Shadow Side Saturday: Soul Sickness and Child Sexual Abuse

Warning:  This is not a pretty subject

I asked this question because I just learned a shocking and disturbing fact about Marion Zimmer Bradley – not only was she married to a convicted pedophile, she allegedly sexually and physically abused her daughter.  It made me sick to my stomach when I read the daughter’s poems about the abuse.  Then to read the deposition given by MZB in which she acknowledges that she knew of her husband’s sexual relationship with a teen-age (13?) year old boy and did nothing to stop it or protect the boy shriveled my soul.  I wish I could scrub ever word she ever wrote that I read out of my brain.  That is how repulsed I am by this revelation.

What is wrong with our society?  Why do we allow celebrities or well-known public figures to engage in such behaviors without comment or criticism?  Where is the outrage?  Are we like the citizens in Ursula K. LeGuin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”?  Do we accept the suffering and misery of the innocent because of the fame, talent and skills of the abuser?  Does whatever benefit he/she brings to the equation offset the brutalization of an innocent?  I hope not because that is a world of which I want no part.

I see people defend Woody Allen’s work despite the alleged sexual abuse of his daughter and his creepy and nauseating marriage to his former stepdaughter.  He is praised as writing wonderful roles for women – as though that makes his behaviors acceptable.  Roman Polanski plead guilty to having sex with a 13 year old girl (as a way to avoid a multitude of other charges associated with this act) and when he realized his potential punishment might be more severe than anticipated he fled the country but still managed to direct movies to wide acclaim.  The fact that Angelica Huston was present in the house at some point and did nothing to protect this child is just as repugnant and nauseating.  What the hell are these people thinking?

The fury that I feel about these instances and the many others that occur every day is almost overwhelming.  There is little I can do to protect these innocents.  However I think we all need to reassess our own moral compasses.  If we suspect something like that is happening to a child we should take a deep breath and report it.  I’ve had to make those phone calls in my life and it’s very difficult.  In one instance the mother actually confronted me and I told her why I called.  She was ultimately cleared and came to understand why I reported the incident.  I won’t say she forgave but she appreciated that I was looking out for her daughter.

If we want to stop this kind of behavior we need to hold the offenders accountable no matter who they are.  This is not a question of moral and ethics – for example perhaps you feel abortion is immoral and I don’t.  The is a value judgment and something each individual need to decide for him/herself.  However I dare anyone to justify or rationalize the sexual or physical abuse of a child.  That should never be a gray area.  It is a black and white issue – wrong is wrong.  I don’t care how the offenders try to rationalize, intellectualize or justify their behaviors, we cannot let them get away with it.

To try to help me focus on a way to deal with this, I asked the Tarot “How can I deal with my feelings about the revelation about Marion Zimmer Bradley? ”  I drew the 3 of Cups reversed from the Norse Tarot.

Norse Tarot 3 of Cups

Pulling this card today I realize that the answer to my question is that I need to mourn for those hurt and damaged by these cretinous individuals.  Maybe we need to hold a day of mourning for the children who have survived such horrific experiences.  It might not stop the abuse but maybe it will start the healing.  Maybe it’s also time to do some work with the energies of some of the dark goddesses to call on them to punish such offenders.  I would not go so far as to “name names” simply because I could be wrong.  However I’m confident the dark goddesses will know who to seek out.

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