Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence

Sadly, this is the story of so many. A tough read, but worth it.

The Belle Jar

1.

I am six. My babysitter’s son, who is five but a whole head taller than me, likes to show me his penis. He does it when his mother isn’t looking. One time when I tell him not to, he holds me down and puts penis on my arm. I bite his shoulder, hard. He starts crying, pulls up his pants and runs upstairs to tell his mother that I bit him. I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about the penis part, so they all just think I bit him for no reason.

I get in trouble first at the babysitter’s house, then later at home.

The next time the babysitter’s son tries to show me his penis, I don’t fight back because I don’t want to get in trouble.

One day I tell the babysitter what her son does, she tells me that he’s just a little boy, he doesn’t know…

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Is Your Paganism Intersectional or Is it Bullshit? A Meditation on the Ballard Query.

Fantastic post. A couple of fantastic posts on why it’s important for Pagans to take a stance (in essence, to be an activist–to take an action). So many Pagans tell me, “But I’m not an activist,” or, “I don’t mix politics with my Paganism.”

“The adage rings true once again for me: the personal is political. I believe that not taking a stance actually sides with the oppressor, or the systems in place that oppress us. There is no neutral ground here. Desmond Tutu was right.”

“So why is this important for pagans? Well, as a marginalized group of people we also exist along many other lines such as ability, national origin, class, sexual orientation, gender etc. Our experience as pagans intersects and is affected by our experience as other kinds of people as well. In some cases, we may reinforce dominant cultural norms within our own pagan circles.”

hecatedemeter

7ofearth

Byron Ballard recently asked:

[A]in’t you people got no gods to worship? No holy days to celebrate? No Ancestors to deal with, er I mean venerate? In short — don’t you people have some sacred work to do? Justice work? Environmental work? Community weaving?

To which I’d only add: No landbase to relate to? No wights for whom to pour blots? No foxes to know?

Gods & Radicals (which has been doing simply amazing work and where the writing, qua writing, is generally first class — which is, you known, not something I say about many Pagan blogs, authors, or articles and, yes, I’m a real snob about writing) has a post up that shows what’s possible:

This week I performed a trabajito in the form of sigil writing and spell casting to protect the protestors who, at the time of this writing, are dangling themselves across the St. John’s…

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I Looked At A Rapist In The Mirror And Saw Him Smiling Back.

Intense, and perhaps difficult to read, but this articulates so well what is meant by “rape culture.” We live in an ambient, unseen culture of sexual assault, and until we look at it in the mirror, look at these behaviors, look ourselves in the eye, we cannot move beyond this culture.

RaceBaitR

*This piece has been published with permission of the referenced ex-partner. Other relationships may have been slightly altered to protect specific identities.*

The first time I was sexually assaulted I must have been 9 or 10 years old.

I was violated by two family friends who were brothers and who would have been about 14 and 15.

Or maybe that was the second time.

The first time might have been by an older female cousin around the same time. She pressured me to go into a closet and make out with her. I think we may have done more, but I don’t like to think about that.

I didn’t object to any of these interactions. I was too young for that to matter, of course, but it was difficult for me to make sense of the fact that I consented without having the agency to do so, thus I had…

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“I Don’t Believe in Purification” by Shauna Aura Knight

Naturalistic Paganism

I’m a Pantheist. I believe that the entirety of the world, of the universe, is divine. So the idea of “making sacred space” or “purifying” doesn’t really fit into my theology or cosmology. On the other hand, a lot of the ritual facilitation work that I do is about working with people and their processes. I tend to think as psychology as a kind of magic because it works to understand people and how they work, and for me, those patterns and processes are a part of our nature, and thus, part of the divine as well.

Heros-Journey-Circle Psychology, architecture, the process of pilgrimage, and the hero’s journey show us that we need steps in order to change our state of consciousness.

For me, the part of the ritual that is often referred to as “making sacred space” is more about getting everyone involved in the ritual into the right mindset…

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Sexual Initiation, Discrimination, Consent, and Rape

I’m reblogging my post from Pagan Activist on the topic of sexual initiation, discrimination, consent, and rape.

Pagan Activist

shutterstock_162051386I have heard from many people who felt pressured to undergo a sexual initiation with a teacher, coven leader, or other person in a leadership position. And by definition, if someone’s been pressured into sex, that’s not consent. It’s rape.

I believe in transparency so I want to be clear I debated with myself about posting on this topic. Why? Specifically because I have never belonged to a tradition that conveys mysteries/initiation through sex.

I’ve been accused of “destroying Wicca” with some of my blog posts about sex and consent, so I felt it was important to explore this topic. As with any of these big questions, I’m left with more questions than answers.

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Reblog: The Perfect Victim

I’m reblogging this post that is an excellent articulation of the cycle of abuse, and it does a great job of also articulating the fallacy of the perfect victim. I know a lot of folks out there are trying to wrap their brains around abuse, and why people stay with their abuser, and how could they be so weak…and also, how could they possibly have been abused if they are larger or stronger or smart or if they talk back. Read this article if you want some insight into that. I, too, am an “imperfect victim.”

“The perfect victim is a white, cisgender, straight woman.  She’s smaller than her abuser, who is a man.  She never says anything cruel or unfair that might “provoke” him.  She’s supportive and loving, meek and gentle.  Her abuser is violently physical, and she finally leaves when he hurts her so badly that it opens her eyes.  She has to protect her children.  Or maybe just herself; that might be okay. She certainly never, ever hits back. She is as rare as a unicorn, and the rest of us, we imperfect victims, are deemed unworthy of compassion and support by comparison. “

http://fat-abi.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-perfect-victim.html

Activism, Leadership, Trolls, and Accountability

Here is my newest post for Pagan Activist on how activists are leaders–whether or not we signed up for the job. And how we all need to look at the impact of our actions. Those of us with power, with a voice, need to step up and take responsibility, because our actions have larger impacts.

Pagan Activist

shutterstock_41419060— By Shauna Aura Knight

Lately I’ve seen a lot of examples of Pagan leaders acting badly. Or, perhaps to be more accurate, spotlights on leaders who have acted badly and are finally being called on the carpet for their poor behavior. There are a lot of conversations happening in the Pagan blogosphere, particularly since the arrest of Kenny Klein on charges of child pornography, about problems with sex, abuse, and poor leadership.

The ripple effects of that–and the questions it has raised about Pagan community and events–have brought up further issues of leadership. What does this have to do with activism?

If you’re an activist, you’re a leader. Whether or not you wanted to be one. And when you are a leader–when you stand up, when you take an action–your actions have more consequences, more impact. Leaders must take more responsibility because we have a greater impact.

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