Girls Cannot Give Consent

Even if she puts on lipstick and arches her eyebrow.

In the third world, they stone a girl to death for being raped.  In the United States, we just give her rapist and de facto murderer a slap on the wrist, and reassure the world that she was asking for it.

Think I’m exaggerating?  Cherice Morales was fourteen when her 49-year-old teacher began to rape her.  Three years later, she killed herself. The reason her story is in the news is because her rapist, Stacey Rambold, got 30 days in jail for the rapes.

After Morales killed herself, Rambold was supposed to complete a sex offender treatment program, but he didn’t.  His case was revived when it was revealed that he was, among other offenses, having unsupervised visits with minors.  His sentencing judge, Judge G. Todd Baugh, who never met the victim, said that she was “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold was, and that she was “older than her chronological age.”  “It was not a violent, forcible, beat-the-victim rape like you see in movies,” he said.  (What kind of movies are you watching, your honor?)

Yesterday, after there was an outcry, the judge apologized for his statements about Morales.  He says that he doesn’t know what he was trying to say, and that his statements are not relevant to the sentencing.  But he isn’t rescinding the sentencing, either.  Thirty days is what the man gets, minus one day already served.

In this raw and profane piece in xo jane, a woman who suffered repeated statutory rape starting at age 13, reminds us why there are laws about statutory rape in the first place:

The fact is, a 14-year-old girl may be capable of agreeing to sex with a 49-year-old man, but she doesn’t have the emotional and mental maturity to consent.  I was 25 before I realized that every man I’d slept with as a teenager was a pedophile. It seemed to me that since I’d courted the attention, that I was fully culpable. What teenager believes she is not mentally or emotionally capable of full consent? I thought I was an adult, although when I look at the picture of myself from the time period above, I see a child.

I thought I was the exception for these men, the girl so precocious and advanced that it superseded social norms. I thought that I was “older than my chronological age.”

Well, what do you expect from the modern, secular world, right?  What do you expect from a culture that simultaneously glorifies and degrades human sexuality?  Of course you’re going to have needy girls and lecherous men.  Of course there will be suffering and heartache, and innocents will suffer and predators will go free.

But surely we Catholics know better than that, yes?  Surely the Church on earth, imperfect as she is, is a safe haven for the young and vulnerable.

Well, just yesterday I ran afoul of a prominent Catholic writer, a professor who often works with college students.  The last time I talked to him when he said in public that the way to deal with a teen mom who’d given birth at age fourteen is to tell the “slut” to “keep her legs closed.”

No long ago, I was speaking to a Catholic priest about how difficult life seemed when I was a teenager, and he went into a long reverie about the teenage girls that cross his path.  “Those short skirts, that heavy eye makeup—” he said . . . “Ohh, they know exactly what they’re doing.”

Think rapists come from nowhere?  Think they would dare to do what they do, if it were not for men like these?  You don’t have to be a rapist to be part of the problem.  All you have to do is make sure we all remember that the girl is to blame.  No matter how young she is, the girl is always to blame.

  • It’s her fault because she knows how to look like a woman (even though she’s not).
  • It’s her fault because she wears padded bras and skanky clothing (even though her body is tender and unfinished on the inside).
  • It’s her fault because she knows all the moves (because she’s been trained since toddlerhood to writhe to a beat, because that’s what makes the adults in the house point the camera at them).
  • It’s her fault because she works hard to look sexy (even though she really only wants to look pretty, and sexy is the only pretty she’s ever been shown).
  • It’s her fault because she’s loud and dirty because she knows it gets her something (and she knows that something is better than nothing).

It’s her fault because she’s learned that she has power, and she does wield it (because the only time men speak to her is to say two things, “Do what I tell you to do” and “I want you.”  If you were a lonely girl, which would you rather hear?).

The xojane writer tells us,

[I]t doesn’t matter if a young girl is saying yes, it’s an adult man’s job to say no.

And she’s not just talking to Rambold and other men who happen to have a thing for young girls.  She’s talking to all adults who should know better:  the judge, the defense attorney, the professors, the priests, the therapists, the school principles, the combox snipers, men and women.  She’s speaking to us.  To me.

What do I say when I meet a young girl in trouble?  What do I see when a teenage girl sashays by in skintight jeans, made up like a porn star?  Do I see a girl?  Or do I grimace and avert my eyes from just another young slut who’s out to ruin the world?

What do we tell girls, besides, “Do what I tell you to do?”  Do we tell them, “You are still young”?  Do we tell them, “Stand behind me, and I will protect you”?  Do we tell them that there is still hope, there is a way to get love and attention without being used?  Or do we tell the girls that it’s their fault, always their fault?

I don’t want to be the background music for the song and dance of the likes of Rambold and Judge Baugh, who say that there is no such thing as innocence.  Keep on saying it, and it will come true.

photo credit: Cat Eyes via photopin (license)

This post originally ran in 2013. I’m reposting it in light of recent conversations about Maria Goretti.

"Can The Jerk have this space now that you're done with it? I mean, it's ..."

I’m moving!
"Wonderful Ideas for newborn baby and their parents also, its good to give them handmade ..."

Welcome, baby! 12 gifts that new ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Guest

    I can’t recall ever reading this blog comment on the sixteen year old boys whose lives we flush down the toilet because they slept with their girlfriend. If young people can’t give consent, what is the greater outrage: Insufficiently punishing the guilty, or destroying the innocent?

    • Mrs. Chastity

      Statutory rape is a strict liability offense; that is, your mindset does not matter. Neither do the specifics of the case at hand. The only thing to prove is if it occurred.
      If we want to say that sleeping with a child under the age of consent (which is usually 17, but it varies state by state) is always and everywhere wrong, then these types of situations will happen. If we want to say something different, then we need to write our laws differently. But no use in getting upset after the law is properly applied; nothing can change until the law is changed.
      But personally, I want my sons to know that if they sleep with a girl (they’re 17, she’s 16 or younger) that they’re courting trouble with the law. I want the onus to be on my son to behave better and to take responsibility.

      • Guest

        So… we have you on record that if your 17 year old son sleeps with a 16 year old, you want him prosecuted for rape and registered as a sex offender? As long as he’s in a state where that is the letter of the law?

        • The Jerk

          Kevin, most states will not prosecute when there is a three year or less age difference. Those poor 17-year-old boys you are talking about are getting a free pass for having sex with 14-year-old girls. It’s when the girls are 13 or 12 is when the state steps in. Then those poor boys have their lives ruined. Boo hoo.

        • Brian Anthony

          …and he will bear that burden for the rest of his life and NOTHING HE DOES will ever remove that “scarlet letter” he will wear everywhere he goes, no matter what job he applies for. Christ cringes and weeps at the fact that forgiveness is something we simply dont extend to criminals at all.

          • The Jerk

            So when a 17 year old rapes a 13, or 12 or 11 year old, and is then placed on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life, that’s the injustice? Nice priorities.

          • Brian Anthony

            No! The crime is terrible, but the punishment is almost too much. the “rapist” may never commit that crime again but it doesn’t matter because he will always be labeled as such. their is no way for him to clear his label. its impossible. Society will never forgive him. Thats an injustice in the name of justice. allow the criminal the ability to repent and confess and to change his life. dont label him til the day he dies.

          • The Jerk

            Nope. Most sex offenders will repeat their crimes. As a parent, I like to know where the dirtbags are. Registry is a basic form of protection fro the rest of us. Sorry if that hampers his ability to get work at Dunkin Donuts, but it does nothing to keep him from repenting and changing his life.

          • Brian Anthony

            he can change his life, but he is still labeled, perhaps 30 40 50 years later. no matter what he does people will turn him away, for one mistake he made. how enlightened and liberal sounding!

          • Barbara Fryman

            You know what’s frustrating about this? A girl has a baby or an abortion and has to live with the stigma her whole life, but you want to mitigate the stigma of a boy who commits statutory rape. Sin hurts us, period.

            There are sad cases. There are people who turn their lives around and still get their mistakes thrown in their faces. It’s not fair, but sad cases make bad law. Teach your son to be better and to know the consequences and then pray he listens. It’s all any of us can do.

          • Brian Anthony

            who said i wouldnt fogive the woman who had an abortion too? and i am specifically talking about the legal implications for the man. If a woman gets an abortion in our society its legal, and usually praised…

          • Julie

            Guess they should have listened to their parents and priests.

          • Brian Anthony

            your attempt at sarcasm is useless as, had you meant it seriously, i would obviously agree with this statement…

          • Julie

            I do mean it seriously. But I have no idea why you are defending boys from the consequences of their actions and shaming girls.

          • Guest

            If we believe they will re-offend we should keep them in jail, duh. Either in or out. None of this half-way stuff where they are forced to sleep under a bridge.

          • AshenTech

            funny thats not what the research says


            “Recidivism Statistics

            The percentages rearrested (but not necessarily guilty) for the “same category of offense” for which they were most recently in prison for were:
            13.4% of released robbers
            22.0% of released assaulters
            23.4% of released burglars
            33.9% of released larcenists
            19.0% of released defrauders
            41.2% of released drug offenders
            2.5% of released rapists”

          • The Jerk

            Funny, stats not gleaned from the Huffington Post, but from the FBI show that “released sex offenders were 4 times more likely to be rearrested for a sex crime.”


          • Guest

            I’m not sure where you draw the line in terms of consent, but isn’t it striking that your moral system allows a person to move so quickly from an age where they _can’t_ consent no matter what, to an age where their conscience is so well-developed that even consensual sex with the wrong person is morally equivalent to forcible rape.

          • The Jerk

            I’m gonna tag out of this conversation now, because it is unlikely to go anywhere. From my years of experience dealing with criminals, I have never met the guy wrongly accused of sexual assault, They all claim they were just having sex with their girlfriend, but when I checked the record, I found the details of brutality. Whenever I meet someone who makes your arguments, I cross the road to get away from them. You either have no idea what you are talking about, or you have too much experience with the criminal justice system.

          • simchafisher

            “You either have no idea what you are talking about, or you have too much experience with the criminal justice system.

            Yes, thank you. I am always astonished when a man reads an article about a raped, dead girl and a predator who goes free, and his first comment is “Why don’t we feel more sorry for boys?” I don’t know, because they’re not raped and dead, I suppose.

            I think it’s reasonable and compassionate when states have different tiers of sexual offense, depending on the age and circumstances of the couple. I don’t think a man should be punished forever for sleeping with his 16-year-old girlfriend when he was 17, or whatever. But as The Jerk pointed out, that is not the way it usually goes. If you’re going to listen to sob stories from sexual offenders, you’re going to hear a lot of self-serving, self-pitying lies from people who were, are, and will be predators.

          • Conservative Catholic

            “Why don’t we feel more sorry for boys?” I don’t know, because they’re not raped and dead, I suppose. ”

            Just so you know, and you should have already considered this, not all rape victims are girls, and many young boys have committed suicide because they don’t have anyone to tell. Boys are supposed to be “strong” and “the leader” in relationships, but this is not always the case. Gender is not the issue here, youth and innocence are. Please, get your priorities straight. ALL of our children are in harms way!

          • simchafisher

            I have already considered it, and I’m already writing a follow up post, so relax. Not every post has to cover every possibly conceivably related idea.

          • Brian Anthony

            “are were and will be” sounds like painting with wide brushes to me, instead of caring and reaching out to the sinner as we are supposed to. thats all i am getting at.

          • Brian Anthony

            im talking about Christ like forgiveness! for the love of GOD!

          • Julie

            I would take you more seriously if your instinct was also to extend Christ like forgiveness to the homeschooled girls who slept around in college instead of pointing to their culpability.

          • Brian Anthony

            um ya know in order to move someone to conversion you do in fact have to prove to them they have something holding them back to convert from…

          • Julie

            So why can’t you understand that where boys are concerned? Are you really not seeing your very different standards?

          • $1650412

            This is the reality I continually emphasize to my sons, among other truths about chastity and the sacrament of marriage and the law.

          • Brian Anthony

            obviously it can be a good deterrent, and that is great, but i still think Christ would weep over this pharisaic treatment.

    • MightyMighty1

      Some states have “Romeo and Juliet” clauses, where as long as the two are within a certain age range, they’re in the clear. Generally two 16-year-olds having sex are held to the same standard. Do you know of cases where only the underage boy is prosecuted for consensual underage sex?

      • Theodore Seeber

        Oregon now has a Romeo and Juliet Clause. But I think it was better when it wasn’t. Back in the 1980s, we were warned the *first day of high school* that having sex under the age of 18 was statutory rape, and that there was a double standard where the male was always the rapist. Made a lot of people think twice, and “The only safe sex is no sex” was the mantra of that generation.

  • Mary

    This is very good. You know what else this applies to… poor Miley Cyrus. Why is no one talking about the grown man — 36 year old, married father Robin Thicke? Why wasn’t he man enough to say no to participating in that, and why don’t we, as a culture, say he’s also, if not more, to blame?

    • MightyMighty1

      She’s 20.

      • Ellen Johnson

        Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke are both terribly sad, terribly broken people. We shouldn’t talk about who is worse, we should just pray for them and for all the people who buy into their sad, broken lives.

    • MightyMighty1

      This is bothering me, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s a given that Robin Thicke is a dirtbag. Nobody is shocked by what he does. But Miley Cyrus had every advantage in the world, including a dedicated father. She was a role model to little girls, and she knew it.

      Sure, they’re both wrong. But is it wrong that I’m more bothered by her abdicating her role as a role model than I am by him fulfilling his role as a jackass?

      And yes, he participated in the show, but quite frankly, she was the show. She was the one grinding, twerking, rubbing herself, dressed in a flesh-toned vinyl bikini. He stood there and sang a gross song. He did something he’s been doing a long time, she did something new.

      Also, if 20 doesn’t count as being old enough to be held responsible, what is the cut-off?

      • Li Min

        What’s really sad, even at 20 a young woman can be very naive. Surrounded by Hollywood and the liberal media, it is not surprising to me that Miley is lost in that world of immorality. She really doesn’t understand what virtue is. If her parents taught it, she apparently lost it associating with bad company or just from the culture itself. It goes to show how important guarding our children from the current culture is these days!

        • J. Fischer

          Mara Wilson wrote a piece on a couple of years back on why child actors go off the rails. She talked about the culture and its effects on children who are trying to grow up. As an example of how powerless parents can be in that world, she told of the time a reporter at a red-carpet event stuck a microphone in her 9-year-old face and asked her about Hugh Grant’s sexual shenanigans. Her father was outraged, but ultimately couldn’t do anything about it.

        • J. Fischer

          Here’s a link to the piece by Mara Wilson. Just close up the spaces.

          http://www.cracked. com/blog/7-reasons-child-stars-go-crazy-an-insiders-perspective/

      • Mary

        I take your point, to a certain extent. Yes, Miley is 20, but this isn’t really new behavior for her, just new to the degree. She hasn’t been Hannah Montana for years. And sure, maybe Robin Thicke isn’t the guy to tell her no, but apparently there isn’t anyone any where in Hollywood, except maybe her father, at one point, who has been telling her no. Not as a teen, and not as a young woman.
        And, again, what I find interesting is a culture where a man can be with the same woman for 20 years (RT and his wife have been together since they met in high school), married, and have a child, which, let’s face it, is pretty rare and takes some dedication — and yet he can do this kind of thing with a 20-year old naïve girl and the NO ONE comments on it? How can he, and we/society, balance these things out? I think by placing the blame on her… “Oh,” many people say to themselves, “his song is just ironic, it’s ok, he’s a family man… but man, look at what that naked girl got him into!!!”

        • Eileen

          Her father is part of her problem. Her parents allowed highly suggestive photos of her to be shot when she was only 15 years old. The poor kid’s learned what she’s been taught.

          • Elizabeth K.

            I agree. Let’s not forget, as well, that her parents (living off of her income) set up their house so that Miley could come and go from her own wing, on her own (per the Barbara Walter’s interview where Baba fawned all over them for being “wonderful parents.” Moron.)

      • Colet C. Bostick

        Maybe we shouldn’t presume to know anyone’s advantages or disadvantages. Especially when presented by Disney.

      • Barbara Dawson Cobb

        Miley was actually doing a lot of this stuff during her Disney days; it’s just that her management was hiding it. My sister has a connection with the Cyrus family and about five years ago was hanging out with Miley, her mom, and her management team at a bar. (Miley got in on an underage performer license and performed two or three songs with the band.) My sister shot footage of Miley stripper dancing in one of the cages in the crowd while her mom sat there and watched, and Miley’s management team begged her to delete or keep it private.

    • Eileen

      Oh my gosh! I came down here to say this exact thing. And here the very first response echoes my thoughts. And those of my 16 year old daughter. It hasn’t escaped her notice that the man in the prison stripes in prison stripes is getting a pass.

  • Mrs. Chastity

    This is a good call to conscience. How often do I see girls dressed immodesty and get angry at them – but I should know better. It’s not their fault. They are responding to what society is telling them.
    Thank you for reminding me.

    • Brian Anthony

      valid point but…isnt it their fault for responding to society’s desire rather then Mother Church’s desire for their lives?

      • The Jerk

        Yeah, just stone them.

        • Brian Anthony

          thats islam dumbass

          • The Jerk

            Mr. Dumbass to you, buddy.

          • Brian Anthony

            i was merely addressing their spiritual culpability for not listening to the teachings of the Church, seeing as this is a Catholic article…whatever.

          • simchafisher

            It’s a Catholic blog, but not the kind that says, “That girl is sinning, the end.” Sin is sin because it hurts us, so it’s not enough to simply say “stop sinning.” We want to understand why people are drawn to sin in the first place. And that includes girls who sin by dressing immodestly, and adults who sin by treating those girls like pariahs.

          • Brian Anthony

            well obviously catechesis is important, but we cant just stand back and pretend that girls who act out (as i will put it) are somehow completely and utterly inculpable, or ignorant of morality. i guess my experience biases me a bit because plenty of my grade school friends who were girls from good families, were taught at home and in catholic school and then in college or highschool started to sleep around. so this idea of “invincible ignorance” has yet to manifest itself to me.

          • Julie

            It takes more than homeschooling and lectures and shame to keep girls from “acting out.” Nothing about this is easy.

          • Brian Anthony

            well of course its not easy, but all i was saying here is that they weren’t ignorant of the Church’s teaching, that some of these girls do know morals and ethics but just, like the rest of us, don’t want to follow them sometimes. shaming…?

          • Julie

            And guys aren’t all ignorant of the church’s teaching. If we’re going to be shaming people, why not them too? Are Catholic homeschooled boys not “acting out?” Or could it be that shaming doesn’t actually work?

          • GoodCatholicGirl

            Unfortunately, too many people still subscribe to “boys will be boys” and it’s up to girls to take the higher moral ground.

          • Julie

            Very true. Boys will be boys to a certain extent, but their innocence is just as important. The people who need to be shamed are the predators. 30 days. Unbelievable.

          • Brian Anthony

            that is an extremely lenient penalty.

          • Brian Anthony

            who said anything about shaming, teaching people chastity is not shaming!

          • GoodCatholicGirl

            Shaming doesn’t work nor should it. We need to be compassionate; that said, if anyone is to be shamed it is the parents who put their little girls in kiddie beauty/talent contests. How perverted is it to put makeup on a child and dress her in “sexy” clothes and teach her a dance routine where she struts and shimmies? Where can a girl go from there?

          • Pofarmer

            Ya know, if ya’ll would stop with the sin, and look at the biology, it would make a lot more sense, on every level. We are what we are. A wise man once said “We are evolved primates, not fallen angels.”

          • Ally

            maybe instead of being concerned about her “spiritual culpability” we should let God be the judge of her heart and look to Jesus’ example of mercy

          • Brian Anthony

            which always included a call to repentance. Mary Magdelene, St Matthew, St Paul, all of them were receivers of God’s mercy through Jesus becasue they turned from their sin.

          • Ally

            but love and mercy came first not condemnation, i think we agree

          • Brian Anthony

            it seems that way. cheers.

          • Julia

            I take your point, but consider re-framing your concern for their spiritual wellbeing in wider terms.

            The message of the article is about the responsibility of adults towards the still-young, who may not be able to discern evil in the world. And if they are not able to fully discern evil, they may be equally unable to discern the good. The spiritual culpability lies with those who are responsible for them and to them, not the (still) children themselves.

          • Brian Anthony

            what about the age of reason? which is around Confirmation age, 12, 13, 14?

          • Julia

            The age of reason, traditionally, is 7 years old.

            The age of consent in most states is 16. The age of majority, which is the age that you can legally enter into a marriage contract, is 18.

            If we’re talking about sexuality in a Catholic forum, we’re also implicitly talking about marriage. Would you think it a good idea for a 12, 13 or 14 year old girl to marry, or choose to marry? Or a boy that age? Or let them move away from home and get a job? Go to college? Let them drive cars? Be parents?

            The “age of reason” only signifies the point at which a person begins to encounter the world through reason (living according to their human soul, rather than animal or vegetative), not some magical event wherein we come to know all truth and wisdom. The lives of saints are consumed with coming to know the Truth and living according to wisdome. If St. Augustine struggled with his cultural inheritance and personal choices, saying “Lord, give me chastity, but not yet!”, why is that same luxury denied to a 14 year old girl preyed upon, by all people, a teacher?


      • Mariana Baca

        You assume they were taught any better. Many immodestly dressed girls picked what the mannequin on the rack at a mainstream store was wearing, assuming it is a mainstream choice, not necessarily acting out or even knowing they are acting against the Church or immodestly. They think they are being contemporary, not sinful. Instead of punishing the girls, maybe clothing manufacturers and adults (males and females) who buy or admire clothes on women are the ones in control here.

        • Brian Anthony

          oh agreed that the main battle is with media and culture, no doubt about it

      • Jean Frost

        If they are not shown a better way how can they know that it is not the best behavior for someone their age or any age. I did not find what was done entertaining- no matter what age the man and woman were. That kind of behavior is in strip clubs etc. not on public TV with the world watching. Shame on them people that put the show together for allowing such behavior!!!!
        What price ratings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

      • Rivka

        Many young girls nowadays don’t even know about our Mother the Church.

    • Li Min

      Yes, that is true, but it does not negate our part. As Christians we need to help and advocate modesty and virtue in some way. Talk about it, dress it ourselves, be an example—try to steer friends of friends to help their girls choose the better part. This goes for boys too, who must learn modesty of the eyes and to avoid occasions of temptation. It’s an uphill battle in this society. I think giving up the tv is a great idea (for those who have the ability to). It would stop a lot of garbage from getting into kids minds.

      • Brian Anthony

        well said

    • Suzanne Emery Andrews

      My first thought is often, WHERE IS HER MOTHER?! Because, who drove her to the mall & paid for those clothes?

      • Cynthia Cunningham Chambers

        I often think that too as a first reaction…but 16 years of teaching high school in the inner city have taught me that mom may have plenty of issues herself. If mom believes sexy=beautiful, or negative attention from men is better than no attention from men or any of the other terrible messages which abound in our culture, what else could she teach her daughter? We need to pray for all of them, welcome them back to the Church and hope that when they recognize their true worth, their beauty as women they will want to change

    • Karen

      There’s something to be said for dressing practically and sensibly — I try to dress for the weather (and yes, often that means shorts, which would horrify anyone in Saudi Arabia, but it’s been hitting 105 Fahrenheit where I live), not because I want guys to look at my legs.

      However, at the end of the day, it’s a man’s job to control himself. Even if he’s attracted to a woman, that doesn’t give him license to harass her or rape her, because those are simply morally wrong things to do. If we tell women that it’s their job to avoid “exciting lust in men’s hearts,” then it’s pretty easy to justify requiring women to wear burkas, because some men get aroused by the mere existence of a woman.

  • Dan F.

    I was struck by the dichotomy between the Daily Mail piece highlighting Cherice Morales’ tragedy and the advertisements/article links on the right hand side of the page, the majority of which had to do with some sort of “celebrity skin” as if that’s not part of the problem. ugh.

    Also, I posted this article to Facebook because I think it’s important but I wanted to add this comment here (which I included with my post):

    As I read this I realized that I’m guilty of this too. Just a couple of months ago I made a joke (in reference to the young teen girls dressed for attention at a local fair) about “pop tarts”. #angry #imguiltytoo #slutshaming

    More men need to be honorable about how they treat the women in their lives, particularly their daughters.

    • MightyMighty1

      Isn’t that interesting? The women who are the most vocal about their outrage over “slutshaming” are typically the ones pushing Planned Parenthood, contraceptives, abortion, and a worldview where nothing is wrong if it feels good. They create a world where girls are more likely to be fatherless and to be taught no limits for how they dress or act. They’re mad about the shaming, the rest of us are mad about the “sluts”, and it seems like neither approach is very helpful.

      I like Simcha’s way of thinking about this as a matter of preserving/restoring innocence to our youth. We need to reject the culture that is training girls to dress/act like “sluts” while embracing the girls as lovable children of God. We simultaneously need to embrace the dignity of our boys and protect that ferociously too. It wouldn’t be possible to see these statutory situations as a problem amongst equals if we didn’t ultimately believe that men are animals and can’t control themselves (so therefore it’s the girl’s fault, no matter how young she “chronologically” is.). Men do not need to be controlled by their impulses any more than girls are the same as mature women.

      • $1028912

        I think those of us who are most vocal about slut-shaming are the ones who see nothing inherently wrong with being a slut — or am I missing something here?

        • simchafisher

          People who see nothing inherently wrong with being a “slut” are sociopaths who have willfully blinded themselves to everything we’ve learned about the social, physical, emotional, and psychological effects of promiscuity.

          Catholics would like to save women (and men, and their children) from those effects. There are many of us who are trying to work against it ,without shaming anyone, and who often write and speak out against our fellow Catholics who do, in fact, use shame and censure as a tool. (See the above post and comments.)

          People like you, who are only here to shock and mock and feel superior, make it much, much harder to turn that tide, because every time we say something really obvious like, “Girls aren’t to blame for being raped,” it’s all too easy for them to say, “Oh, you’re just another one of those radical feminists who think there’s nothing wrong with promiscuity.”

          We’re trying to make religious culture more welcoming of women; you’re trying to make sure everyone knows how smart you are, and in the process, you’re giving ammo to the Catholics who still do think women are always to blame. Thanks a lot.

          • $1028912

            You misunderstand both my comment and my motives for coming to your blog overall (which I have been reading for years, since my kids were enrolled in a Catholic school). I have no intention to “shock, mock and feel superior.” I was responding to a particular comment above, about “slutshaming,” because the commenter singled out women like me for being most “vocal” about our “outrage.” I wanted to say, I am not “outraged” — if someone wants to call me a slut because I have no problem with sex between consenting adults, (or because I have no regrets about my own promiscuous past), they are more than welcome to do so.
            The key words there are “consenting adults.”
            We radical feminists who thinks there’s nothing wrong with promiscuity don’t condone rape.

          • simchafisher

            Maybe I do misunderstand your motives. I’m sure you understand them better than I do! I will admit that your motives are mysterious to me. Why do you frequent this and other Catholic blogs so often, if so much of what the Church teaches is offensive to you? It seems to me that you might have a few different goals:

            (a) to try to persuade Catholics of your point of view. I don’t see a lot of this in your comments over the years. Maybe it seems to you that this is what you’re doing? It doesn’t come across that way.

            (b) to try to show Catholics that not everyone agrees with them. I do see a lot of this in your comments, but I don’t understand the point. We are already aware that we are in the unpopular minority.

            (c) to reassure yourself that, even though you used to be Catholic or whatever, you’ve gotten over it, and you enjoy where you are now so much that you get a kick out of pointing out the contrast

            (d) ????

            I’m not telling you to leave (it’s very easy for me to block people). I just don’t get why you’re here. I’m genuinely curious what you get out of going to Catholic-land and constantly saying “Not Catholic! Not Catholic!”

          • $1028912

            My reply, for some reason, posted ABOVE this comment.

          • $1028912

            Not (a) or (c), maybe a bit of (b) — maybe (d)? Most of the time, I just read without commenting, but whenever someone makes a generalization about people who fit my description, or otherwise makes a point that evokes strong feelings, I speak up. I also have a naturally sarcastic sense of humor, so sarcasm is the first thing that rolls off my tongue, or my keypad. (I was raised in a family that wouldn’t have been able to communicate at all, if it weren’t for sarcasm.)

            All three of my kids were baptized and attended a Catholic school for four years, and two were confirmed (the third, by his own choice, will not be). It’s a long story how we ended up there, and we had a wonderful experience there, overall. It was during this time that I started reading about half a dozen Catholic blogs.

            I have never lived my life worrying about “giving ammo to the Catholics who still do think women are always to blame,” or any other ridiculous notions.

            There’s an Ethiopian saying, “Where there is no shame, there is no honor.” I couldn’t disagree more. I live in a country where rapes are believed to be vastly under-reported because the victims are too ashamed. I have a 16-year old daughter, and of course I would be sick if she were ever sexually assaulted — but even in a worst-case scenario, she would know that the shame is not hers.

          • simchafisher

            Well, I’m trying to raise my daughters the same way. You seem to believe that religious people are raising their daughters to feel shame. The reason I write posts like the one above is to correct that notion, both for the benefit of people like you, who reject Catholic ideas about chastity, and for the benefit of Catholics who do think that girls should be living in fear and shame.

            You say:
            “I have never lived my life worrying about “giving ammo to the Catholics who still do think women are always to blame,” or any other ridiculous notions. ”

            I guess I have a different perspective as a blogger, rather than as a commenter, but I don’t see why it’s a ridiculous notion that you should think about the effect your public words have (or maybe I’m misunderstanding which ridiculous notion you’re referring to?). I am constantly aware that what I say will be read by people who agree with me, and by people who are far more liberal and far more conservative than I am; and I’m constantly aware that, if I’m trying to change the culture, I can’t be shooting off my mouth and saying dumb stuff that confirms what Catholic-haters expect to hear from Catholics.

            I guess it comes back to the notion of responsibility. I am very aware that many of my personal choices have an effect on society as a whole, and the same is true for the things I say. That sounds very grandiose, as if I think the world is hanging on my every word! I dn’t actually think that. But I do often hear people saying that their minds were changed, slowly over the course of years, by things they read in comment boxes. This is why I almost never write in comment boxes, anywhere (and why I grounded myself from Facebook yesterday!).

          • $1028912

            My original comment above was in response to this part in particular: ” The women who are the most vocal about their outrage over ‘slutshaming’ are typically the ones pushing Planned Parenthood, contraceptives, abortion, and a worldview where nothing is wrong if it feels good. They create a world where girls are more likely to be fatherless and to be taught no limits for how they dress or act. ”

            The commenter seemed to be describing me — even the “fatherless” part is temporarily applicable, because my partner is living away from us for a few years on an overseas job transfer. So I wanted to make the point that, no, the “outrage” part isn’t true. When Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” for speaking publicly, as an unmarried woman, about her hopes that her health insurance cover her contraception, my response — and those of many of my friends — was, “I’m a slut, too!” There can be no slut-shaming when there is no shame. (And let me stress again, I’m talking about consenting adults.)

            Oh, and by “ridiculous notion,” I was in fact referring to the view that “women are always to blame.” They probably don’t like interracial/interfaith marriages, either, or women who work outside the home. I don’t feel responsible for trying to change the hearts and minds of people who hold such notions, and are likely to look askance at me no matter what — life is too short.

            I am also aware that many of my personal choices have an effect on society as a whole. But society is comprised of individuals who don’t all want the same things out of life — nor should we.

          • simchafisher

            I guess we’re just getting hung up over terminology, then, which is silly. (For the record, Rush Limbaugh is a disgusting human being who doesn’t speak for me or 99% of my Catholic friends.) What I’m hearing you say is that the way to combat “slut-shaming,” which we can broadly define as “trying to change women’s behavior by calling them degrading names,” is to say that there is no such thing as bad behavior, as long as it’s consensual.

            To me, this is like saying that the way to combat rampant STDs is to tell people that genital warts are beautiful, as long as they knew they might get them.

            To me, it’s very obvious that lots and lots of consensual behavior leads to suffering. It leads directly to things like this:
            It’s an article by a “bro-choice” guy about how to trick or pressure their consenting girlfriends into getting an abortion that they don’t want to get.

            I hope, but do not assume, that you find these kind of tactics repugnant (even though last time I posted a “bro-choice” article, making the point that abortion-restrictions “killed the vibe” and made casual sex less fun for men, you said that you thought the article was funny because it was true).

            I think we can assume that the girlfriends described in the article above all consented to sex, and that many of them were using contraception, and that many of them did not want or expect to get pregnant.

            My question is, what do you think is the best way to encourage young women to do whatever they want sexually, without simultaneously encouraging men to think that they’re also entitled to do whatever they want?

            Is it possible that lots of promiscuous, consensual sex is somehow linked to the objectification of women, which leads directly to men treating women like sperm receptacles which occasionally have to be manipulated into having abortions?

          • $1028912

            I read the bro-choice article, and again, it struck me as sarcasm to make a point. The part about claiming a genetic disease was over the top. Yes, there’s some truth in it, but unlike last time, it struck me as much more sad than funny, written by a person who knows he has no control over a situation into which that his own behavior led him. In a similar real-life case, a friend of mine (now in his 60’s) had a child after a casual encounter in his 20’s, and responded by having a vasectomy. That strikes me as far more responsible than counting on one’s partner to automatically follow one’s wishes.

            When you ask, “what do you think is the best way to encourage young women to do whatever they want sexually, without simultaneously encouraging men to think that they’re also entitled to do whatever they want?” — there are two very different ideas there.

            Teaching the first part is easy: One’s body is one’s own, to use as one sees fit, and anyone imposing their body on yours is violating you (and this doesn’t differ from what kids are taught in Catholic school kindergarten) . You can choose to use your body chastely, if you believe that this is what God expects of you, or (and here’s where it gets different) you can choose to act on your other natural feelings. (Here’s where it gets the same again:) You are never under any obligation to use your body in a way you don’t want to. NO ONE is entitled to do whatever they want with your body — and the logical extension of this is that you are NOT entitled to do whatever you want with anyone else’s body.

            What is “promiscuity,” anyway? I probably fit the Catholic definition of it, when I was a teen — I was unmarried, and had multiple sexual partners, with differing levels of commitment to them. I treated all of them with respect, and expected no less than the same in return.

            There are a**holes in the world, everywhere, from outright sociopathic sexual predators, to men (and women) who think they’re entitled to set the terms for their sexual relationships with others and try to force others to conform, to devout Catholic men who engage in what the Mormons call “unrighteous dominion.” (Google that and see for yourself.)

            The bottom line, I think, whether you think that chastity is the only correct path for everyone, or whether you think that anything goes between consenting adults, is that we should teach our children to recognize and avoid such a**holes — and, of course, to avoid ever being one themselves.

            And from now on, to avoid misunderstandings on your blog, I will (try) to limit my comments to addressing your original posts, and not jump into a conversation to address a particular comment!

  • jen

    There is actually a petition online to get Judge Baugh to resign and there will be a protest in Billings today.

    • Li Min

      Yes, I saw that. I signed it. Do a search for the petition online to sign it.

  • jen
  • Li Min

    Bravo for bringing this matter to light again. It needs to be talked about! I was a victim of sexual abuse as a pre-teen. This case totally disgusted me because rapists DO groom children and pretend that it is “love”–and I think the offender believes their own sick words too because they are warped in their thinking. This judge needs to be educated in sexual abuse and anyone who takes advantage of a child or teenager, needs to go to jail—period. And given the teen killed herself as a result of this crime, he should be charged for that as well because it IS all connected in those who suffer sexual abuse.

    • Brian Anthony

      perhaps i studdied too much philosophy and logic but pardon me if i dont understand how you could charge the man for the suicide, literally “the killing of the self” by the girl. she. pulled. the. trigger. not. him.

      • pburg

        Looks like you didn’t learn enough philosophy and logic to understand the concepts of cooperation and culpability.

        • Brian Anthony

          cooperation? um you need two or more people to cooperate. suicide only needs one buddy. culpability. people are culpable for their own actions. “mommy but they made me do it!” is the dumbest argument anyone has ever made.

          • pburg

            Suicide only requires one person’s involvment but the argument related to this case is that there was more than one person involved. And, by implying that this young and tortured girl is 100% culpable for the taking of her own life, you are revealing your cruelty and igorance.

          • Brian Anthony

            cruelty and ignorance. is it cruel to assert that a person has total control of their own actions, cause that is all i am saying.

          • simchafisher

            No, all you’re saying is that guys who have sex with young girls should be pitied and forgiven, but girls who are raped and then kill themselves should be abandoned to hell.

          • Jordan

            A disgusting attitude, lacking understanding of both justice and mercy.

          • Brian Anthony

            that is not what i said, i simply asserted that suicide is still a free will action, you can’t blame other people for your own actions. i said nothing of her going to hell, or of her being abandoned. and as for the rapist, you tell me, how would Christ treat him? well, how would he?!

          • Lydia

            Hmm. Little girl in a crappy homelife, acting out inappropriately, taken advantage of by dirtbag teacher ends up so mentally distraught she kills herself. Which means she was psychologically disturbed. Which means, according to the Church, she was in all probability NOT in total control of her actions or thought processes.

          • Guest


          • GoodCatholicGirl

            We’re talking about a young girl who was raped although even grown women who are raped are so traumatized . . .
            I guess you can’t possibly imagine what they would be going through but please try.

          • Brian Anthony

            its still a free act of the will.

          • GoodCatholicGirl

            And God will forgive her, given what drove her to suicide. As for the rapist, he will suffer.

          • Brian Anthony

            unless he confesses and amends his life… oh and i did not mean to imply she was going to hell for suicide, i was simply speaking of the action itself.

          • Brian Anthony

            maybe, he will but we cant know that, we simply cant know anything that God will or will not do either positive or negative.

            As for the rapist, i truly dont understand how people cant see what ive been trying to say this whole time. All of my comments have pointed to the idea that the “rapist” is as much need of God’s mercy and forgiveness as any other sinner. to ostracize a man (or women) for life from the flow of society by branding them on the registry of sex offenders, a lable which cannot(at least in my state) be removed is a thoroughly condemning action that allows no room for repentance or contrition to wipe away the stain of the sin. And it leads to a life of rejection; no possibility of truly gainful employment, marriage, or perhaps even basic familial love. Our current treatment of sex offenders is to outcast them. All i have been asking throughout this forum is this; WOULD JESUS DO IT THUSLY? The hard to accept answer is that NO he wouldn’t! he would forgive as he forgave St. Mary Magdalena or Zachaeus, or St. Dismas on the Cross. Its just to me the idea that we punish without mercy is in the eyes of God and the Gospel a worse sin and a worse crime than the very crime (any crime at all) that we are punishing.

  • Kevin O’Brien
  • anna lisa

    The mother of the girl was shouting for justice as indeed she should, but I doubt that she or the girl’s father will ever be brought to justice in this life. One, or both of those parents should be horsewhipped at least.

    • Fiddle Mom

      Anna Lisa, I’m confused, but I’ve read enough of your comments to
      respect that what I heard is probably not what you said. What I read is
      that the parents of the injured girl should be severely punished. I’m
      not following that, though. Unfortunately, an adult can groom a kid,
      even a teenage girl, without the parents picking up on it. How do we
      know those parents are culpable? I’m pretty sure I’m missing something
      here. Please understand also that I’m trying really hard not to sound
      strident but to do that most difficult of all things, have a piece of a
      serious conversation inside a comment box.

      • anna lisa

        Fiddle Mom, sorry. What I wrote was Irish for: “Those parents should have loved and protected her better.”
        Don’t you think she’d probably be alive today, if they had? I don’t wish any more punishment on them at all–how dreadful to have to live with that loss every single day.

        • Fiddle Mom

          That makes sense. Probably alive? Likely, but we both know it’s not certain. I know somebody who was in a similar situation as that girl. She was fighting against a loving family in dressing the way she did. She is still alive, yes, but it’s been a long, hard road.

          • anna lisa

            Yeah–God can’t be blamed when his children say, “talk to the hand”. He’s the perfect parent–and we’ve all put our hand up at him in one way or another. At least most of us have anyway. I used to cross over to Tijuana with my college buddies to go dancing when I was 17. We were clueless. The danger was part of the appeal, but we all thought, “it can’t happen to me…” My parents would have died if they’d known. Luckily (or by the grace of God) “it” never did happen. I remember thinking that a prayer to my guardian angel would take care of business, sort of like Harry Potter’s special invisibility cape.

  • rachel brown

    what’s even sadder is that in Canada the age of consent is 14

    • suburbancorrespondnt

      It was changed to 16 in 2008. Still not good enough, but way better than 14!

      • rachel brown

        That’s the year I left the country!

  • suburbancorrespondnt

    You don’t have to wear a padded bra to be asking for comments and abuse. You just have to be misguided enough to grow a large pair of breasts at too young an age. Oh, but wait, I guess that would make a girl “older than her chronological age.”

    • LiveOaksandSpanishMoss

      Amen to that! And girls are “maturing” at younger and younger ages….

      • Lesley

        I highly recommend a book by Leonard Sax called “Girls on Edge,” in which Dr. Sax provides solid evidence that, yes, girls today are physically maturing at younger ages–due, in fact, to toxins in the plastics we use everyday, which mimic estrogen hormones–and thus contributing to the aforemetioned circumstances. Girls look older than they are, but lack the maturity to know what to do with the attention. If you have a daughter, I urge you to read this book. Leoard Sax has two other books, “Boys Adrift” and “Gender Matters,” both of which also blatantly discuss the root causes of problems we’re facing with young men and women in a society that gives them no proper guidance and instead leads them far astray.

        • Re Ja

          How many of those precociously mature girls are actually on the pill without the knowledge or consent of their parents? Girls learn very quickly from other girls what the pill will do for the size of their bust. Obesity has something to do with it as well.

    • Julie

      Very, very true. And then you get lectured and shamed about modesty when you had no intention or even desire to be immodest.

      • Christi H

        There’s nothing wrong with adults letting children know that a behavior or dress is immodest, that’s their job, especially if they are family members. Some don’t have any attention to be that way, and some girls don’t know what they’re doing when they choose to be that way. They think sexy is the only way to look pretty, and they think sexually desirable is the only good way to be. Maturing children will always want to mimic what they think are the good qualities of ‘mature’ adults. Its our own fault, not providing them an image of beauty separated from sex, not providing them the sense of security they need for where they are in their childhood. Our society today is like handing someone desperate and confused a noose and saying “jump, it will be fantastic, you’ll be famous, it will be wonderful. You’ll be better off and people will admire you. Its so much better, and you’re brave for doing this. You’re amazing, putting on that noose, that’s real courage. This is about to solve all your problems. Not many people are mature enough to make this decision, but look at you! Now jump…. you suicidal idiot, good riddance. So destructive. You knew what you were doing. How could you not? I talked you up to it the whole time.”

        • Julie

          I have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Christi H

            Its hard to be modest when you develop young. Parents should be helping them. Parents should work to make sure that these kids have what they need to be modest. I know there isn’t a lot out there, and its a shame. But so many people have the mentality that they need to ‘flaunt what they’ve got’ that these well endowed girls either choose or unconciously choose immodest clothing. I’m not addressing the issue of abuse at all. Just immodesty. The two only barely connected, lecherous people will be lecherous if they think they can get away with it. Its not the girls faults’, well endowed or immodest or not.

        • J. Fischer

          A well-endowed 14-year old is not the same as a regular 14-year-old dressing like her favorite singer. The former can’t find clothes that fit her properly, so she either has to wear a flipping tent or make do.

          I do agree that we should provide our children with examples of mature sexuality, and it would help if we didn’t make fun of parents for looking and acting like parents (think of any commercial mocking owners of minivans or any adult who doesn’t try to look like a 20-year-old party animal). Our sons and daughters want to look grown up, and their ideas of adulthood come, in part, from the images the media provides.

          • Christi H

            I’m always a little sad when I have to walk through the juinor section of any clothing store. There aren’t many clothes that are modest, and even among a still-developing pre-teen, clothes that might not reveal too much before development are cut and styles and designed so that, if the child keeps choosing similar clothes as they get older, they become very immodest indeed. I’ve had friends who complain, and friends whose children complain that they used to wear certian clothes, or that their younger siblings wear the kind of clothes they want, and fortunately their parents are able to explain “you’re a little more developed and a little older” candidly, and have these kids understand. I marvel at how lucky those families are that their kids understand and respect it and actually try on their own to figure out how to be modest as well. I wish I could understand what strange magic makes my friends such great parents!

  • Ally

    thanks so much for sharing… your article was very challenging, I was feeling pretty hopeless until you said “What do we tell girls… Do we tell them, “Stand behind me, and I will protect you”? Do we tell them that there is still hope, there is a way to get love and attention without being used?” with many young girls in my life, I love that point… thanks for always tackling tough issues and making us think

  • Sara McD

    I remember… ugh. I can’t. Anyway, you’re right. 100%.

  • sharon autenrieth

    Simcah, this is an amazing piece. Thank you for speaking so much truth. It just stinks that even the comment section confirms how widespread the problem is.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    A related problem from a recent news story (perhaps others can correct me where I get the details wrong): an underage girl was raped and then carried the baby to term (I’m not sure if abortion was ever an option in her mind). The rapist was caught and served time. He was obliged to pay child support, and then he demanded to have access to his child.

    So the girl victim is now obliged to interact with the man who raped her. (There’s gotta be a better answer.)

  • moseynon

    After the controversy erupted, the judge defended his decision with this astonishing statement:

    “I think what people are seeing is a sentence for rape of 30 days.
    Obviously on the face of it, if you look at it that way, it’s crazy,”
    Baugh said. “No wonder people are upset. I’d be upset, too, if that

    Dude, it did happen. And you are responsible.

    • Jordan

      That’s like lighting a house on fire and standing outside looking around and being like “Whoah, yeah, I’d be mad too if I was talking to a guy who lit a house on fire. That’s crazy.” What an idiot.

  • RelapsedCatholic

    I agree with so much of this post, but I do find it tough to lay partial blame on the modern secular world when so much statutory rape is carried out by religious people. Warren Jeffs & company can hardly be blamed on a secular consciousness.

    • Julie

      It’s not a sin limited to any particular group of people.

  • moseynon

    Montana law does not allow for routine appeals of a criminal sentence. However, Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito is looking into whether a factual or legal justification for an appeal can be found.

    He has already consulted with the appellate division of the Montana Attorney General’s Office about the case.
    (see sidebar)

  • Katherine

    tell a lie often enough…

  • dabhidh

    “[I]t doesn’t matter if a young girl is saying yes, it’s an adult man’s job to say no.”

    This is correct. Men, both young and older, need to come to understand the value of chastity as it applies to them.

  • steve5656546346

    Miley Cyrus had an image of innocence: this is an illustration of the insistence of a falling society that innocence be despoiled and perverted. Innocence (in image or reality) is actually target.

  • Margaret

    “It’s her fault because she’s loud and dirty because she knows it gets her something (and she knows that something is better than nothing).”


  • Faithr

    I think the idea that girls that young can give consent and are ‘older than their chronological age’ is all part and parcel of the sexualization of our children. Now we’ve got young 1st graders deciding they have been born in the wrong gender with (lesbian) parents supporting them by demanding they use whatever bathroom they want in public. We’ve got a whole society that wants kids to identify as gay or not gay as young as jr high/high schoolers. I remember going to a planned parenthood site that was aimed at teens and was appalled at what they were telling this girls about their sexuality. The judge’s attitude is just reflecting the sick understanding we have of sex after the revolution. And it’s only gonna get worse. And it is already hell. The biggest age group in the mammoth, lucrative sex trafficking trade is girls ages 12-14. Why the demand for girls that young? Because we as a society have forgotten what sex is for.

    • Pofarmer

      “Because we as a society have forgotten what sex is for.”

      If you base your sexuality on the pecadillos of Augustine, you never knew.

    • Anathema

      You have a good point about the way our society sexualizes young girls. But I disagree with much of the rest of what you said.

      For instance, you use the existence of trans first graders as an example of how children are being sexualized. But that doesn’t make much sense. How is someone identifying with a gender that doesn’t match the sex you were assigned at birth isn’t sexualization? If you feel like the mere existence of trans children equates with the sexualization of children, then that probably points more to the way that trans people are sexualized in our society than the way that children are. (Also, not all trans people are raised by lesbians. Trans people are no more likely to have gay parents than the rest of us are.)

  • KarenJo12

    This thread is a perfect confirmation to me that I was correct 27 years in rejecting the Catholic church when I married. Catholics will always follow their hierarchy in hating women. The very first comment in a thread about a teenaged rape victim who committed suicide is “But What About MEN!!!!?????!!!” The plurality of comments are about what a horrible slut Miley Cyrus is. Honestly, can’t you all spare one minute to condemn a 48 year old teacher who had sex with an eighth grader?

    • Eileen

      You’re missing the point. The thread was not about the teenaged rape victim but about the judge blaming her for being raped. And if you can’t see a correlation between everyone talking about Miley Cyrus while ignoring the guy in the prison jump suit and how this judge has treated the girl in this case, you’re missing a whole lot of things.

  • Michael J. Lichens

    I agree with you 100% and also have to echo the issues with the media being culpable to this. Remember that it was our Hollywood elites who saw no problem with Miley Cyrus posing topless at 15 for Vanity Fair. Then, oh my, children being sexualized at an early age is discovered to have horrible effects.

    Like so much in the world, there is plenty of blame to pass around but it’s certainly frustrating to see that so much sexualization of children occurs in Hollywood. God bless you parents. I don’t know if I could handle bringing up a child with today’s influences.

  • Ben

    “But surely we Catholics know better than that, yes? Surely the Church
    on earth, imperfect as she is, is a safe haven for the young and

    Did you really type that with a straight face, after the massive cover-ups of child abuse the church participated in?

    I agree with the rest of the article, except it’s not ‘this modern age’ that made girls needy and men lecherous. The age of consent for marriage used to be 13/14 in many places, and girls would have been married off against their will to men much older than them. In some ways, things are getting better. Of course, there’s a long way to go. Children need to be protected. No-one should be raped, no matter what clothing or makeup they wear. Even if they’re a naked, drunk, prostitue in a dark alley at 3 am they still don’t deserve to be raped.

    • GoodCatholicGirl

      You are absolutely correct – even a prostitute deserves respect and protection because she is a human being.

  • AshenTech

    I suggest you dig around a bit before posting reactionary articals like this.

    first, the guys a creep and dirty old man, he needed, deserved and was punished.

    second this was all 3 years ago, since then the girls been harassed by the DA and COPS for refusing to say what they want, Instead she held her ground and insisted he didnt rape her.

    next lets move onto this being a sentance for rape.

    its not, he was sentanced for being kicked out of a treatment program for minor violations, mind you, as soon as he got kicked out he got into another and completed treatment before this even went to court…hence the light sentance.

    this man is being punished, for the rest of his life hes a sex offender.

    what does that mean?

    1. he wont be able to find any sort of decent meaningful job, no employer who does background checks is going to hire him…

    2. he will likely not be able to find a decent place to live, since most places wont let sex offenders live anywhere there are things that may attract kids, be it schools, parks, daycare centers, even convenient stores and such are at times used to exclude them from residency.

    3. always gotta worry about somebody seeing him on the sexoffender website and deciding killing him would be a good idea(its happened alot in this country in recent years, even to a few people who where on there for juvinile convictions that where expunged…)

    again, this guy was in the wrong, but he wasnt the cause of her death according to people who have posted from the community she lived in, the DA, Cops and her own mother hold that blame.

    honestly reading the full backstory from people who where there, not just the shit blerbs the media outlets post…..

    there was no blame here on the guy or the girl…..they both made mistakes…..the blame for the death is on the cops and DA who just couldnt let the case go, despite that being what the “victim” wanted, and being what would have been best for her….(since she till the day of her death insisted it wasnt rape)

    I feel sorry for HER not for him, not for her mother, the system failed her……her mother failed her… bad I didnt know her IRL, I think I at least would have spotted how upset she was….and perhaps could have kept her from killing herself…..

    • Andy, Bad Person

      She can insist it wasn’t rape all she wanted. She was too young to consent, so any sex was a crime for the man. That’s the definition of “statutory.”

      • AshenTech

        so, that justifies the DA and Cops/poLICE harassing her till she killed herself..ok sounds legit to me.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Because that’s what I said. Obviously.

          Easier version for the reading comprehension impaired: He was 49, she was 14. She was raped. No, that doesn’t justify harassment by the police (if that’s what happened, which is your say-so).

  • Gwenaelle Le Fey

    As a woman who was also raped 5 times as a girl, before understanding that I could stand up for myself and finally did so, I thank you for writing this. For voicing what many cannot.

  • filologos101


  • filologos101

    The Simcha Fisher blog persona reminds me of myself as a teenager.

  • Brian Anthony

    i truly dont understand how people cant see what ive been trying to say this whole time. All of my comments have pointed to the idea that the “rapist” is as much need of God’s mercy and forgiveness as any other sinner. to ostracize a man (or women) for life from the flow of society by branding them on the registry of sex offenders, a lable which cannot(at least in my state) be removed is a thoroughly condemning action that allows no room for repentance or contrition to wipe away the stain of the sin. And it leads to a life of rejection; no possibility of truly gainful employment, marriage, or perhaps even basic familial love. Our current treatment of sex offenders is to outcast them. All i have been asking throughout this forum is this; WOULD JESUS DO IT THUSLY? The hard to accept answer is that NO he wouldn’t! he would forgive as he forgave St. Mary Magdalena or Zachaeus, or St. Dismas on the Cross. Its just to me the idea that we punish without mercy is in the eyes of God and the Gospel a worse sin and a worse crime than the very crime (any crime at all) that we are punishing.

  • Brian Anthony

    no apparently trying to love all people gets me branded as a “rape loving misogynist”

    • simchafisher

      Do you realize that coming back over and over again is making you look like you have some personal reason for being interested in this story? I’m not saying you do. I’m just saying you’re making yourself look that way.

      • Brian Anthony

        no i guess i dont, id appreciate a reply to my other post, since that is what i am trying to say. seriously i think Christ would reach out with mercy and realize that true spiritual help is what men AND women who abuse children need.

        • Guest

          so here it is again:

          i truly dont understand how people cant see what ive been trying to say this whole time. All of my comments have pointed to the idea that the “rapist” is as much need of God’s mercy and forgiveness as any other sinner. to ostracize a man (or women) for life from the flow of society by branding them on the registry of sex offenders, a lable which cannot(at least in my state) be removed is a thoroughly condemning action that allows no room for repentance or contrition to wipe away the stain of the sin. And it leads to a life of rejection; no possibility of truly gainful employment, marriage, or perhaps even basic familial love. Our current treatment of sex offenders is to outcast them. All i have been asking throughout this forum is this; WOULD JESUS DO IT THUSLY? The hard to accept answer is that NO he wouldn’t! he would forgive as he forgave St. Mary Magdalena or Zachaeus, or St. Dismas on the Cross. Its just to me the idea that we punish without mercy is in the eyes of God and the Gospel a worse sin and a worse crime than the very crime (any crime at all) that we are punishing.

        • Brian Anthony

          but i guess we are just happy as catholics that jesus never encountered a rapist in the Scriptures… no example to follow then lucky us…

          • simchafisher

            Jesus’ words:
            “2 It were better for him that a millstone were hung about his neck and he cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to fall.” (Luke 17:2)

            This is what we’re talking about, Brian. People who are older, stronger, or more powerful than the girls they abuse.

            I have to tell you this one more time: when you keep coming back and back and back to this thread, you are seeming more and more and more like someone who has been accused of rape. If you do not wish to appear this way, then you should stop commenting on this thread.

            I am sorry for your troubles, whatever they are. But if you want to get past them, you need to stop figuring out how it’s someone else’s fault that you did something wrong.

          • simchafisher

            Ugh, Disqus ate my comment. What I wrote was the Jesus did speak specifically about what should happen to those who harm people who are younger or weaker: He said that it would be better if a millstone were put around their necks and they were thrown into the sea.

            I have to warn you again that when you keep coming back and back to this post which is now months old, you are looking more and more like someone who has been accused of rape — and who is trying to blame the victim, rather than accept responsibility.

            Remember, when Jesus forgave people, it was after they confessed that they had done something wrong — and he told them not to do it again. You can’t expect to be forgiven and accepted if you’re still stuck in the mode of blaming the victim for what you did.

          • Brian Anthony

            i have not been accused of anything (and i am signed into this via my facebook account, so i cant hide behind an anonymous lie. And i would say that your comments here satisfy my original queries.

          • LifeLetterj

            After reading your comments Brian, I feel compelled to remind you that when Jesus promised Paradise to the good thief, he did not offer to remove his death sentence. Repentance and remorse for one’s sins does not remove or even lighten temporal punishment. Many convicted murderers have repented and reformed their lives, but their long prison sentences are not lifted, nor should they be.

          • Brian Anthony

            ah but historically speaking the Church did just that. I repentant thief in medieval england was absolved of the usual punsihment of maiming and his punishment was replaced by a church penance this is the root of the indulgence teaching. so yes, the church does understand that punishment can be lessened in light of God’s mercy.

      • Brian Anthony

        so here it is again;

        i truly dont understand how people cant see what ive been trying to say this whole time. All of my comments have pointed to the idea that the “rapist” is as much need of God’s mercy and forgiveness as any other sinner. to ostracize a man (or women) for life from the flow of society by branding them on the registry of sex offenders, a lable which cannot(at least in my state) be removed is a thoroughly condemning action that allows no room for repentance or contrition to wipe away the stain of the sin. And it leads to a life of rejection; no possibility of truly gainful employment, marriage, or perhaps even basic familial love. Our current treatment of sex offenders is to outcast them. All i have been asking throughout this forum is this; WOULD JESUS DO IT THUSLY? The hard to accept answer is that NO he wouldn’t! he would forgive as he forgave St. Mary Magdalena or Zachaeus, or St. Dismas on the Cross. Its just to me the idea that we punish without mercy is in the eyes of God and the Gospel a worse sin and a worse crime than the very crime (any crime at all) that we are punishing.

  • Christi H

    I’m not familiar with the current conversations on Maria Goretti.

  • “Original” Hunter

    Education seems to be the answer in almost every regard including this one. better education for girls/ women on their female bodies and internal chemistry (hormones and the rest of puberty). It would help give them context as to what and why they’re feeling what they are. The more knowledge one has the less likely they would be to accept such claims like “Its ALWAYS my fault” and be able to think unilaterally on the subject. Also, from my own account and indeed from this writer, the general body of the Catholic Church is contributing to what this author sees as a problem (and not just the men). for my perspective, I went to catholic (and all male) high school and the nearby girls high school had loads of sexually repressed girls that were taught very little about sexuality or their own bodies. No wonder they might believe whatever comes to their own minds or from an authority figures mouth. Sexual education is not an encouragement to go have sex, just as a knowledge of STD’s is not a license to go contract them. As corny as the cliche is: Knowledge is power!
    I was taught at least some personal accountability and to take responsibility for my own actions whether or not I felt as though i was being provoked. That goes for anger (“That person was purposefully winding me up to see a reaction” “yes but you still need to control your temper”) and nearly anything else.
    So that if a women seems flirty to me it is still up to me to act on it or not Therefore I MUST take responsibility for my end. If someone asked me “why did you talk to or seem interested in that woman” my reason might be “because she was flirty” but I couldnt extend that and say “Its her fault I talked to her because she flirted with me” or “She MADE me talk to her by being flirty.” not only does that rationale throw away personal accountability but worse yet it implies a lack of human autonomy. Woe to the man who is a slave to himself.