In light of yesterday’s political events in the United States and the bravery of Doctor Christine Basey Ford, I have decided to break my silence about sexual abuse in the pagan community. I am so proud of Dr. Blasey Ford for standing up and speaking her truth despite all the slander, death threats, and awareness that her testimony will still likely be ignored by an uncaring all cis white male senate. It is heartbreaking. Even those of us in Canada are watching with anger and tears. Social media is overwhelmed with people sharing their #MeToo and #WhyIDidntReport stories while people on the opposite end of the spectrum are rationalizing assault, coming up with excuses, creating fake news, calling them whores, liars, and much worse. Some people are commenting that these events are even more important than Trump being sworn in as president due to the position of Supreme Court Justice being one appointed for a lifetime.
If a narcissist like Brett Kavanaugh is approved it can mean the end to women’s reproductive rights, a backslide away from gender equality, and an end to human rights being respected in the USA. I believe Dr. Blasey Ford. She has everything to lose and nothing to gain from coming forward with her sexual assault testimony. This political nightmare has been a big wake up call for a lot of people. I can’t think of a more appropriate time to talk about the sexual abuse that has been rampant in our pagan community since its start which continues on to this day. I have no university degree on the subject of sexual assault, I am in no position to tell people what their own experience is, and there are no statistics from the pagan community specifically to draw upon. All I have to share with you is the stories of my own experiences. If you have experienced abuse within the magical community I want you to know that you are not alone and I believe you. If you are too scared or too traumatized to speak out, I hope my personal stories will clearly demonstrate that what happened to you was wrong and is completely unacceptable. Maybe it will inspire you to speak out against a predator in your own local community or group or to support a friend who is too afraid to. I hope my opening up in turn opens a dialogue within our greater community about the abuse that is so prevalent within it and how we can work together to prevent it for our future members.
These are my true stories as I experienced them.
T H E S T A L K E R
I met her online through a big Wiccan forum I used to help administrate with one of my still best friends. She was smart, blonde, cute, tattooed, nerdy and I didn’t care that she was 32 and I had just turned 19. We used to chat for hours online. We shared our spiritual beliefs and a love of Xena. When we finally met in person she wooed me hard and pressured for sex immediately, but I sensed something wrong. She was coming on way too strong, too fast. A friend of hers confided in me that this woman had some untreated mental health issues and a habit of dating and obsessing over teenage girls. The girl she had dated before me was still in high school and her parents found out. She stalked her after they broke up. This woman never told me any of this of course. I told her thanks but no thanks. She didn’t take no for an answer. She sent me crazy poetry. She called my home repeatedly. She called and emailed my pagan friends and even my family asking why I wouldn’t talk to her or date her. I didn’t respond. It took two months but she finally stopped pursuing me. I never saw her attend a local community event again. Later she was diagnosed with schizophrenia but refused treatment. The entire experience just made me deeply sad.
T H E N E A R M I S S
It was only my second time attending this ritual group who held events at a beautiful private campsite in the forest. There was a handsome man with curly hair and twinkling green eyes who I found attractive and vice versa. I danced with him barefoot around the fire while the musicians played. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me deeply. I came with a friend and late in the night while we were sitting around a campfire, my friend left me to use the outhouse. Green eyes immediately stepped out of the shadows and began massaging me without consent. Then his friend appeared and massaged my feet at the same time. I thought it was odd, but they were both handsome and I felt like I should be flattered so I let it happen. My friend came back and immediately chased them away. She told me she had seen me dancing with green eyes earlier and needed to tell me something. She told me he was hardcore into kink and was a known predator in the community who would sleep with every new person to put notches in his belt. She told me he was only interested in me because I was shiny new to the community and he wanted to sleep with me before all the other men had a chance. She also informed me he had herpes and didn’t tell his sexual partners and it wasn’t just hearsay. This would be the last time anyone, male or female, would ever warn me about someone in the pagan community. Another near miss for me.
T H E R E S P E C T E D E L D E R
Every year at the local pagan festival he would show up and leer at the young girls. He would wait until they were alone or naked and vulnerable after the night time skyclad ritual. He was charismatic and would tell them he was a former politician and the high priest of a Wiccan tradition and that if they had sex with him, they were initiated into his tradition (that he made up and appointed himself leader of). Some fell for it, and some saw him for the creeper he was and ran away. They would range in age from 14 to 19. Sometimes he would date them, some moved in with him for a short time before realizing what he was: a predator. Many of these women were my friends in the community. Everyone in the local community knew what he was but no one ever called him out or kicked him out. He was no evil mastermind and mostly failed in his predatory attempts. The community would mutter and he would keep on trying to prey on young vulnerable women. No one warned newcomers. No one called the police. No victims spoke out.
Thirty years passed. He had many books and articles published. Eventually he grew old, young women no longer gave him the time of day. He was slowly ostracized from every local pagan community and every group he tried to create. He moved far away one day to teach at a university and joined a new community who had no idea of his history. He rewrote his entire background and formed new groups. The female initiates he preyed on became older as he did, but being the age of consent does not mean it is okay to take advantage of your students. Today the internet and all articles about him only tell his side of the story as a respected elder, leader, and author in the Canadian pagan community. He never learned his behaviour was wrong, he learned what he says is true if no one says otherwise. The community taught him that. Our community. My community.
Edit: his name is Samuel Wagar and he was foolish enough to comment at the bottom of this post.
T H E R A P I S T
My pagan friends vetted him. They encouraged us to date despite the big age gap of 18 years. He was well-known in the local pagan community and at the time was a second degree initiate in a respected Gardnerian coven. He was a gentleman at first, telling me he was happy to move slow. By the third date his patience ran out so I had sex with him. The first time he had sex with me without my consent we were at a large pagan festival in the US. I had never been to a pagan festival before, let alone one so large. Drugs and alcohol were forbidden on the site but two elders who were a high priest and priestess in a respected Georgian coven had smuggled in some wine and shared it with us. I only drank a little as I am not fond of wine, but he drank his fill. We went to the evening’s celebration and listened to music and danced. I started to feel sick like I might vomit so I asked him to take me back to our room and he did. By the time we got back to the communal barracks, his drunk self had forgotten why we were there and assumed me feeling ill was code for “let’s have sex”. Before I knew what was happening or could tell him to stop it was already too late. He fell asleep snoring and I lay awake staring at the dark ceiling, incredibly confused.
I mentioned it was a communal barrack, old army barracks, with over 30 people all around us. The Wiccan elders who had given us the alcohol were right across from my bunk. In the morning they told me how surprised and impressed they were I’d had sex so voyeuristically and patted me on the back for being a good pagan girl. I didn’t know what to say so I said nothing to anyone. This is the first time I’ve ever told anyone. Their comment normalized the assault for me and though my gut told me it was wrong, their voices in my head told me it was okay. That to be a pagan girl meant to be a slut and let men use me as they wished. They were respected elders after all. It wasn’t until many years later I learned they were not worthy of anyone’s respect and were well-known for emotionally and verbally abusing their coven mates, the priest surrounded with his own rumours of inappriate sexual behaviour with students.
I ended up moving in with my rapist and we lived together for over six years. Whenever he was too drunk or high he would rape me in our bed. He didn’t hear no or see tears. He took what he wanted as if I didn’t even need to be there and then he would fall asleep and snore drunkenly. No one had ever prepared me for this. It took me all six years to realize it was wrong. In that time he cheated on me constantly with any opportunity that arose and he refused to practice safe sex because “what’s the point of having a vasectomy if you still have to wear a condom?” He emotionally and verbally abused me throughout our relationship. He gaslighted me and made me feel small and ugly — like no one else would love me but him. He made me wait on him hand and foot while he never lifted a finger. He isolated me from my friends and abused me financially so I had no way of leaving him. After I realized that his best friend and (married) high priestess was actually his lover of the past ten years, I packed up all my belongings while he was at a pagan festival with her and moved out. He tried to deny all the cheating and the rape, he tried to fake tears like he was the victim, but by that point I had realized he was a narcissist and a sociopath incapable of real empathy or remorse.
I confronted our mutual friends in the pagan community after the break up. Especially the women. Why had they never said anything about his inappropriate sexual behaviour towards women? Why had they never told me he cheated on me, not just once but several times? Why didn’t they tell me what they really thought of him? Why didn’t they tell me to leave him? The women came forward and told me about all the times he inappropriately hit on them or touched them when I wasn’t in the room. They came forward and told me about even more women they had seen him sleep with or act lecherously towards. They told me he changed for the better after dating me and they liked the new him. They told me they thought I was happy. They told me they thought I was a cool polyamorous chick who knew he was sleeping around. That’s what he had told them so they wouldn’t squeal on him. My response was that a relationship is only open when both parties are aware of it and consent to it. I am still in counseling today through a women’s domestic abuse shelter to help me with my trauma and PTSD from this relationship. I still have nightmares. No one came to my defense. I was all alone.
Years later after I had moved on and had my first son, his mistress/priestess came to visit me on the pretense of seeing the new baby. After I broke up with him, her husband had put two and two together and finally kicked her out for cuckholding him for so long. She had nowhere to go so she moved in with my ex and now they are married. She had the nerve to cry on my shoulder and tell me no one understood what it was like to be with him except for me, no one knew what he was really like. After the anxiety and gaslighting she had put me through for years, my opinion was she made her bed and now she can lie in it. They are still together and she pretends she is happy.
T H E M U R D E R E R
An elder of a well-known witchcraft tradition in the US raped and murdered one of his students, a young gay man who was only looking for training. Other students suspected the worse and reported it. The FBI investigated him, they had a body, but no proof. The investigation was open until the elder’s death more than ten years later. In that time he had many more students and potentially victims. After his death, no one said a bad word. They praised him as an elder and community leader. None of his other assault victims ever came forward. You’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead after all — it’s bad luck and bad etiquette. Instead, the different lines of the tradition started a witch war over whose lineage was more authentic. My teacher was disgusted and disillusioned. He abandoned his tradition and gave up teaching. He apologized profusely to me and told me it was not in his heart to pass on a tradition that would spawn such darkness and hate. He told me the path I naturally developed for myself would be more important to me than anything from his tradition.
T H E C R E E P E R
It began at the local annual pagan festival. He came from a town five hours north. It wasn’t out of place for people to come from farther away to attend. He was young and not unattractive. Over the course of the long weekend he proceeded to hit on every woman in attendance under the age of 30. He struck out with every one of them. I was skinny dipping alone one morning in the lake when I caught him openly staring at me on the shore. He saw me spot him, but didn’t stop. I felt uncomfortable so I got out, wrapped myself up and walked back to my cabin. He barred my path, looked me up and down and asked me if I had a nice swim. I went around him back to my cabin. Later at dinner he came up to me and told me how sexually frustrated he was. I told him I would never be the one to help him with that and that he needed to fuck off.
A couple months went by and he showed up at another local event in my community, again hitting on all the young women. A few more months went by and he showed up at another event, this one was an overnight camping event. My female friends and I were a bit drunk and went to one of their tents to hang out and share some of my flying ointments. Men kept asking to come in, but we told them to get lost. We let in one girl’s fiancee though and the inappropriate young man took this as a sign we changed our mind and came into the tent without our consent. He refused to leave and kept hovering over our one friend who was far too drunk to think or act clearly. She was almost passed out. He kept trying to touch her and we would ask him to back off. He didn’t listen and just tried to wait until all of us left to go to sleep because it was her tent. My friend and her fiancee finally forcibly removed him and stayed with my drunk friend all night to make sure he didn’t come back and rape her. After that event we thought maybe we wouldn’t see him again as he lived so far away. We were wrong.
He came back to the festival the next year and carried out his same routine. At this point is was obvious to everyone that this man was not coming into our community with good intentions. He was a creeper and a predator. This time all the women who had experienced his creeper behaviour confided in one another and to their boyfriends and husbands. No woman at the event felt comfortable around him. The men approached him as a group and confronted him about his behaviour and what their wives and girlfriends had told them. They told him his behaviour was inappropriate, unacceptable, and that getting laid was not the point of this festival or of any event in the community. If he wanted it to be, then he was welcome to leave and never return. He cried and apologized profusely. He stopped hitting on everything with a vagina for the remainder of the event. We hoped maybe that was the end of it. Unfortunately for us there was a big scandal back home within his own pagan community over some very inappropriate sexual photos that were leaked and he ran away from his home and job and moved to our area and joined one of our local spiritual groups. They had heard rumours, but were in need of boosting their male numbers so they ignored it. His unacceptable treatment of women continues.
T H E S O C I O P A T H
Two years after this I started dating my next partner. He too was a long-time and well-known member of the local pagan community and my friends vetted him, some of them had dated him in the past even. I thought he was a sweet man, he certainly painted himself that way. One year into our relationship the red flags started. Small bursts of anger or violence along with saying nasty things about other people and his ex-girlfriends in the pagan community. Weird behaviours and weird comments that kept adding up. As soon as we had our baby, things immediately got worse. He started lying and gaslighting me. He acted jealous of the baby and started yelling at me on the regular. So much so that our landlady who lived above us cornered me when she knew he was at work and asked if I wanted her to take me to a women’s shelter. He lied to me about his extensive debt that he hadn’t even tried to pay off and lied to me when his paychecks were held by the bank. I lost all my savings trying to pay our expensive rent in Vancouver waiting for him to admit his wrongs and do something about it. He filed for bankruptcy after much begging from me but not until I had lost all my money. He started to have violent outbursts towards strangers. He punched out a teenager on public transit and knocked him out cold. He wasn’t charged.
We moved to a rural town in Ontario. I thought the calm, quiet life would change him and he could have a new start, but I was wrong. He only became more abusive and frightening. He started hitting our son without remorse and I knew I was next. He refused to admit his actions were wrong, he refused to admit he had mental health issues, he refused to seek help, he even refused to look after his physical health. I kicked him out. After I broke up with him I met and fell in love with my current partner. My ex was bisexual and tried to get him drunk and woo him away from me. He failed because my current partner is very much straight. So he wooed my only witchy friend in town who was also my neighbour and turned her against me as well as all my other female friends in town. I didn’t understand at first why they stopped talking to me and why no one came to my house when invited. I was removed from the local community potluck and told I was not welcome. None of them believed me that he was abusive. They would harass me and tell me I was a horrible person. They would try to make me meet up with my abuser and work things out. He would try to go through them to arrange visits with our son instead of contacting me himself or going through the court-mandated supervised visitation centre. He did many strange, creepy, and illegal things to try to get close to me and to try to hurt me. I called the local women’s shelter and they set me up with a counselor and a safety plan to protect me and my family.
He still lives a stone’s throw from me today, but the threat of the police and family court backing me up have made sure he does nothing. I couldn’t get a restraining order or get him out of my tiny village of 600 people. The courts told me there were not enough police reports or hospital reports of bodily harm to justify an order. They essentially told me I was not abused enough to help and that I should have called the police many more times than I did. The sad part is, I didn’t call them or tell anyone he had abused me because I didn’t want to ruin his life in town. I regret that now. If I hadn’t been silent I may not have been treated as I was by the local community. He hurt me badly, but it was an even more painful slap in the face to have women I thought were my friends not believe me about the abuse. None ever came to me and asked for my side of the story. I guess some people want drama over truth.
So here I am now, a survivor and a very angry woman. After fifteen years I am so done. One of the reasons I moved thousands of miles across the country a few years ago was so that I would finally be free of my abusers and the treatment I kept receiving in my local pagan community. It was emotionally exhausting attending events knowing my abusers would be there and knowing other men were going to touch me and talk to me inappropriately every time. It became especially difficult when my rapist joined the shamanic community I had sought safe harbor in and then the creeper joined simultaneously. It then became even more complicated when every single local pagan event from sabbats, rituals, fundraisers, workshops, and pagan concerts were all hosted at my rapist’s co-op housing community hall because it was only $15 a night to rent and every other venue was $400. The shamanic community’s hall was torn down so they too started to use the community hall. There was nowhere safe left for me to go so I simply stopped going.
I currently keep in touch with my handful of magical best friends from back home, but otherwise I quickly learned that many of the people I had viewed as friends in the community over the years were simply acquaintances in my proximity who did not really care about me and what I had experienced. I think some are happy I am gone so that I do not rock the boat. I’m sure others do not understand why I left and why I am hesitant to ever deeply involve myself in another pagan community again.
The Reality of Abuse in the Pagan Community
These are not all of my experiences or stories from the magical communities I have been involved in. My experience as a member of the greater pagan community has not been great and I do not have a positive opinion about the inappropriate behaviours and sexual prejudices of people within the community. None of this happened in a vacuum, it wasn’t just one little community. I have been involved with communities and groups on both coasts of N. America, in Canada and the United States. I have trained in different traditions and I have travelled to attend many events and festivals. My experiences didn’t get any better. Even at events touted as safe spaces men have repeatedly touched me without my consent, poly folks have mercilessly hit on me and my partners despite a clear “no thank you”, people have tried to drug and assault my friends, men have tried to trick me into sex, men have tried to tell me I had to have sex with them because pagan girls are supposed to put out, and I have even been groped by respected spiritual leaders in front of many witnesses who did nothing and said nothing.
I have watched old respected teachers chase and grope every woman during ritual and everyone treat it as normal and fun. I have watched BDSM and other sexual practices be brought into community rituals without consent or approval. I have watched men and women try to coerce and rape people at events, but instead of calling the police they are simply asked to leave. I have watched these same people return to events again and again and be welcomed with the excuses of “they were drunk that one time”, “she was leading him on”, “that’s just the way he is, oh that lovable lecherous rascal”. The latter was the most common attitude I encountered when I would comment on anyone’s actions.
In my past fifteen years in the community my boundaries have seldom been respected or heard. Not by acquaintances, not by friends, not by elders, and not even by my own lovers.
In joining the pagan community and choosing to be an active member of it, I ended up in more uncomfortable and unsafe sexual situations than I could ever have imagined with my darkest thoughts. I do not want this to happen to any of you. I do not want others to have a littany of these awful stories. We need to change how sex and boundaries are perceived in our community. It is not the 1960s hippie era anymore, we know it is not okay to tell young people that free love means having no boundaries and letting people sexually assault you at will. “Be a good girl, be a good boy, just let it happen”. What if it were your kids? Would you want them exposed to outdated, sexist, abusive, horrifying attitudes in a supposedly safe spiritual community?
Predators, pedophiles, molesters, rapists… we like to think they are not in our community. We like to think our bond of sharing the same spirituality nullifies their presence and that a spiritual person could never do harm. Time and time again, we are proven wrong. We forget that religious and fringe groups statistically attract predators as the trusting members often make easier prey. Just because someone is “nice”, pays their taxes, donates to charity, and attends church regularly does not mean they are a good person. It is not okay that a large percentage of our modern pagan community has to live in fear of predators and deal with abuse. Many assume or hope the days of Wiccan priests abusing their power to have sex with initiates are just stories from the 1970s, but unfortunately they are not. As long as we put people in leadership positions on a pedestal as spiritual gurus, we ourselves are putting them in a position of power over us and leaving an opening for abuse. Everyone, no matter who they are or say they are, is just a fallible human being. Let me say that again: EVERYONE is mortal and capable of making mistakes or doing wrong. Being a spiritual person or a spiritual leader is no exception: Buddhist monks, Catholic priests, Baptist ministers, and Pagan elders have all recently been accused of sexual assault and worse. If we confront this reality, it better prepares us when we find ourselves in uncomfortable or dangerous situations. Awareness also allows us to teach our children how to avoid predators and being taken advantage of.
Women, children, the disabled, and those who identify as LGBTQ+ are obviously more vulnerable to sexual assault than others in the pagan community (in any community), but I want to make it clear that this should not be about gender wars or “us vs. them”. Sexual assault can happen to anyone and no matter what no one deserves it and it is never okay. How about we treat each other as fellow human beings and just stop assaulting each other verbally, physically, and sexually? That would be a great start to changing the way things are.
Sexual Myths About the Pagan Community
We are all easy sluts.
No. Identifying as some type of pagan or witch does not automatically turn you into a whore with no boundaries or self-respect. Alternately, you do not have to act slutty just because it is expected of you. It is okay to tell people to fuck off. Who cares if people think you are a prude? Your boundaries should be respected by people who claim to care about you. If you get harassed about it, leave that community.
Beltane is a guarantee you will get laid.
No. Beltane is supposed to be a celebration of the spring and the return of life after winter. The only way you are guaranteed to get laid is if you bring a consenting partner with you.
Pagan festivals are a guarantee you will get laid.
No. Festivals are about fostering community, making connections, and supporting one another. Having this attitude results in coercion, assault, and rape. See above.
We are all into BDSM or open to it.
No. Many people are accepting of people’s choice to be into kink or to have a unique fetish, but that in no way means they want to see it on display at a public or private pagan event or be coerced into participating. Oh the stories I could tell of inappropriate behaviour by members of the BDSM community at pagan community events. Behind closed doors please.
We are all polyamorous or open to it.
No. There is a higher percentage of polyamorous people within the pagan community than the normal population, but this does not mean all pagans are poly or automatically have to be okay with it. If someone says no and states they are monogamous, that is their choice and they should not be berated or shamed for it. Their boundaries should be respected. If you are dating or want to date someone who identifies as poly that does not mean you automatically have to have an open relationship with this person. If they or their poly friends do not respect your boundaries, call you crazy, call you unfair, bigoted, or any other slanderous terms — I hope you protect yourself and walk away. Some people in the community are genuinely polyamorous and prefer to have more than one romantic partner at a time, but many use the term poly as an excuse to sleep with anyone and everyone while expecting no consequences. If you are interested in poly or your pagan community is heavily poly, I very much recommend the book The Ethical Slut before dipping your toes in.
Teachers sleeping with their students is normal.
No, but it happens way more than it should. Students and initiates often view their teachers and priest/priestess as a guru and we often give them almost celebrity status even though they are ordinary people with ordinary jobs and ordinary flaws. People have a bad habit of crushing on those in a position of power and this can lead to the student wooing the teacher with their obsessive love or the teacher taking advantage of a student they see is in love with them and not thinking clearly. In other cases it is straight up coercion or rape where the student is threatened if they don’t have sex or promised a reward if they have sex such as an initiation or an occult secret. Cut this shit out. Do not have sex with your students no matter the situation. Students: do not have sex with your teachers no matter the situation! If it turns out to be true love, then wait until the end of your training so the power dynamic goes back to normal for fuck sake.
You have to have sex with your high priest or priestess for initiation.
No! Never. Even if your tradition holds sex as sacred and has a sexual initiation, an ethical teacher will tell you what your options are. You do not have to have sex with your teacher or a fellow student for initiation or the Great Rite, you can have sex with your goddamn significant other in a consentual manner to complete this part of initiation if it is required and if you have no significant other, you can fucking masterbate. If anyone tells you differently, please run without looking back and tell everyone you can on your way out. Honestly, I think this belief and practice is very outdated and sexual initiation should not be a thing and should never have been a thing. Our current society is not equipped to handle it. Sex magic should be a choice, not a prerequisite. Period.
You should only have sex and date within the community.
No. Do not let anyone tell you this. Just because someone is pagan, witchy, or into the occult, does not mean they will automatically be a good fit for you or be a good person. Date who you want. Interfaith relationships are a real thing and yes they do work. I know many pagans who are married to Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, etc and are incredibly happy, compatible, and supportive of one another. My current love is a Buddhist and my most healthy relationship yet. If no one in your community appeals to you or you’d rather not shit where you pray, you don’t have to date or sleep with them anyway just because of proximity and religious beliefs. Move along. Maybe try online dating. Gods I wish I had.
There are no pedophiles/child molesters in the pagan community.
No. Wrong again. Spiritual communities are especially rampant with predators because the members are more trusting than the average person and you can build up a solid reputation to hide behind. Big name pagans such as Isaac Bonewits, Kenny Klein and Marion Zimmer Bradley have been revealed to be pedophiles, but many more remain in our communities even though people often suspect what is going on, but do not report it.
I saved the worst for last.
The community should handle these issues within itself.
Gods no! If there has been an assault or rape or an attempted assault or rape within the community – CALL THE FUCKING POLICE. Don’t argue, don’t rationalize, don’t think about sparing the predator’s family or reputation. Call the police as soon as it happens or the victim comes forward and file a report. I do not know where this “protect our own” bullshit originated from but it has to stop now with each one of us changing our thought patterns. In protecting a predator you only protect the predator but you continue harming your community. I am sick and bloody tired of seeing known predators repeatedly allowed back into the community and its events.
As a former board member of a registered non-profit festival for years I got to experience firsthand why predators are not removed. Nothing was done because some board members were afraid of the predator. Nothing was done because some board members worried what other people would think and that it would make themselves look bad. Nothing was done because of inter-coven politics. Nothing was done because it never occurred to any of them to call the police. Even though multiple attendees would report abuse and predators, sometimes more than one during an event, and even though they were willing to make a statement in writing, nothing was ever done. I was very vocal about collecting people’s statements and banning the predators. It was within our charter to ban anyone we deemed a danger to the event and its attendees. I expected agreement. Instead, the chair of the board (a woman by the way) directly opposed me at our board meetings and when I wouldn’t change my position she called me at home when I was seven months pregnant to scream at me and harass me and demand I change my mind or shut up. I told her she had no right to speak to me that way and hung up on her. I immediately quit my multiple jobs with the event and pulled the website I had made them for free and sent them the backup files to manage it themselves. This level of bullshittery was not worth my time and mental health.
Every garden has weeds. Ours is over run. Pull them out and don’t let them back in. If someone is repeatedly being abusive to members of the community in any way — verbally, physically, sexually — report it and ban them. If someone is a suspected child molester, call the police. If someone is a rapist or keeps attempting sexual assault, call the police. If there isn’t enough evidence or the victims won’t come forward out of fear, kick the predator out and warn other communities they may try to join. Make their life difficult. Make sure they have no safe haven to turn to. My greatest fear is that once we are done pulling the weeds out of the pagan community, the plants left behind will be few in number.
Responding to Abuse in the Pagan Community by Cat Chapin-Bishop (includes actions to make our communities and events safer)
Predators in Paganism by T. Thorn Coyle
Abusive Leaders, Grooming, and Seduction by Shauna Aura Knight
Pagans, Mental Health, and Abuse by Shauna Aura Knight (super detailed and helpful)
Sex, Ethics, and Paganism by Shauna Aura Knight (also great)
The Rise of #HimToo in the #MeToo Era by Fire Lyte
Sexual Assault, Wicca, and Consent by Jason Pitzl-Waters
Silence equals complicity: making Pagan groups safe for everyone by Yvonne Aburrow
Addressing issues of sexual abuse in Pagan communities by Terence P. Ward
WiCoM priest under fire for ethical and sexual misconduct by Cara Schulz