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Swedish court hears landmark S&M case

TT/The Local · 14 Sep 2010, 12:17

Published: 14 Sep 2010 11:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Sep 2010 12:17 GMT+02:00

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The 16-year-old girl came in contact with the man through a sadomasochism-themed website and later signed a “slave contract” in which she consented to being “used, abused and thoroughly humiliated”.

“I want to have a really hard master. Someone who won’t wimp out,” the teen wrote the 32-year-old during their online chat, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

During their sexual encounter, which took place in January, the girl allowed herself to be locked in a cage and have clamps attached to her breasts, according to several media reports.

The 16-year-old was also hit with whips and rulers, and made to have oral sex until she vomited, according to Aftonbladet.

Police were alerted to the alleged assault when a relative of the teen noticed she had bruises all over her body.

The issue of how much sexual violence is allowed between consensual sex partners has never been heard in the Swedish court system and experts in sadomasochism are expected to be called to testify in the hearing in Malmö district court.

“What I want to establish is that even if they say they are in agreement over this then you not allowed to seriously assault someone,” prosecutor Ulrika Rogland told the local Sydsvenskan daily in June when charges were originally filed.

It is on this issue that the district court has to issue a ruling, is this aggravated assault and was she able to agree to it?”

In her opening statements on Monday, Rogland claimed the girl’s consent to the violent sex should be nullified because the man was aware that she was prone to self-harming behaviour, according to Sydsvenskan.

However the man’s attorney,Bo Peterson, claimed that while the 32-year-old knew of the girl’s behaviour, he thought had outgrown it.

The prosecutor then showed pictures of the girl’s arms featuring several deep cuts and argued that there was no way to man could have avoid seeing the wounds.

The 32-year-old told the court that he had been involved in similar sex role-play games for several years and considers himself capable of assessing whether or not people really want to do what they say they want to do.

When the girl arrived at his apartment they discussed anal sex, among other things, as well as what word they would use to signal to the other to stop their activities if the pain became to great.

“I pinched her nipples to feel if it was OK,” the man said.

Story continues below…

He and his attorney brought several whips and other sex toys to illustrate what is considered normal within the world of BDSM, Body Discipline Sado Masochism.

The 32-year-old held up a ruler to show how someone “warms-up” the body by hitting it lightly, making a slapping sound which echoed throughout the courtroom.

“I can tell if it’s going to cause a bruise or not,” he told the court and went on to explain what the girl has said she wanted when the two of them met.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:30 September 14, 2010 by hpunlimited
Lets take American football, rugby and wrestling to court too.
12:42 September 14, 2010 by StuartM
Violent sex with someone who is mentally and psychologically unwell (or in a position of weakness generally) is a form of abuse and I hope the court finds the man guilty so as to send out a clear message to others.
12:53 September 14, 2010 by byke
If the girl was mentally unwell, then it must be the carers responsibility to ensure such a person doesnt get into harms way or look to self harm. I wonder if the girl herself agrees with this court trial?
12:56 September 14, 2010 by Audrian
The man is a violent criminal, no doubt about it. It is similar to a German man who consented to be eaten and was eaten by a compueter engeneer one pieace of flesh at a time.
13:47 September 14, 2010 by bocale1
if you want to kill yourself you do not attend a SM session, you just do it.

As hpunlimited wrote correctly, there are many activities that are more painful and dangerous than this.

Again, I am afraid that here we are not discussing the SM in itself; what Ulrika Rogland wants to prove again is the old stereotype of violent man versus victimized woman, missing totally the point.

I am sure that nobody would have filled the case if the the woman was in the role of the mistress instead (and this happens quite commonly in the SM community).

Ideology against personal freedom again. Let´s free people decide by themselves what to do with their bodies.
14:23 September 14, 2010 by zooeden
Yeah well the man was probably not an emminence in Psychiatry right??? He was on the BDSM ride and wanted a good time within their world. A world by the way which none of us know, or at least the majority. So they have their interests, their methods, rules and even gestures. 16 I have to agree is still young but same happens with sex appetite, 32 might not be that old also to know better, both have issues but if she wanted all that treat and then she got it, the law is not even remotely gonna consider that case, there is no crime... Boxing, take the round number 8th, guys KO the contender, he dies of the punch: there is no crime, they knew the game, one of them is mentally ill and more agressive still, no crime after agreement!!!!

Look instead at the abusive parents of the girl or the lascivious family members she had to comfront or the bullies she dealt with, deal with that people!!!!
14:24 September 14, 2010 by StuartM

This case involves a 16 year old girl who was mentally ill and self-harming. The man here took advantage of someone in a vulnerable position and in no fit state to meaningfully consent to what happened. He is an abuser and should be treated as such. It's not about moral judgements or about trying to prove some feminist point, rather it's about protecting the vulnerable from abuse. I'm sure there would have been no trial if both of them had been psychologically healthy adults in a relationship based on equality and respect. That was clearly not the case here.
15:22 September 14, 2010 by Nika-NM
While this man was demonstrating the particulars BDSM the parents of the girl were there? Didn't they faint at least five times?
15:41 September 14, 2010 by bocale1

a person mentally ill should be kept under some sort of custody for its own safe.

This was not the case because, as far as I can read in the article, she was not undergoing any sort of treatment.

If she was mentally ill, any sort of sex would hav been an offense (I fully agree with this); instead, prosecutor Ulrika Rogland said "What I want to establish is that even if they say they are in agreement over this then you are not allowed to seriously assault someone".

The fact that she was prone to self-harming behaviour sounds to me quite obvious considering her sadomasochist attitude. But then what?

Let´s not mix matters here; what is questioned is not the capability of deciding of the girl, is the type of sex she chose (that implies some form of violence) that is questioned... and, in a wider perspective, how much freedom is left to each of us!
16:12 September 14, 2010 by StuartM
@ bocale1

Well I'm not sure how exactly the prosecutor is presenting the case but I definitely think the man's actions are completely unacceptable for the reasons I've stated and that he deserves to be found guilty of abuse. If he is then it will hopefully send out a message to others to put the mental and psychological welfare of their sexual partners first and not to take advantage of those in a more vulnerable position. I don't think we're ever going to see people being locked up in Sweden for genuinely consensual BDSM between equals, and neither should we. But those who abuse others, as appears to be the case here, should not be let off scot-free.
17:43 September 14, 2010 by mikewhite
I prefer H&M
17:43 September 14, 2010 by double concerto
Totally unacceptable violence unleashed upon a vunerable self harming young lady, by an obviously potentially out of control sadist with a "thing" about women. .
17:53 September 14, 2010 by CarlBlack
@StuartM: Your reasons are completely unjustified. The article does not mention that the girl is mentally ill, no information about psychological evaluation proving it. It is just another example of Swedish state trying trying to prescribe what people should do within their own private area (for example picking which of the existing addictive substances/drugs are allowed - alcohol, nicotin and coffee, and so on)

Btw. both sadism and masochism are deviations and it is clear who has which in this case. I don't see a reason why person with one of them should be seen as a victim and the other one as an aggressor punishable by law.
17:56 September 14, 2010 by Mack
I think the issue here is the age of the girl and the age of the man. What adults agree to do to each other is one thing but this girl was only 16. He should have known better.
18:04 September 14, 2010 by LundenLad
so this girl, over the age of consent, sought out a sexual partner to do what she wanted, they discussed it beforehand, agreed a safeword, and had a mutually satisfying time. So how was he "out of control"? Attacking women in the street?

Then the case only started because someone else noticed bruises and reported this.

Where are the girl's rights to a private life being respected? If she is a masochist, perhaps the self-harm could be an early exploration of this? Who sets the parameters of what acceptable sex is ?

Obviously the age difference is what makes this stand out, if the man was 17 maybe this would not have gone to court., but possibly there is a shortage of under-18 stern masters in Malmo...
20:37 September 14, 2010 by mikewhite
Maybe if one party is under 18 (21 ... ?), it is only deemed consensual if the other party is too. (Or some variation of that)
21:47 September 14, 2010 by calebian22
Two consenting adults here in Sweden. Government butt out.
03:01 September 15, 2010 by engagebrain
Is boxing legal in Sweden ?
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