Pattabhi Jois Sexually Assaulted Men: Photo Evidence
Content warning: photos of sexual assault, below.
This post is intended to facilitate access to the following already-available images, which will be cited in Practice and All is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics and Healing in Yoga and Beyond (March 2019).
In the first photo, Pattabhi Jois is seen sexually assaulting a male practitioner in Supta trivikramasana. Jois is seen sexually assaulting Karen Rain in the same posture in a similar photo. The photo below was taken in the old Lakshmipuram shala, and so dates from before 2003.
In the second photo, Jois is seen assaulting a male practitioner in a forward fold. A source says that the photo was taken in 2003 in Encinitas.
The identities of the practitioners are unknown. They remain anonymous because their faces are hidden.
I’m posting with the awareness that the practitioners might dispute that the photographs depict sexual assault.
However: victim testimony alone does not define sexual assault. Other factors can include whether there was full consent, whether the alleged victim was capable of granting full consent at the time, whether the alleged victim was in a position or condition of submission, whether the contact was administered under the false premise of medical treatment, and whether there was a significant power imbalance between the alleged assaulter and the victim.
Karen Rain commented on these photos in a thread on Facebook:
I’ve heard a couple stories about P Jois sexually assaulting men, including one story of a male digital rape. I know that the AY community likes to say that what he did to women wasn’t sexual assault because he did the same thing to men. This is the most nonsensical argument. Imagine if we used that reasoning with priests: they did the same thing to young girls as they did to young boys, so therefore it isn’t sexual abuse(??). It’s important to understand that sexual abuse/assault is about power not about sex. Unfortunately, males are perhaps, even more than females or non-binary people, conditioned in ways that prevent recognition and disclosing of sexual assault. So much for the argument that P Jois was tempted by effusive, scantily clad western women.
If Jois’s sexual assaults on men were more difficult to recognize and disclose, this may have increased the tendency, especially among the senior male students, to ignore or rationalize assaults against women as well.