Catriona talks to fellow survivor Leo about what happened when they were assaulted on two occasions while exploring BDSM. Leo – who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns – isn’t their real name. But for personal reasons they’ve chosen to be anonymous.
Leo talks about the misconceptions people have about consent in the BDSM community and why the fear of being judged or shamed about their sexual desires stopped them from going to anyone for help. In this episode, Leo talks about the sexual trauma they experienced in detail, and we talk explicitly about sex and intimacy, so if you want to leave this one for another day, head back to the feed and go straight to part two for how they cope today.
Leo tells Catriona how the BDSM community became a safe space, where they could be open about their experiences of sexual assault.
They talk about learning how to listen to what their body needs, and learning how to ask for help when they’re not OK. They also talk about feeling protected in the BDSM community, which has a system of blacklisting for members who don’t follow the boundaries set out by their partners.
If you've been affected by sexual abuse or violence, you can find details of organisations in the UK who offer help and support at bbc.co.uk/actionline.