Hi everyone. MB here!
The topics of sex and BDSM within the context of abusive relationships seems to be frequently revisited, so here are my own thoughts concerning this undercurrent in Jodi’s case.
Since the beginning of the trial, there has been a concentrated effort to dismiss or downplay the abusive behavior Travis Alexander showed to Jodi Arias.
First they said that everything Travis did was just “uh… guy stuff’ as though being the most aggressive jerk one could be was the only way to show he was a a “real man.” They tried spinning it that it was fucking awesome for Travis to be a sexually aggressive and abusive POS that was just doing what comes naturally. I repudiated that notion then, and I repudiate it now. Even better, Real Men™ have started opening up to repudiate it as well.
When that didn’t work, the Travistown pedo-huggers did everything they could to compartmentalize and sanitize every disturbing detail of Travis and Jodi’s relationship as if it meant nothing; as if it was just a series of isolated incidents that didn’t fit into the pattern that showed consistently that Travis Alexander was indeed an abuser. But that didn’t work either, especially after the testimony of Alyce LaViolette.
Then they tried pretending that Travis’ abusive behavior was just him engaging in BDSM. Of course that didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now, but it hasn’t stopped some of the pedo-huggers from trying to spin everything to make it sound like Jodi somehow wanted, and deserved, to be treated like a used piece of toilet paper.
I know women who are into BDSM, and they are in fact victims of domestic violence. They can attest to the fact that there is a huge difference between enjoying a spanking during intimate moments; and getting a laptop thrown at your head. Or, in Travis and Jodi’s situation, being thrown to the ground, kicked in the side resulting in a broken finger; and choked until you pass out. The difference between abuse and kink should be crystal clear; if it weren’t for Jane Velez Mitchell and the rest of Travistown waving around the book Fifty Shades of Gray like it somehow explains Travis’ behavior.
As far as I know, Jodi has never been into BDSM. Jodi and Travis never claimed to be part of the BDSM lifestyle, nor did Jodi have the privilege of having a safe word to ensure her participation continued to be consensual. If there was evidence that Jodi and Travis were just a BDSM couple doing what BDSM couples do; wouldn’t Juan Martinez have brought that up in his cross examination?
The fact is, Jodi and Travis’ sex life; like most all couples, fell somewhere in the spectrum of kinky sexual behavior. That does not, however, make them full fledged members of the squidgy pleather parade. The Travistown Cult also tries to pretend, that anyone who isn’t into BDSM or doesn’t believe it’s appropriate for abusive behavior to be conflated with kinky sex must be “old fashioned.” As much as I’d like to say that the concept of BDSM started as a collection of writings in the Marquis De Sade’s jail cell after he was locked away for being a general sex pest; the co-mingling of sex and aggression has been acted out since the dawn of Patriarchy. It’s magical thinking to pretend that thousands upon thousands of years of human culture entrenched with women being sexualized, bought, sold, trafficked, beaten, kidnapped, raped, and treated as beasts of burden has zero impact on our modern attitudes towards sex and love. That’s just the reality of historical events and their ongoing influence; and if anything domination and submission is the oldest known expression of human sexuality since we started keeping track. Perhaps we are collectively unable to shake off the effects of this psychological dynamic at this point of human history; however modern BDSM allows for D/s roles to be filled regardless of sex or gender, and consent is an important concept that is earnestly sought and ensured. So that is progress!
Travis and Jodi’s relationship was definitely “vanilla” in the sense that gender roles were rigid and enforced; and Travis used sex as a way to establish dominance over Jodi, and Jodi was seen to be just fulfilling her role as a female. In BDSM culture, she would have had the privilege of a safe word, aftercare, and the Dom’s acceptance of responsibility as comparable by what level of power they assumed over their sub. Travis accepted no responsibility for the safety, health, and welfare of Jodi during their relationship (with exception to helping her after breaking her finger); and this fact hasn’t been better attested to in that Travistown has done everything to absolve him of all accountability.
I would also like to point out, that there would be no discussion of Travis’ sex life if the pedo-huggers weren’t hell bent on portraying Jodi as an evil seductress with magical sexual powers and the evil eye that preyed upon poor, innocent, virginal Travis who was the elder of a church. They opened that door all by themselves by perpetuating a false narrative; propped up by the notion that only “good girls” can be victims of domestic violence, while “bad girls” somehow deserve to be treated poorly and with contempt when they come forward about their abuse. This false dichotomy deflects responsibility away from the abuser, and instead tries to assign it to the victim in proportion to what value she is perceived to have in society.
Contrary to what people assume, we do not believe Jodi is a victim because she is perfect or pure. We KNOW Jodi is a victim because of what Travis did to her. It’s HIS actions towards HER that determine whether she falls into the status as an abused woman, not how many boyfriends she’s had or whether she has had anal or oral sex before her relationship with Travis. And judging by the raging text messages from Travis, Jodi’s permanently deformed finger, and sex tape where Travis brags about intimidating people – she certainly is a battered woman.
No, Jodi is not perfect but I am not ashamed of her nor will I ever be ashamed of defending her. She has made poor decisions and she admits to making poor decisions but I understand why she made those decisions. She made them within the context of an abusive relationship where she was treated like a second class citizen. Her relationship with Travis was not unhealthy because they experimented with kinky stuff. It was unhealthy because Travis abused Jodi emotionally, physically and sexually; nor was she able to make fundamental decisions in the interest of her own self preservation during and after their relationship. If they were a BDSM couple, perhaps she really could have walked away and started a new life with Ryan Burns. But Travis wasn’t having that, was he? He attacked her during the most dangerous time of their relationship – when she was moving on from him and getting back to his old self. If that doesn’t convince people that he was an abuser (aside from all the other evidence admitted into court), then nothing will.
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