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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
spring 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 11 rob preece’s artIcle “Our Teachers Are Not Gods” says many good things we should take into account. What I would like to add is that for the person who enables bullying or oppression, there is also work to be done. All it takes is a feminine-type response of submission and self-criticism to match a masculine-type behavior of overrid- ing boundaries to create an imbalance. Both men and women can be in either role. What is not emphasized enough is the brave, hard work the victimized person needs to do. It is of equal importance. — Catriona McCarthy what should we do when the leaders who have allowed themselves to be held up as role models embodying the ideals of Buddhism fail so completely to live up to these standards? The challenge I and many other students face is to not toss the dharma out altogether just because some teachers mess up. I’m so glad to read and hear that more and more students are standing up, disal- lowing, publicly calling out, impeaching, and causing these teachers to resign. Stu- dents are not the ones who should leave— the failed teachers are. — Sally Ember thank you for acknowledging that the women who came forward are our true heroes. They did so initially with very little support from their communities or the media, and we can only imagine the enor- mous toll that must have taken on their valuable lives. They should not have had to carry that burden alone. — MC we frequently hear the question “Why didn’t you come forward and speak out?” Well, as you point out, many people do not want to hear anything negative about their idol, and some have been quieted by shame and humiliation. I do not imagine for a moment that it is easy for a victim to be ver- bally attacked by the public and victimized again. Unfortunately, it is the silence that allows the abusive behavior to continue, and for far to long abusers have come to expect that silence. — Karen I agree wIth pamela rubIn, who says in her video, “The Wrong Paradigm”: “Con- ceiving of sexual violence and abuse as a relationship problem...does not fit what’s actually going on. It’s very unfair to burden that victim as if they have to solve a relationship problem.” Ms. Rubin correctly identifies the flaws in an approach that is relational and uses conflict-resolution tools to address this tragic, widespread problem. — Mary Latela [In response to the video clip “Start by Believing” by Pamela Rubin.] such a strong message and so eloquently put! Thank you, Pam. This is a recur- ring issue in many communities, and it is particularly hard to address in large-scale, volunteer-based organizations. On the occa- sions when I have brought up concerns about this issue, the response has often been a kind of blankness and almost bewilder- ment as to why I would be troubled by such things. Like, “When did you get to be such a prude?” Beyond simply denial, there was a sense of just not getting that this is a problem. Bringing all of this into the public discourse is an essential first step. There is a need for a cultural shift as well as clearer policies and follow-up. — Judy Lief Send us your feedback at letters@ thebuddhadharma.com or on Facebook