I am writing to publicly apologize and take accountability for my role in hurting Rebecca Jamieson, as she describes in her article: https://entropymag.org/woven-leaving-shambhala/
Rebecca contacted me in 2014 and clearly, patiently, and powerfully described her experience of sexual violence and the specific incident with Lodro Rinzler. I should have immediately affirmed that it is entirely inappropriate and harmful for a teacher to repeatedly press for sex, but I failed to fully hear Rebecca and work for what she needed.
In our conversations over the next months, I also failed to quickly take action. Further, when it became clear that our exchanges were insufficient, I attempted to connect Rebecca with a leader with expertise in addressing sexual violence in the Office of Societal Health and Wellbeing. In retrospect—after Rebecca had already spoken to so many leaders—I see how passing the situation on to a different “office” was a form of gaslighting.
My mishandling of this instance of sexual harm within Shambhala contributed to years of unnecessary, silent and lonely suffering for Rebecca. I am deeply sorry for this. I am so sorry, Rebecca.
With these actions, I was complicit in the ongoing patterns of patriarchal institutions. The Shambhala leadership that I was part of failed to understand sexual trauma and what was needed for true community accountability. We did not adequately support the survivor, nor did we establish a team to work with the perpetrator to help create the conditions for accountability—we ultimately did not craft a transformative process.
Genuine spiritual traditions in our world need to be both profound and just. Our actions and inaction led to a broad collapse of trust and the disillusionment of many good people who we turned away from a beautiful vision. I commit to not repeating such patterns and to the ongoing path of generous, restorative healing.