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Female Cop Being Punished For Her Dominatrix Past? Gross. Sensationalized Reporting of It? Also Gross.

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Being a professional dominatrix is completely and totally 100% legal (though laws regulating it vary from state to state). This is an important fact to remember as we look at the case of New Jersey sheriff’s officer, Kristen Hyman. **CW: Brief description of consensual BDSM activity**

Hyman was recently sworn in as a member of the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, but is now facing a disciplinary hearing because of a job she held in her past. From 2010 to 2012, Hyman was a professional dominatrix. She not only saw clients, but she also starred in, according to The New York Post, “some steamy, R-rated bondage videos” in which “she’s seen wielding items ‘such as whips, and kicking the groin area to inflict pain upon the recipient. In most cases the recipient is naked and/or bound.'”

When her bosses at the NJ Sherriff’s Department became aware of the videos, six days before Hyman was set to graduate from the police academy, she was suspended without pay “because the sheriff’s office said her past, which she failed to disclose, is an embarrassment to the force.” According to NJ.com, “She was also accused of neglect of duty and other causes for disciplinary action after an internal affairs investigation, which was triggered by allegations about Hyman’s past.”

So, apparently there’s more to it than just the fact that she was a dominatrix. But those things weren’t what caused the NJ Sheriff’s Department to panic and look into her in the first place. Those other “causes” weren’t even on the radar. It was her being a dominatrix that got her in trouble, and they were just lucky to find other stuff to accuse her of, too.

Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mary Costello reinstated her, allowing her to graduate and be sworn in, but she still has to face a disciplinary hearingfor something that happened long before she got this job—on June 27th. She’s currently working with modified pay.

Why? To “protect the integrity of the department.” You know what else would protect the integrity of the department? Not making a big legal fuss over this so it gets written about everywhere.

The fact that she was a dominatrix was completely legal, and she did absolutely nothing wrong. Furthermore, she has emphasized that in the videos she was in she was never nude, never engaged in sex, everything was staged and consensual, and that while she was paid for making the videos, she doesn’t currently get any residuals. “[T]he proliferation of video and audio records … and or the promoting on social media … has resulted in the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office being the subject of inquiry and ridicule among law enforcement,” isn’t Hyman’s fault. It’s the fault of those who are doing the ridiculing.

Yet they’d rather capitulate to the “ridicule” of their fellow officers and take someone’s job away than just get on with it and let a new officer do her job. What is this, elementary school? Are we not equipped to handle “ridicule?” BOO HOO, THE OTHER POLICE CAPTAINS ARE LAUGHING AT US. WAAAAAH!

Also, as do many other police departments all over the country, I’m sure that NJ police have plenty of other, more valid reasons to be ridiculed and thought of as having less integrity: like their internal affairs divisions dismissing 99% of misconduct cases against NJ Police Officers (for shit they do while on the job), for instance.

The only thing this has to do with is a distaste for BDSM activity. Which, you know what? If that’s not your thing, fine. But you don’t get to fire people for what they get up to in the bedroom, especially if they aren’t breaking any laws. She was not. Nor was this even something she was doing while an officer.

Part of what gets me about all of this is that she’s being criticized for not disclosing the fact that she was a dominatrix when giving her work history. GEE, I WONDER WHY SHE’D CHOOSE TO WITHHOLD THAT. MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE SHE KNOWS PEOPLE WILL OVERREACT TO SOMETHING THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HER JOB PERFORMANCE AND DISCRIMINATE AGAINST HER OR SOMETHING.

No one puts every job that they’ve ever had on a resume. You pick and choose what puts you in the best light and shows off your specific qualifications for the job to which you are applying.

I know what some of you are thinking. But no, Hyman having been a dominatrix doesn’t mean she’d “be good at this job, because she knows how to use handcuffs,” or anything else like that.

Which brings me to the other thing that pissed me off about this. The fact that The NY Post reported this in a sensationalist way that is hurtful to the many normal, sane, average people out there who might engage in BDSM or other kinky activity, perpetuating the very negative stereotypes that allow for workplaces to think it’s okay to fire someone for consensual activities in their private time.

Let’s check out some of the choice language in the Post article:

  • Opening line: “She wants to spend her life using handcuffs.” (Ha, ha.)
  • SECOND line: “A New Jersey sheriff’s officer is undergoing a legal spanking after her bosses found out she once worked as a dominatrix and tried to boot her out of the department.” (Will the horrible puns never end?)
  • “Her status as an ex-whip mistress disgraces the organization” (OK, what the hell is a ‘whip mistress?’ Was she in charge of all the whips?)
  • “had even made some steamy, R-rated bondage videos.” (*gasp* So…they were R-rated. Which means they were things you could see in, oh, any movie theater. Is the NY Sheriff’s Dept. also firing anyone who used to be an actor?)

The ignorance around the subject matter is staggering. This might seem all titillating and funny to the Post, but this is a woman’s life and career on the line. Think that she “brought it on herself?” I say that only makes sense if she did something wrong, which she didn’t. She was a dominatrix, which is a perfectly legitimate and legal form of employment. Think it’s immoral or whatever? Well, I think that “vulture capitalists” are immoral, as all they do is hurt people for profit. Can we just go ahead and curtail all their job prospects?

No? Okay then.

(image: ThaiPrayBoy/Shutterstock)

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