RSS

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Granted wishes: happiness?

In Book 4 or 5 of Christopher Pike’s Last Vampire series, vampire Alisa/Sita reflects on Krishna granting our deepest desires and the pain caused by our maya (illusions) when we discover that our greatest longings bring us the most suffering. For her, the longing/maya of having her daughter Lalita reborn meant that she was given the apparently demonic Kalika as a daughter.

For me, three of my greatest longings (apart from going to university, being successful, earning a lot of money, having a private plane and a Ferrari and having orgies in a mansion) were 1) peace/the cessation of criticism, 2) hair that is more straight and 3) to sell my virginity.

I have been granted all of these things (though not, I believe, by a higher power, but by chance, genetics, and fate respectively). However, they have turned out differently from what I thought and they have not provided me with closure, happiness or answers.

I have peace, but although I am very grateful for it, it brings me little relief. This is because I’m left with the memories and more questions than answers, as well as being unsure about what really happened and why. At least while I had no peace I knew what was going on even though I was confused. Now I think that distance from the events mean I’ll never figure out what happened or what went wrong – if anything; I might be making a big deal out of nothing. I can’t even figure out if it’s a real issue or if I’m just exaggerating it.

Since I was very young I wanted straight or wavy hair, but a couple of years ago I learned more about my hair texture and type and realized I actually have very straight hair for my ethnicity. I came to love my hair. Then it straightened, and it’s now wavy and not curly. So though finally my wish has been granted, I kind of miss my curls. I never even got to know them properly and spent my whole life fighting my texture with gels, serums and anti-frizz products, even chopping the crown and sides, leaving the back and bottom of the sides long so it would look more straight. I like having straighter hair, but I know I’ll never get my curls back; my hair has reverted almost to the straight hair I had as a baby. The same thing happened with my skin: I spent my entire life wanting to be lighter and daydreaming about skin bleach, hoping it’d be invented soon and a couple of times Googling for it. Then I saw a documentary at 19 that showed where to get skin lighteners and that they cost as little as under £5 – I’d have spent well over £100 gladly. But the documentary showed how harmful the lighteners were and how sad/pointless/self-harming the cult of being pale was, and I realized that I liked being the colour I was and that actually I was unusually light-skinned so didn’t need to be any lighter. A few months later, I got paler, the palest I’ve ever been (though I had been slowly paling since I was 16 anyway). But I didn’t enjoy it, I just thought, ‘ok’ because I no longer linked colour and beauty.

As for selling my virginity, I imagined it would be to a stunning man whom I didn’t like or connect with at all. But Roland is exactly the opposite. I also thought that it would be over in a few minutes, not long drawn out over a few days – well, weeks, as we can’t see each other that often. I also didn’t think this much art and stuff would come out of it or that I’d learn so much about myself from it. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it so much either, or that the guy would be nice like Roland is.

So, I’m not saying “be careful what you wish for”, instead I’m saying that wishes might not turn out like you expect and that can be a good thing because it shows how much you’ve matured and transcended the petty motives of your wishes (which like #2 might have been influenced by childhood experiences of prejudice, bullying, media ideals of beauty or cultural expectations). And when you realize that your wish has been granted and it means nothing to you, there is a certain feeling of power in it. And when your wish is granted differently to how you percieved it (like #3) and you feel that this is actually even better and more fun and amazing than you’d hoped for, it’s freakin’ awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sugar Baby Sex

The Huffington Post recently ran a couple of stories (links below) on what it calls ‘sugar daddy’ dating websites like MissTravel.com (travel for free with a rich guy and sleep with him) and SeekingArrangement.com (which pairs up students and rich guys; the guys’ profiles include the monthly allowance they can give to the student. One guy’s allowance was 20k, while others state the allowance is negotiable.) The guys are called ‘sugar daddies’ and the students ‘sugar babies’. A lot of graduates also use the site. One of the Huffington Post’s articles described the site’s popularity as being because of the 9k tuition fees (which the site’s founder claimed was certainly a boom) and also because it’s “a few steps clear of prostitution.”

Why is it not seen as protitution?

I was amazed when I read that line – how on earth could a student sign up to that site thinking it wasn’t prostitution?? If you’re having sex for money, it’s prostitution. Even if you’re only choosing guys you’re attracted to (i.e. not like me, who chose Roland who I’m not attracted to) the fact remains that you wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t for the money. After all, that’s why you signed up to SeekingArangement.com instead of Oasis, PlentyMoreFish, E-harmony, Match.com, UniformDating.com, etc, etc, right? So it’s prostitution.

Maybe it’s the word “dating” that confuses people. Because if Roland was to give me a monthly allowance of, say, 2k for four months or 4k for 2 months, maybe that would look less like prostitution even though it’s exactly the same thing. So is it all down to timing? Is it that if you’re paid after sex you’re a prostitute but if you’re paid on a specific date each month you’re a girlfriend?

Of course, no doubt the men on those sites would say it isn’t prostitution and if they wanted NSA sex or a prostitute there are many other websites for that. And that any girlfriend or wife of theirs would be given money and gifts, so what’s the difference? Well, the difference is, these girls are just in it for the money. So, for the girl, it is prostitution, unless of course she is not just doing it for the money. But if she didn’t want/need money, she might not be doing it…

Ethical concerns

After the 9k fees, a lot more students registered on that site. So, if sites like this gain in popularity, they are inadvertently complicit in allowing the government to raise education costs and/or lower funds available to students, as students will be assumed to be getting money from these sites (and thus able to pay for education or not in need of large grants/loans), or expected to turn to these sites if they do get into financial difficulties. Also, the men are being screwed (pun intended) because they want a real companion or friend/girlfriend while the students just want money or wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the money. It’s kind of sick that the government is – however indirectly and inadvertently -forcing students into prostitution. Though having professionals, police, teachers, social workers etc who were formerly prostitutes (whether they thought of themselves as prostitutes or not, they would probably see dating this way as a bit different) may not be a bad idea. They would be less judgemental and more mature and understanding, for a start.

Will other dating sites become obsolete?

Why on Earth would anyone use other dating sites when you can go on these sites (or others aimed at people of all ages like Millionairematch.com)? I’ve no idea why the other sites are still in use.

Will other types of sex work become obsolete?

It’s not uncommon for students to do sex work. I remember the news story about several Cambridge University students doing it about 10 years ago, and the university then gave them money. I think people overlook student poverty a lot. You don’t have to be so far behind on your rent that you’re facing eviction to think sex work is a good idea. You don’t need to be malnourished or unable to buy a jacket in winter. Sometimes the stress of poverty is really bad in itself. I know a girl who was at college, she loved it but was sick of being penniless – as she described it – that she dropped out to work in Tesco’s on the tills. That was three years ago and she’s still there. And this girl was living with her parents so she didn’t have to worry about eviction. Anyway, when students and graduates discover that they can earn a lot more by having a relationship and being treated nice by educated people, than by doing other types of sex work, there will be far less student sex workers. SeekArrangement has not been marketed very well (or I’d never have met Roland – I mean 20k a MONTH??! And I need 2 or 3 guys to keep me happy, that’s LOADS per month!) but as word goes around more students will turn to it. The site actually released a list of the10 universities with the most students registered; the highest number of students registered was 61 at one university.

It was good business sense to aim a site at students only, suggesting they get help with living costs and tuition fees. Because the rich guys want highly educated girls, and the girls don’t want to feel like they’re doing prostitution. And they need help with costs. And they want educated guys too.

It’s still great.

I can’t stress what a wonderful idea these sites are, especially for girls (unlike me) who actually like older men. One of my flatmates in first year said she preferred older men as long as they were younger than her dad (who was in his fifties, so Roland – who’s 42 I think – would fit her category then. Yuck!) Another Huff Post article (link below), written by Helen Croydon who formerly used the site, claims she registered in 2005 for this reason and warns against just doing it for the money. I wonder, though, if she would have done it if there was no money involved? Maybe. (I don’t mean to suggest that EVERYBODY who is registered there wouldn’t have registered if no allowance was provided, but I think it would definitely be less popular. And the founder himself claims the 9k fees boosted the site, so obviously money is a main reason for most participants). The students can choose who to date, by their allowance and attractiveness. So, if you’re already into balding grey-haired wrinklies, and you’re being paid a quarter of a million a year to do it, then that’s FANTASTIC!! The author of the article above claimed to have travelled the world, dated film directors, been given many gifts like loaded store cards, jewellery, designer shoes etc on top of the monthly allowance. She described how great it was that the sugar daddies weren’t available for commitment and how much easier this made the relationship, and also allowed her to focus on her studies. The only reason she stopped was because she became arrogant and uninterested in dating for free! Additionally, what’s to stop a sugar baby havingtwo, three, four sugar daddies and making a million during her degree, especially if it’s a five- or seven- year degree? A lot of graduates use the site too. Of course, I’m registering there the day after the consummation, or the same day if I can get to a computer fast enough.

Do I regret the mistake that was Roland? No. I never regret anything I do, capiche? At least I’ve got a more interesting, unique story about how this adventure happened, instead of, “So I went on SeekingArrangement.com like thousands of other female students in Britain and I was a virgin when I registered, so yeah that’s how I sold my virginity.” Because it’s not about how much money you can get. It’s not a competition – and anyway a 22 year old American student already won that competition – 1.7 million, I recall. She’s an inspiration, but she didn’t get that amount due to negotiation skills, it was just an auction. It’s about the story, the experience. And 20k per Month Guy and the other guys might not be like Roland, they might not understand me like he does or make this film and art out of it or share my fascinations with virginity, slutdom, sex and sexual repression. The fact he is like me makes this a real Adventure, an Art, not just a first time in a bed.

SeekingArrangement has a moral obligation to market itself better so all our daughters, sisters and friends can enjoy the wonderful experiences and money it brings. Also, where is MrTrave.com and SeekingArrangement for Sugar Mummies? Come on now, men are willing to sell their boddies too and rich women need sex!! This rich men-beautiful girls mindset is so sexist.

Links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/25/sugar-daddy-dating-seekingarrangement-attracts-students-tuition-fees_n_1451335.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/helen-croydon/sugar-daddies-escorting-date-for-dosh_b_1455587.html

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Abortion and slavery: should we push our beliefs on others?

I just watched a bit of Creation Magazine Live (a creationist broadcast on Revelations channel) and they suddenly started talking about people whobelieve life starts at conception but don’t want to push their beliefs on others by making abortion illegal. They drew an analogy between that and saying ‘I’m against slavery but I don’t want to push my beliefs on others so let’s not make slavery illegal.’ Let’s pause for a moment and let that sink in.

OK, so slavery is a commensurable analogy for abortion?

Let’s recap on the significant differences in the issues, problems and questions surrounding slavery and abortion.

For (the historical) slavery, issues included: racism, abduction, capitalism, the possibility of increased unemployment if slaves were freed, the favouring of mulattoes (biracials) over blacks, leading to blacks/biracials seeing lighter skin and straighter hair as beautiful; the rapes and relationships that led to biracial peoples’ existence; Darwinism, trade, cultural genocide, displacement, identity, the economy, etc etc…slavery was a complex, multi-layered issue not only reducible to simple racism. (I’m not denying that racism allowed it all to happen – there are disturbing parrallels between the thinking that led to slavery and the thinking that led to Nazism, I’m just saying it was complex and left a very harmful historical aftertaste even after slavery was abolished, such as racism, the KKK, etc. Some African Americans claim that girls use relaxers and weaves due to ideals of white beauty that stem from the time of slavery when biracials were favoured by the masters, who were their fathers/relatives and by the community such as being allowed into church if their skin was lighter than a comparison object or if their hair could pass through a fine-tooth comb and other similar entry requirements.)

All of these issues are not present in abortion; it is actually a much less complex and far more ancient and traditional issue. The only similarity between the two is that they bothraise the question of whether the “victim” (African people and foetuses) are real people, though even this conclusion is somewhat clumsy and people can’t really be compared to foetuses; the foetuses do not feel pain, aren’t self-aware, capable of language, intelligence, civil rights movements etc, and aren’t abducted and traded so they can work halfway across the world.

Most importantly, there are issues with abortion that are not present in slavery: namely, there is a woman who does not want to bear a child. She may be very young, still in education, a rape victim, an incest victim, coerced into having sex by a boyfriend, initially wanting a baby but then spilt up with her partner, already has five kids with her husband, is in danger of honour killing if she is found pregnant, is on welfare/benefits and doesn’t want to raise a child while living off the state, wants to focus on her career, knows that she is unfit to be a mother, would be suicidal if forced to have this child (as happened when a 14 year old was raped by her friend’s father in Ireland. She got pregnant and, as is usual in Ireland, her parents decided to take her to the UK for an abortion, as it is illegal in Ireland. Her parents asked police if they should bring back the embryo’s DNA as proof against the rapist. The girl was given an injunction by the Court not to leave the country to get an abortion, so she became suicidal and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. The Supreme Court speedily heard the case and held that she could have legally had an abortion in Ireland all along, as her life was in danger.) There may be other reasons, such as medically being unable to bear a child without putting her health at risk, or having a baby with special needs which she doesn’t have the resources, emotional capability or time to meet; not wanting to have children, not wanting distant, abusive or rigidly conservative parents to know she is not a virgin, wanting to wait until a financially stable nuclear family is established before having children (mostly women who hold a traditional/conservative view of a family), as well as other reasons.

What gives anyone the right to decide for her?

According to the guys on Creation Magazine, the Bible does not actually say that abortion is wrong or give any endorsement or prescription for or against it.

Their entire position is based on the description of Rebekah’s unborn children as “children” not “foetuses”. If the scribe or leader who wrote this had used a different vernacular all those years ago, anti-abortionists might not exist today! The other piece that they rely on is in Genesis where God gives humans dominion over animals but not over humans, which they interpret to be a prescription against cloning and abortion…I can’t really infer that from the text, but whatever works for them.

These illogical, very weak arguments are all that the cream of the fundamentalist cult can come up with against abortion. Honestly, I can’t figure out why anyone still listens to the pro-lifes. I always saw them as a worthy adversary, but their arguments are fallacious and nearly all of them are Bible-based, which means that if you aren’t a fundamentalist Christian (ie read the Bible literally) those arguments fall flat. Funny how they could’ve used the Qur’an and Buddhist scriptures to back up anti-abortion views, too, but they didn’t.

Finally, just as it is offensive to compare non-comparable issues to the holocaust, (and, I should mention, using the word ‘crusade’ to mean a good thing) it is offensive to compare abortion to slavery. I barely know anything about slavery but I’m very, very sure that hundreds of years of suffering (which Christians used the Bible’s endorsements of slavery to justify, although Leviticus only permits owning slaves from neighbouring countries and the Bible advocated kindness towards slaves) should not be compared to abortion, even if you see abortion as killing. I’m horrified at murder and rape but I’d never compare those things to the holocaust or to any genocide or slavery, no matter how bad I feel for the victims and their families. The 14 year old rape victim above was raped and then persecuted by her own country’s legal system, but she wasn’t ‘persecuted like a Jew in the holocaust’ – that’s silly, and actually obscures the ethical, legal, social and human rights issues of this girl’s case. We need to keep things in perspective.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Spanner case/human rights essay

Introduction

 

The European Court of Human Rights has been instrumental in upholding fundamental rights and in the process has generated a large body of case law. In accordance with common principles of law, these judgements may be relied upon in future cases.

However, blindly following this principle to the extent of replicating mistakes or wrong judgements by the ECHR does not seem to be a sensible or justifiable path. The focus of this essay will be on one such particular judgement; the controversial case of Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom; and I aim to show that the case was wrongly decided and should not be followed or considered by the European Court of Human Rights in any future cases. It is not my aim to discuss in-depth the ramifications of this decision for UK public law and criminal law, nor consider questions of ethics. Instead, the reasoning of the judgement will be subjected to scrutiny and considered from a practical perspective.

 

Article 8 of the ECHR

Article 8 states:

“1) Everyone is entitled to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of…public safety…the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health and morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.[1]

Art 8(1) simply states the right, while 8(2) then provides limitations for the right[2]. However, the interference is subject to a two-prong test: it must be “in accordance with the law” and also “necessary in a democratic society.” Therefore, in order to show that the European Court of Human Rights decision in the case of Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom was wrong, it needs to be shown that the interference was either 1)not necessary in a democratic society or 2) not in accordance with law. As it was undisputed by both parties that the criminal proceedings constituted interference by a public authority and that it was in accordance with law[3], the focus of this essay will be on the question of whether the interference was necessary in a democratic society.

 

The Facts…or, The Road to the ECHR

In 1978, a group of homosexual friends started meeting, in twos and threes, to have sex. Over the years they began to experiment with sadomasochism. In 1987, the police charged the friends under sections 20 and 47 of  the Offences Against the Person Act: “the infliction of actual bodily harm and wounds[4]” for one-off offences such as hitting each other with a ruler, caning, and dripping ‘hot’ wax on each other that had taken place over a ten-year period[5].

The trial judge, Judge Rant, ruled that consent was not a defence to assault. They were convicted on 19th December 1990; The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal and then confirmed by a split (three to two) decision by the House of Lords in 1992.

Mr Laskey, Mr. Jaggard and Mr Brown applied to the European Court of Human Rights. They complained that their convictions were an unlawful interference with their right to respect for their private life. .

 

The Judgement

The European Court of Human Rights held that there had been no breach of Article 8.[6] It was held that the provisions of Art 8(2) were satisfied by the reasons given by the national authorities[7], for three reasons:

(1) The applicants’ sadomasochistic activities caused a “significant degree of injury[8]

(2) Sadomasochism is potentially harmful, so can be prosecuted even if no harm occurs[9]

(3) The applicants were not singled out because of bias against homosexuals[10]

If it can be shown that the three reasons given by the court for holding that Art 8(2) was satisfied were wrong – (that the applicants’ activities did not cause significant injury, that sadomasochism is not potentially harmful, and that the Court did not have enough information/evidence to decide that the applicants were not singled out due to bias against homosexuality)- then it shall be proved that Article 8(2) was not satisfied. This would mean that there had been a breach of Article 8 (and it would not be necessary to apply the proportionality test, which is only applied if a legitimate aim can be found). Since the judgement holds that there has not been a breach of Article 8, the judgement would be wrong, meaning that this case was wrongly decided, and therefore should not be considered as precedent by the ECJ in future cases. It is my aim to accomplish the above in this essay. Firstly, we will examine the assertion that the applicants’ activities caused a significant degree of injury.

 

 

(1) Injury in the First Degree

The Court distinguished the case from Norris v Ireland and Dudgeon v Ireland, two cases which held that criminalising homosexuality breached Article 8, on the basis that the significant degree of injury or wounding itself was the feature that distinguished the applicants’ case. The Court stated that the significant degree of injury “in itself suffices to distinguish the present case.[11]

From this, two facts are apparent: firstly, the Court considered that the applicants’ activities involved a significant degree of injury or wounding, and secondly it is only because the activities involved a significant degree of injury or wounding that the case was able to be distinguished, and thus the applicants could not rely on those precedents to have their right to private life protected.

However, if it can be argued that a significant degree of injury did not occur, it will be proved that the applicants should have been permitted to rely on the precedents.

The fact that none of the applicants over the ten year period even needed to visit a G.P. should have been enough evidence that a significant degree of injury or wounding did not occur. Arguably, the Court may be said to have fabricated the term “significant degree of injury or wounding” (which has no legal meaning) to stop the applicants relying on the precedents which could have resulted in the opposite judgement being reached.

 

Piercing the Body Beautiful

Activities such as tattooing, body piercing and body modification were legalised in the United Kingdom at the time of the conviction, the appeals and the ECHR judgement. These activities continue to be legalised in the United Kingdom and other EU member states such as The Netherlands, Germany and France. To elaborate, “body modification” is an umbrella term for various “mods” including bifurcation of the tongue and the insertion of silicone into a pocket created in the skin[12].

Likewise, piercing studios in the vast majority of British towns offer microdermal implants, which are permanent piercings created by inserting a metal plate called a microdermal anchor into a pocket cut into the wearer’s skin[13]. If the piercing is successful, it can never be removed unless it is cut out from the skin by a doctor, which will leave permanent scarring[14]. It is worth noting that permanent scarring did not occur in the applicants’ case.

Why then are the above more ‘violent’ and public practices legalised by UK law, but less ‘violent’ and private sadomasochism is allowed by the Court to be criminalised by UK law? This appears to be illogical. If the Court’s reasoning is imposed on the body modification/piercing/tattoo industry, (i.e. that a “significant degree of injury” has occurred even if medical attention is not required) then these industries stand guilty of having committed a significant degree of injury on every person who is able to wear earrings that do not clip on. The Court erred in not considering the legality of these industries. Additionally, the very fact that these industries are found guilty of wounding when the Court’s argument is applied shows that the argument is flawed.

Furthermore, the Court’s judgement did not disagree with the United Kingdom’s assertion that the applicants’ activities amounted to “genital torture” and holding that Art 8 had been breached would be tantamount to imposing on the contracting parties “an obligation to tolerate acts of torture.[15]” However, the United Kingdom legalises genital piercing[16]. It seems inconsistent for the Court to allow a member state to imprison individuals for hitting a consenting partner’s genital region with a ruler while granting licences to other individuals to ensure that the area is permanently disfigured by the piercing hole.

These activities are far more extreme and dangerous than any act that the applicants performed. But the defence of consent is available to a tattooist; more than that, consent is presumed because tattooing cannot be prosecuted under UK law[17]. The consent defence is written into the statutes that regulate licensing; or rather, consent is presumed by the statutes. If the legal presumption of consent is available to a tattooist who commits a significant degree of injury, it makes no sense for the ECHR to uphold UK law which holds that the defence of consent is not available to a person who likewise commits a significant degree of injury.

 

The Problem of R v Wilson

A further inconsistency arises in the case of R v Wilson [1996] where the defence of consent was made available by the UK courts to a man who cut his initials into his wife’s skin, resulting in an infection; an act far more ‘violent’ than anything performed by the applicants. Since the Court’s argument that a significant degree of injury or wounding occurs even if a visit to the G.P. is unnecessary, then the harm caused in Wilson, which required medical treatment, must be greater than a significant degree of injury or wounding. The UK court used the analogy of tattooing to decide that the state cannot interfere in individuals’ private lives. This precedent overturns the ECHR’s ‘significant degree of injury’ distinction.

The ECHR claimed in their third reason (the issue of bias against homosexuals, an argument that revolved around Wilson) that this case was not similar to the present case. However, if R v Wilson is applied to the first reason (significant degree of injury), it is obvious that (at the very least) a significant degree of injury or wounding occurred; that the activity was held to be analogous to tattooing; that the defence of consent was allowed; and, finally, it was held that “it is not the role of the courts[18]” to interfere in the private life of a couple. If considered with reference to the Court’s significant injury argument, R v Wilson acts as a non-binding precedent, negating the significant injury argument and promoting the opposite conclusion that injury does not distinguish a case from other cases where right to respect for private life was protected.

R v Wilson also proves that UK law does not criminalise ‘violent’ acts if consensual and carried out in private. This negates the UK’s argument that the state is entitled to prosecute kinky people, as the UK’s argument was based on the premise that sadomasochism was illegal in the UK, but R v Wilson confirmed that some SM acts such as branding are not illegal in the UK. One could argue that the premise was flawed as it assumed that all SM acts were illegal. Since the premise and therefore the argument were flawed, arguably the ECHR should not have accepted the UK’s argument in the judgement.

 

The Problem of Ambiguity

       The United Kingdom argued that the injuries caused were not “of a trifling or transient nature[19]” and used this view to justify state interference with the applicants’ Art 8 right and non-entitlement of SM couples to a consent defence. This view was upheld by the Court in paragraph 45 of the judgement, without definition of the meaning of the terms “transient” or “trifling” in this context. However, since the applicants did not require medical treatment, this suggests that the ‘injuries’ were of transient and trifling nature in the ordinary sense of the terms. Additionally, it is not clear if this is a two-prong test requiring injuries to be both transient and trifling in order for state interference not to be justified, or whether only one term need be satisfied.

It is also not clear how this test interacts with the “significant degree of injury or wounding” test, as the judgement refers to “a significant degree of injury or wounding which could not be characterised as trifling or transient”, effectively making the two tests interact. Likewise,  the difference between significant injury and wounding, or even what amounts to a “significant degree” of injury is not stated. It is also unclear whether this “injury” test is a two-prong test or not. These ambiguities might cause problems or confusion if the ECJ was to adopt this case as binding precedent or consider/be influenced by this case in future judgements.

 

The Unknown Crime

Another practical problem with allowing the UK to criminalise sadomasochism arises when one considers the fact that sadomasochistic pornographic material was legalised, and, significantly, implements designed for sadomasochistic play were legally sold for this purpose in high-street stores such as Ann Summers and other licensed sex shops. Chain bookstores such as Waterstones sold sadomasochistic erotic fiction such as that published by Nexus. Sadomasochism legally appeared in mainstream films such as 9 1/2 Weeks; the BBC adaptation of Tom Sharpe‘s novel Blott on the Landscape was criticised by Mary Whitehouse due to a scene that depicted the caning of a man who was tied to a bed[20]. The UK has continued to permit SM references in the media up to the present day; the sitcom Coming of Age, usually broadcast on the major, mainstream channel BBC3, includes two teenage characters in an SM relationship. SM acts were performed on-screen in one episode.

When the Court of Appeal reduced the prison sentences for the reason that the applicants had not known they were committing crimes, Lord Lane commented that a reduction would not be available in future cases, as the post R v Brown public should now be expected to know that sadomasochism was a crime. However, it is not clear that individuals outside the legal profession are, even now, aware that their actions in the privacy of their bedrooms may be criminal. It is a long-standing principle in the EU member states that the law must be clear and accessible; this principle can be seen in Art 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Unfortunately, it appears that many people may have committed crimes multiple times without ever realising it, such as the couple in R v Wilson; although their case had a happier ending, they did not expect to end up in court in the first place. The problem is compounded by the legality of SM equipment, clothing and pornography; how many people are aware that buying an implement from Ann Summers is legal but using it could result in imprisonment?

Recently, a UK documentary titled Kinky and Proud was aired on a major UK network; the individuals featured were filmed performing sadomasochistic activities in the UK. It is debatable whether they would have agreed to be featured in the documentary if they had understood that they were committing crimes on national television and that the film could have been admitted as evidence in a criminal trial against them.    Likewise, it is probable that only a minority of viewers understood that it was legal for them to watch the broadcast but criminal to copy what they saw. Another problem is that the illegality of sadomasochism is not covered by the National Curriculum in sex education courses.

 

The Unknown Vendetta

The ECHR accepted the UK’s argument that states are entitled to criminalise sadomasochism to protect the public, but the above facts show that the UK was not taking the criminalising of SM seriously; everything facilitating, popularising, depicting or de-stigmatising SM was legal; only the act itself was now criminal. If the government was serious about criminalising such activities, it is unlikely that such significant oversights would have been made. Criminalising the sale of SM equipment such as whips, restraints, paddles etc would have reduced the ability of individuals to engage in sadomasochism. Illegalising SM  pornographic material and SM scenes in fiction and films would reduce the popularity and acceptability of sadomasochism.

 

Therefore…

       The Court should not have accepted the arguments of the United Kingdom on the grounds that criminalising SM would breach long-held EU principles regarding the clarity and accessibility of the law, and for protection of EU citizens against unknowingly committing crimes and being imprisoned.

The Court should also have rejected the United Kingdom’s argument on the ground that the United Kingdom was not taking serious preventative measures against sadomasochism, so the UK could not base their argument on the assumption or premise that the UK was trying to prevent sadomasochism. Furthermore, since the UK was not trying to prevent SM, the reasoning that criminalising SM was necessary in order for the UK to prevent SM is illogical.

The Court should likewise have rejected the reasons given by the United Kingdom on the ground that it makes no legal sense or common sense to criminalise SM while purchasing SM equipment, pornography and fiction is legal and extremely accessible (i.e. can be bought on the high street).

 

(2) The Cult of Violence

 

The second reason in the judgement given by the European Court Of Human Rights was the rejection of the applicants’ submission that they should not have been prosecuted as the ‘injuries’ caused did not require medical treatment. The submission was not accepted on the grounds that “in deciding whether or not to prosecute, the state authorities were entitled to have regard not only to the actual seriousness of the harm caused…but also…to the potential for harm inherent in the acts in question [emphasis mine].[21]” In other words, sadomasochism is likely to cause harm and due to this fact, states have the right to criminalise it.

The Court gave no evidence for this assertion in the judgement, apart from stating “In this respect it is recalled that the activities were considered by Lord Templeman to be ‘unpredictably dangerous‘[22].” Apparently, if Lord Templeman says so, then it must be so. The Court was wrong to assume that SM is likely to be harmful without providing any evidence for this opinion. Therefore, it is the Court’s definition of sadomasochism as a violent form of gratification that will now be challenged, as if it can be proved that SM is not likely to cause harm, then the Court’s second justification will fall.

 

Pleasure from Pain: an Evil Thing[23] or, Kinky People: Psychopathic Monsters

The judgement of the European Court of Human Rights judgement confused criminally dangerous, psychopathic sadists with sadomasochists, believing both to be one and the same thing. First, we will briefly look at those texts which back up the ECHR’s sadist-sadomasochism confusion, then explore how other authors have dismissed these views.

Robert Eisler promoted this confusion in his lecture delivered at a meeting of the Royal Society of Medicine[24]and subsequently in his book Man Into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochim and Lycanthropy (1951). Eisler claimed “the sadist, including the murderer of the Neville Heath type, is…a-social…able to enjoy the most horrible sufferings inflicted upon others.”

This misunderstanding results from the misinterpretation of the work of early psychoanalysts; ironically, at the turn of the 20th Century a clear distinction was drawn between sadists and sadomasochists. Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) was clear that sadomasochism did not need to involve hurting others.

 

The Seven Signs

More recently, forensic psychologist Park Elliot Dietz reasoned that there are seven common features in sadists’ behaviour that distinguishes them from sadomasochists[25].

The sadists studied by Dietz meticulously planned their horrific crimes, stalking their victims before abducting them. For sadomasochists, the  process of dating and finding a willing partner can be an enjoyable emotional journey. The second difference can be seen in the contrasting aims of these two groups. Sadistic criminals torture innocent victims to arouse themselves. In contrast, sadomasochists are concerned with arousing their partners and see no point in sadomasochistic activity if their willing partner is not entertained. A good example of this comes from Dale Patrias’ 1978 study, where a forty-year-old female masochist explained: “the man was really willing…but he thought it was kind of silly…he would have done it but he wouldn’t have received any enjoyment of it whatsoever. So I told him to forget all about it.[26]

The third distinction is that sadists are emotionally detached from their victims’ suffering, while sadomasochists receive pleasure from their play[27].The fourth contrast is less a psychological discovery than simple common sense: the injuries inflicted by the sadists in Dietz’s study group were designed to cause serious permanent harm or mutilation; they all brutally murdered their victims. Sadomasochists’ symbolic acts are designed to skilfully enhance arousal. Fifthly, the sadists’ most popular way of committing murder was by strangling, an act that does not feature in sadomasochism, which is concerned with the erogenous zones. Strangulation is also life-threatening, a direct contrast to SM activities, which are not.

Sixthly, a significant proportion of the study group had committed previous sexual assaults, including incest. The seventh difference: unlike many sadomasochists, sadists do not have a tendency to switch roles and take pleasure in being the victim[28].

 

The Wolf Rampant

       The European Court of Human Rights assumed that masochists are misguided, vulnerable individuals being used by sadists. In fact, the sadist and the masochist are one and the same person.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), recorded the case study of a wealthy young man, whom he dubbed ‘the Wolfman’. Freud admitted that the Wolfman exhibited both sadistic and masochistic desires from childhood and decided that this was due to “contradictory pairs of partial drives[29]”. Freud suggested that sadism can be turned on oneself[30] to become masochism. However, if one remains unconvinced by Freud’s theories, then one must re-interpret Freud’s Wolfman case study and accept that the Wolfman is evidence that sadism and masochism appear in the same individual.

A contemporary of Freud, Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) conducted an examination of his own and Krafft-Ebing’s case studies which led him to conclude that “there is no real line of demarcation[31]” between sadists and masochists, and even de Sade was not a pure sadist, considering his masochistic activities. Ellis also noted that sadomasochists always displayed the ability to switch between the role of the sadist and that of the masochist. This conclusion was accepted by the theorists of the time and even sparked a debate over terminology to describe the dual tendency. It is unfortunate that the true situation was recognised by professionals in the post-Victorian period, but the ECHR has yet to catch up.

.Iwan Bloch, (1872-1922) a Berlin physician who invented sexology was also convinced that “sadism and masochism may often appear in the same person; they are only the active and passive form respectively of the algolagnia which lies at the basis of both of them.[32]

Sexologists Charles Moser and Eugene E. Levitt confirmed in 1987 that many of their study participants regularly switched roles, depending upon particular partners or along gender lines, and most had tried both roles.

 

The Pity of Strangers

It is not completely surprising that the ECHR made the judgement it did, considering that sadomasochism has been stigmatised as the product of trauma and dysfunction, and sadomasochists regarded as problem people with psychological or emotional troubles.

Sigmund Freud promoted the view that sadomasochism is a perversion which arises from childhood trauma in his works Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex (1905), A Child Is Being Beaten (1919) and The Economic Problem in Masochism (1924). Freud believed that sadomasochists had been threatened with castration as children[33]. All he achieved was the stigmatisation of sadomasochism at the very time others such as Ellis and Bloch were trying to make society come to terms with itself.

Robert Eisler described the masochist as “a person of subnormal emotional sensitivity[34]” and more recently, Mollinger (1982) claimed that sadomasochism was a consequence of violent or neglectful parents, echoing Bernard Berliner (1958) who was convinced that the inclination was a pathological way of loving an abusive parent.

However, the truth is now visible. Anthropologist Paul Gebhard pointed to the widespread nature of sadomasochism in his 1968 essay Fetishism and Sadomasochism, and rejected the idea that sadomasochism is a pathology. Andreas Spengler’s 1977 study in Germany confirmed that the only feature that sadomasochists had in common was a high level of education, living and social status. His study also found that 90% of sadomasochists had never considered visiting a psychoanalyst; the 10% who had negative feelings towards their desires had not integrated into Germany’s extensive sadomasochistic subculture, so their problems may have stemmed from isolation or a refusal to accept their SM desires. Spengler’s study proves that sadomasochism is not a psychological problem as Freud and others believed.

 

Pleasure not Pain

Ellis believed that far from simply inflicting pain, the sadists were carefully responding to the masochists’ desires, and this was not felt as pain. The essence of sadomasochism was the overwhelming of the senses, which he described as “the joy of emotional intoxication.[35]

Gilles Deleuze claimed “In sadism no less than in masochism, there is no direct relation to pain: pain should be regarded as an effect only[36]” and more recently Anita Phillips criticized what she refers to as “the utterly mistaken belief that masochists enjoy and absorb violence.[37]

Sexologists Charles Moser and Eugene Levitt confirmed in 1987 that not all SM experiences involved pain; exposure games, obedience to verbal commands and name-calling were more common. Pain was only appropriate in certain situations and was not felt as pain.

Kamel toured the gay leather bars in Europe, posing as a potential participant. He found that most SM equipment used by homosexual sadomasochists, such as whips, were used only as symbols of the dominant’s role. The most common forms of sadomasochism were simply verbal abuse and obedience to commands.

Dale Patrias (1978) interviewed sadomasochists and discovered that sadomasochism was a game; the central factor was not pain, but instead the fiction of domination and submission. Most of the interviewees were not interested in pain and claimed that the purpose of the activities was pleasurable sensations, not the infliction of pain. He also found that the participants enjoyed high educational and income levels, and 40% regularly switched roles. The most common forms of SM were spanking, bondage, and wearing fetish clothing – hardly the nightmare image proposed by the ECHR judgement.

From the above data, two conclusions may be drawn: firstly that ‘pain’ is felt as pleasure, and secondly that ‘pain’ is not a central feature of sadomasochism and is not even present in most sadomasochistic activities. The Court did not even consider in its judgement that ‘pain’ is only one aspect of SM activity; as discussed above, the domination-submission roles are far more important, and it is from these roles that all SM activity, including the infliction of ‘pain’ stems. The Court also failed to note other SM activities such as enemas, cross-dressing, babying, use of nappies, scat, humiliation, exhibitionism, diaper discipline and desperation. Moser and Levitt’s 1987 survey listed even more activities, e.g. ice cubes, blindfolds and use of handcuffs. Sadomasochism appears to include much more than simply ‘pain’.

 

Controlling Risk

Lord Templeman stated in the House of Lords judgement that “Society is entitled and bound to protect itself against a cult of violence.[38]” Weinberg, Faulk, Lee and Kamel conducted a seven-year study in America. They found that the infliction of actual injury was very rare, as the sadomasochistic subculture enforced strict rules and norms. The SM community had developed its own beliefs, language and techniques to ensure the safety of its members; these norms were promoted by the community’s organisations and publications. New members were taught safety techniques at initiation meetings; the resident ’doms’ (sadists) at the SM Club Doma in the Netherlands will train anyone interested in safety and arousal enhancement skills. When acts such as caning were used, the sadist was expected to have developed the skills necessary to effect excitation transfer and make the experience pleasurable, while each masochist had a pain threshold or ‘limit‘, beyond which the act would fail to be experienced as pleasurable. SM experiences, known as ’scenes’, would gradually approach the ’limit’ so that the acts never became painful. Experienced sadists could tell when a masochist’s limit was being approached, and the less experienced would make use of stop-words or signals. Individual sadomasochists tended to agree on the roles, equipment and clothing of the scene beforehand and anyone who went beyond the level of ‘pain’ that had been agreed to would be ostracised by the SM community. Thus it is obvious that due to these precautions there is not a great likelihood for harm inherent in sadomasochism.

 

Intellectualising Instinct: the call of the fantasy world

Far from being obsessed with pain, sadomasochists use make-believe, sometimes entire playscripts, to intellectualise our basic urges. They make use of stereotypical situations and cultural symbolism; while acting out a ‘scene’ they may pretend that an act, e.g. posing, is humiliating in accordance with moralists’ ideology, when in fact they do not consider posing to be humiliating. This ability to temporarily adopt their opponents’ beliefs proves that sadomasochism may be compared to a play or a film; just as the audience pretends that some of the characters in Avatar died, they are able to enjoy the film because they know that the actors did not really die. The same audience would be traumatised by watching a real violent death. Similarly, sadomasochists do not really get hurt or mentally submit to each other, they only play at it, and would be horrified by real submission or violence. Another comparison may be made to young children’s ‘bang-bang, shoot you dead’ shooting games, where they play at being gangsters. It would be ludicrous to suggest that these children will grow up to be serial murderers, and it would be insane to suggest that they would enjoy a repeat of the Dunblane killings. However, this is exactly what the European Court of Human Rights has suggested about sadomasochists. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, whom masochism is named after, wrote a famous sadomasochistic novel, ‘Venus in Furs.’ In the novel, the masochistic main character claims “I am a supersensualist; with me everything takes root in the imagination.[39]” This is further proof of the centrality of fantasy in sadomasochism, and that SM ‘scenes’ are enactments of that fantasy.

 

 

(3) Similar Facts?

 

The applicants claimed that the state authorities had been biased against homosexuality, and offered the similar facts of R v Wilson as evidence; the Court decided that the facts of R v Wilson were not similar to the applicants’ case and therefore the state authorities were not biased. It follows that all we have to do to illustrate that the Court’s third reason is flawed is to show that the facts in R v Wilson were indeed similar.

The facts of R v Wilson are that an individual branded his initials into a consenting partner’s buttocks which resulted in the wound requiring medical treatment. The facts of the present case are that these individuals hit consenting partners with rulers and canes, which did not require medical treatment. Both cases constituted assault. The only difference is that in R v Wilson the injury inflicted was more severe and required treatment. The Court of Appeal distinguished Wilson from R v Brown because the branding in Wilson was not inflicted for the purpose of gratification, as in the present case; however the ECHR did not argue this point, nor any other point, so cannot be presumed to have distinguished Wilson on this ground. Even supposing if the ECHR had used this reasoning, it seems unjustified to distinguish a case just because the purpose of the acts differed, especially since the act in Wilson was more serious. Therefore, it appears that the two cases were similar and as the Court offered no reasons as to why they considered the facts of Wilson to be dissimilar from the present case, they have provided no argument to engage with. As we do not have the Court’s argument, the only information available points to the two cases being similar; therefore I can come to no other conclusion than that R v Wilson was similar in its facts to the applicants’ case. Therefore the Court should not have rejected the claim of bias against homosexuality, as their only justification for doing so was that R v Wilson could be distinguished.

 

Conclusion

In the Introduction, I proposed that the European Court of Human Rights should not be influenced by the case of Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom, as this case was wrongly decided. In order to prove that the judgement was wrong, the three reasons for deciding that Article 8 had not been breached would have to be proved wrong.

The first reason (that the applicants had inflicted significant injury) was shown to be wrong by the analogy of body modification, the inconsistency of the ‘significant injury’ argument with R v Wilson, the problem of ambiguity, the problem of clarity of the law and the reasons why the Court should not have accepted the United Kingdom’s argument.

      The second reason (that sadomasochism is inherently violent) was shown to be wrong by revealing that this reason was based on the Court’s misunderstanding of the nature of sadomasochism, by showing that sadomasochism is not likely to cause violence due to sadomasochists’ concern with safety, that sadists are not violently using masochists, the fact that violence is only a small feature of sadomasochism and the pain is actually felt as pleasure.

The third reason (that the facts of R v Wilson were not similar to the present case) has been shown to be wrong as the facts were indeed similar and the Court did not state any justification for believing they were not.

The three reasons for the judgement have been shown to be flawed. Therefore, the case of Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom has been proved to have been wrongly decided and thus should not influence, or act as precedent for, the future decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

 

Betten, Lammy and Grief, Nicholas, EU Law and Human Rights, Addison Wesley Longman, England, 1998

 

Deleuze, Gilles and Sacher-Masoch, Leopold von, Masochism, Urzone Inc. New York, 1989

 

Eisler, Robert (1951) Man Into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism, and Lycanthropy, Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd, London

 

Foster, Nigel (2010) EU Treaties and Legislation, 21st Edition, Blackstone, New York

 

Freud, Sigmund, Totem and Taboo, Routledge Classics, Oxon, 2009

 

Freud, Sigmund, The Wolf Man, Penguin Books, 2010

 

Merrills, J.G. and Robertson, A.H., Human Rights in Europe 4th Ed. , Manchester University Press, UK, 2001

 

Ovey, Clare and White, Robin C.A. The European Convention on Human Rights 4th Ed. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006

 

Phillips, Anita, A Defence of Masochism, Faber and Faber Ltd, England, 1998

 

Thomas, Neil, and Saux, Francois Unity and Difference in European Cultures, University of Durham Press, UK, 1998

 

Thompson, Bill (1994) Sadomasochism, Cassell, London

 

Steyger, Ellis, National Traditions and European Community Law, Dartmouth Publishing Company Ltd, UK, 1997

 

Websites

 

www.bmezine.com

http://www.bodyjewelleryshop.com/body_piercing_information/

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_piercing

http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/search.asp?skin=hudoc-en

 

List of Cases

 

Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom 109/1995/615/703-705

R v Wilson [1996] 3 WLR 125

A.D.T. v United Kingdom

R v Brown

Dudgeon v UK 23 Sep 1981


[1]  The European Convention on Human Rights 4th Ed by Clare Ovey and Robin CA White p218

[2]  Ibid p232

[3]  Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom109/1995/615/703-705  para 35

[4]  Sadomasochism by Bill Thompson p17

[5]  Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom para 8

[6]  Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom para 51

[7]  Ibid para 48

[8]  Ibid para 45

[9]  Ibid para 46

[10]  Ibid para 47

[11]  Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom 109/1995/615/703-705   para 45

[12]  www.bmezine.com

[13]  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_piercing

[14]  Ibid

[15]  Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom 109/1995/615/703-705  para 40

[16]  www.bodyjewelleryshop.com/body_piercing_information/

[17]  www.bmezine.com

[18]  R v Wilson [1996] 3 WLR 125

[19]  Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom 109/1995/615/703-705   para 40

[20]  Sadmasochism by Bill Thompson p 69

[21]  Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom 109/1995/615/703-705  para46

[22]  Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom para46

[23]  per Lord Templeman in R v Brown [1993] 2 All England Law Reports 75

[24]  Man into Wolf: an Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism and Lycanthropy by Robert Eisler  p 11

[25]  Sadomasochism by Bill Thompson p 111

[26]  Sadomasochism by Bill Thompson p144

[27]  Ibid p 111

[28]  Ibid p 112

[29]  The Wolfman by Sigmund Freud, p25

[30]  The Wolfman by Sigmund Freud, p24

[31]  Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of sex, quoted in Sadomasochism by Bill Thompson p 31

[32]  Iwan Bloch, quoted in Sadomasochism by Bill Thompson p 38

[33]  The Wolfman by Sigmund Freud, p22

[34]  Man into Wolf: an Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism and Lycanthropy by Robert Eisler  p 26

[35]  Sadomasochism by Bill Thompson

[36]  Masochism by Gilles Deleuze and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch p 121

[37]  A Defence of Masochism by Anita Phillips

[38]  Laskey, Jaggard and Brown v United Kingdom 109/1995/615/703-705  para 20

[39]  Masochism by Gilles Deleuze and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch p178

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

“Yay abortion”: complexities of the pro-choice stance, pro-life welfare queens and Tam Lin

‘Pro-choice’ tends to be used as an umbrella term to cover absolutely anyone who isn’t an anti-abortion activist. But within this position there are widely differing stances.

1. There is seeing abortion as a necessary evil (I fall into this category)

2. There is being against abortion (pro-life) but not interfering in others’ lives by making it illegal for all women to have one

3. There is ‘true’ pro-choice, i.e. believing everyone should have an abortion whenever they want it

As well as every nuance in between! And to complicate things further, some pro-choice people are opposed to abortion after the first trimester, or four, six, or however many months, no matter whether they are in positions 1, 2 or 3.

And just to make things even more complex, people may be position 1 for certain situations and other positions for different situations. Take me, for example. Overall, I’m position 1. But I see abortion in regards to teenage pregnancy as a mixed blessing, because teens having abortions only reinforces the idea that they shouldn’t be having children or are too stupid/immature/irresponsible to have children. Also, a lot of teens abort because they have been indoctrinated into believing teenage parenthood is a ‘bad’ thing, a social evil, or that it will affect them going to university (it won’t. I know parents who are at university. You get extra student loans and grants if you have a child as well as benefits and child tax credit.) So, I am more towards being opposed to abortion regarding teenage pregnancy.

So being pro-choice means different things to different people. Some, like me, may actually agree with the pro-life arguments. The only argument the pro-lifers seem able to come up with is that abortion is killing, an argument that amazingly has managed to survive in the U.S., probably because abortion was finally achieved through a Su[preme Court decisin (Roe v Wade) and not a law passed by elected officials, which means it may have been harder for Americans to accept, and also easier to challenge.  Anyway, ridiculous as the argument obviously is – not even counting the fact that it is tied to religion, and only one religion at that – I do accept it. Abortion is killing, because not only does life start at conception, but the egg and sperm were alive prior to conception. And so what if it is killing? We kill plants, ants, slugs and spiders, and (with the exception of plants) they can feel pain, and are much bigger and more developed than a zygote or early-stage embryo. We kill other living cells in our own bodies when we wax our legs, get a nose job or scrape our knees. So yeah, abortion is killing, as is scraping your knee. Of course, the potentiality for growth is the diference between a zygote and another cell, which is why I think of abortion as a necessary evil instead of something to be celebrated.

However, the pro-lifers really confuse me with their activism. I know people who are 100% against abortion, but they’d never dream of trying to interfere with someone else’s life. If you’re against murder, don’t murder. If you’re against abortion, don’t have one. Even if you’re a welfare mom with six kids because you won’t abort, I will pay taxes for your kids out of respect for your beliefs and your right not to have an abortion. If your baby will be born a junkie, you have the right not to have an abortion. I don’t care how much of a burden on the state your kids will be. I don’t care if you are too doped up to use contraception and so you have twenty kids. If you’re against it, nobody can force it on you.

So why the activism? Why the intervention in others’ lives and the destruction of their freedom and right? All you have to do is not have an abortion if you are pregnant.

Weirdly enough, those who are most against teenage pregnancy are also against abortion, which is illogical. If you are against teenage pregnancy, you should be promoting abortion. (Not that I’m personally in favour of either encouraging ordiscouraging abortion, adoption or keeping the baby – it’s the woman’s choice and nobody else can make that choice because only she understands her own situation and what it feels like being her.)

Another odd fact about abortion is that the right-wingers constantly reinforce the idea that abortion is a new phenomenon brought on by the permissiveness of the 1960’s/the women’s movement/the liberals/secular society/the devil. Actually, abortion is thousands of years old, if not hundreds of thousands. It has variously been permitted and regulated throughut the ages from the Babylonians to the Romans and every other age – even the Victorians had illegal abortions. In ancient China herbs were taken to abort. In the old Scottish ballad Tam Lin, the protagonist is told by her mother to have an abortion by eating a leaf from a certain type of tree, but Tam Lin (the father of the baby) stops her, asking her instead to win him from the Faery Queen so he can live with her and “be your bairn’s father”. The woman agrees, meaning that she actually wanted her baby but only sought abortion out of not wanting to be a single parent, a situation which remains much the same in Scotland today where lone mothers are also stigmatised.

The stigma against lone mothers perpetuated by the right wingers will only lead to more abortions, which they also hate for some reason. Again, this is another illogical move.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Feminism, Literature

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Roland reads this blog

Both my bank account and my vagina were not filled. So I called him.He sounded surprised and, well, wondering; either he didn’t know what I was about to say or didn’t have my number saved, or hadn’t looked at his phone to see who was calling.

On the off-chance he didn’t know it was me, I decided to see if he could recognise my voice: “Hi, Roland. It’s me.”

He laughed. He laughs a lot, like me. “Kalika, it’s lovely to hear from you my dear. How are you?”

“Gooood…,” I said. “How are you?”

“I’m good, too.”

“I’ve been thinking about you a lot.”

“You know, I’ve been finding myself thinking of you as well, quite a lot, which I hadn’t expected.”

“Really?”

“Yes.I do think of you sometimes at odd moments for no reason.”

“You haven’t been writing to me.” 

“I’ve been very busy – we’re buying this place [the office he spanked me in, in which he was answering the phone] – I’ve been talking to lawyers.”

“I’m a lawyer. Sort of.”

“I have got something sort of half-penned, but I don’t want to send it out just yet.”

“It’s okay, take your time,” I said, convinced of the safety of the deal. I can hear that he is happy and relaxed talking to me.

We set a date, he’ll book a hotel room so we can stay the night.

He said he wanted me to bring my favourite book that I read at age 9 and was now rereading: The Last Vampire 5: Evil thirst by Christopher Pike.

“I’m interested to see how we got here, you know – on this interesting and scary adventure, and if that book’s your favourite it might tell us something and I’m still looking for inspiration for the video; that book might give us some ideas. It’s part of the story,” he says.

“How is this scary?” I ask. I’m surprised it’s scary for him.

“Well, I’m not like you, you’ve got nothing to lose,” he says, and I think I do – my emotional health, as I’m so inexperienced, for a start; my first time doing most sex acts; my virginity. “I do have stuff to lose,” I say and he corrects himself “well, nothing she doesn’t want to lose,” and  laughs a lot.

“What do you have to lose?” I ask, intriguiged.

“Well,  there’s the problem of it being found out; a lot of people would be against the idea of me doing this.”

“I’m doing it too. If I become famous later on it’d affect me more than you.”

“Yes, but it’s different for you, they would say, a young woman not much older than 18, who didn’t really know what she wanted in her own mind, but as for me, I should have known better.”

“Oh yeah. I forgot. Like if I told someone and a journalist got hold of it, it’d look really bad for you. But they won’t, I’ve only told 2 people and they don’t know your real name.”

“Yeah, I think you should be careful whom you tell.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.”

We chatted about abstinence rings and chastity belts.

“Chastity belts never actually existed. They couldn’t be worn for long periods of time without causing genitourinary infection so they didn’t exist during the Middle Ages, they were made up during the 1800s, though I admit I have not researched it in-depthly,” I tell him.

He is amused and not surprised. He says people will always find a way around chastity devices anyway.

I tell him I’m writing a blog about our journey. He says it looks good, and I’m like, “You’re reading it? You’re reading it right now?! Which bit?”

“I’m reading The Tower: where it all started” he says, “And there’s a nice picture of the restaurant.”

I’ve thought about the cons of letting him read it: the bits where I describe him negatively, and the way it will affect my writing to know he’s reading it. But I’ve decided not to let it affect my writing, and it’s his blog nearly as much as it is mine; just another piece of creativity that comes out of this adventure. And he has every right to read it.

“You know what I just thought?”

“What?”

“Well, if I have something that I have to hide from you, and your goal is to get it out of me, and then you get points.”

“What sort of things?”

“Like where I’ve hidden something, or the names of my accomplices. But there might be 5 things, and you get points depending how much information you get out of me, whether it’s one or two and so on out of five.”

“Oh, I see. So I’ve got to spank or torture or tickle it out of you. And then I get points.”

“Yeah, you’ve got it!”

“And what do I do with these points?”

“Well, I’ll do stuff I don’t want to do.”

“Are we talking about mouth stuff?”

“Yes!”

“So, how many of these points would I need before you’d do that?”

“Five.”

“And who gets to decide these points?”

Pause. “You.”

“Do I have to be fair?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I think I can be fair.”

I tell him he can give me an enema and if I can’t hold it he can punish me lor do anal – I forget what I said.

“This is stuff you want done to you, isn’t it.”

“Yeah.”

“Then I think it’s only fair that you also do stuff that you don’t want to do. Is that fair.”

“Yep.”

“And I also think that part of it is that you don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen that night. Is that fair?”

“Yeah.”

Roland had to go and give out an award or something, it was 5pm but he was busy. It made me happy to talk to him. He said “I love you,” before he went; he never ceases to surprise me and I don’t think it was a mistake (you know, when you get used to saying something to your gf/bf/spouse and accidentally say it to someone else in a similar situation). I said something stupid like “Yeah. You, too,” or something.

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When I first met Roland

The weird thing is, I feel like I’ve known Roland for a long time. I’m very comfortable around him. He was doubtful that it was my first modelling experience the first time he met me and I modelled nude for £100, because, he said, I was very good at modelling and obviously experienced. I know that he was surprised how comfortable I was modelling nude, like I’d done it before. But I think it was because I felt comfortable around him and also safe, well as safe as you can feel naked and alone with a man in a mostly empty building with your phone way over there because you made a rare miscalculation cos you were so busy wondering if he’d possibly pay you for future spankings or sex acts or buy your virginity. I didn’t feel nervous at all about modelling or taking it off. Of course, it helped that he started off with clothed shots and then progressed to taking off layers, so I had time to get used to the clicking, flashing and lights. It is light and sound that can cause anxiety in me, not showing off my body (though I refuse to wear tarty/skimpy outfits even to go clubbing; there is only a certain amount of skin I will show and looking sexy doesn’t mean a micromini with no tights or boobs nearly falling out of your top). So, I’m not Snog, Marry, Avoid material by a long shot.

Anyway he was nice to talk to and pretty easygoing, kinda fun. He didn’t give off the rape-y vibes that some people might expect from a guy utterly obssessed with erotic images of women to the point of producing beautiful art out of it. I’m just as obssessed with erotic BDSM images of both genders, especially guys, but my art isn’t as nice as his. Anyway, he never looked at me except in a professional way and kept skin contact almost nonexistent even at golden opportunities like rearranging strawberries in my crotch. Nor would I inappropriately stare at or touch a male model if I was photographing them either, because of cultural prescriptions for my gender. Only kidding! Of course I would!! (The staring, not the harassment/molestation). There was a notable absence of leering and drooling. So I was thinking, this might work, if he wants to pay me for more stuff after this time. (I’m not saying I was expecting something bad or uncomfortable to happen, just preparing for the worst. And sometimes people don’t realise they’re making the other person uncomfortable – a comment you’d take as a compliment when clothed might feel different when you’re naked.) This was the first time anyone saw me naked.

Afterwards he spanked me which left me very confused and shocked that such pleasure could exist naturally in the world and not cost anything. I felt saddened that we pursue movies, video games and commodities when all the pleasures of Olympus can be found in being spanked. I realised I’d frittered away my life not dedicating it to the pursuit of sexual pleasure. I was dizzy with the need for sex, but I wanted a proper negotiation when I was in my right mind and able to get loadsa money for it. He paid me, including £50 extra for spanking me, and I felt so proud and sick to be so favoured by my god. (That’s not entirely serious – I don’t believe God influences every nuance of our lives; I think he watches, judges, but is noninterventionist, as anyone dying of starvation will tell you.)

Roland had this look on his face like he would fuck me right there, a pure look of lust which I found intriuging. He was talking about maybe Saturday, in his office, with implements; maybe going to a hotel room. I was contemplating whether or not he’d pay me what I wanted. I wouldn’t agree to anything without being paid, and a fair price, not like £500 or some crap. So I wasn’t about to agree to it in this post-spanking state when my powers of negotiation were weak. I also wanted to talk to him about buying the rights to my hymen. So, I was all noncommital “maybes”.

On the drive to Buccleuch Place where he dropped me off, I told him I was a virgin, and he said he’d guessed cos I’d told him I’d never been spanked. I expressed reticence towards having sex with him, just spanking (due to not being sure I wanted to and also to justify asking a high price for sex in the future).

I also took the opportunity to find out a bit more about his kinks and concluded we were a good match. I also deduced from his car and the fact he co-owns a company that he could pay me around 3k/4k. He also claimed to be thinking of buying another car, and made a further claim that it might be an Aston Martin. I was pretty much thinking, ‘this is the one! But you accepted £50 to spank you, how will you justify 3k to fuck? No, justification isn’t the thing, it’s your prerogative to set the price. But nobody will pay that! He can! But he won’t! He will if you convince him to, just don’t act desperate! I’m not! He’s a good choice, though; well educated, and he won’t risk his success by forcing you to do anything. And he did well in the trial run, he didn’t try anything during the spanking and he stopped when you asked him to.And you like him.He’s mine. Just don’t go lower than 2.5k, not any lower than that; we want 3k or 4k. So don’t act desperate, play it cool. He’s mine! He’s mine! He’s mine!

It’s amazing I could talk with all that going on in my head.By the time he dropped me off I knew that if I wanted spanking-only prostitution I could have that with him; and I wanted it. But as for selling my virginity I wanted that too and I hoped my reticence over sex would pay off (literally) later.

I was feeling lightheaded as I walked into the uni library. I don’t usually feel any emotions apart from happiness, which is a constant, but the euphoria of pride, elation and hope that percolated in my blood was as potent as any drug. I thought I might vomit from happiness, it was so intense.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,