I would like to inform and warn the public about my experience of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, defamation and spiritual abuse of power at the Ramakrishna Monastery located in Trabuco Canyon, California; an adjacent community next to Rancho Santa Margarita.
I became involved with the Vedanta Society of Southern California to study the Hindu Religion know as Vedanta. During the year and a half that I was involved with this spiritual community, I experienced sexual harassment and assault while I worked on a volunteer project in the monk's private library by a resident of the Ramakrishna Monastery who was known as a renounced householder.
When I reported to the managing monk what had happened to me, I was systematically shunned, blamed, shamed, humiliated, accused of wrong-doing, fired from my volunteer work project and then excommunicated from the Trabuco Canyon Ramakrishna Monastery; a property of the Vedanta Society. I was prevented from participating in any of the public spiritual services and scripture classes held there and when I protested the way I was being treated after reporting sexual harassment, by refusing to be intimidated and blame-shamed, I was arrested for trespassing at their Holiday Sunday service held at the monastery on 12-23-2018.
I experienced a very long emotionally and physically draining retaliation campaign by the people I came to trust, respect and love. Over a 5-month period, I was shunned by all the monks that reside at the Ramakrishna Monastery, many VSSC Members and male volunteers, the VSSC General Counsel and Trustee Member who was assigned to investigate my claims, my spiritual mentor, also a Trustee, and many of my own peers within the community.
I was blamed for the sexual harassment and assault I endured, accused of wrong-doing such as reckless behavior, harassing the monks, lying, stealing, solicitation and other heinous false accusations primarily fabricated by the VSSC General Counsel and Inside Investigator. The above listed individuals did everything they could to smear my character and reputation within the devotee community trying to force me to leave on my own.
When I refused to leave and to be intimidated by their corrupt inside investigator, the managing monk and my then spiritual mentor, they fired me from an 8-month volunteer work project that I had committed and endeavored to faithfully complete in order to humiliate and demoralize me. They then tried to force me to leave the RKM by telling me I was no longer welcome at the monastery and threatened to call the police if I continued to attend the spiritual services held at the monastery.
They made good on that promise when my spiritual mentor and the VSSC Assistant Minister had me arrested for trespassing at the monastery. I was at the annual RKM Holiday Sunday service, gifts in hand, to speak to the Minister of the VSSC attending that day and ask for his help in this matter. I never made it to the Minister as the OC Sheriff pulled me out of the monastery library, where I was listening to the piped-in spiritual lecture on 1 Corinthians 13 (The Biblical Christian concept of Love) given by the new VSSC Hindu Assistant Minister, and arrested me on the retaliatory charge of trespassing.
As a result of the RKM and VSSC collective ignorance, fear, authoritative abuse, and my defiance of discriminatory sexist behavior, I spent four days in the Santa Ana Women's Jail until the DA dropped my case for lack of evidence. I celebrated Chistmas Eve and Day with my fellow women inmates who gave me an unexpected insight into their personal lives and the women's prison system. Although incarceration is an intimidating and humbling event, not for the faint-of-heart, I consider it an educational and character building life experience.
I have spent approximately two years fighting the injustice and discriminatory actions of the very people who profess the love of God and the compassion we all should demonstrate to one another in our daily lives, even when we are being persecuted. I tried everyday to practice these core tenants and the spiritual philosophy of Vedanta in my daily life, and towards the man and Brahmacharyi who instead practiced sexual misconduct with me as a new devotee and volunteer of the Vedanta Society.
This man who claimed to be a monk of the RKM, who said and did lewd sexual things to me, stalked me at the monastery, pinned me to my desk chair whilst groping me and tried to forcibly kiss me in the library where I volunteered, still attends the spiritual services held at the Ramakrishna Monastery with the blessings of all the resident monks, the VSSC General Counsel, many VSSC Members, the regular male volunteers, my now x-spiritual mentor, and many of my fellow devotees who turned their backs on me out of fear and ignorance. All believed the damaging lies and gossip spread about me by the managing monk of the monastery; among many other community members.
I have forgiven these people who I still care for very deeply, who became an integral part of my spiritual life and who pointed the way to my spiritual path and my divine nature latent in us all. I am grateful for the time I spent at the RKM and for my volunteer work in the monk’s library which gave me an opportunity to study Vedanta and for deep spiritual self-reflection. However, I cannot stand by and let them get away with their religious Federally protected, despicable actions towards me for reporting the sexual misconduct of a 20-year, renounced resident, disrespectful, misguided old man. I will hold them accountable either in a court of law or in the court of public opinion and continue my efforts until I realize my end goal of an implemented Zero-Tolerance, public sexual harassment, anti-retaliation policy within the VSSC. I want to prevent the type of misconduct and anguish I experienced within the Vedanta Society from ever happening to anyone else again.
Please be wary of becoming involved with this spiritual organization beyond the surface level of their Vedanta Philosophy, as the individuals mentioned above do not always practice what they preach and have a tendency to disrespect, discriminate and disparage women within their community who do not align with their devotee expectations and religious norms.
Unfortunately, I am not the only woman who has experienced the spiritual abuse of power and sexist behavior within the Vedanta Society. There are other female devotees who have their own experiences of sexism, emotional abuse, intimidation, discrimination, humiliation and backlash for daring to speak up about the misconduct they had experienced by the monks and other male members of the Vedanta Society of Southern California.
If you take away any message from my post, above all else, always speak your truth to power, especially to authoritative abuses of spiritual leaders and mentors. Do not be afraid to stand-up to sexual harassment, assault, abuse, sexism, discrimination and the like, as you are believed, supported and stronger than you know.
You are not alone! #MeToo.
My name is Nomad.
Vedanta Society Of So Calif is rated 1.0 based on
Trust Mamma Reviews
Our reviews are aggregated from multiple sources to give you the best overview about vedanta.org.
Vedanta Place 1946