HOW abuse hurts people – a few words before Pantheacon

Horrifying behaviors that should be indisputable that I still routinely see excused in the Pagan community and beyond:

  • Any sexuality with a child AT ALL. If they’re not old enough to vote and you could not be reasonably considered a peer, leave them the hell alone.
  • Any “circumvention” of fully conscious consent for sexual energy, energy access, or physical/metaphysical touch. This includes drugging, NLP on a vulnerable person without warning, nonconsensual psychic vampirism, and outright manipulation and whining until you get what you want. ALL OF THAT IS ABUSE, I DON’T CARE IF ROBERT COCHRANE DID IT. HE WAS WRONG..
  • Any dynamic that demands people have sex or be sexual at the will of another person, using spirit, initiation, or magickal power development as the carrot and/or stick to gain full exploitation of the person. Yes, I know Pagans had their creepy sex cults and it’s time to give up that bullshit as the toxic anti-spiritual, insulting to the sanctity of sex waste it is.
  • Abuse is part of a cycle and hitting/sexual exploitation is the end/top of that cycle, not isolated incidents. All abuse begins with some form of grooming, flattery,  verbal abuse, and continuous undermining of the spirit until the point that the victim is confused as to the basics of right and wrong when the abuser finally gets their “climax.” VERBAL ABUSE IS IN FACT ABUSE AND HAS REAL NEUROLOGICAL IMPACT.

These situations are arising repeatedly because there’s a real problem in the Pagan subculture. Exploitative behavior is glamorized and protected to the point where it takes Weinstein-level complaints for someone to be held accountable. Our own free thinking is being used against us, as we convince ourselves that we must tolerate degrees of exploitation in order to learn. I have been hearing of people forced to stay in certain magickal groups for fear of the consequences if they tried to leave – so yay, way to take a page from every fundamentalist church so many of you ran away from. Good going there folks. (This is sarcasm.)

I am dropping a few articles here. Yes, I’m angry on a deep level both as someone with multiple traumas myself and as someone who is really tired of gross people being supported in continuing their disgusting behaviors just because a few of us, including myself, weren’t included in playground games as children. Rejection sucks. BUT REJECTION EXISTS AS A WAY OF HANDLING OUR PREDATORS. We need to start using it properly, instead of ostracizing people who merely said “hey, stop hitting/yelling at me/trying to force me to have sex with that dude!”

There is a part of me that wonders, however, how many of you really think that these things don’t actually impact people. Abuse does actually hurt people. Trauma isn’t just something to get over – it involves a rewiring of the brain that can affect physical and emotional health for a lifetime. No, a child can’t “not know better” about a sexual activity because of acculturation – 1. their bodies know that stuff is wrong on a deep level and 2. since there is a power dynamic that eliminates any possibility of reasonable consent from a child as long as you have more size, money, power, control of where they live, control of where they sleep, control of ANY of their circumstances, CONSENT IS NOT POSSIBLE.

To that end, I am dropping some articles here for your collective perusal. The theme: abuse including rape does actual neurological and physical damage and IS NOT OKAY. To be clear for the nitpickers, we all have bad days where we use sharper words than we should, slam doors a little harder than we should. But in the “low grade” stuff, engaging in a daily pattern of making people feel like crap in order to get what you want from them, or having that ONE day where you do something to someone that you know is not okay to the point where you try to convince them it is (or threaten them if they speak)  then no, you’ve crossed way too far of a line.

How do we know children rarely lie about abuse?

The Truth about false rape accussations

The Damaging Impact of Abuse on Brain Development

Sexual and Emotional Abuse Scar the Brain in Specific Ways

The Neuroscience of Trauma and Assault

Read, internalize, consider – even if someone isn’t “conscious” of what’s done to them, their subconscious records EVERY SINGLE THING THAT HAPPENS. So perhaps if you’re one of those horrors complaining about having your “fun” ruined…well, the storm is coming and it’s going to rain boulders, because time is up for that bullshit you call “fun.”


About the Author

Diana Rajchel lives at the western edge of San Francisco, where sea creatures and hippies meet, breed, and glower at gentrification. From this liminal place she runs the Emperor Norton Pagan Social, writes about magic, herbs, and human quirks, and looks to both sidewalk and sky for wisdom. She is the author of Divorcing a Real Witch, the Mabon and Samhain installments of the Llewellyn Sabbat essentials series, and a title on Urban Magic to be released by Llewellyn in 2018.

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  1. Who is still defending these abuses in the Pagan community? I haven’t found anyone publicly defending sex with minors or coercion in recent years. There are sadly many leaders and organizations without the will or heart to confront offenders.

    1. The key word is “publically.” There are still multiple cases a year surfacing where someone under the age of consent was told sex with a coven/group leader was required for initiation along with the other appalling circumstances. I have seen it addressed in dog whistles of “I don’t want to impinge on someone’s sexual freedom…” When it comes to children, there is zero wiggle room and coded language just can’t fly anymore.

      1. I totally agree with that. I’m for anything within the bounds of consent and kids are surely not. That is the point st which I cannot just chalk it up to someone following “their own truth”.

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