meant to protect the weakest amongst us by those who will seek to harm them.
In the above case and what has happened in the Congo, these are not cases where the woman consents to being treated like a slave. There is however the BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadomasochism) sub-culture where a woman or a man will consent to be treated like a slave by a Master and or a Mistress.
Often both parties do hook up on the Internet in various chat rooms and communicate via private messaging, AIM or other forms of instant messaging. They will see if their interests do click and at times they will hook up for what is called real time play. But, I am left to wonder how it can be called play especially knowing of real acts of sexual slavery or slavery do take place. In this sub-culture these real time meets where sexual acts do take place are called sessions.
One of the rules I have read is where upon meeting someone for the first time is that this meet take place in a public place where no ‘play’ takes place and to give have a safe-call number ready just in case the meet goes terribly wrong.
I am left to wonder if what happens if this master aka dominant is simply a sexual predator. At times death does occur as in the case where a serial killer posing as a dominant lured women into meeting him where later on they were murdered. The case I speak of is the infamous Slave Master case. In this case, John E. Robinson lured women from the Internet chat rooms for sadomasochistic sex.
The Internet landscape can be filled with these sexual predators and it is up to women to educate themselves should they choose to partake in this BDSM sub-culture. It is up to men as well to educate themselves since they can be financially devastated by a dominatrix. Often it is their addiction to sex which will lead them down a dangerous road.
One of the reasons why women must educate themselves is because of a story which came to my attention two nights ago where I read where a federal appeals court overturned the conviction of a man sentenced to nine years in prison for partaking in sadomasochistic torture. The reason it was overturned is because these acts took place before the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was enacted. In reading this horrific story, my opinion is that the prosecutors dropped the ball by using this law to protect this victim who is only identified as ‘Jodi’.
Both Marcus and ‘Jodi’ met on the Internet as both partook in bondage and domination chat rooms. In this sub-culture it is based on one’s sexual fantasies. Men and women will fantasize about dominating another and their sexual submissives will fantasize about being dominated and treated like a slave. In retrospect, I would say to these participants visit the Congo.
According to this news article, a man by the name of Glenn Marcus “was accused of sexually torturing the now 40-year-old woman” he had met on the Internet. This news article also reported that “He also posted photos of sadomasochistic acts on a Web site that he forced her to operate eight to 10 hours a day without compensation between November 1999 and September 2001, according to prosecutors.” I do feel that this is the part prosecutors were focusing in on when they used that victims protection act and not what the victim endured in the first place.
What had the hairs standing on the back of my neck was her abuse through all of this. As reported this is what she did go through. She had the word “slave” carved onto her stomach using a knife. In this sub-culture permanent markings such as carvings and branding can take place signifying permanent ownership of that person by the dominant. Again this is a fantasy since in this country true slavery was abolished and one cannot own another person legally.