Sexual Harassment in Buddhist Communities: a small victory

Sexual Harassment in Buddhist Communities: a small victory January 22, 2014
Click on the image for the full comic.

Yesterday Tanya over at Full Contact Enlightenment posted a great cartoon aimed at getting people in the cartoon community to speak up about issues around sexual harassment. As Tanya notes, this applies just as well to the Buddhist community (and, I imagine, to countless other communities out there).

Last week we saw a small victory in terms of people saying and other people listening. Over at Connections, the author writes an “Open Letter to Noah Levine of Against the Stream” where Ken McLeod was recently invited to speak. For the back-story, see early posts over at Connections or the posts I wrote in August and October of 2012.

Happily, Against the Stream responded:

In response to Patricia Ivan’s letter, Against the Stream asked if Ken McLeod would consider making a public statement either defending himself against claims he considered untrue, or acknowledging unskillful behavior and charting a course to some acceptable resolution. He declined to make such a statement. Against the Stream withholds judgment about the truthfulness of the various claims made in this issue, but does not believe that silence is an acceptable response to such controversies. Therefore, we decided that we would not host Ken on January 14, 2014. We hope that our difficult decision expresses our aspiration for a community that embodies transparency, kindness and wisdom.

The Teacher’s Council of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society

Others, including Grace Shireson, Adam Tebbe, Eshu Martin, Kobutsu Malone and others over at Sweeping Zen, many writers at the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and others have written on these and similar issues in the Western Buddhist world. Others, probably too many to count, have written on Buddhism for years on blogs or in other publications without ever touching sexual harassment or related issues.

What do you think?

Is the “onus on us to warn each other”?

If not, what about those harmed already or potentially to be harmed in the future?

And if so, what is your thought on just when and how each of us should say something?

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