Month: May 2014

So what do we do with any predators we find?

If there is need to pick only one rising voice about Pagan sex ethics and Pagan sexuality, it’s Shauna Aura Night. She has sex positive down and expertly calls out those who would use sex positive attitudes to use their own sexual organs as weapons with which to abuse people.

Read this guide to sex positive attitudes – and the crap people say to manipulate the sex positive into coercive situations that are NOT acts of love and pleasure: Sex, Ethics and Paganism.

She also discusses what to do in the case of finding a predatory in the community. I agree with her position on this. To summarize: when someone is a sexual predator, don’t try to fix that person. That pathology is beyond fixing. Don’t try to cover it up. To cover up evil is to take part in it. Get the law involved when you can and cut that person out of the community – and make it known loudly who you have cut out and what evidence prompted you to do so.

The Myth of the Healing Confrontation

This blog series has resonated among people that read my blog. In the process, it’s brought up a recurring theme among the abuse survivors I know: the desire to confront those that abused them.

 

It’s a common fantasy, perpetuated all the more by television and movie writers who share this fantasy.

 

The usual hoped for scenario:

The wronged person confronts the abuser.

The abuser listens.

The abuser apologies.

Healing is had, may hugs or distributed (or the abuser turns him/herself into jail, commits suicide, etc.)

and the wronged person marches out healed, whole, unburdened by the past and thus unable to make mistakes fueled by it.

 

The more typical scenario, especially if the abuser is a narcissist:

The wronged one confronts the abuser.

The abuser wrests the conversation away from the wronged one, making it all about themselves and their feelings. This is usually accompanied by gaslighting – convincing their victims and any witnesses that the confronting victim is the real bully and maybe even engaging "witnesses" to see how wronged they are (by manipulating the situation and perception) , or resorting in verbal and physical violence. All too often it turns into a whole new way to exploit the victim. In an attempt to end the cycle, the victim ends up renewing it.

 

Yet there are stories every year about someone who did confront their abuser and came out feeling as though they’d reclaimed a piece of themselves. What gets missed in these stories is that that person did this after doing a lot of work on themselves before going in for that confrontation – and that there will still be years of work to do after,  even if they encounter that increasingly rare animal the sincere apology.

 

In two of the three conversations about confronting abuse brought to me recently, someone had attempted to confront someone abusing them either on a low level – social manipulation – or on a high level, sexual exploitation. Neither of the two conversations went well. One person was indeed painted to be the abuser and in the other case the abuser flat-out denied wrongdoing despite multiple witnesses and a text message track record to her behavior. In the third case, I managed to explain why confrontation is not the best course of action.

 

Granted, not everyone’s experience will be exactly the same. A decent licensed therapist will not encourage you to confront an abuser but will help you plan carefully if you choose to do it. If for some reason you want to keep a relationship with someone that abuses you (though generally ending all relationships is the only truly workable way to go if you want to keep your mental health) you will at some point need to lay down boundaries, which abusers view as a form of confrontation. 

 

If you want to get a broader view of what confronting abusers is like, consider reading at these sites:

The Experience Project

Women’s Aid UK

Forums at Psych Central

What this woman describes of a confrontation – is typical in a best case scenario sort of way

Words: the first weapons in an assault

Let’s begin with why words are actual, for-a-fact weapons: in expert hands the right use of words can restructure your brain chemistry. We have a cluster of sciences and pseudo sciences around this: neuro -linguistic programming, marketing response, Silva Mind Control, to name a few. So no, words are not words. Words are waves and energies and physical things that can be measured and quantified. They are weapons just as much as a knife or gun might be – and in turn they are also beneficial tools.

Fortunately culture’s constant shifts de-weaponizes words all the time. Look at the transformation of "queer" from deadly insult to statement of pride since 1990, for example.

To understand how this works, you have to understand that this is a good chunk of why hypnosis/neurolinguistic programming is so effective. It’s why I’m such a fan of binaural files as an adjunct to the medical treatments I have to undergo. We are creatures of habit. This includes habitual word choice and consequently habitual thought choice. I work hard to try to stay out of that realm of habit – it’s what writers and creative souls do. But eventually our styles and voices emerge and we soon do have a system of habits that makes our behavior – and word choice – somewhat predictable. We often need outer stimulation to be able to change our habits at all. Introducing new words or sounds can help with establishing different habits we wish to undertake or different pursuits we wish to explore. But often to do that we have to seek out ways to introduce these concepts to ourselves until they are normalized enough that we experience comfort at the thought of pursuing these awareness shifts.

Children, normally, stay very plastic until their late teens. They will have preferences and some abilities are stronger than others (with wide variations for diseases of birth, accidents and so on.) In healthy environments new ideas occur to children relatively easily – but are also shaped by the habitual language of the adults raising them and the habitual language used in their immediate environment.

It’s already established what being emotionally abused – or even witnessing abuse – can do to a child’s brain chemistry. It’s one of the reasons behind pushing children to intervene when they see another child bullied. Just watching the bullying hurts those that observe. Not only is there damage, it can over time impact a child’s moral reasoning center. But the brain is neuroplastic – if removed from the abused and placed in a safe situation where the surrounding adults are very, very careful of their language use and behavior a child can recover from some or all of that damage. Unfortunately, abusers on some predatory level know that making abuse habitual gets them more of what they want from their victims over time. So usually verbal abuse is embedded in household language.

It’s also become embedded in our culture. There are a lot of comments that we think are normal – or funny – that are actually part of us repeating the routine of self and other poisoning imprinted onto our brains in childhood. We are even programmed to invite abuse, under the delusion it is constructive criticism.

Abusive Comments

these are loosely defined as comments perceived as innocuous or even constructive that apply a social penalty for some condition a person cannot reasonably help, especially not in that moment.

  • Did you see what she’s wearing?
  • Look at how much weight —– has gained!
  • You could do so much better.
  • That’ so stupid. (Usually said about a hobby, taste preference or other innocuous concept.)
  • That person clearly has too much time on his/her hands.

There are so many more but I’ve worked hard on blocking my brain from acknowledging them.

Why is this included in the series on sexual violence education?

Because the majority of abuse cycles begin with words. Verbal abuse is a major component of emotional abuse. It is words that are used to first get a victim compliant. Physical behavior follows the words. When the cycle ends, it begins again with words chosen to invoke fear, shame and the insane hope that something the victim does can make the cycle stop.

Recognize your words. Recognize the speech in people around you. What they say and how they say it – and who they say it about says a lot about who they are. Someone who speaks disparagingly about a partner or a child on a regular basis is someone to watch carefully, to see if those people spoken of are in danger.

Kenny Klein fallout: the problems that aren’t

In the midst of the scandal about Kenny Klein, a few panicked arguments for silence came up. The first, that his activity would make Wicca look bad and the press would jump on it (or go back to jump on it) and the second, that this would ruin Blue Star. Neither is going to happen.  Years of granting interviews at Halloween and objecting to this or that movie (though taking on Hollywood without being in Hollywood and being a producer yourself is an exercise in futility) has started to accumulate. Most people in mainstream America sort of know what Wicca is – the dumb questions I get these days are more of the "you can leave the house during the full moon?" ((Yes. The moon is full all day, not just when you can see it in the sky. Since I work from home I perform my rituals during the day.))  variety rather than the "do you worship the devil?" stuff that nearly every book on Wicca has a passage about.

 

1)He’s going to make Paganism look bad, the mainstream press is going to be all over this!

 

Well, no. There are bigger stories and more significant distractions out there. The way CNN tells it, only three things have happened since January:

  • somebody lost a plane
  • some old racist dude that owns the Clippers said some racist stuff
  • Solange Knowles beat up Jay Z

 

Breaking up a ring of pedophiles is barely a blip on modern journalism’s radar.

 

The reality is that what and how Klein’s arrest happened is the best way this thing could have happened. (Can you really call a pedophile being removed from the community a BAD thing?)

 

If Klein had been arrested in the UK or possibly one of the other Deep South or Bible Belt states, you can bet your ass the press would be all over it. In the UK you can get sued for libel over hurting someone’s feelings but you can’t for writing they kill and eat babies. So good for us that the Mirror didn’t break the story.

 

There are some reasons beyond the dying and lost-in-dementia fourth estate’s condition this won’t be a slam Wicca fiasco:

 

1)Klein was arrested in New Orleans. Out of all the cities in the United States that are

a)not going to give a damn if you’re a witch and b)are going to have way too much crime to spend time looking for hooks on old stories… New Orleans is the one.

 

2)He was arrested with 14 OTHER MEN. The feds and the larger news media are looking at the story as a package deal. One Pagan out of 14 is … about the national average, whether or not pedophilia is involved. He’s not a standout and clearly Paganism was not the value that these men shared.

 

3)The press has zeroed in on their Disturbia posterboy: Jonathon Johnson. That’s the 27 year old man who was the ringleader – and his acts were so grotesque and disturbing that the whole Pagan thing just pales under the weight of that section of horror.

 

4)The release of Damien Echols has caused a lot of sensationalist reporters to backpedal on the way they report on minority religions that allow for magical practices.

 

We all need to recalibrate what protecting the Pagan image is. Now it’s more about whether we’re the type of people that deal with the abusers and criminals in our community or if we’re just like certain other religions, opting to sweep that under the rug and avoid the drama. The only people left pushing the "all Pagans are really Satanists" crap are churches that want people too scared to leave. So, in the rare cases you still hear that dusty accusation just look for the agenda sitting next to the styrafom cups and vat of stale coffee. Mothers who worry about how things look to their Bible study group will think might care. They’ll say they’re worried for your immortal soul but really it’s because that Betty will get the best seats and all the invites instead of her because her kid is a doctor.

 

BLUE STAR

 

2)This will kill Blue Star!

 

The tradition itself demonstrated the most notable freakout about this – and how could they not? One of their own elders betrayed them on a level near-impossible to grasp. But the scrambling for damage control that I’ve witnessed firsthand isn’t necessary. If anything, this is the time for members outside the tradition to offer their support – what happened with Klein is not endemic of some disease inside the tradition.

 

No one publicly has associated Blue Star with Klein’s crimes or suggested that Blue Star uses surprise sex with minors as an initiation.  No one savvy accounts to blog comments – or reads them – and from what few I have looked at, Blue Star is not blamed in any way. In fact, the first thing out of a friend’s mouth about the fiasco was "Well, yeah, Blue Star, but he hasn’t worked with them in years."

 

Minneapolis is a Blue Star heavy city and I’ve met a lot of practitioners. Good folks; the few hinky ones seemed to drift out fast or perhaps their internal system arranges a drift.

 

It may well be time to start that series of internal audits, looking at behavior and thinking deep, but it’s very unlikely that Blue Star will be penalized in greater Pagandom. The actions of one man has the power to erase all the good he does. But the actions of one man has no power to erase the good someone else does who does only good- even if that person is associated with the evil man or woman.

Sex is absolutely not necessary for initiation. Especially if you’re a minor.

Yes, I have been reading the rehash of the Frosts initiation rites and AJ Drew’s reaction to those practices. While I have no regrets about losing my virginity at the age I did to the person I did, I’m pretty sure I would have many regrets if my parents had been involved in any way. Incest by proxy is a real thing and there is absolutely nothing OK about it. It was the implication of this – that I had to see permission from my mother to have sex – that alerted me to the reality that as I became a more developed adult with my very own sexuality, I would be continually more unsafe with my family of origin.

 

As some of you who followed my blogs in years past know, my sixteen year old perception had a very accurate assessment.

 

As it is, deciding early that my parents had a really unhealthy view of sex and that I was not going to follow any examples set in the household I grew up in has saved more than my sex life. I’m a large woman with little to no body shame. That’s a massive blessing that makes everything from my organs to my outlook healthier. Because I consciously refused those values I recognized that slut shaming was wrong long before I became sexually active ((my mother somehow got all the family doctors to slut shame ME when my sister became sexually active, and wasn’t it a coincidence that when my family was cast in church plays I was always the one stuck with the part of Mary Magdelene, herself miscast as "slut" when she wasn’t)) and I checked out of the constant yo-yo diet train. Compared to other women my age I know I have had far fewer organ-based complications: no kidney stones,  no gall stones, all organs still here, no impactions,  no unbelievably painful periods, only minor digestive issues and exactly one case of food poisoning – that was NOT greeted with some comment about how much weight I lost as a result.

 

It also gave me room to find out that not only am I naturally inclined towards magical practice, I’m very well suited to sex magic. The reason I am taking all this time to educate about sexual violence, consent, and why consent matters in nonsexual contexts is not because I am the adult child of a narcissist and thus an abuse survivor (though that is what informs much of this.) I am writing this series and talking about this hard stuff because the absolute most sacred part of my life is sex. I feel a responsibility to keep it sacred and that means disempowering abusers by putting every weapon they have on display.

 

From my own experience engaging in sacred sex for magical acts:

Sex magic works best as an expression of wholeness.

Wholeness – not true love. Not the self-mythologizing hell we praise as romance. Not off the charts sexual compatibility, or other mythologized stuff that can in fact be learned.

 

Simple, honest desire meeting honest desire, using touch to give pleasure as an  expression of appreciation in a way only someone with a fully developed frontal lobe ((happens at some point after age 25)) can express it.

 

So a Wiccan or other initiation of a child between 12 and 16 that involves "surprise sex" may well benefit one person magically – the person that is demanding the sex.  You can get a power surge off of violence, no matter how gentle the disguise of that violence. That’s especially true when you violate children. All acts of molestation are monstrous; perhaps this one seems all the more monstrous because it is done in such a way that the victims are tricked into thinking they are giving consent.

 

A symbolic sexual act is still a sexual act. It requires full knowledge and consent without a hint of duress.

 

 With the Frost initiation, children are certainly placed in a situation where refusal would have rebounding psychological and possibly physical consequences. Since the Frosts operate on a family tradition model, that means the children are pressured by their parents to undergo this ritual – much as Christian parents pressure their children to take confirmation vows. Family pressure of a child for something as personal as offering up their first sexual experience is the exact opposite of consent.

 

The person "initiated" is going to be left in a weakened psycho-social state that is just plain bad for magical work, any and all. It’s something a destructive cult does; it’s certainly not the act of any genuine religious sect. Violating a boundary is the exact opposite of sacred.

 

I use sex magic. I have since I first figured out that hey, people use sex! for magic! Hey, these are two of my favorite things!

 

Being the bouncy Eros loving being I am, I was quite eager to get bouncing on that happy train…

but sometimes my partners were not.

 

Some just didn’t believe in magic. Belief doesn’t matter – certainly I’ve had non-believing partners quite happy to assist anyway. But some had disbelief to the point where they couldn’t interact with me for ritual purposes because of that. Others had some sexual hangups that ritual sex by its nature confronts.

 

And I did not force it. Unless somebody really wants to be there, you’re just vampirizing them and that’s NOT OK.

 

Sex is absolutely not necessary for an initiation to take. We can do all the rituals we want but the gods only want their own and none require sex, ritual or otherwise, to get there. They may ask it later for certain rituals but especially for first initiation… no. Sex is the most popular of transitive experiences but it is far from the only one – and no, it’s not the only pleasurable one, either.

 

 Knowing there’s sex awaiting will not impact the effectiveness of the sex. One of the reasons the activity remains so popular is because, even with the same partner it can be a surprise every time.

 

Again, this stuff about the Frosts initiations? It’s hard to say the bad outweighs the good there. This medieval fantasy of sexual initiation is one of the reasons I am leery of people that adopt fantasy culture into their sexuality. If we are truly a religious grouping that accepts science, we need to accept that longer lifespans give us time to allow the children to become fully neurologically developed. It’s a matter of healthy survival to allow children to determine their sexual development on their terms, not the terms of the adults around them. Sex with children is not a grey area; an elder taking command of a child’s sexuality is never, under any circumstances, OK.

An Addendum: No one I know regrets the sex

A common statement from police officers is that a woman regrets having consensual sex with someone and so the next day goes and reports it as a rape.

 

This, to me, is bewilderingly absurd and I have trouble believing that the behavior is THAT common. I can see 1% of 1% of people maybe getting caught cheating and pretending it was a rape – but to take it as far as marching down to the station and on to the hospital with a rape kit? This is preposterous. Since cheaters tend to be serial cheaters I would assume this would work at most once.

 

People who have consensual sex that regret it generally don’t call it rape just because it was bad sex. Most cheaters are habitual cheaters and should have the sense not to keep a public record of it.

 

Does it not happen at all? No. But it doesn’t happen so often that it should be a routine theory of a police officer investigating a sexual assault.

 

I have, however, encountered several situations where a woman was looking forward to enjoying consensual sex, had something happen during the date that prompted her to withdraw her consent and then getting raped.

 

This occurrence isn’t a grey area – it is one of the core problems of date rape. Why? Because it’s treated like a grey area. A woman changing her mind should not be treated as someone who just regretted sex. She said no – what she regretted was meeting the person who raped her.

A Proposal for a Sexual Ethos: Keep Your Hands to Yourself

In response to the Kenny Klein scandal, more than a few people have called for a new sexual ethos, a reform of the movement, sanctions on men especially, as though punishing all of them would make a difference one way or the other to the predators in our community we simply haven’t caught or identified as such yet.

 

I prefer a simple method. You might even call it a throwback. It works for men, women, people of all genders. You can apply it to adults or children equally. It’s easy to remember.

 

KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF.

 

That applies to ALL touch, not just sexual touch.

 

I’m not part of festival culture at all. So all I have is hearsay from friends that participate in it – and often what they tell me is in hopes that I will "get over myself" and participate. Most don’t realize how much of a turnoff what they describe to me is. Along with mosquito bites, bad smells and the constant work of camping I would have to tolerate both men and women touching any part of my body in at least non-sexual ways whether I am in hugger mode or not in the name of the "sacred?"

 

Fuck that. Sacred implies boundaries.

Actually sacred IS  a boundary. So touching a person after that person refuses is a very literal, old-school definition of profane.

 

By invoking "keep your hands to yourself" you immediately give everyone an equal social boundary. If you wish to touch in even a non-sexual way, ask first.  Exceptions should be obvious – medical emergencies that lead to unconsciousness, pulling someone out from the path of a speeding vehicle, after other methods of gaining a person’s notice have failed.

 

EVEN CHILDREN SHOULD BE ASKED FOR THEIR PERMISSION TO BE TOUCHED.

 

THIS APPLIES BOTH OUTSIDE OF CIRCLE AND INSIDE OF RITUAL. IF YOUR RITUAL INVOLVES PHYSICAL TOUCH IN ANY FORM, YOU ARE OBLIGATED TO INFORM PARTICIPANTS WELL BEFOREHAND. RITUAL – EVEN CHANNELING THE GODDESS – DOES NOT MEAN YOU GET AN EXCEPTION FROM THE "PERMISSION BEFORE TOUCH" RULE.

 

The God/dess may well be in you. That deity was party to the establishment of free will and should manage those obligations just as well.

 

Children need to learn boundaries but they also have boundaries of their own and that must be respected. This is a good opportunity to see it practiced.

 

This policy also makes it very easy – FAST – to see which people in your community aren’t willing to respect boundaries. These are the red flag people and they will make themselves known by bitching about such a simple concept as respecting the space of another person that doesn’t want to be touched.

 

Over the years I’ve learned to ask "May I hug you?" and had people ask me the same. It isn’t awkward and actually makes me feel closer to the people because they have taken that fraction of a second to learn and respect my boundaries.

 

If a person says no to being touched – even casually – then pressuring the person to give you permission, whether by direct pressure or acting out feelings of hurt, rejection and anger are manipulations and are a form of verbal and emotional abuse.

 

But what about flirting? I can hear this one echo.

 

Well, first of all, you shouldn’t be flirting with anyone under 18 unless YOU are under 18. Just. Don’t. Do it.

 

Second, by being forced to TALK to a person and using your words like "I find you attractive and I would enjoy lustful activity with you," rather than grabbing a part and seeing what might happen, you are able to make your feelings known while simultaneously reducing the assault rate by making sure everyone is willing with zero grey area at all.  This will also actually improve the quality of the sex you have because – by talking first – you can also use that "not touch" time with what willing partners you find to discuss birth control, turn offs and turn ons and exactly what the nature of your relationship status is.

 

In other words, you get a chance to be responsible about your sexuality.

 

Note: this conversation thing really only works if everyone is sober. Drinks should not come out until after the "touch and not touch" has been established. If you think drunkenness will make those rules hard to honor, don’t drink.

 

This comes to the second issue, the one that is too often used as an excuse for the many horrors and violations of sacred sexuality that has happened over the years:

 

LAY OFF THE BOOZE.

 

The product of the vine and field is also sacred and we are not treating it as the holy substance that it is. Instead, we’re treating it like internal Vaseline to slide us out of our conscious, conscientious selves into "unrestrained" beings. Since too many of us use the drinks as a way to sedate the inner voices that disturb us, all consuming alcohol does is turn loose our shadow selves – our unworked, unincorporated shadow selves.

 

Let me make this clear:

BEING DRUNK DOES NOT EXCUSE YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO WHILE DRUNK.

 

I’ve seen way too many people try to excuse bad behavior as "he’s drunk, he’s not like that when he’s sober," or "she just had a little too much and that’s when she gets handsy."

 

That’s crap.

 

If you have trouble controlling yourself when drinking you shouldn’t drink – especially not at a festival or conference. Often enough I’ve heard of nasty predatory incidents where the miscreant had bad intentions beforehand and then got drunk as an excuse/in order to act on them.

 

The drunkenness has also been used as an excuse to let people off the hook for really appalling actions. This is not OK, either. If you try to excuse someone’s violent action because of inebriation, YOU ARE ENABLING.  Ultimately, if you make excuses for another person’s actions that right there is enabling and that means you are a predator by proxy.

 

The Recommended Universal Pagan Sex Ethos

  • Keep your hands to yourself.
  • Touch only after permission is given.
  • Talk, while sober, before engaging in actual sexual acts.
  • Use this talking time to fully establish consent and to discuss what the nature of those acts will be. (Trust me, this will not ruin the magic of spontaneity.)
  • Lay off the booze.

 

No means no. Badgering someone for saying no is also abusive behavior.

If someone does say no, the correct response is "OK, I will respect that," and then actually do respect that.

 

Seems simple enough to me.

Yes, men are victims of sexual assault, too (does this really need the trigger warning?)

Yes, the vast majority of sexual assault perpetrators are men. The majority of victims in mainstream society are women. Maybe 1 in every 100 sexual assault victims are men. It’s that rare.

But there are men that are raped, assaulted, subjected to traumatizing verbal abuse. They are often treated with the same or worse contempt and disrespect as female victims of sexual assault.

Here’s the rub for anti-abuse advocates:

If you only encounter 100 victims of sexual assault in an active working year – maybe two years – you’re (dubiously, considering what is probably going unreported) lucky.

You might work for ten years and never see a man – but that doesn’t mean that no men were victims of assault on your watch. That means that no men reported their sexual assaults. The overt, easy-to-recognize ones will garner especial silence. But if you expand the definition of sexual violence to all abusive behaviors, there is a class of men that routinely assault one another verbally and physically using misogynistic language to abuse one another as well as to abuse women in their lives.

There are not, proportionately, "that many" male victims. The problem to solve in sexual assault and rape culture is not the gender of the victims. You will, if you are choosing to take an active role in helping victims of sexual assault, get male victims in between the very large number of female and other-gendered victims.

You’ll get them because sexual violence as a go-to weapon is that common.

The first man that told me outright he was assaulted refused to acknowledge it as such. He described a penetration incident with a female babysitter at the age of 8 years old. My PTSD poker-face couldn’t even work for that one and he immediately sought to dismiss my horror. "It’s different for guys," he told me. In a rare moment of wisdom, I held my tongue. This was someone I loved and someone whom I had learned not to argue with when it came to our perceptions of the human condition. I filed it away – his amazing positive attitude was never going to make the incident anything other than what it was. But dealing with it was up to him, not to me.

When it comes to assault and its effects on the brain and body, it’s not different for guys. Sex with minors and sexual assault on men is still about power-over. Arousal is secondary – the pleasure comes in the suffering, not in the orgasm. Male or female, rape and sexual assault still does lasting neural damage.

So when it comes to assisting male victims of assault, it is important to treat them with the same courtesy and questions you would a woman. Or really, since women aren’t treated well in general and worse when they report a rape, let me put it this way: Treat ALL victims reporting rape and assault with courtesy and a listening ear.

Keep in mind:

Men are even more likely to be ridiculed and further abused when admitting to being the victim of a sexual assault.

Women get ridiculed/accused of lying during a rape report- sometimes because that’s what police procedure instructs. Men will be made out to be weak just for having something that’s not their fault happen to them. Men’s rights activists only make the reality for actual male victims that much worse. Caterwauling victimization when merely being held accountable only undermines what is needed to help those who are legitimate victims. There’s a significant difference between paying child support and rape. In the case of child support, it’s the consequence of a conscious action – and it protects the innocent, in this case the children produced who have no responsibility in any relationship fallout between parents. In the case of rape, it’s not a consequence of any person’s action by any sane definition of the word.

Transgender men and women especially suffer. Their specific assault rape is sky high – and there is next to nothing in the legal system to support them at all. What resources trans people have for when they are victims of a crime they have had to create themselves.

All victims of assault should get the exact same level of care. When a victim of any gender reports an assault, ask the same questions referred to in "Perfectly Nice People."

In all cases, the victim should bring someone with them when they report the crime. Nearly all states have victim advocates that can come in and assist and nearly all states do allow victims to have someone with them. Nearly all states will also have police officers that will try to convince victims that they do not have those rights.  Some of this is because of the officer’s attitude; the other is that we live with a legal system based on competition rather than fact-finding. This is why advocates are necessary, even if they must show police officers printed out copies of their own local and state laws.

Give all victims the same amount of care and respect, without personal comment. That is the right way to do it.

Obligatory post for those who don’t rely on RSS feeds

The sexual abuse education for Pagans series will continue tomorrow. The reason for the pause and the frequent breaks  is an example of a self-care best practice: last weekend had traumatic associations for me. Also, there were parts of my life that needed seeing to: the book I have to promote if I am going to honor the ten years of work I took writing it (and more, assuming I ever figure out how to edit movies), the career changes that may or may not lead to wild relocation … getting the laundry done, taking a shower, cooking things I can eat later so that I don’t fall back on whatever I can get from a box or bag…

Taking care of myself. Because even though these crises are daily and virulent and will rage on without my presence…
there are times when the storm must rage on without me. So that when I return to it I am ever-better equipped than when I left it last.

  • In the meantime a few small things that are not commonly used in the Pagan blogosphere that are intended to make this blog more usable, especially since most people here are long-form readers who sometimes enjoy tracking back what was written or tracking how I’ve slowly changed my mind about different topics over the years:
    On the sidebar, beneath the blog search box, is a dropdown menu titled “series.” These are connected blog posts written at different times. If you click on that you can easily backtrack through other material I have written.
  • Further down from that is a Google-powered custom search engine. This engine is an amalgamation of occult, Pagan and herb shops. Once in awhile I throw in herb and garden stores, too. You will need to use boolean search to get the most out of it but it’s there to help you shop faster.
  • Below that is a form for joining my mailing list – this will likely also begin to appear at the bottom of every blog post soon. This list is so I can notify you if I publish a book, if something I write comes out in a periodical, if I teach a class, host a signing, etc. I will also be making it possible to have my actual blog posts sent to you by email as soon as I remember how.
  • Below the archives dropdown is a tip jar. If you think what I said is valuable – or you are printing and using blog posts in your own teaching, for example, throwing me $1 during PayPal (Square Register coming soon) is totally cool. Tips are not tax deductible. I have to pay taxes on those, too.
  • So that’s a quick tour of the stuff on my site, much of which will be made all the more convenient over time. Thank you for reading. It’s an honor to have your attention this far.