BLAMING THE VICTIM by Monica Pignotti Ex-Cult Member Speaks Out The term +quot;victim+quot

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WARNING: The Cult Awareness Network was destroyed by the Scientology crime syndicate in court and, when CAN went bankrupt, the Scientology criminal enterprise acquired the use and title of the Cult Awareness network. Now, if you call CAN, you will find yourself talking to the Scientology crime syndicate! This gross injustice was due to a massive frame up concocted by Scientology to destroy CAN and it worked, prompting a Judge to order all of CAN's records handed over to the very same criminal enterprise that most people contacted the real CAN to complain about and to acquire help fighting. Spread the word that the new Cult Awareness Network is now a Scientology crime syndicate front! - flr, feb 2003 BLAMING THE VICTIM by Monica Pignotti from: Cult Awarness Network News, Sept. 89, Pg.6 Ex-Cult Member Speaks Out The term "victim" is not very popular in some circles, particularly the new age philosophies which are seeping into universities and other institutions. To admit to being a victim in such a culture is very difficult and takes a certain amount of courage, as there is a strong tendency to blame the victim. Many people equate being a victim with being helpless, wallowing in self pity and being out of control. This is not what I am talking about when I say I was a victim of mind control while involved with Scientology. And I don't believe that this is what any other victims of cults are saying either. The basic dichotomy that some cults (particularly new age ones) set up is that our consciousness created the universe and that there is no objective reality outside that which we, ourselves, created. We are God, so this philosophy states, and therefore we can either take full responsibility for our creations or we can choose to completely abandon responsibility and let our creations control us -- in other words, become victims. From this point of view, victims always choose to be victims. This premise is very much a part of the Scientology axioms, which state that all matter, energy, space and time is created by thetan (the Scientology word for spirit). If this idea is taken seriously (and believe me, it is!), the implications are disastrous. For one thing, there can be no such thing as "truth" or "lies" because if we create all reality, who is to say that one man's lie isn't another man's truth? This rules out any possibility of critical thinking. Reality, according to L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, is what is agreed upon and we, as Scientologists, created some pretty horrendous realities! After all, if we create our own reality, all forms of abuse can be justified. There is no right or wrong because nobody does anything to anyone that the victim didn't create. Thus, anything goes. A child getting locked up in a chain locker is not a victim because that child created the reality of the experience. This concept justifies inflicting harm on others. There is an alternative to this false dichotomy that either you are responsible for everything or nothing at all. This alternative is recognizing that there is a reality outside of ourselves and independent of our consciousness. That reality can be called God, nature, existence..... Under this alternative, like it or not, we are not always fully responsible for everything that happens to us. Admitting that we are not always in control can be scary, a vulnerability in people that cult leaders take advantage of. It is easy to want to escape into new age belief systems, but people who do this must realize that the price to be paid is high. When we admit that we can be a victim, we have to face the fact of ur own mortality--that we can, for instance, become seriously ill, despite all our best efforts to stay healthy. If subjected to a thought reform program, we can lack knowledge of mind control, and thus become a victim. At 18, I became a victim of a cult because I was ignorant on the subject of mind control. Looking back on my experience, I can say with great certainty that if I had known from the beginning what Scientology was really all about, I never would have gotten involved -- but that is simply not how cults operate. Scientology, I was deceptively told in the beginning, was anti- authoritarian and anti-punishment. We were told to look within ourselves for answers, but the closer I got to the inner sanctum of the group, the more I discovered a very different reality. By the time I discovered the truth about Scientology, it was too late; I was so indoctrinated at that point, it was unthinkable for me to ever conceive of leaving. Wanting to leave, I had been told, meant that I had crimes against the groups and thus, humanity. If I left, I believed I would be doomed to a spiritual death and stay in the trap of the planet earth forever -- a fate I thought was worse than anything that could ever happen to me within the cult. I became an unwitting prisoner of a totalistic environment. I was a victim. Even though I was a victim, I would like to make it very clear that I don't believe that the concept of a reality outside of ourselves negates the concept of free will. There is much in our lives that we do have a choice about, and life holds many exciting possibilities for those who are free to enjoy them. On the issue of cults, we can take back control of our lives by educating ourselves and others on the techniques used to control people's minds, so that if we encounter these techniques again, we can choose not to get involved. I believe very much in free will, but free will is precisely what the cults take away from people. It has been my experience that once I was able to accept the fact that I was a victim, I was able to take back control of my life in a more authentic way. If we are ever to heal ourselves or feel true compassion for others, we must accept the reality of what happened to us. In doing so, I let go of years of unearned guilt, shame, blame and self-condemnation, and I feel like the joyful, idealistic, youthful person I was when I first got involved in the cult. (Monica Pignotti was involved in Scientology for six years.)

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