I would like to believe, that we are a country built on assured values.
One value that most of us would hopefully agree on is that sexual violence, against children, women, and men – is a reprehensible act.
The facts tell a different story:
1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of child sexual abuse each year.
20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males remember childhood sexual assault.
In the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 has been a victim of sexual abuse.
The most vulnerable age for childhood sexual assault to happen are between the ages of 7 and 13.
Possibly the most gut-wrenching facts are these:
3 out of 4 adolescents were sexually assaulted by someone they knew.
Children who had experienced rape or the attempt of sexual violation in their teens years were 13 times more likely to experience rape or in their first year of college
A child who is a victim sexual abuse develops low self-esteem, they feel self-hate and have a distorted view of sex behavior.
Children who are victims of sexual assault can and do become suicidal.
Sexual abuse is not just to physical contact. Sexual violations include voyeurism and child pornography.
“What does this have to do with Whole Foods?,” You ask.
The co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey who happens to be a proponent of conscious capitalism, has lavished praise on accused sexual offender and former Rabbi, Mr. Marc Gafni.
Gafni is well known for his snide remark published in the New York Times;
“She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.”
The New York Daily News reported:
“Gafni denies allegations of abusing two girls, ages 13 and 16 in the 1980s; he stated they were willing partners.”
The rub here?
Mackey sat on Gafni’s board of directors for Gafni’s think tank “Center for Integral Wisdom” until June 2016.
Some might ask;
“What took so long for Mr. Mackey to distance himself professionally from Gafni?”
The answer to that question is, Mr.Mackey has long shown devotion to his good friend Gafni.
Matthew Sandusky, Executive Director, Peaceful Hearts Foundation and author of the book Undaunted: Breaking My Silence to Overcome the Trauma of Child Sexual Abuse said:
“John Mackey, Whole Foods Market and Conscious Capitalism boards of directors have an opportunity to reach millions with an important message. Instead of maintaining the societal norm of silence around these issues, I would like to see them take a stand against child sexual abuse publicly — take a leadership role. Mackey should disavow Marc Gafni.”
But it gets worse.
In response to President Donald Trump’s infamous and offensive comment:
“Grab them by the p***y,”
“Donald Trump is an Outrageous Lover.”
Many have commented on my upright stance regarding publishing articles penned by Author and Activist Nancy Levine regarding this subject, on Feminine Collective. Ms. Levine told me via email that she had been turned down by other publications because of the “fear factor” in the publishing world. No one wanted to touch this story. Why? Because of the power that the two men wield in our society.
I hate bullies, and I detest perpetrators of sexual violence. In fact, I can relate to the victims; I too am a survivor of sexual abuse.
It takes a village to raise a child; it takes a nation to disrupt the status quo.
For me it is simple.
Imagine if you will, that your local ice cream shop owner is a close friend with your town’s spiritual leader. They are so close that they become business compadres.
But wait a minute – it has been discovered that your town’s venerated spiritual leader happens to be a pedophile (which in my opinion- is the perfect acronym for Gafni).
Wouldn’t your town be outraged?
Wouldn’t your spiritual leader swiftly be removed from his pulpit of respect?
What if you discovered that your local ice-cream store owner kept the accused on as a business partner, not to mention friend?
Would you willing remain a customer?
I would not. I do not condone that kind of behavior; my patronage would be a sign of compliance, an act of approval. It would be guilt by association.
That is why I won’t spend any amount of money in Whole Foods. Not one cent.
Capitalism is king; the pawns are quick to keep secrets. Disgusting acts of sexual assault and the glorification of sexually lewd deeds and commentary by leaders in our government, community, and commerce – must come to an end.
Innocence is a commodity that can not be replaced. Countless people are suffering and will continue to suffer sexual violence unless WE THE PEOPLE put a stop to this unacceptable behavior.
If we attack the wallet, we will win.
I intended to join the protest: Whole Foods CEO & Sexual Violence Accountability organized by the Peaceful Heart’s Foundation on February 28th, 2017 in San Francisco, California. Unfortunately, family commitments will keep me from joining in.
I hope the words that I have written here, and the public stance I have taken as the Publisher of Feminine Collective denouncing such lurid behavior, will in some way embolden the brave souls at the protest.
I hope that my words will encourage YOU to stand up and speak out about sexual violence in your community.
Remember it takes a village to raise a child.
It takes a community to protect the vulnerable.