Clarification

I wrote a post a few days ago over at Pagan Square. In that post, I shared some thoughts about the recent discussion/discussions that Pagans have been having concerning how we manage issues related to sex, sex abuse, and sexual harassment at Pagan events and within the larger Pagan community. Although this discussion started when a Pagan musician was arrested for and admitted to possession of child pornography and then spread to concern over having Yvonne and Gavin Frost present at an upcoming Pagan event, the discussion has now gone well beyond those specific events and beyond the issue of pedophilia/child pornography/child abuse. If it was not obvious, my post was a reaction to how this larger discussion has evolved, not specifically to Mr. Klein or the Frosts.

Earlier today, Galina Krasskova reacted to my post. It appears to me that I have been misunderstood, so I want to make my own position completely clear.

As I said in my post, “[I]f all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess, sex without legal consent is the Pagan equivalent of a Black Mass, the turning of a sacrament on its head for evil.” I believe that any form of pedophilia/child pornography is wrong, because it involves sex without consent. (Minors are not legally able to consent to sex.) I believe that practices that pressure anyone, even those who can give legal consent, into having sex that they do not want to have are wrong. I believe that the use of power-over, which can come from being a teacher, a Big Name Pagan, an experienced Pagan dealing with new Pagans, etc. in order to obtain sex is wrong. I believe that when victims speak up, they deserve to be listened to and to have their concerns addressed, rather than swept into the shadows, as has sometimes happened in the past. I disapprove of the Frosts’ teachings.

As I discussed in my post, I believe that it is a good thing for Paganism to be having this current discussion. I urged there and reiterate here that I believe that the discussion would benefit from invoking deity, from breathing, grounding, and centering, and from not immediately assuming the worst of each other. Finally, I noted that an understanding of the current astrological weather may help us to navigate this very emotional topic.

I welcome further discussion of these issues, either here or over at my Pagan Square blog.

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8 responses to “Clarification

  1. This is an important discussion. Thank you. Blessings!

  2. I don’t see how you could possibly have been so mistook. I am blown away by her reaction. And, dare I say it, good riddance. Galina Krasskova annoys the ever loving hell out of me and I will not miss her at Pagan Square. She overreacts to everything and takes everything personally. Now, if you had downplayed, blame shifted, victim blamed, or otherwise in any way subtly promoted sexual abuse in any form, I could understand her raised pitchfork. Simple truth is, you didn’t.

  3. I too don’t see how your original post could possibly have been misconstrued. I found it to be a thoughtful observation of the bigger picture, and a caution against the knee-jerk reactionism that seems to be part of our genetic code. Dogpiling is not spiritual behavior. Enlightened action is careful pruning, not bulldozing. Some people seem to look for opportunities to be offended, for an excuse to take their marbles and go home, in hopes that they will be begged to stay. Galina has, IMHO, proven herself to be of that caliber on several occasions – more the shame in that she has had the resources to better her way of thinking, as opposed to those who are truly ignorant, as in uneducated. I generally just gloss over her posts, and sometimes roll my eyes. Don;t let her deliberate mischaracterization of your post rent any space in your head.

  4. I thought your words and their meaning were clear and concise — all of the best when calling for action and communication.

  5. Emotions are raw as the community processes how to protect against abuse. Any and all calls for a rational, logical, calm approach that leads to wise actions and sensible policies are perceived as either minimizing the problem or defending inappropriate behavior. With time wise and calm voices will prevail and we as a community will be able to establish balanced and sensible policies that protect our most vulnerable community members and at the same time serve the community well. Your voice is wise and will eventually represent the way forward.

  6. There seems to be a current of thought among some in our community that the intensity of one’s emotions replaces the need to think about alternative perspectives, the complexity of life, and the need to make one’s case fairly. I’m afraid you have gotten slimed by it, as I thought your post was very reasonable.

  7. Many, many thanks to everyone for their support. If you think it doesn’t matter to know that my readers have my back, well, I know that you don’t think that. But thank you.

    As the comments here, at Looking for Trouble, and at the Witches and Pagans Facebook page indicate, almost everyone who read my post easily understood my position. However, as Peter Dybing correctly notes, this is an emotional topic and, as a lawyer, I know that: (1) emotional topics cause some people to react without processing exactly what’s been said and (2) those reactions are not about me.

    I clarified my post because, as a wonderful lawyer who worked with me early in my career was fond of saying, “You can’t lose your case by being too clear about your position.” I didn’t think it was necessary to say, “Child abuse is bad,” but, since I (duh!) completely believe it, I don’t mind stating the obvious if that gives some people assurances that they need. We can’t ever know the experiences through which others have gone.

    Gus, thank you for your kind words. It’s ironic, to say the least, that a post that says, “Let’s all take a deep breath, not assume the worst of each other, and be aware of astrological weather than can cause us to react badly,” can, itself, cause a few people to rush in, assume the worst, and react exactly as the Stars predispose. When I got the first negative reaction to my post, I called a respected Pagan teacher I know and asked her reaction. It never hurts to get a second opinion. Getting an affirmative reaction from someone I respect as much as you helps to reassure me that I’m not off base.

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