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Friday, June 3, 2016

Sexual Assault - How to Respond?

2356 Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.

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The definition of Rape in the Catechism of the Catholic Church encompasses the Catholic understanding of both Justice and the inherent Dignity of the Human Person.  While it is common today to dismiss Church Teaching in this area due to the horrific Sex Abuse Scandal,  it is always important to point out that the failure of the people within an institution to live the Teachings of Jesus' Church does not negate those Teachings; rather, it points out our tendency to sin and underscores our need for the Sacramental Graces provided by the same Church.

I believe one of the most difficult aspects of any discussion of the horror of sexual assault is talking about prevention of, or defense against, the assault itself.  One finds oneself right smack in the middle of political emotion.  The idea that no one, and I mean NO ONE, has the right to commit a criminal act against anyone - man, woman, child or animal - has to be sacrosanct.  The fact that us humans might have some sort of responsibility for our own safety and protection does not mean we are responsible for any criminal attack perpetrated against us.  Therefore, when discussing the problems being faced on College Campuses, one must be very careful to not send the message that anyone who is a victim of such a grievous crime is responsible for that crime. 

This is especially true if the person is impaired in some way.  A drunk or stoned man or woman cannot give consent for sex.  If you decide to have sex with a man or woman who is drunk or loaded, you have committed a crime.  If you are also drunk or loaded then the situation becomes even hazier.

If you, as a man, decide that the half-conscious woman (or man) in your car should be taken to your dorm room so that you and all your buddies can assault her (or him)  and take pictures of it to put on the internet I do not want to hear you tell Dr. Phil (during your sensational jail house interview) that you are really a nice guy.  I don't care if you go to Church and are Born Again the Evangelical Baptist way or that you were an Altar Boy in grammar school.   You are a criminal.  You are disgusting in your practice of sex and you deserve to spend a long time incarcerated.  I hope you do find Jesus.  I hope you do find His Church and repent.  I will pray for you.....but I want you to spend time in prison.  You deserve it.

All that being said,  if I was a parent of a teenage girl today I would urge her to never, never, NEVER, go to a large party and ingest alcohol.  I would caution her on what she wears, how she talks, the language she uses and to never separate herself from her friends.  I would tell her to she would be better off spending Saturday nights alone than attend a street party at her college.   I would share my graphic story of assault with her.  And I would let every young man who interacts with her in my line of vision that, while I am a Faithful Catholic, I would be willing to do time in prison myself to protect or avenge the honor of any child of mine who is violated. 

In theory, I should be able to walk buck naked down 9th Street in Modesto and do so with impunity.  I should be able to go to a bar and drink myself silly and get in a cab and go home unmolested.  I should be able to use any kind of language I want when expressing myself without some yahoo deciding that I am signaling my available for a free-wheeling sexual encounter with a stranger or group of strangers.

In reality, that is not how the world works and while I applaud the arrest and prosecution of anyone who assaults someone and uses the excuse of 'but look what she/he was wearing' as their defense I am not going to take any more chances with my safety.  I am not going to live my life on the edge anymore.

In my opinion, to vilify anyone for telling women on college campuses to not get drunk at parties in order to avoid being attacked is  an example of how good sense is discarded for political correctness.  It is also my opinion that looking at a group of boys OR girls who join in and attack someone as being anything less than animalistic in their behavior is also discarding good sense for political correctness.  If your boy stands in line to have sex with a girl in a bathroom, your boy is a rapist and should be kept away from other vulnerable people.  If your daughter takes pictures of, or joins in with an attack on a single person there is something horrible about her and she needs to be punished and kept separate from others she may harm.

Speaking out and asking people to watch their own behavior is really no different than encouraging people to lock their doors.  I do not think criminals have a right to commit crimes.  I am going to do whatever is necessary to keep myself safe.  I will modify my behavior, I will learn to protect myself, I will pray and I will trust God.

I suggest we teach our children to do the same.

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