Pornography

When Does a 'Slave' Become a Slave?

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The first time Jodi met Glenn Marcus, he whipped her and used a knife to carve the word slave on her stomach. During the next five years she kept coming back for more, engaging in BDSM sessions with him that included handcuffing, branding, whipping, and choking. Marcus posted photographs of the sessions on his website, which also featured Jodi's diary entries. In October 1999, she testified, she had "a moment of clarity," and from then on her relationship with Marcus was nonconsensual. Yet she continued to meet with him periodically for four more years, moving from the Midwest to Maryland and later to New York City at his behest. She also worked on his website. She said Marcus at one point told her he would show her pictures to her family and the news media if she left him. She also claimed that she overheard Marcus threaten to harm the family of Joanna, another BDSM partner.

Given the nature of the relationship and Jodi's decision to continue it for years after it supposedly became nonconsensual, there seems to be plenty of room for reasonable doubt that anything Marcus did violated her rights. But as Brian Doherty noted in March 2007, a federal jury convicted Marcus of violating the "sex trafficking" and "forced labor" provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). In September he received a nine-year prison sentence. Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned (PDF) the convictions, noting that the TVPA was enacted in October 2000, while the actions by Marcus that prosecutors claimed violated the statute occurred between January 1999 and October 2001. The judge failed to instruct the jury that Marcus could not be held liable for violating a law that did not exist. Since it was possible that Marcus was convicted based on his conduct before the TVPA was enacted, the 2nd Circuit said, "the convictions violate the Ex Post Facto Clause."

Marcus can be tried again, based on his post-TVPA conduct. And given the difficulty that the first jury had in distinguishing between a BDSM "slave" and an actual slave, he may well be convicted again.

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  1. Rape is one of those things that ought to be unambiguous, but the feminazis that profit from the aggrandizement of the concept refuse to acknowledge that.

  2. Huh.

    Just goes to show, only enjoy sadomasochistic games with those you trust implicitly. It’s one of those areas where consent exists *only* in someone’s head; good luck proving it exists.

  3. She said Marcus at one point told her he would show her pictures to her family and the news media if she left him

    If the jury finds this credible, it’s grounds for an extortion or blackmail charge.

    As I remember the way the case was reported, the defense brough in BDSM expert witnesses to educate the jury about the norms in the community. So it’s not like the jury was just a collection of school marms and old maids.

  4. It would have been prudent for Mr. Marcus to avoid the appearance of keeping a slave.

    Carving the word on her stomach is pretty much a written confession.

  5. That doesn’t really sound very fun to me. I must be boring.

  6. As noted above, it seems the key datapoint is whether or not he blackmailed her into continuing the relationship.

    But it does seem odd that a devoted BDSM participant would move from city to city, under duress, rather than have the pictures leaked.

    Your family doesn’t notice the carvings, brandings and piercings?

  7. Your family doesn’t notice the carvings, brandings and piercings?

    Mom, I told you I cut myself shaving! Stop being so nosy.

  8. People who like to be dominated make you walk a very thin line to excite them. Too much and and they get scared, too little and they’re not excited. Hitting it just right delivers a great payoff, but it’s tough to do. Especially dangerous are the ones who like it really extreme, like this woman. You really are best off just staying away from those.

  9. Who gives a flying fuck what happens to these weirdos?

  10. noting that the TVPA was enacted in October 2000, while the actions by Marcus that prosecutors claimed violated the statute occurred between January 1999 and October 2001.

    Is there a mix-up in the dates in this sentence?

  11. Joe – no, those dates are right – that’s part of the problem. He was convicted due to actions that he took between January 1999 and October 2001. But the statute making his actions criminal wasn’t enacted until October 2000.

    The judge failed to limit the prosecution to only acts that were illegal at the time they were committed. So he’ll get tried again . . . . Lovely use of taxpayer money. [/snark]

  12. The first time Jodi met Glenn Marcus, he whipped her and used a knife to carve the word slave on her stomach. During the next five years she kept coming back for more

    she had “a moment of clarity,” and from then on her relationship with Marcus was nonconsensual. Yet she continued to meet with him periodically for four more years, moving from the Midwest to Maryland and later to New York City at his behest.

    What the fuck is wrong with these people?

  13. Given the nature of the relationship and Jodi’s decision to continue it for years after it supposedly became nonconsensual, there seems to be plenty of room for reasonable doubt that anything Marcus did violated her rights.

    I’d agree %100 with the above statement.
    The jury must have convicted on the “creepiness” factor.

  14. Who gives a flying fuck what happens to these weirdos?

    A human being who quite possibly may be being tortured without her consent?

    Care about her? That’s silly. We do it to al-Qaeda all the time…

    A person who may be falsely charged for torturing someone?

    Care about him? That’s silly. He’s a defendant, so he must be guilty…

  15. I remember something about an internet slave (from Texas?). She was hardcore 24/7 and posted material to the website. Until one day she decided she didn’t want to play anymore and shot her “master” dead. IIRC her lawyer just showed the web material to the court and she was acquitted.

  16. Warren,

    In that kind of case the “creepiness” factor worked to the benefit of the defendant in sowing reasonable doubt. I’m sure the sex/gender of the accused plays the usual part as well.

  17. She and he could have taken much stronger safeguards against this sort of thing happening, or at the very least, made it much more easily provable that one of them really wanted out, and give evidence to that effect. I’m not saying I think this case goes either way, just that it didn’t have to be this ambiguous.

  18. “A human being who quite possibly may be being tortured without her consent?”

    Life is tough. Deal with it.

    1. “Life is tough. Deal with it.”

      Courts and the law exist. Deal with it.

  19. When Trafficking in Women was extended to cover marrying foreign pen pals, I stopped taking it seriously. Prosecute crimes, not politically incorrect family arrangements.

  20. I would think that such a case might have implications for other forms of dominate relationships such as cults. If the case hinges on blackmail, then it would not set a precedent. If it hinges on some kind of supposed psychological control then the precedent could be enormous.

  21. I don’t buy her claim that the BDSM crap was nonconsensual. There is a BDSM community out there, crimes are committed, but I have more than reasonable doubt after the emotionally, and possibly intellectually, retarded woman followed the sadistic asshole all over the place.

  22. Life is tough. Deal with it.

    Someone revoked your human card a long time ago.

  23. I have sympathy for emotionally battered women- they do things that most reasonable people do not understand- but, to quote JsubD, “I have more than reasonable doubt after the emotionally, and possibly intellectually, retarded woman followed the sadistic asshole all over the place.”

  24. Gosh.

    Poor guy. Sounds like she flipped and decided to play the blame game. Maybe her family found out and she’s too embarrassed to admit that she likes it.

    His mistake (it seems) was keeping it quiet: Better to be in a community where many other folks (of like mind) know what’s going on, so they can cover your ass in court if need be.

  25. Until one day she decided she didn’t want to play anymore and shot her “master” dead.

    I guess her safeword was “BLAM!”

  26. he whipped her and used a knife to carve the word slave on her stomach.

    She was into the cutting, but carving the words “Consensual Slave” was more than she was up for.

  27. I have more than reasonable doubt after the emotionally, and possibly intellectually, retarded woman followed the sadistic asshole all over the place.

    If she were actually retarded (in either sense; mentally or psychologically) it is questionable she ever *could* give consent.

    So that buys the guy nothing.

  28. Given the nature of the relationship and Jodi’s decision to continue it for years after it supposedly became nonconsensual

    Consensual sex of whatever form turns into rape the instant it stops being consensual.

    Even if that takes place during the sexual act, whatever form that takes.

    This case highlights the difficulty in communications that can arise in these situations, but the fact that she claims coercion seems to have been missed by some posters/Sullum. She followed him, true. Did she do so because she was coerced? That is what this case hinges on. If the relationship was not consensual, and her actions were coerced, then he is certainly violated her rights.

  29. No means yes

  30. Yes means No

  31. *After Take Back the Night Week*

    No Means No !

  32. This case highlights the difficulty in communications that can arise in these situations, but the fact that she claims coercion seems to have been missed by some posters/Sullum.

    What if part of their power dynamic was for her to be blackmailed with what a dirty, dirty girl she is and how if she ever left him he tell on her? What if her “not consenting” was part of the game? What if claiming coercion and sending him to jail is still part of the game she’s playing?

    This isn’t a cut and dried case of sexual abuse. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but I seriously doubt in this sexual environment of blurring the consent/ownership/domination/submission question gives off waves of reasonable doubt that I can’t imagine the jury could understand.

  33. Jesus Christ!

  34. Consensual sex of whatever form turns into rape the instant it stops being consensual.

    There’s a concept called “binding consent”, by which I grant another party the right to do something even if I change my mind later. This idea is intrinsic in enforcement of contracts: if you commit to deliver me a ton of grain and agree to penalties if you fail to deliver, I can collect those penalties even if you decide later you don’t like the idea.

    An individual’s personal autonomy includes not only the right to consent (or not to consent) to sexual activity, but should also include the right to offer binding consent. If you would deny someone the right to voluntarily commit to an enforceable agreement regarding sexual access, on what grounds would you so violate their freedom to contract?

  35. “in March 2007, a federal jury convicted Marcus of violating the “sex trafficking” and “forced labor” provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). ”

    Seems that the whole “extortion” and “blackmail” line of thinking didn’t cut it in court. Or, at least he didn’t appear to be convicted (or charged?) with it.

    Seriously, with all the kinky stuff these two probably did AFTER she decided that she didn’t want to anymore, they didn’t charge him with rape/battery/torture/indecent liberties/etc.?

    All they have is “sex trafficking” and “forced labor”?

    Seems like a pretty weak case to me.

  36. Gabriel,

    Surely you jest.

    A familiar quote may move you towards an answer…

    “The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships. … In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.”

  37. “The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships. … In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.”

    “Force” in this quotation is being used as a term of art to mean “aggressive violence”, and refers specifically to *unconsensual* force. To apply this quotation to consenting interactions would eliminate most sports, many friendly greetings, and all invasive medical procedures from moral validity.

    If two boxers sign on the dotted line that neither of them will be permitted to leave a steel cage until 10 rounds have passed or one of them is unconscious, would you deem that a valid and enforceable contract even if one of them has second thoughts in the eighth round? If not, why not? If it is, why is sex different?

  38. Nothing sexy about beating the shit out of someone and nothing sexy about beating the shit out of me. That is all.

  39. even if one of them has second thoughts in the eighth round? If not, why not? If it is, why is sex different?

    The consequences of leaving the boxing match are that you don’t get hit again, but lose the match. The moment you make that decision the consequences follow.

    Does the other boxer still have the right to hit you again once you have made this decision?

    Same for sex.
    The moment you decide to remove your consent, the other person no longer has the right to inflict their action upon you.

  40. The consequences of leaving the boxing match are that you don’t get hit again, but lose the match. The moment you make that decision the consequences follow.

    Does the other boxer still have the right to hit you again once you have made this decision?

    The cage is locked. The boxers cannot leave. Both of them agreed to this up front.

    Yes, both boxers have the right to continue the match regardless of what either of them says during the match. Both of them agreed to this up front as well.

    Either you agree that the boxers have the right to enter into a binding contract which does not allow for withdrawal of consent, or you would deny them that right. If you don’t agree with the principle of binding consent, I suppose you’re entitled to that stance, but I certainly wouldn’t ever enter into any sort of business agreement with you.

  41. That’s a stupid analogy, Gabriel. You can’t agree to let someone beat you to death. If you do, the contract is unenforceable. If the losing boxer decides he wants to give up and the other guy keeps beating on him, it’s criminal assualt, regardless of what contracts they signed beforehand.

  42. Just goes to show, only enjoy sadomasochistic games with those you trust implicitly. It’s one of those areas where consent exists *only* in someone’s head; good luck proving it exists.
    But the same thing is true of vanilla sex; the only difference between that and rape can be just in someone’s head. It’s just that the law usually recognizes the possibility of consensual sex, and regularly fails to do so for BDSM play.

  43. You can’t agree to let someone beat you to death. If you do, the contract is unenforceable.

    Not to death, just to unconsciousness. If I can’t make a binding agrement to let someone beat me to unconsciousness, why not?

    Let’s take this from the top. Can I make a contract which has financial penalties for failure to perform? Pretty universally, people will agree I can. By doing so, I grant binding consent for someone to exercise control over a specified property of mine under specific conditions, even if I do not at that time wish to consent to the seizure.

    Can I enter into a similar contract which specifies that the penalty, instead of being financial, will be a punch in the gut? One of the fundamental libertarian principles is self-ownership: my body is my property. If I can grant someone the contractual right to exercise control over my financial property even despite my objections, I should by the principle of selfownership be able to offer someone the contractual right to exercise control over my corporeal property even despite my objections. Right? If you disagree then you are arguing that I do not have the same right to control my body that I do to control my money; i.e. you reject the principle of selfownership.

    (Note that I’m not making any arguments regarding actual current law; the law is a ass. I’m talking about the ethical principles involved.)

  44. If I can grant someone the contractual right to exercise control over my financial property even despite my objections, I should by the principle of selfownership be able to offer someone the contractual right to exercise control over my corporeal property even despite my objections. Right?

    which is exactly why it’s not rape if the “victim” is a spouse, right?

    Forget the law. Your binding consent concept is an ass.

  45. If two boxers sign on the dotted line that neither of them will be permitted to leave a steel cage until 10 rounds have passed or one of them is unconscious, would you deem that a valid and enforceable contract even if one of them has second thoughts in the eighth round?

    It, like all personal services contracts, are enforceable only so far as monetary damages and restrictions on other employment options are concerned; it is a long standing legal principle that specific performance of a personal services contract is never available. In other words, you can never be forced to actually perform some physical act of labor if you later change your mind. The consent is still binding as in any contract, but the remedies for breaching this agreement are limited. The philosophical basis for this is indeed the prevention of something essentially becoming slavery or indentured servitude.

  46. The cage is locked. The boxers cannot leave. Both of them agreed to this up front.

    Withdrawing from the match does not require exiting the cage…it involves removing your consent to participate.

    See other comments above.

  47. I don’t know the details of this case, but from the description, I would have voted guilty too.

    How many times have we heard stories of women staying with their abusive husbands? I don’t understand that psychology at all, but I do know that it’s there. It doesn’t make the abuse any less real. That she would follow this guy around because he threatened her is entirely plausible. Especially in a relationship like this.

    Then consider the definition of rape. If she says “yes” during the dinner date, but then “no” back at the apartment, she still means *no*. I don’t know if she used a safe word that he ignored, but I do know that women can legally change their mind. Really they can. If a man can be convicted for raping his date after she changed her mind, then this guy can too.

    I know we libertarians are supposed to be all warm and fuzzy about alternative lifestyles, but frankly this is a lifestyle that riding the ragged edge of consent. Defending this guy is the libertarian equivalent defending a rapist because the victim wore a slinky dress.

  48. From Wikipedia, emphasis added:

    “For long term consent, a “Slave Contract” is sometimes used. BDSM “contracts” are only agreements between consenting adults and are not legally binding; in fact, the possession of one may be considered illegal in some areas. Slave contracts are simply a way of defining the nature and limits of the relationship. Other couples know each others likes and dislikes and play accordingly. Such arrangements typically use a safeword, a signal that the action in question has gone too far and that those in a dominant role should either stop that particular activity or that the session should end completely.

    However, rulings on consent make all negotiations null and void at the moment the one submitting withdraws consent. The concept of “Consensual non-consensuality” is voided by the right to “informed consent.””

  49. Brandybuck,

    Indeed.

  50. Remember,

    No means no.
    Once it is communicated, consent has been removed.

    Also,

    Remember, Nomeansno…

    Kick ass band.

    http://www.myspace.com/myspaceiswrong

  51. I know we libertarians are supposed to be all warm and fuzzy about alternative lifestyles…

    I don’t know about warm and fuzzy. I do wonder how fucked in the head you’d have to be to allow somebody to carve and whip your body- on a first date no less- and then go on to pursue a relationship of any sort.

  52. “Does the other boxer still have the right to hit you again once you have made this decision?”

    See, this is suppose to be a lesson in why you don’t make stupid decisions. I would say others should be let in the cage to pound you for going back on your word.

  53. others should be let in the cage to pound you for going back on your word.

    So you are a statist, then.

    ;^)

  54. It would have been prudent for Mr. Marcus to avoid the appearance of keeping a slave.

    Carving the word on her stomach is pretty much a written confession.

    Hardly a confession. She was into it. Hopefully they get a more fair minded jury next time. I thought the original conviction was a disgrace.

  55. “I don’t know the details of this case, but from the description, I would have voted guilty too.”

    Wow, remind me never to pick you for my jury. You admit that you don’t know all of the facts, but would still convict the guy. I know that it is hard to believe that many people life being sex slaves. Having some remorse about it later doesn’t mean that the consent wasn’t there before.

    Also, why this was a FEDERAL crime is beyond me. Apparently the State officials didn’t think it worth prosecuting.

  56. “Consensual sex of whatever form turns into rape the instant it stops being consensual.

    Even if that takes place during the sexual act, whatever form that takes.”

    The problem is when did it become nonconsensual? When did she give a clear indication that she did not want to do that sort of thing anymore and what was his response at that point? If you only withdraw consent inside your head and don’t tell the other person your decision, they should not be held liable for not knowing that.

  57. “Also, why this was a FEDERAL crime is beyond me.”

    The 13th amendment outlaws slavery (i.e. forced labor), it is understandable that there would be federal statutes for enforcing that amendment. Whether what this guy did should be appropriately prosecuted under those statutes is another question.

  58. Hello to all,
    I have known Mr. Marcus since 1998, and was in a consensual BDSM relationship with Mr. Marcus since 2003. I know for a fact Mr. Marcus is innocent of these charges because not only do I know him well, but I spoke to Jodi a few times, and in 1998, 1999 and 2003 she never seemed anything but bright eyed and bushy tailed.

    Changing ones mind YEARS AFTER the fact does NOT mean the events WERE non consensual.

    I believe the non BDSM jury saw the images, and as THEY would never do THAT, they felt then she would never either. I believe Glenn’s conviction was based on bias, and certainly the poor defense strategy adopted by his (in my view) inept lawyer did not help. I am thrilled that he will have another chance to show his innocense.

    From all I know and have experienced with Glenn, Glenn Marcus never would act in a non consensual manner.
    -meesekite

  59. If you only withdraw consent inside your head and don’t tell the other person your decision, they should not be held liable for not knowing that.

    Of course.

    meesekite…
    If you are correct in your assessment he should not be charged.

    If the consent was not there, and it was communicated to him that it was no longer there prior to his action, then he should be.

  60. An interesting piece of this is that the action for which it seems Jodi withdrew consent was the publication of photos of the sexual sessions rather than the sessions themselves (i.e., public humiliation).

    Given that Marcus may have viewed this as an important part of the sex game, the fact that consent was removed for this gets us into very tricky territory involving how words/acts are defined.

    Was Marcus fucking her w/out consent by posting things on his website?

    If the web posts are part of the sex act does this mean that this was cyber-rape?

  61. Bob | August 20, 2008, 12:00pm | #
    Who gives a flying fuck what happens to these weirdos?

    umm, other members of the weirdo community? There’s a lot of us about.

    miche | August 20, 2008, 7:45pm | #

    I know we libertarians are supposed to be all warm and fuzzy about alternative lifestyles…

    I don’t know about warm and fuzzy. I do wonder how fucked in the head you’d have to be to allow somebody to carve and whip your body- on a first date no less- and then go on to pursue a relationship of any sort.

    Not very. Most bdsm-folk are a little fucked in the head, but generally at about the same level that average person is fucked in the head, and many of them less so. You don’t have to be that crazy to like cutting; it’s a really cheap way to get high.

  62. Hello again…
    To answer your questions, Jodi had signed a model release form. Its a legal document giving HIM the images and allowing HIM to use them as he wishes. So, he was under no LEGAL obligation to remove them at her request. I guess you can say he should have been nice and done so, but being “nasty” is NOT an illegal act. Secondly, the statutes he was charged under were ORIGONALLY for women and children who were truly forced and trafficked from third world nations to ours, and actually harbored, kept in secret and forbidden to leave. Compare that with Jodi, who had a car, her own apt in 2001, keys to the apt she shared in 2000, and who was a college educated American. Clearly the statute is misplaced in this situation…but thats what the governmented, an expansion of their current law.
    Sincerely,
    meesekite

  63. Just goes to show, only enjoy sadomasochistic games with those you trust implicitly.

    Better yet, don’t trust perverts.

    -jcr

  64. Who gives a flying fuck what happens to these weirdos?

    I’ve got to admit I’m strongly inclined to agree with you, but the law has to apply to everyone.

    -jcr

  65. I know we libertarians are supposed to be all warm and fuzzy about alternative lifestyles

    Says who?

    There’s a world of difference between wanting the state to interfere in people’s private lives, and approving of everything people want to do to each other.

    -jcr

  66. I know for a fact Mr. Marcus is innocent of these charges

    That’s what we call an opinion, sunshine. The jury, which heard far more about the matter than you did, came to a different conclusion.

    -jcr

  67. Hello JCR…
    Its not my OPIONION that Glenn Marcus is innocent; it is factual. And due to Mr Marcus’s poor legal defense at his first trial, the jury heard far LESS about the matter; as his friend I know far more than they did. His innosense matters, but also whats relevant is the misuse of the sex trafficking/forced labor laws on a domestic relationship.
    -meesekite

    1. Its not my OPIONION that Glenn Marcus is innocent; it is factual.

      Wishing doesn’t make it so. The jury found your opinion to be in error.

      -jcr

  68. I’ve known Mr. Marcus for 22 years. I was the gent who asked Mr. Fahringer to defend him. Mr Fahringer believes he’s innocent of these charges. If he’s re-tried, the Feds will have to fight the legend who defended Larrry Flynt etc..

    Remember, the Feds offered him a “No Jail Time” plea deal to a two life sentence crime.He turned it down. The gov’t’s case was always shaky. But what the Feds didn’t realize was that his high-priced lawyer would &%$# it up. They thought he was some Ira Einhorn/ Charlie Manson psycho with lots of live and dead women chained up in his basement. All the FBI SWAT team got was some guy on his computer at 5 AM.

    This is the plain fact. The gruesome pictures were photoshopped in various ways- like the fake blood in a Roger Corman or Herschell Gordon Lewis flick, so pictures can lie and if they look bad enough and your first lawyer takes a few six figures in cash to defend and never refutes them- you’re going to jail. This was always a…. “he said, she said” but with very bad pix that were staged. As to the jury, most had minimal exposure to “computers.” Remember, ‘a jury of your peers.” Lot’s of luck.

    My wife dislikes Mr. Marcus- thinks he’s a creep and two other independent (and very good looking) lady friends of mine also think he’s a creep but they all believe… in my wife’s vernacular, “it was just some bitch who got pissed.” Being a creep isn’t a federal offense but a woman spurned can turn out to be.

    Jeff Roth

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  70. Bitches have no integrity, accountability, responsibility. they wsitch on a dime. Never trust a bitch. A smart Master knows how to see the warning signs and will dump the bitch fast. A smerter one sees them coming a mile away & doesn’t bother in the first place. Also, a smart Master will know how to keep proof of consent, and maintin a low profile, e.g., not carving words on people. A good Master also has integrity–this guy just might be a dick from the sound of it & he went too far. They’re both whack, so screw ’em both. Seems like they deserve each other. Meh.

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