I have held my piece with regards to the issues surrounding Marion Zimmer Bradley because I felt that others who were far more knowledgeable and eloquent had addressed them better then I could have. Then, just today, I learned something about the Frosts that made me feel chagrined to have considered their work useful and daring to recommend it to students I had in the past.
Indeed, their failure to correct the ‘error’ and their arguments that said work should be allowed to persist in its original form and be considered within the merits of ‘tradition’ lends one to believe that ritualized sexual abuse is condoned by the Frosts and that they believe such should be perpetuated within the Wiccan community.
This is absolutely not ok. Sexual abuse is one of the most heinous and insidious of crimes perpetrated against children. Abusers force children to participate in sex acts by ways of creating situations where the child sees no other choice. The children are not free agents in this activity but doing so under duress. Additionally, abusers who choose sex crimes as their method of abuse have the great impetuous of the social stigma that is attached to sexual abuse to force their victims to be quiet. This is in addition to what ever threats might be made or what mind games are played to coerce the victim to keep silent.
The use of initiatory rituals to force sexual activity of any sort upon another person is a direct violation of one of the most central tenants of Wicca, perfect love and perfect trust. The initiate trusts the initiator with their welfare as they prepare to undergo the rite. They trust the coven they are joining with their safety as well. Forcing them into sexual activity is repulsive and a violation of that trust. It also makes a mockery of that claimed ‘perfect love’ that the coven would say they extend towards the initiate.
Some people will claim that I am a ‘lapsed’ witch and that my positions on this ‘traditional’ initiation are a reflection of how far I have ‘fallen’ from the craft. I name those people fools and supporters of this kind of abusive behavior. It is possible to initiate someone into the craft with out forcing any form of sexual behavior upon them. If we look into the history of modern Wicca, we find that old Gerald Gardner was initiated by having a basin of water poured over him.
We have a responsibility to the younger generations of witches who are being raised within the Wiccan tradition (and all other pagan faiths) to secure their safety and create an environment that promotes their well being. The intersection of that which is holy, magical, and mundane should be a place of safety from the beginning. Only when the initiate has reached the age of consent and agreed to it, should sexual activity become part of magical or religious ritual.
If this position makes people declare me some sort of apostate or otherwise have forgotten my faith, then I wish them the luck of it. I will continue to maintain a position that the safety of children is more important then the pretty rituals you would devise. I don’t care what your arguments are in favor of this. I reject them all and declare them to be anathema.