Tapati (tapati) wrote,

Child Abuse in ISKCON

Recently one of the former abused children from ISKCON's Gurukula school system comitted suicide. Family and friends say he never did fully recover from this daily abuse, which had catastrophic effects on his self esteem and peace of mind. It has sparked a discussion on Chakra (chakra.org) about what ISKCON should do with it's abusers. The perpetrator, Dhanurdhara Swami, was initially censured but has since been allowed a position of power and respect within the organization. Many are saying that this policy of allowing abusers back into the fold is destroying any credibility ISKCON could ever have as a legitimate religous organization. We've seen the Catholic Church similarly suffer from allowing priests to move from parish to parish after acts of sexual abuse.

I understand the impulse to forgive and allow some hope of redemption and continued spiritual service. But this course of action is not working.

I propose instead that these and other organizations provide an isolated venue for such continued service, a farm or monastic community. Perpetrators of physical or sexual abuse would be sent there if they wished to continue serving in some way, perhaps producing a craft or product that could be sold in order to make reparations to victims. (This in addition to whatever the legal authorities require in terms of punishment.)

These perpetrators would either agree to go to these isolated areas to serve or be forbidden to associate with the congregation or churches in any way. They would agree to be isolated from children for the rest of their lives.

This is an issue for society at large as well--what do we do with pedophiles knowing that we have no way to cure them at present? We release them into our communities near children and try to put them on a list to warn everyone. This just brings violence against them or causes them to be driven from their homes. It's inhumane to lock them away in prison forever once they've served their sentence. So what do we do with them? Some of them are repentant and desperately wish to escape their affliction while others are not. Some agree to chemical or physical castration to escape their desires.

Can't we create communities for them where they can find meaningful work, live in a natural setting surrounded by trees and grass, and yet not be near children? And shouldn't we be pouring dollars into research to cure them?

I can't help but think that if we weren't wasting so much of our time and money on drug enforcement and prostitution arrests we could focus more on the violent crimes and child abuse.

(ISKCON=International Society for Krishna Consciousness, aka the Hare Krishna movement.)
Tags: child abuse, iskcon, pedophiles

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