The invisible war of sexual assault of female and male military personnel by their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines continues even as the U.S. Senate holds hearings and presses for substantive changes in the way cases of sexual assault are handled. The Academy Award nominated documentary tells the story of survivors of rape and of an institution long on rhetoric and short on change.
The recent song, “Accidental Racist,” by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J got me thinking about how one accidentally oppresses other people. As a white woman raised in the South, I’ve heard the angst expressed before. I just don’t buy it. Yet it inspired me to write another version.
As I have continued to ponder and worry about the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case which I blogged about last week, I came across a two very interesting pieces. First is an open letter from Melissa Harris-Perry to the survivor of the Steubenville rape: “Dear Steubenville Survivor, I Believe You.” It is written from one survivor to another in appreciation for the courage of the young woman in coming forward in spite of knowing the response she would get. Please listen to it.
The fact that two teenage football players raped an intoxicated teenager is bad enough. They have now been convicted of their crimes. But the additional fact that other teens not only watched and did not intervene to help the victim but also took photos which they then broadcast with social media is even more disturbing.
The New York Times is right on this one. If politicians are serious about fixing the perception that they don’t understand or care about women, they would do well to move quickly to pass the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) immediately.
In the midst of the campaign, Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock was asked if abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest. He responded negatively with this explanation: “I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something the God intended to happen.” Apparently, Richard Mourdock knows the mind of God.
First, a confession: I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey nor do I intend to. When I choose a novel to read, I pay attention to reviews or suggestions of my friends. The thought of spending time reading second rate prose about dominant-submissive heterosexual sex just doesn't seem very appealing. Life is too short.
“Legitimate rape” has now been added to the lexicon of sexual assault thanks to Representative Todd Akin, candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri. One wonders about the definition of this new term; perhaps its synonym “real rape” and its opposite is “illegitimate rape.” It’s a mystery to me.
I am just writing to thank you for denouncing Sr. Margaret Farley’s excellent book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.” This is the best PR any author could possibly get and, as a result, the book has soared to the Best Seller list at Amazon overnight. I realize that God works in strange and mysterious ways, but this is too good.
So it is the season of marriage and my partner and I delighted in attending our niece’s wedding in Baltimore last weekend. It was a three day party bringing together family and friends in celebration of their love for each other, their hope for the future, and their commitment to journey together, come what may.
International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911 and has been observed each year since as a day to recognize women’s achievements as well as to lift up the issues of gender inequality such as violence against women that continue to plague the human race and diminish the lives of women and men.
The U.S. Department of Justice has updated its definition of rape. Now we can name more clearly what victims of rape have known for centuries.
This time last year I was on my way to Capetown, South Africa, to visit my friend, Elizabeth Petersen and the South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI). This was my first trip to this massive continent and, like so many people, I immediately fell in love with South Africa.
A former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, Jerry Sandusky (a priest in the Church of College Football), has been arrested and charged with sexual abuse of boys over a 15 year period.
“Corrective rape.” When I first heard this term, I stopped dead in my tracks. Having thought that I had heard it all when it came to violence against women, here was yet another perverse variation of rationale for sexual assault.
The only real news in the case of the charge of sexual assault against a powerful French politician is that the victim came forward and filed a complaint. The outcome is classic and predictable.
This is the advice given by many insurance companies to clients who are churches or religious organizations when faced with a disclosure of abuse by one of their leaders. Frankly, it is advice that will very likely lead to lawsuits brought by survivors of abuse and to significant settlements paid out by insurers.
Actress Ashley Judd recently disclosed that she was sexually abused as a child; American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi recently disclosed that she was sexually abused as a child; Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts recently disclosed that he was sexually abused as a child. When each made a public disclosure, the media described these disclosures as “confessions.”
I realize that you are soon to retire as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I can only assume that you are exhausted from dealing with sexual abuse by priests in your diocese for so many years and from all of the subsequent scandals. I hope that you will have time to reflect on your role in addressing this longstanding problem of betrayal by your priests.
I look forward to the beginning of February, not in anticipation of February 2 as Groundhog Day (which I have never understood anyway), but in celebration of February 1 as the Feast Day of St. Brigit—she who breathes life into the dead of winter.