Posts Tagged ‘ consent ’

Parasites and symbionts

So i’ve promised you all some other posts, but this one is fresh from the press:

Donating, to me, is usually a win-win situation. At the very least it is a pleasant experience for both the vampire and me. Usually the vampire gets significant benefits, in particular sangs might benefit for weeks. For me a good feeding means deep restful sleep, a chance to relax from my usual overcharged state, and often also a break for my body during which it can heal from my everyday stresses.

It is not quite a symbiotic relationship, because in a true symbiotic relationship the two species are dependent on each other. But it is certainly one from which both the vampire and i benefit, and that’s without even considering any altruistic motivation.

But some vampires are parasites. They slip in a link when you’re unaware, when you’re preoccupied, when you’re tired from lack of sleep or from illness. They don’t ask, don’t negotiate, they disguise the drain with symptoms of illness, and then they just draw all that they can. Once they’ve drained enough, they don’t even disguise it any more, as you’re too weak to defend yourself anyway.

I’m lucky enough to have a very experienced psi-vamp and energy-worker, one who recognises the symptoms and can stop the parasite (and hopefully hurt them in the process). But getting attacked by a parasite like this is not something i wish on anybody.

I like vamps, i like the vampire community. Most vampires are friendly, open, very accepting of otherness. Most vampires are also very polite about feeding, never feed without explicit consent, and very conscientious about after-care. But idiots like this parasite, they throw the whole community into disrepute.

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slave donors reprise: not like this

third post in 24 hours! though actually, this one is less fun. because just as i write about slave donors, we get the news that some guy from vampirefreaks.com [1] has had a warrant for an arrest issued against him for “electronic solicitation of children”. the news has been pushed to the vampire community by the folks at the AVA, who do a good job in keeping us alerted to current events which impact the community. you can read the full news articles on their forum.

usually i would disregard such news items. not that child abuse isn’t a horrible crime which needs to be taken very seriously. not that the victims of child abuse don’t suffer deeply and deserve all our support. but child abuse is pandemic. at least 1 in 5 children suffers some kind of sexual aggression before they reach the age of 16. sexual abuse of children happens everywhere, in all societies, all cultures, all religions. and don’t forget the reverse: if so many children suffer abuse, then there are just as many abusers. think of that next time you chat with your colleagues at work, or with your mates in the bar, or the fellows with which you do sports. it’s a harsh reality.

but each time the media takes an event such as this and created a scandal around it they are helping us forget that it is something which happens every day all around us. no, they happen in catholic boarding schools or in scary goth internet fora. the perpetrators are priests (who quite consciously are “other”, and therefore never quite trustworthy for the simple mind) or self-proclaimed vampires (and how could they be anything but monsters). the media makes us believe that child abuse is something special, which only happens to others, when in reality it is happening all around us. sometimes i get very angry about this.

it is even worse when the media, like both the articles linked above, drag up and lay out all the sordid details in search of a higher readership. very soon this sinks into pure voyeurism, readers getting their fix of righteous outrage on the back of the suffering of others.

so what did actually happen here? as far as can be seen from the articles there was no force involved, no threats, no violence. to put it a little extremely, it was simply a relationship which developed from vanilla into an online master/slave relationship. the only thing which doesn’t work is that the girl is too young.

in BDSM one of the few universal rules is that all participants must give fully informed consent. there are edge-cases to this, of course, such as in consensual non-consent or when subs agree to play without safewords. but even then the partners don’t enter into that kind of relationship without understanding what this involves. fully informed consent is one of the very few absolute hard limits i play by.

the other edge-case for fully informed consent is whether the participant are able to give such consent. somebody who is not mature enough is not capable of understanding this kind of relationship and it’s implications, and is therefore not capable of giving informed consent to it. this is why we have legal age limits. some youngsters grow up alarmingly fast, but many don’t. so all are by default protected. and in a master/slave relationship being capable of understanding the implications at the time that consent is given is even more important, because being in such a relationship does weird things to your brain.

i do not mean to minimise the severity of the perpetrators deeds. fully informed consent is such a big thing exactly because the kind of power dynamic established in a master/slave relationship can very easily lead the slave to do things which they would not have agreed to do without that power dynamic. and a fifteen year old girl can not give such consent, even if she were mentally and emotionally mature enough to understand what she was consenting to. this has to be a hard limit.

nevertheless, the news lies not in that it happened. the elements which made this case news-worthy were that the perpetrator frequents a goth/metal forum, that he dresses himself in the allure of the vampire, that he is overseas (and not just overseas, but in such a remote location as the shetland isles), that he lives with his parents. the scandal is that people who read this story get to blame it all on strange people, on vampires, on people who live far away, they get to blame everything on the other, thereby becoming that little bit more blind to the abuse which is happening all around them.

what this whole post isn’t about is vampires, or donors, or bdsm, or master/slave relationships, or vampire/donor relationships, or even vampire/slave-donor relationships.

[1] vampirefreaks.com is only peripherally linked to the vampire community. a few real vampires can be found there, as there is some overlap between the communities. but it is mainly a social network catering to the goth lifestyle, fashion, and music. nothing in the articles indicates that the perpetrator actually identifies as a vampire.

ethics of feeding

something which i’ve come across several times recently is vamps, specifically sanguinarian vampires, saying that they do not want to consume human blood for ethical reasons.

now i think ethics are important. not in a simplistic good/bad, but as deep personal reflections on what is right for a specific person. i approve of people who think about ethics. but with these sangs it did not appear to be the result of careful reflection, but more of an excuse to avoid icky feelings surrounding what is a rather taboo* and intimate human interaction.

what i see is not a right or wrong in their decision not to drink human blood, but rather a logical inconsistency in their arguments. the same vampires who say they won’t feed from humans are busy swapping tips on how to acquire animal blood, and have no hesitation about eating meat. i wonder how they arrive at the conclusion that killing and eating a non-consenting animal can be ethically less problematic than drinking a little blood which was freely given with minimal injury by a consenting human? i’m sure you see the point i’m making: non-consensual death vs. consensual minor injury?

one of the vamps i recently saw involved in such a discussion might actually have internal consistency, as they described themselves as christian, with the implication of humans being by default infinitely superior to animals in their belief-system. the others have a much harder position to defend, as they describe themselves as pagan, which in current usage almost always implies a certain kinship and equality between living creatures of all kinds.

personally, if you’re going to be feeding from a fully informed and consenting human donor then i think the ethical issues become truly minimal.

*and nobody go and tell me that drinking human blood isn’t a deep taboo in most human societies.