A question of ‘moving on’


Survivors ‘Move On’? But Abusers Move On – From Victim To Victim. And Must Be Opposed, Barry Pittard wrote on his weblog on December 23, 2011.

He said there: ‘Tediously, phrases emerge from the mouths of those who could, but do not, speak out forthrightly about their experiences of spiritual and moral betrayal. Often, one hears them say, “I am moving on, now”. But the abusers, the criminals, the bullies, don’t move on. They thrive in the knowledge that their victims will, most often, move on. Essentially cowards themselves, they understand that other cowards will protect them – by preferring the easy way out. By shutting up. By not calling a crime a crime. By leaving undefended the abused. By abandoning any shred of self-respect.

There Is No Healing In Hiding

The Sathya Sai Organization certainly moves on, thinking that their dead guru – despite his countless false promises of healing and absurdly unfulfilled predictions and vast secret hoard of currency, gold, silver and other valuables – moves with them and within them. Those who, against unenviable odds, have continued year after year to expose Sathya Sai Baba and his soviet-style, authoritarian, worldwide cult too often see cases where those who speak of ‘moving on’ get into yet more self-entrapment. Out of one guru’s or cult’s frying pan into another. Again, the problem of lack of self-respect.’

I could not agree more. In fact, I can relate to mr. Pittard’s experience. Having moved on is one of the standard phrases I get when I try to elicit some reaction from former devotees here in my home country and abroad as to their former involvement with Sathya Sai Baba and his Organization. When I enquire how they are doing this or how they have done this, more often than not, I glean from their answers that they have ‘sold the books’ and don’t wish to think about it any further, or I get something like the following response: ‘It was a very happy time for me. I have my own private memories. Those are all I can judge. The rest? That’s  hearsay at best.’

Reacting in said manner seems a rather crude defense against unwelcome news, I find, but the sad thing is: it works. It’s like saying: ‘War is over. Let bygones be bygones. The past is the past’.

This special kind of non-responsiveness is akin to a phenomenon known in the field of social psychology as the bystander effect. Everyone sees something is awry, but no one acts, thinking the others will do it for them. Alas, most people tend to conformity in times of crisis, one way or the other.

It takes courage, self-respect, real empathy and a willingness and capacity to endure loneliness to take a stand instead of remaining a silent bystander. The examples Barry Pittard gives further down his entry of men and women who have done so speak volumes.

And yes, one of the sad and dangerous results of this subconscious conspiracy of silence is the fact that the real culprits DO move on, and are able to, because the majority thinks their position is neutral.