Monday, April 14, 2014

The Let-Down & the Warning

This is in response to a discussion. It started with the suggestion that there be a website resource that would provide both contact information for vendors, performers and speakers, and rating and reporting for the same people.
From Web of Trust

While there were some good suggestions (branching into even more groups of people) and some great support, there was also the couple of responses that were less thrilling.

One type of this response was the compromise response: we should keep it local; we should keep it locked/inaccessible. All saying, "We should take this things teeth before it can actually make a difference."

The other type of this response was the defense lawyer (as far as I know or can tell, none of these responders are actually at all familiar with the legalities of this situation): someone might sue; be careful of libel/slander; you want to protect yourself.

So, to this discussion, I say: 
I live 50 miles from the nearest official pagan anything, 200 miles from most of our activities, 400 miles from the closest major festival. How local do I need to be before I'm allowed to know if my children will be safe? Kenny Klein and many others travel the country, if not the world. How does "local" keep organizers in any kind of loop for being even in a position to know that something is a possibility?

There are lots of Pagans that talk behind backs. Someone might sue for libel/slander. When did Paganism become the religion of the fearful? When did doing what's right to protect and defend our fellow humans become too risky? When did protecting children turn into a a slanderous act?

I'm begging someone to explain why raging BNPs and lying gossips have more rights then abuse victims do?
Lady Liberty League's Logo
Let me be clear on this. From my (admittedly laymen) research, libel and slander simply do not apply when reporting a complaint. Making an accusation is a whole different game. This is saying, "A person made this statement about BNP Such-n-such."Adding that legal statements were made, or charges were filed, or a conviction was made, are all reporting, not the statement that could support an accusation of slander. (Or libel, cuz it would be in print.) BNP Such-n-such can threaten to sue all they want, but reporting like that doesn't give them anything to sue about. That's why you can't sue a newspaper for mentioning the arrest report of your DUI.

As far as the complaints go, I would like to see better, more comprehensive complaint procedures across the board. How do you document it so it doesn't come back and bite you? What should you report as an event organization? What MUST you report as an event organization? How do you go about making or forwarding legal complaints to the legal system? Who do you make or forward them to?

Officers of Avalon Logo
We, as a community, have two (that I can think of right now) organizations that would be ideal for setting up such a system: The Officers of Avalon and the Lady Liberty League. We should be using these resources and working to set up a system. Why? Because we do not want to become the pedophile joke that the Catholic Church has become. We don't want that reputation, and our current course, guided by fear of someone important getting their feelers hurt, puts us right there in creepy-ville.

We NEED a reporting system. One that is as fair and unbiased as possible, but one that is easy to use, easy to access, and easy to update. We NEED to keep track of these things, because it has just been proven that one person can cut a huge swath of harassment and abuse across the entire country and over the course of decades. We need to put on our big kid panties and take responsibility for the environment that we have worked so hard to create. We've done well, but now we need something more.

To those who fight this movement, who say that there's a reason not to do this, that there is too great a chance for abusing whatever system we set in place, that we've worked too hard to create a culture of sexual freedom and positivity... To all of those people, I am telling you now: your arguments make me want to look closer at why you want to keep this stuff in the shadows, at what you might be hiding and how your behavior might be hurting others. And stay away from my kids.


  1. Kali-Ma,

    I support what you are trying to do in building an infrastructure to insure the safety of our community. I do think, however, that this post using a broad brush to paint those who have divergent views as possibly abusers themselves is counterproductive. I also consider those who accuse individuals like your self of creating a "moral panic" in your well meaning efforts unhelpful. This issue is rightly emotional, thousands of well intended Pagans have their own views, if we establish as "the other" those who disagree or provide feedback which we do not consider as very important we fracture the community and accomplish nothing.

    What is needed is a conversation where we listen to each other, avoid the temptation to demonize those willing to come to the table with their own views and build a consensus on a wise course of action. What that means is that the eventual action will not fully embrace the vision of any individual, but it will mean we take action, establish a safer community for families and be able to establish procedures to address these issues.

    Statements from any and all sides of this conversation that demonize others just due to their opinions just make those who want to take substantive action want to wait on the sidelines until emotions cool and calmer voices emerge.

    I believe everyone, even those who disagree with you want to keep our community safe, establish healthy boundaries and provide for the communities welfare.

    Just my two cents.

  2. Yeah even one of my friends who was charged with DUI was thinking to sue the newspaper but then his Los Angeles DUI lawyer told her that she can’t do much on it as they can publish any news which they deemed fit and laws are there to protect media moguls. So even she was helpless.