I didn’t realize I had been sexually assaulted by a shaman until a few years after the incident. His manipulation brainwashed me, and for years I normalized his behavior, continuing to recommend his services to others. Like many women, I was coerced into sexual acts by an ayahuasca “healer” through a carefully constructed series of manipulations and “spiritual” justifications. Within these spaces, “healers” can claim to give the participant special powers, or promise a divine spiritual encounter if they engage in certain sexual activities with them. The prevalence of power abuse and manipulation within healing spaces is detrimental to the healing community as a whole, as well as affected individuals. Chacruna recently published the Ayahuasca Community Guide for the Awareness of Sexual Abuse, helping to create much- needed dialogue around this issue, as well as safeguard women in ayahuasca healing contexts. Indeed, it is important that we bring awareness to maltreatments within this community in order to create a more inclusionary and safe space for all participants… continue reading.

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