One of the biggest red flags in domestic abuse has been identified as strangulation and in Great Britain, 2.2 women a week are killed by their male partners or ex-partners.
“Breath play” was only used and depicted, until quite recently, within the auspices of Bondage Domination Sadism and Masochism (BDSM). BDSM sex is misogynistic, is violent, extreme and hardcore. It is now however, normalised and promoted by the pornography industry and has been down-graded to a “mainstream” sexual practice.
Even magazines such as Teen Vogue have featured an article on it and how to do it “safely”. This magazine is for teenage girls.
Many men and boys regularly watch pornography and pornography per se, has become a billion pound industry. It has never been as easy to access as it is today. Pornography exists in supply and demand economic tradition. If it wasn’t demanded, the supply would dry up. Unfortunately the demand for it it very high. It corrupts all those who view it, appear in it or produce it.
Young boys are accessing pornography (either deliberately or accidentally) through the internet and it is easily accessed by them in just a few clicks on their devices. Boys are therefore being taught these “techniques” which have been normalised, by watching them and learning from them. For many boys, the only sex education they receive is by the pornography industry and they do not have any input to balance this corruption, such as education around healthy relationships or intimacy. Pornography teaches young males how to sexually abuse women and girls.
Girls are being taught that “Breath play” is acceptable and a common sexual practice. They are being taught and groomed to be submissive and passive to it and not being taught that it is dangerous or a red-flag for more violent behaviours from men and boys.
Strangulation is increasingly understood to be a precursor to more violent offences against women and ultimately murder, say many professionals, who work in the area of domestic violence.
An increasing number of domestic murder cases are now attributed to “rough sex” or “Breath play” by the men who kill and this is being used in courts in the UK as a defence for these men. Many of these women are brutalised beyond belief and then strangled. The men often blame the victim for their abusive and murderous behaviour. “She wanted me to!” is often used with increasing success in UK criminal courts to acquit the defendant.
Strangulation takes time and effort and therefore a high degree of sadism on the part of these men. It is not simply lashing out in anger in a moment of pique. Most of the cases that have used “rough sex” as a defence, have featured previous concerns or reports against these men for domestic violence. Yet they are still acquitted.
Choking, strangulation and “breath play” are far from normal and I am very concerned as an ex-sexual offender specialist, for the Probation Service, that this practice is being promoted by the pornography industry and becoming normalised within society. I am also very concerned that young people, especially boys are being trained to think it is an acceptable and normal sexual practice. It is not!