We have discussed on this blog a bit on abuse, and sexual abuse in Tibetan Buddhist Tradition (and off the blog there was a discussion about child abuse too) and what to do.
I just found a document I downloaded some years ago from the website of www.sakya.org, The Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, called Sakya Monastic – Code of Conduct 2005. This document frankly states the facts:
“The problem of sexual abuse of children, and the wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse, is a real and prevalent one for all churches of all faiths.”
The Sakya monastery has committed explicitly to an ethical charta which could serve as a model for centres and spiritual places in general. It addresses among others a “Policy: Anti-Harassment & Abuse” and a “Policy: Preventing Sexual Child Abuse”:
Policy: Anti-Harassment & Abuse
Sakya Monastery is committed to providing a work, residence and volunteer environment free of harassment because of any employee, resident or volunteer’s race, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability, veteran’s status or any other category protected under any local, state, or federal law in the U.S. or in any country in which Sakya Monastery conducts its business or religious affairs.
Harassing conduct includes, and is not limited to, the following:
- Epithets, slurs, stereotyping, threatening or intimidating language, jokes or hostile acts that relate to race, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability or any other protected category.
- Written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group based on race,sex, age, religion, national origin, disability or any other protected category.
- Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, residence or volunteering unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, residence or ability to offer volunteer services or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work, residential environment.
The Sakya Monastery is committed to protecting its employees, residents and volunteers from such harassment whether from its clergy, residents, employees, members, and volunteers or from non-employees such as vendors, members, clients, customers, and contractors.
All clergy, residents, employees, members, and volunteers are expected to treat each other with dignity, courtesy and respect
and to conduct themselves in accordance with this Code of Conduct. Each employee, resident and volunteer must mindfully
endeavor to exercise good judgment to avoid engaging in conduct that others may reasonably perceive or find as harassment.
In addition, everyone in any way associated with Sakya Monastery shall make a solemn promise to try to make everyone feel
safe and comfortable while at Sakya Monastery and during any Sakya Monastery organized event or gathering.
Policy: Preventing Sexual Child Abuse
The problem of sexual abuse of children, and the wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse, is a real and prevalent one for all churches of all faiths. Sakya Monastery’s insurance company, Church Mutual, has provided the guidelines to help prevent sexual abuse and protect Sakya Monastery from sexual abusers. These guidelines include:
- Selective “hiring”
(a) All new clergy, residents, employees, members, and volunteers shall fill out and sign the Volunteer or Employee application booklet, as appropriate.
(b) Applications will be reviewed and references be checked.
(c) Background checks will be conducted on people who will be involved in children’s programs.
- Developing and following a set of operational and supervisory guidelines.
- Conducting educational programs.