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My Line in the Sand

When the whole Kenny Klein issue hit the news, I was appalled but not surprised. I had met the guy in New Orleans and been less than impressed, in fact i"d found him energetically filthy and obviously lacking in any moral sense. I thought thought "well, here at least is an issue that all Polytheists, Pagans, and Wiccans can staunchly stand behind: child abuse and molestation, sexual assault. coverups --  and anything that furthers those things is wrong." How naive I was and how incorrect. 

Since the affair de Kenny hit the Pagan blogosphere I have been sickened by the number of Pagans and Wiccans who have come out publicly excusing these behaviors and moreover attempting to silence his victims. Just check out the wildhunt.com coverage for a sickening sample. 

That's why today when I saw this piece by a respected Pagan elder here at Witches and Pagans http://witchesandpagans.com/Pagan-Culture-Blogs/ok-everybody-breathe.html it was just too much. 

I realize the author may have been speaking ironically and for effect however to this reader the effect was one of a community elder worrying more about people's feelings and sexual liberties at public gatherings than the issue at hand. I've seen this over and over again. People, there's no grey area here.

Any response save complete condemnation of this act is simply inappropriate. Klein confessed. His victims have been coming forward since and what does Paganism do? Exactly what they did the first time people complained: dog pile on the victim, make excuses, worry that maybe somewhere some Pagan will now be expected to have some sense of sexual morality. Someone might suddenly have to have standards.  oh the horrors. 

 

Even if this one author were being ironic, even if she were saying these things to make a point, it's just not appropriate. This should not be a moral stretch to say that sexual molestation and anything that furthers it is WRONG and personally, I do not wish to be part of a forum, dedicated to a community that seems to find that difficult. 

 

The real horror is in a community that struggles to comprehend something at its core very simple: sexual abuse in any form is wrong and yes it is a community issue. Anyone who seriously worries about the limits this may put on one's ability to stomp around naked and have sex indiscriminately and in public at gatherings, in my opinion, needs to seriously rethink their priorities. What makes this completely insane is that in the sex and the kink communities, they long ago came out with standards and guidelines for engaging in these activities safely and responsibly. Why is the Pagan and Wiccan community so resistant to doing the same? 

 

In light of all of this, I simply do not feel that I can continue writing for Witches and Pagans. I deeply respect Anne Niven and the work that she has done and continues to do and I want to make it clear that my decision here in no way in no way compromises that, in fact, I greatly support her decision as editor to remove Klein's column. That being said, however, in light of what I have seen across the Wiccan and Pagan communities recently with this issue, I want no part of a forum that to my communities has now become infested with the worst kind of spiritual pollution. 

 

There's a Heathen saying: "we are our deeds." I very firmly believe that. We have a responsibility to take action when something is wrong. I"m therefore resigning my column effective today. 

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 Galina Krasskova is a Heathen priest, author, and Northern Tradition shaman. She holds a Masters degree in Religious Studies and is currently working toward a PhD in Classics. Galina is the author of several books including “Essays in Modern Heathenry” and “Skalded Apples: A Devotional Anthology to Idunna and Bragi.”
(Photo by Hudson Valley photographer Mary Ann Glass.)

Comments

  • Elaine Blakely
    Elaine Blakely Friday, 11 April 2014

    Well said, Galina. Thank You.

  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ Friday, 11 April 2014

    Having heard more women's stories of sexual abuse than I could hear and maintain my physical and spiritual health (while teaching at San Jose State University and Harvard Divinity School), I have zero tolerance for sexual abusers and no reason to disbelieve any victim who spoke to me. This week I reposted a report on Gandhi's sexual abuse of young women--some women defended the great man. This for me is not reason to leave fb or reason for you to leave PSq. Please stay and speak your truth for the sake of all who have been abused.

  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova Friday, 11 April 2014

    Hi Carol,
    I will be writing and blogging at my regular site http://krasskova.weebly.com/blog.html and also show up regularly on fb so my voice will still be heard.
    be well,
    G

  • Linda Hylton
    Linda Hylton Friday, 11 April 2014

    Hello Galina

    I wanted to share with you a story of how the Pagan/Wiccan community in my area dealt with a possible threat similar to ‘Kenny’ several years ago. A man claiming to be Scottish hereditary Witch with a heavy Scottish accent (whicch we later learned was fake) moved into town and set up a Pagan Store. Everyone, of course went to see him. It soon became obvious that he was a compulsive liar – for example he claimed that he grew the herbs that were still in Azure Green packaging. Much, Much worse a mother went to our High Priestess and told her that this man had inappropriately touched her son while she was in his store. She didn’t want to go to the police because the publicity would ‘out her’ and she didn’t want that kind of attention. So, calls were made to see if anyone else had a bad experience with this man. I went to see him myself and he told me a wild story about how he stormed into a local Satanist’s store with the police and caught her molesting her own kids. EEK. Of, course I told the lady that he had slandered about this. There was no such ‘raid’ on her store. The police were notified that this man was a potential threat. They took notice – since it wasn’t Christians with a grudge but other Pagans that were bringing this to their attention. His store failed. He ended up having to leave town. I don’t know if the police were ever able to get enough on him to arrest him. Why tell you about this? Because all over the country Pagans, Wiccans and I suspect Heathens find predators in their communities and take what action they can to protect their communities from those predators.

    I am disgusted with the BOD of the Florida Pagan Gathering. There was a time when I went to that Gathering twice a year. It was a great time to meet different people from diverse traditions and learn from each other. It has been several years since I’ve been able to go to a Gathering due to my husband’s illness. We will soon be able to go again – but I cannot and will not return to the FPG. I’m hoping to get to the next Nine Worlds instead.

    Now when my longtime friend Ray resigned from the FPG BOD and started the DeFrost campaign I posted a response in support of him. I have not posted anything since then except on facebook. Instead I read the comments of others. The responses from the BOD were the last nails in the coffin so to speak. I suspect that a large number of other Wiccans and Pagans read the responses and came to the same conclusion.
    The point to this story - please don't write off the entire Wiccan/Pagn community. For me this is a time take note of who stood where - and to refuse to associate with anyone who condones or defends sexaul abuse of children - or abuse of any kind for that matter. This was standard at one time. I cannot imagine the leaders of my Coven ever accepting abuse - such people are not taken into the group and if found out later are removed.
    For the record I love your books and I in practice I am a 'Hard Polytheist' myself. I also love reading your blog and of course, 'The house of Vines'

    Blessings to you and yours

    Linda

  • Greybeard
    Greybeard Friday, 11 April 2014

    As the Terminator once said, "Hasta la vista, baby"

  • Harrison K. Hall
    Harrison K. Hall Friday, 11 April 2014

    I'm sorry to see you go, but I understand and respect your reasoning. I'm very glad to have seen the uncompromising and strait forward stance you've put forward on this issue. The amount of apologetics and apathy that have been on display from certain sectors of the community has been nothing short of sickening...to the point where I wonder how many more names we need to be on the watch for in the news. Having your material (and others) to both read and hear has been very welcome, and very encouraging.

    Again, sorry to see your voice leaving this forum but I totally understand your reasons.

  • Hec
    Hec Friday, 11 April 2014

    Galina,

    I've posted a reaction to your comments over at my blog: http://hecatedemeter.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/clarification/

    Respectfully,

    Hecate

  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova Friday, 11 April 2014

    I apologize if you feel that I mischaracterized your initial post and thank you for taking the time to clarify; I'm glad to see that we're on the same side of this issue and that our communities are finally having this much needed conversation.
    be well,
    G

  • Bourdon Bee
    Bourdon Bee Wednesday, 16 April 2014

    I'd like to see some discussion of grey areas as well, and perhaps some discussion of what the lines are in "sex positive".

    Because frankly, I've seen a lot of really unhealthy, really NEGATIVE sexual acting out by youths and adults alike, being glorified as "sex positive".

    And where do you draw the line between harmless social flirting and sexual harassment?

    We can all agree child molestation is wrong, I'd like to see discussion of grey areas.

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