A warning: this article, and many of the links within, discuss domestic violence.
I would like to take a moment to talk about something painful, but also important. Wihle I could go on about the injustice of the rich receiving special treatment, or the horrid, apologetic, hypocritical responses to the most recent and most public incident, I would instead like to focus on domestic violence itself, and, perhaps, its relationship - or lack thereof - with kink.
First, I'd like you to read this article. It is painful, and powerful, and important all at once - and it ought to put to rest, once and for all, the question of why people in abusive relationships don't just leave. Please, don't continue on here until you've read that. I want it to establish some context for what I'm about to write.
Did you read that article? Do you know what the title means? Read on.
When I was ten, my parents gave me a special word that I could say, that would remind them that I was present and that they shouldn't fight while I was there. I used it a couple of times, when I got too tired of them arguing and wanted them to stop, but even as a child I knew my magic word wasn't solving the problem, just hiding it for a little while.
My father never hit my mother, just yelled at her. The only physical violence between them was the day they split up, when at the height of a shouting match she smashed a measuring cup on the floor and sliced open her palm with a shard, holding it up and screaming "this is what you're doing to me!" My dad grabbed her, took away the glass and carried her outside, then called the police. My brother and I went over to the neighbors house for a couple of days, until the police had left and my mother was released from the hospital (psychiatric evaluation) had swept up the kitchen. My dad stayed with a friend, then moved to his own apartment the week after, sending someone to collect some of his things. I visited him every other weekend, my bother lived with him full time and visited us about as aften.
I have, from most points of view, abnormal desires. I want my partner to love me, to care for me, and to tie me to a wall and beat me while gagged. I will likely never tell either of my parents - while they're entirely understanding and supportive about being lesbian, me wanting to be hurt would break my mother's heart. Either of them would blame themselves, think they were horrible parents, and perhaps they are to blame - it may very well be that the verbal violence I saw growing up has shaped my desires on a very deep level, connecting pain with love.
But in another way, what I want is the exact opposite of what my parents had. I want to be hurt, yes, but I also want to be the one in charge - what many people don't understand is that it's the bottom, the sub, that has all the power in a kinky scene. I can say "stop," any time, and the person hurting me has to.
They cannot give me an order I must obey, but I can command them absolutely. That's the trust - I hesitate to use the word sacred as an atheist/materialist, but it's entirely appropriate - that makes me feel safe putting my life in someone's hands. And make no mistake - when you're bound and helpless, your life is in their hands.
Hathawa doesn't always enjoy what Antinua does to her.
I'm not sure how much that came out in the game, but it's been clear in my mind since day one: Antinua likes to inflict a great deal more pain than Hathawa likes to receive. Hathawa sometimes has to remind her mistress that their relationship is based on love, not on pain. And then, like many abusers, Antinua hates the part of herself that does those things.
Hathawa can say "stop", and Antinua will listen, every time, without fail.
Since they got together, Antinua smiles occasionally, which is good, since she never did that before, and she hasn't killed anyone yet that didn't richly deserve it. Hathawa smiles more too, and is generally much more at peace with herself than she was alone. But she also cries herself to sleep more often. It's not a relationship anyone should aspire to, but it's theirs, and I wish my fictional creations the best of luck making a life together.
The law in Washington state, where I reside, is a bit unclear - while a literal reading of some of it would suggest that consent negates the criminal aspects of much of BDSM, the practical aspect is that domestic violence laws allow the police to intervene even when the harmed party says it was consensual, and procedure encourages officers to arrest both parties and sort it out later, ignoring the victim's - or "victim's" - claim that they asked to be hurt.
Courts also consistently rule that even BDSM practices that cause no lasting damage - wax or riding crops, for example - are assault, and persecute it as such.
I am, all told, fine with this. While it does make much of what I want to do illegal, as long as it occurs in a private environment and no one complains to the police, it's unlikely to cause an issue. And for victims of genuine abuse, police ability to protect them, even when they say they don't need or want it, is a powerful tool I would not want to take away.
It is, like many things, a trade off - and my ability to enjoy kink has to be a lower priority than helping women and men truly in need.
 Hathawa and Antinua are characters in the game I develop, on the off chance you were linked here from elsewhere.