by Fr. Enatheleme
On July 23, 2018, U.S. Grand Lodge National Grand Master Sabazius X° made a public post in which he admonished officers of U.S.G.L. not to attack victims of abuse, nor even to act in a way that causes a perception of such an attack. In doing so, he has responded to an emerging situation in which a number of members and officers of U.S.G.L. have made public and private efforts to discredit reports of abuse such as that of Sister Georgia appearing elsewhere in this blog. Sabazius’ communique is an important act of leadership that serves to address issues which are pressing at this time.
“When someone speaks out about a negative experience they had involving violence or unwanted sexual contact under our watch, a lot of us naturally feel defensive; especially if we have been working to prevent such things. However (speaking primarily to officers here), it is important to avoid allowing that defensiveness to manifest in attacks against the victim, or even in speech that could be perceived as an attack against the victim. What we urgently need to do is listen to the story, gather information, and develop and implement practical and effective solutions to the problem. The magnitude of the problem is irrelevant. Even one preventable sexual assault is too many.”
There are clear doctrinal justifications for listening to the victims of abuse and seeking to make improvements that serve to prevent abuse in the future. Any physical abuse is a violation of the Law of Thelema, and Crowley writes extensively on this subject with a particular focus on sexual abuse and rape. A few examples follow.
In The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, we find the repeated sentiment that “‘There shall be no property in human flesh.’ Nobody has a right to say what anyone else shall or shall not do with his or her body.”
In his New Comment on AL I:41, Aleister Crowley writes: “The sexual act is a sacrament of Will. To profane it is the great offence. All true expression of it is lawful; all suppression or distortion is contrary to the Law of Liberty. To use legal or financial constraint to compel either abstention or submission, is entirely horrible, unnatural and absurd.”
We also find in Aleister Crowley’s Duty a number of statements against crime, with the culmination that “Crime being a direct spiritual violation of the Law of Thelema, it should not be tolerated in the community.”
Like any action by a leader, there are areas where this pronouncement could have been improved. For example, it could have come sooner, rather than as a reaction to emergent crises. The fact that this issue has come up at all is an indication that some of those occupying official positions in U.S.G.L. lack competence in avoiding participation in harmful gossip and unfraternal behavior toward their brethren, so this kind of statement needs to be made more frequently and urgently. Finally, the post glaringly omitted mention of psychological and verbal abuse, which studies have shown can be as painful and traumatic as physical abuse.
By involving officers of U.S.G.L. and including them in executing his vision, Sabazius X° encourages them to perceive themselves as participants in the system of authority within O.T.O. This will help to ensure the effectiveness of this pronouncement and will also help it to be regarded as fair and appropriate. This statement by Sabazius X° offers an important and welcome correction and an encouraging indication of the direction U.S. Grand Lodge is taking to handle situations involving physical abuse.
 Tricia L. Orzeck, Ami Rokach & Jacqueline Chin (2010) The Effects of Traumatic and Abusive Relationships, Journal of Loss and Trauma, 15:3, 167-192, DOI: 10.1080/15325020903375792
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