If you respond to an ad for S&M sex, how credible are rape claims?

It turns out that one of San Francisco’s premier sexual harassment attorneys enjoys a little S&M fun on the side.  So much so that he likes to run Craig’s List ads seeking women who like it rough:

His lawyer, Stuart Hanlon, said the women had all come to Hoffman’s Van Ness Avenue apartment to engage in what his ads in Craigslist’s “Men Seeking Women” section billed as dominant-submissive sex.

“His ad clearly said he was seeking dominant sex with submissive women,” Hanlon said. “It talked about getting controlled, getting hit and getting their hair pulled.”

Fine.  Each to his own taste, as long as it involves consenting adults.  The problem for attorney Robert Michael Hoffman is that some of the women who responded to the ads seeking abusive sex and who, in fact, participated in the abusive sex, are now crying rape:

A San Francisco employment lawyer who specializes in sexual harassment cases has been charged with rape and other crimes for allegedly attacking three women who came to his apartment in response to his Craigslist ad for rough sex.

[snip]

In at least two cases, the women had sex with Hoffman voluntarily before the incidents in which they accused him of sexual assault, Hanlon said.

The lawyer is now being held in jail, with bail having been set at $3 million.

Perhaps I’m simply too naive to understand the nuances of a situation in which women show up at a stranger’s apartment in response to an advertisement promising them violent sex, but it seems to me that they run the risk of having sex with a man who sees their protests as part of the agreed-upon game.  In other words, is Hoffman guilty of rape if the women, by showing up in response to his ad, tacitly or explicitly agreed to violent, abusive sex.  If they’re screaming “No,” how in the world was he supposed to understand that they meant it, when they’d already agreed that he was going to hurt them and enjoy their suffering.  And presumably, they in turn, would get pleasure out of that pain.

It all reminds me of a terrible old joke:

The sadist and the masochist get together.  The masochist grovels on the floor:  “I want to suffer.  Make me miserable.  Hit me!  Hit me!  Hit me!”

The sadist sneers down at him:  “No.”

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Comments

  1. Charles Martel says

    It seems to me that it would be simple enough to track down the text of the guy’s craiglist ads. If he’s telling the truth about their content, there are still questions about whatever “safe words” and boundaries they set up before diving into their tawdry recreation.

    I was going to say that a woman going to a strange man’s house for kinky sex might sort of call her testimony into question. Then I woke up and realized that I live in Femiland, that enlightened place where a woman can do what she damned well pleases sexually—or not—and that her insistence something bad or unwelcome happened to her must be taken at face value.

    That said, the lawyer is a disgusting piece of work. Are orgasms worth stooping that low?

  2. Mike Devx says

    I still think that if the *ONLY* way you can enjoy sex is when it is accompanied by violence, you’ve got a psychological problem – whether you’re the S or the M in S&M.  (Note i’m talking about *real* pain infliction, not games or role-playing…)

     
    Aside from that, these days, when “no” means “no”, you’d be well advised to establish rules and boundaries for what is “part of the S&M” and what is not…and what allows the partner to change his or her mind about the, um, activities.  Whatever means “I don’t want to be a part of this any longer”, if that point is reached, anything beyond it is grounds for a rape charge…
     

  3. skullbuster says

    To me personally, an alcoholic that hasn’t had any alcohol in over 20 years, any person looking for “rough sex” must be brain damaged.  However, I certainly can understand getting drunk knowing full well I am going to wake up with someone or something (not necessarily human) that could be hideous or dangerous.  To me at one time this seemed perfectly rational.  I have always wondered how a drunk woman could yell rape after having sex with a drunk man.  Yet, there are as we speak, men in jail today precisely for that act; of which neither party remembers.  I doubt there are very many women in jail for rape of a drunk adult male.
    (There are also men in jail for murder after waking up with another man posing as a women.)

    I’ll bet a lot of women would have cried rape after a one night stand with me if I had been a prosperous lawyer or prosperous anything, way back when, but after seeing the suroundings, if we ended up at my apartment, said “what’s the use?.  

    Just remember Michelle Bachman practices submissiveness with her husband. 

      

  4. SADIE says

    There’s a weird irony to the story. The lawyer, who wanted rough sex ends up in jail, whereby rough sex (so I’ve read) won’t require ad on Craig’s List.
     

  5. Charles Martel says

    “His ad clearly said he was seeking dominant sex with submissive women,” Hanlon said. “It talked about getting controlled, getting hit and getting their hair pulled.”


    Sheesh, if a woman wants those things, all she has to do is head over to the airport and get a TSA inspection.

  6. Charles Martel says

    Zander, I wonder, too. Is there any case law on what constitutes a contract in situations like this? It seems to me that once a couple establishes a safeword, it has to be respected no matter how heated the moment becomes.

  7. says

    Mart, it would be a verbal contract. Which is to say, it’s a he said, she said, where both parties are either at fault or not at fault.

    Unless there’s audio or eye witness testimony, there’s no real proof here, other than the ad itself. So lawyers, lacking any evidence one way or another, will argue the character of the witnesses entirely. 

  8. Duchess of Austin says

    I do have some experience with this type of situation, having been a Domme for awhile in my misspent yoot….
     
    Generally, in S&M relationships, the level of trust that the submissive must have in her/his Dominant is reinforced by the inclusion of “safe word(s)” in their play.  These word(s) are agreed upon in advance and the play *must* stop if they are given.  There are some submissives who do not believe in safe words and have no “boundaries,” but they are pretty rare.  Of course, a common sense rule for submissives, here, is that you don’t do a scene with a Dominant you don’t know because they are not always trustworthy, and there is a risk that the Dominant will not play by the “rules,” i.e., respecting safe words.
     
    IMO, one of 2 things happened here.  Either the women were such neophytes to S&M that they neglected to insist on a safe word, or the safe word was given and ignored.  In the first instance, the women are pretty stupid to answer an ad for rough sex if they are not experienced submissives, and if there is no agreed upon way to stop the play once the scene has started, their pleas to stop will be ignored by the Dominant as part of the game.  In the second, if the safe word is used and ignored, I should think that would be grounds for a rape charge, as the women may have changed their minds during the scene and wanted to stop.  This will, of course, boil down to a “he said, she said” situation in court and I won’t be surprised if the city attorney eventually declines to prosecute.
     
    Just my opinion here, but as an experienced player in the world of S&M, seems to me that any woman who would answer an explicit ad for domination play is asking for trouble, and I would think that just this part of the scenario (you know, she’s an ADULT who went into the situation willingly) would make it difficult to prosecute any sort of rape charge, but I’m not a lawyer or a law enforcement type.  Seems to me that the women would need to prove that a safe word was agreed upon, given during the scene and then ignored by the Dominant, but how do you do that unless the scene was somehow recorded for posterity?
     

  9. says

    The problem with this is that it feeds the inner demon of anger. Unless you’re in a stable relationship built on trust and mutual cooperation, S and M is very easy to turn into a slave dominance game. Much like what the Left plays at.

  10. disgusted with liars says

    CASE DISMISSED: The Judge was forced to throw out 2 of the 3 cases because the video and texts proved that the women were “PLAIN LIARS” and they had not been raped at all. They should be in jail for falsely accusing Hoffman of rape. Sickening. Hoffman’s information is now all over the net. These liars are not victims, so someone please post their names and faces. The 3rd case — not rape, but that he supposedly put his face in dog-collar-lady’s crotch — is about to be dumped too.
    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2011/09/02/majority-of-sex-assault-charges-dropped-against-san-francisco-employment-attorney/#comment-105440

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