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Bill Donohue’s viciousness, ridiculousness, and persistent unwillingness to admit that the Church, and only the Church, is to blame for the actions of pedophile priests is well-documented. And victim-blaming is nothing new for him. But I’ve only just realized that he is fond of employing a specific type of victim-blaming. After reading this nastiness in one of his recent press releases:
More important, how do we know the sex wasn’t consensual? After all, the alleged “victim” was 17-years-old. If someone tried to hit on me when I was 17, I would have flattened him. Why didn’t Doe?
I remembered that he’s made this argument before:
According to the Times, it all started with a kiss. Let me be very clear about this: if some guy tried to kiss me when I was 17, I would have flattened him. I most certainly would not go on a retreat with the so-called abuser, unless, of course, I liked it.
[W]hy didn’t you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn’t allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?
(Unfortunately, because the Catholic League website’s search functionality is very poorly implemented, I wasn’t able to find additional examples. I know that there are more, though.)
This argument is disturbing, creepy, and callous, to put it mildly. In order to illustrate just how flawed Donohue’s argument is, let’s break it down into its component parts:
- The “victims” in these cases were adolescent males.
- All adolescent males are physically capable of and have an obligation to fight off a trusted adult male who sexually propositions and/or assaults them.
- If the “victim” did not do this, it is fair to assume that the subsequent molestation/sexual assault/rape was “consensual” and that the “victim” “allow[ed]” it to happen and “liked it”.
That’s cruel on so many levels. And I can’t help but wonder how many other Catholics share his view. I really do hope that his opinion on this issue (and on many other issues) isn’t shared by the majority of American Catholics. I want to think that most Catholics are better than that. But when so few Catholics speak out against Donohue, it’s very difficult to maintain such optimism.
(For more on Donohue’s rhetoric, see this article that I wrote in 2009.)
- 16 November 2011 at 7:11pm
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