Threads on various Facebook timelines and in the Tantra Not Trauma group spark heated debate about ISTA. (This has been happening intermittently for years, but this time we formed a group in order to take more formalized action.)
The first Safer Sex-Positive & Spiritual Communities (3SC) leadership team meeting takes place.
3SC launches “Issues with ISTA & Highden Temple” Facebook group and its Incident of Harm report form in order to collect data and provide a safer space online for survivors to gather.
Triambika Ma Vive (ISTA lead facilitator and governance leader) and KamalaDevi McClure (ISTA lead teacher) publish informal responses to 3SC on their Facebook timelines.
ISTA publishes their first official response on their website.
“Issues with ISTA & Highden Temple” Facebook group has grown to over 500 members, 38 incident of harm reports have been collected.
ISTA publishes and announces the availability of mediation processes for survivors to be conducted by a neutral 3rd party called Safe Mediation.
3SC hosts a series of three online events for survivors and allies and publishes an improved incident of harm report form.
3SC meets with ISTA’s newly hired 3rd party mediation consultants, Safe Mediation, to discuss community concerns on several controversial aspects of their organizations’s decisions and processes.
Bruce Lyon (owner of Highden and ISTA lead teacher) publishes essay “On Being Called a Dangerous Cult Leader” on Facebook.
3SC contacts ISTA to request an official dialogue between our leadership team and theirs to be facilitated by a professional mediator of our choosing (not Safe Mediation). Our primary request is to discuss the suggestions we have offered on how they can address the harms that have occurred and implement reforms to reduce future harm.
3SC contacts Highden to explain that we will have to prioritize our process with ISTA due to limited bandwidth of our small volunteer team. We offer several members from our communication committee to begin an informal dialogue with them to discuss our mutual concerns and possible next steps.
Highden publishes this open letter on their Facebook page (that has since been deleted).
New Zealand’s largest public news broadcaster, RNZ, publishes: “Complainants warn against ‘sacred sexuality’ courses” and “Claims of abuse at courses run in Manawatu“
3SC sends the following to the following parties:
1. ISTA & Highden: 43 page summary, overview, and analysis of all 54 survivor reports of harm collected between 6/10/22 and 10/24/22, which included: all public reports with names redacted and the reports that survivors consented to be shared privately with them.
2. Safe Mediation: Reports that survivors consented to be shared specifically with them.
3. ISTA: A letter with our 20+ detailed suggestions on how to address the harm and move in a better direction as an organization (which included things like: considering removing several teachers; implementing adequate harm reporting structures and an abundance of supportive options for survivors like reparations, mediations, accountability processes, and therapy; as well as many structural shifts, such as reforming policies around student/teacher sexual relations and improving curriculum and teacher training with the assistance of qualified consultants who specialize in high-demand groups and trauma.
Two members of 3SC meet in person with Bruce Lyon (Owner of Highden and ISTA lead teacher).
3SC publishes this update in their Facebook community detailing recent accomplishments and important decisions about their path forward.
ISTA publishes this update regarding key changes they have decided to make and an accounting of feedback forms they collected.
After several preparation meetings in January and February between the 3SC mediation team and mediator, Alexis Dixon, we officially begin mediated talks with ISTA.
3SC publishes this update on the progress of mediated talks with ISTA.
After meeting for more than 30 hours together, and incalculable hours of work behind the scenes, 3SC and ISTA complete their formal mediation process.
ISTA publishes their Quarterly Accountability Update Winter Solstice 2023