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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4 thoughts on “Sabazius X° Encourages Listening to Abuse Victims”
Nice point, but let’s keep in mind that Abuse is not only “sex abuse”. There are many other ways. I personally experienced Gas Lighting from higher degrees more than one time, but as the sexual abuse, it’s not easy to proof such things. The only way to protect ourselves and the whole Order is to be informed and react without fear against these crimes.
Meanwhile, the OTO refuses to acknowledge or reckon with spousal abuse within its own ranks. Lame effort, as always–a day late and a dollar short. He further falls short in acknowledging the standard emotional and physical abuse which is rampant within OTO.
There is no systemic anything. Full stop. Abuse happens between individuals and should be dealt with in accordance with the law of land. This means filing a police report and end pressing charges without hesitation. Members of this or any organization that would attempt to dissuade such actions are filth for whom no initiatory degree is sufficient to provide redemption and should be dealt with as such in accordance with the Law.
I wonder just how much gets documented at the reporting stage? whatever the abuse. All well that we should listen to victims but when senior brethren act only in a tokenistic gesture then the individual (victim) is left arguably in an even more powerless and humiliating situation. Having witnessed first hand a senior OTO initiate sexually molest a candidate at their initiation, and to have it fall on deaf ears when I reported it to the FSR in Australia at the time, and with no documentation or policy procedure to play out or follow up on or any proper investigation to protect the victim. The story remains the same – if its not recorded it never happened. After I made the representation I especially found the initiation aftermath places the victim and the witness in a highly problematic situation. I found a complete lack of insight, and severe incongruence in what Caliphate O.T.O says and what it does…especially when that same higher grade initiate used their position of “authority” to in the weeks/months to follow up in their behaviour to flatter the victim and buy their favour, as if to cover up their actions. Suffice to say I resigned my post as Oasis master, and closed the local body in New Zealand and withdrew from all active OTO duties based on this, and other actions observed at governmental levels in the O.T.O in Australia and New Zealand. On reflection I read the above and 20 years later and ask the question. I hope those directly involved are not still abusing their position of power…