War Against Women: Empower the Victims

War Against Women: Empower the Victims February 3, 2015

This train of thought was set off by Lasara Firefox’s moving tribute to the memory of her friend Shannon Williams, dead of a brain tumor in her 30s. (I remember being naked with Lasara and a whole lot of other people in a huge mudbath at a Church of All Worlds Sabbat about 25 years ago. Drool, you cowans.)

I am heartened by the Swedes: they have decriminalized the selling of sex; have made buying sex a major crime; and are enabling women to get out of the sex business (or sex slavery) and find a better life. With rare exceptions, women become prostitutes out of sheer economic necessity or because they have been kidnapped and enslaved by sheer brutality. Face this fact, hypocrites: to not provide a woman with a decent job at adequate pay is to sell her into slavery.

May the Gods inspire more countries to adopt the Swedish plan—yet it falls far short of dealing with the real problem: why do men want or need to buy sex? Obviously, because they do not have a satisfying sex life. That is a major symptom of the endemic, international mental illness that Wilhelm Reich diagnosed and called the Emotional Plague. (Not a perfect name; it’s not just any old emotions that are the problem. I recently coined a new term: Aphrodiphobia, meaning “fear of sex.” Still not perfect, since the illness is far more serious than a phobia, but at least it’s less euphemistic.) Rape is an even worse symptom of the illness and involves yet another pathology.

It is impossible to cure an illness that the vast majority of people suffer from in varying degrees, that they have no name for, and that they therefore think is normal. Naming it identifies it and begins the path toward sanity. There has been some progress along that path in modern times, but still pathetically little overall. The core of the illness is the belief or unexamined assumption that sex is evil, or that there is anything wrong with sex itself at all. That belief historically goes back to the Pagan Greeks, not to Judaism—but its history makes little difference now. We need a current strategy to combat it.

After the Holy Spirit saved my life by booting me out of the Catholic church when I was 14—I was suicidally depressed by the pathological nonsense the church taught about sex in the 1950s (that’s a long story, told elsewhere; would be tangential here)—I began to wonder what truly healthy beliefs about sex might be like (I’m still working on that). Discovering Reich about 1964 was a first clue. It was also progress that in 1964 the Roman Catholic church, in the first written constitution the church has ever had, threw out all that ancient toxic crap about sex and replaced it with a genuinely humane caution (although I did not discover that fact until I was teaching theology to young nuns in the early 80s)—which is why American Catholic women have ever since ignored everything that the celibate old farts in Rome have said about sex.

It is men rather than women who are psychologically the most damaged by the illness—for exactly the same reason that it is not the slaves, but the slave owners, who are morally corrupted by slavery. Thus it is the johns and the slavers who are the “sinners,” not the “fallen women.” Arresting women for selling sex is the epitome of blaming the victim and of denial.

Trying to force people to feel less sexual desire is backwards, is another symptom of the illness. Rather, people need to feel more of it. As William Blake wrote, to perceive all things as infinite and holy requires an “improvement in sensual enjoyment.” Blake was “Awakened”—to use the Gnostics’ term. He was thus empowered as a True Prophet, just as all genuine prophets are.

Sexual desire is necessary for the survival of our species (duh!). That survival is the universal “prime directive” underlying all viable ethical systems. That sex is (almost) our greatest pleasure guarantees our survival. (Amazing how many people in history have managed to be in denial about that.)

The right to a happy sex life is guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights promulgated by the United Nations in 1945, to which the USA was a signatory. It should have the force of law. However, protecting human rights is not a high priority in a country now run by a selfish, greedy de facto aristocracy whose members believe they are obscenely wealthy because God wants them to be.

Lack of a happy sex life is a major symptom of the illness. Women need and deserve to have good—that is, transcendental—sex perhaps more than men do. It is a horrifying fact that thousands or millions of exploited women will never be able to enjoy sex again in their lives. That is just as much a crime against humanity as castrating men is, as the Nazi extermination of millions was. Wake up to that reality, hypocrites.

Yet there is one way for women who are not quite that damaged to begin to recover and heal. (Maybe there are other ways. Their advocated can speak for themselves.) They can become Witches! Not the now polite, respectable, family-friendly Wicca, but real, powerful Witches who can combat the oppression of our corrupt institutions, just as the archetypal Aradia did. Taking control of their lives can lead to healing, satisfaction, joy, and possibly even a full Awakening (details on that come later).

So I believe the whores must become warriors. Who else would have the courage? The fallen must rise, the prostitutes become Priestesses, the slaves be free. I hope that I and others who agree with me might offer them “arms and a name,” that is, weapons and the power to use them. They will need to call out every lie, every time. They will need to get in the face of anyone who makes excuses for corruption. Politeness, moderation, compromise are useless for fighting the plague we are facing. This is war, in every country, in every faith. If followers of other faiths want to help, they must do more than talk. As Bob Dylan said (more or less), if you can’t help, get out of the way.

There are real Witches out there who can help and empower. Look for them. There is real magic available. Ask this: what was Diana doing, and why, when Actaeon spied on her?


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  • Thanks for posting this, Aidan. You touch on some of the tremendous damage our Patriarchal culture inflicts on men as well as women – yet most men will react predictably, such as Ken’s fear-based and deeply sexist bombast below. It is a sad commentary that, after the second feminist wave, the rise of LGBT rights and the Mehn’s movements at the end of the last century the issue of empowering women and addressing men’s insistence of power-over domination is even still an issue.

  • One of our local coven leaders has a great way of putting it. You are who you say you are. If you say you are a victim, then that is what you are. If you say you are a strong, beautiful witch; strong enough to overcome adversity, that that is what you are (of course you have to believe too). If you say you are a victim, you are giving those who seek control over you the power that they want to have. So don’t tell me you are a victim of some Patriarchal culture. 90% of victims are victims of their own thinking.

    • “It is impossible to cure an illness that the vast majority of people suffer from in varying degrees, that they have no name for, and that they therefore think is normal.”

      I’m quoting Aiden from his own article to point out that denial is just as damaging as believing one self to be a victim.

      While I certainly agree that what one thinks dictates one’s outcome, to dismiss the entrenched prevailing cultural view of the oppression against women ( and the poor, the various minorities and the Earth Herself while we are at it…) is choosing to stick one’s head in the sand and pretend the REALITY of oppression doesn’t exist.
      We cannot say to someone who is oppressed “Well, dang it, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” when they don’t even own a pair of boots!

      • It is easy, I suppose to dismiss someone by saying they are in denial. However, I think in our culture oppression is too strong a word.If you want to see oppression, go to Saudi Arabia.

        What I see is not oppression, but evolution away from thinking in terms of traditional sex-defined social roles (only men can be doctors, politicians, etc.) to a more egalitarian society. There are far fewer men who think that a woman’s place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant than there were 50 years ago, and we are a long way from 16th century concepts of women as property.

        Are there still glass ceilings? Yes, but the height of those ceilings is moving upward. Women have far more opportunity today than they had even 20 years ago. The veil is lifting, and the cultural view you speak of is no longer entrenched. Let go of the victim mentality and seize the opportunities that are there.

        I hire a lot of female geologists in Mexico. The job is one traditionally considered the provenance of males. I look for ones who think they have something to prove. The ones that think they are a victim of what really is a male-dominant society just don’t do as well as those who are hungry to prove their worth. I’ve seen it work. If you think you are a victim, then you are a victim only of your own thinking. Just like if you think you can’t do something, then you can’t.

  • This is certainly a loaded topic you took on. I think you made a good point about the theoretical ‘slave owners’ being the truly damaged ones in the situation. I don’t however thinks its fair to label the millions of women across the globe who prostitute as slaves, though it is undeniable that many of the women involved in this trade don’t choose it, there are some who find it a feasible option for income. Historically speaking the women in many brothels were well looked after for example. I realize this is a loaded question, I don’t mean to offend this is just my take on the issue.
    Many Blessings,

  • Aiden, as you know I’m Canadian. We just adopted the so-called “Swedish model.” I think this policy deeply threatens the right to personal agency and an ethical and healthy sexuality that you (and I) believe in; almost as badly as no regulation and a social climate that blames sex workers as “fallen women” and “evil temptresses” right out of Les Miserables. Have you considered that making it illegal for “johns” to pay for sex makes it very much in a john’s best interests to make sure the prostitute they were with never lives to talk about it; or at the very least is so frightened that she won’t? Or to jilt them on the fee because “that would be illegal?” Instead of protecting women in sex work, it forces sex workers to operate entirely underground (in order to assure that they *have* any clientele) and to operate through pimps or other go-betweens, opening them up to a whole new level of exploitation. While I support the desire not to put women in vulnerable situations because of their gender, this is not the way to go. Our Conservative government is not at all interested in “protecting” women; they are interested in moral policing as a result of their own Aphrodiphobia, and this gives them an excuse under the grounds that they are “protecting these poor, exploited women from themselves.” You really should read a blog called “The Honest Courtesan,” by a Pagan lady named Maggie McNeill, a former sex worker who is now a vocal sex workers’ rights activist. To be fair there’s a lot of angry libertarian rhetoric, but there are also some excellent glimpses into the real world of the sex worker and into critical thinking about the human trafficking”issue.

    • aidanakelly

      Sable, thank you for using my neologism. I hope people will find it useful.

  • white lightning

    The best thing that women can do, like everyone else who is living in terror, is to fight back. If one lives in the United States, move to a state where it’s easy to get a gun for personal protection or failing that, a good guard dog like a Doberman or something similar. The worst thing that had been done in the quest to prevent violence is to become too intellectual when addressing the problem. Statistics matter. Feelings don’t. Previous victims are at bigger risk for future victimization and need to be especially proactive in their OWN personal defense. So how well do guns actually work? Between 2 to 2.5 million lives are saved each year in the United States but between 35,000 to 40,000 lives are lost mostly through suicide or simply being unsuccessful in one attempt to defend ones self. In most cases where guns in the home are linked with fatalities in the same home, the actual guns used for such homicides are not owned by the victims but brought in from elsewhere by the criminals. In about 90% of cases where a gun is used or play a role in self defense, no shots are fired. It a religious fanatics tries to mutiliate a female’s genitals or rape her, the best result is a dead criminal on the floor. The second best result is sending the offender on the run for good.