There has been a trend lately that has been bothering me. The talk of donors as cattle. Some of it is subtle, but it is there. It is the same insidious condescension and oppression that other minorities experience, and as feeders, we should know better.
Donors aren’t things to be ‘farmed’. We should not objectify our donors. Donors are autonomous human beings, and we have a symbiotic relationship. In fact.. we need donors. Donors don’t need us. Wanting our donors to be healthy should be common decency as a human being, not viewing them as an object of use.
I have as much of a predatory nature as anyone else. Mine is intense and I had to practice daily meditation to control myself for years. That doesn’t mean we are okay to treat other people as food. Some may say the blood itself is objectified and not the person. When someone objectifies a woman for sex, they are still objectifying her as a person.
We have a responsibility to encourage the right attitudes towards the very people who help us stay healthy and sane. If I was a blood donor and was spoken of in that way, I’d walk right off. It alienates people. There aren’t enough visible donors as it is. We are all human beings, and we should care for one another regardless. Donors have autonomy. They cannot be farmed. If you treat them poorly, they will leave and there’s not a thing you can do about it. It’s that simple.
Every sanguivore is responsible for:
- Managing expectations with their donor, and being clear what the nature of their relationship will be from the start;
- Making sure their donor is tested and keeping current with paperwork, taking into account any recent risk exposure such as sex. HIV takes weeks to show up on a test;
- Having thorough and complete knowledge of how to draw blood safely and best practice. This involves more than YouTube videos. Take a course (you can buy a venipuncture one online for $70), read books. Build on your knowledge. I’ve done a course and have practiced venipuncture for years, and I still read books on it to develop my knowledge and keep it fresh. There are several available on Kindle. Learn about the human circulatory system and sites to avoid, regardless of how blood is drawn.
- Make sure the donor is safe to donate. Ensure they are not malnourished and do not take too much blood. Be mindful of things like a self-harming history if drawing blood through cutting.
- Practice after-care with your donor. Dress the site appropriately, whether with cuts or needles.
- Treating your donor with respect. They are not food. They’re doing this to care for you. They deserve nothing less than your respect and appreciation.
There are more things, but this is a start. Be safe, be mindful and be CAREFUL. Know that how you talk about donors reflects on you and also influences how others see them.