Abuse Policy

Purpose:
To reduce the incidence of abuse within the BDSM Community through education, definition of standards and, when necessary, acting upon allegations of abuse. NOBLE's policy against abuse is limited to behavior by, between or toward any NOBLE Associate or Regular Member(s).

Definitions:

  • Abuse:
    • Physical, sexual or emotional acts committed upon a person without that person's informed and freely given consent.
  • Informed consent: This must be judged by balancing the following criteria for each encounter at the time the acts occurred:
    • Was informed consent expressly denied or withdrawn?
    • Were there factors which negated that informed consent?
    • What was the nature of the activity?
    • What was the intent of an accused abuser?

Actions:

  • Guidelines for determining abuse:
    • Whether an individual's role is Top/Dominant or bottom/submissive, they could be suffering abuse if they answer "no" to any of the following:
      • Are your needs and limits respected?
      • Is your relationship built upon honesty, trust and respect?
      • Are you able to express your feelings honestly?
      • Can you function in everyday life?
      • Can you refuse to do illegal activities?
      • Are you free from fear of emotional or physical harm to yourself or others?
      • Do you feel free to discuss your practices and feelings with anyone you choose?
  • Corrective action by the NOBLE Council:
    • A NOBLE member who feels that one or more of these criteria have been violated in the context of a BDSM relationship may bring the matter to the attention of any member of the NOBLE Council.
    • The Council Member must then inform the other Council Members of the allegation within three (3) days in order to schedule a discussion between the person making the allegation and a quorum of the Council.
    • This discussion must take place within two (2) weeks of the first allegation to a NOBLE Council Member in a closed session.
    • After hearing the initial allegation, the Council may do one of two things:
      • If the allegation is deemed by the Council to be either not serious or is unsupported, then the Council may choose to take no further action.
      • If the Council feels that the guidelines for defining abuse may in fact have been violated the following process will be followed.
    • The accuser shall provide to the Council a confidential statement of the allegations along with any other evidence he or she may wish to present.
    • The accused is contacted by a Council Member in a non-confrontational manner, informed that an accusation has been made against them, and offered an opportunity to meet with a quorum of the Council to refute the allegation.
    • After hearing the evidence presented by both side the council shall choose from one (1) of the three (3) following actions:
      • If it is the opinion of the Council that no wrongdoing took place, then the Council may take no further action.
      • If it is the opinion of the Council that wrongdoing took place unintentionally, then the Council may require the accused to take corrective action intended to ensure that the same mistake will not be repeated.
      • If it is the opinion of the Council that the guidelines were violated intentionally, then the Council may impose punitive action up to and including probation, suspension or expulsion from further NOBLE activities.
    • All activities of the Council regarding enforcement of this policy shall be carried out with no publicity, except in the case of suspension or expulsion from further NOBLE activities, in which case notice of the member's suspension or expulsion shall be made known to the Membership.
    • The Council shall only inform the Membership that a violation of policy has occurred.
    • All actions of the NOBLE Council shall be limited to NOBLE functions, and shall be final in that regard unless significant evidence is presented by either party that would suggest reopening the issue is warranted.
    • NOBLE shall maintain a record of the disposition of all allegations of abuse.