As a woman of color navigating the realms of the psychedelic space, I am acutely aware of the profound potential these medicines hold for healing and transformation. Yet, my journey has been marked not only by hope and empowerment but also by a heavy awareness of the abuse of power that lurks within these transformative experiences. Today, I want to speak about a pressing issue that needs our collective attention: the abuse of power and sexual assault within the psychedelic community.
The Weight of Silence
Silence can be both a shield and a prison. It’s a shield that protects abusers and perpetuates the cycle of abuse, but it’s also a prison that confines survivors in isolation and shame. I’ve witnessed the pain caused by silence firsthand, as two close friends have been victims to sexual assault within the psychedelic space. The anguish they experienced, coupled with my own journey as a sexual abuse survivor, has created a profound empathy within me. While I may not have my own experiences of assault in this context, I carry the sadness and the weight of their stories.
Beyond Underground: Abuse Knows No Boundaries
It’s essential to acknowledge that abuse of power isn’t limited to clandestine ceremonies held in hidden corners of the world. It infiltrates clinical trials and outpatient mental health practices, demonstrating that abuse transcends the boundaries between legality and illegality. This realization is painful, for we entrust these spaces with our well-being, only to be met with betrayal. The harm inflicted is not only physical but also spiritual, fracturing the sacred connection between mind, body, and soul.
The Call for Collectivism
To rectify this grievous abuse, we as a community must abandon the illusion of individualism and embrace the strength of collectivism. Our ancestors fought for the right to knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual growth, not for these tools to become instruments of harm. It is our shared responsibility to dismantle the structures that enable such abuses to thrive. We must amplify the voices of survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, and create spaces that prioritize safety and healing above all else.
From Words to Action
The time for action is now. We cannot remain, passive spectators, while the vulnerable are victimized and our sacred traditions are tainted. To effect change, we must:
- Amplify survivor voices and create platforms for them to share their experiences.
- Demand transparency and accountability within both underground and clinical settings.
- Advocate for trauma-informed and culturally sensitive practices in all psychedelic spaces.
- Support organizations and initiatives working to create safe spaces and prevent abuse.
The road ahead is challenging, but the journey toward healing and justice begins with us. Our shared history and the legacy of our ancestors compel us to confront abuse of power head-on. In a recent experience, navigating my own ancestral trauma, I was the one being called into a place of advocacy. Uplifting voices in my lineage, whose stories of abuse would never be heard or acknowledged. By breaking the chains of silence, dismantling the structures that allow harm to persist, and embracing the power of collectivism, we can forge a future where the transformative potential of psychedelics is realized without the shadow of abuse.
Let us honor the legacy of those who came before us by ensuring that the path they paved is one of healing, growth, and safety. We are not alone in this endeavor; we stand united, driven by the determination to keep each other safe and preserve the sanctity and sacredness of the psychedelic experience.