I requested, and received, a response from one of the most beloved, important and influential people in my life regarding my blog post that Catholic League president Bill Donohue should resign for his accommodation of the abuse of the victims of the Catholic church. For this act alone, Donohue is a vile man. The original blog can be found here.
The following is reprinted with permission, in its entirety, without further comment, excluding the personal ending intended only for me:
"Coming from my point of view, I find it particularly disgusting. There's a real sickness you feel as a victim when people prey on the natural phases of healing after a rape. It's no stretch of words to say you feel raped all over again. I don't recall all of the names of the phases, but as it was explained to me in my therapy, many people go through a four-stage process of healing after this type of trauma. The first phase or stage is one of denial (or self-blame, thinking "it's my fault" or being unable to admit it happened altogether). The second phase was described as a depressive and/or anxiety stage, where as you're not only accepting that it happened, but that you were powerless to stop it...commonly you go through vivid flashbacks of the event(s) and panic attacks at this point. The third phase was described as anger, once you realize the wrong done to you...you start to see it from an outward point of view. This is where you can learn to compartmentalize the trauma, and stop allowing it to have a big effect on your daily life. The final phase is acceptance, where you no longer think about it daily...essentially finding a way to re-enter your own life and be a well-functioning member of society. Not everyone makes it through all phases. The point of detailing these stages, is to illustrate what a large amount of healing there is to perform.
You truly don't just wake up one day and get over it. A molester or rapist steals much more from you than what they take in the act. The real crime is the time and effort you are forced to dedicate to resolving the trauma instead of whatever else you might have done with those resources in your life. As in my case, you don't even go through the phases in a clean fashion.
Sometimes, you revert back to flashbacks and panic. Sometimes you're angry and then depressed...others you try to pretend it didn't happen. The process of getting to the point where you can talk about it like I am now takes years. Not a single victim that I know got over it and was able to re-enter a healthy relationship in under three years. (I recognize this is an anecdote, but I believe my understanding and anecdotes to be far more accurate than Bill's.) This takes tremendous time to deal with when you're an adult. People who suffer as children are harmed much more psychologicially than adults, especially when a supposed role model of their community does it to them. I can easily understand it taking them years to resolve such an event in their minds...much less events. My cat-ier half also wonders if he gives the same leverage to a public official with whom he has no affiliation, such as a mayor, when they're the guilty parties.
Blaming the victim is something with which I completely relate, as several of my friends had comments ranging from "you brought this on yourself" and "don't cry now...you had sex and now you regret it...don't worry, we won't tell anyone", after watching me literally cry and yell for their help during the act. In hindsight, I recognize now that they were part of the cover-up, telling me they'd support the rapist if I took it to the police, and therefore guilty parties in the act. It took me a very long time, and the support of all of my family and friends and therapists to realize that I truly was not at fault. I thought that because I took a drink he gave me, or because we were all hanging out together in the pool, and a number of other ridiculous thoughts, that I might have confused him into thinking it was alright. I was a fun, not bad-looking, vivacious 19 year old girl...it was extremely common for me to be on the receiving end of guys' advances. What would other people think, those people who weren't there to see me asking for help or saying no? What guilt must a child feel, when he's so overwhelmed by the situation that he doesn't get that "no" or "stop" out during the act. Part of the process of sexual abuse of children includes the grooming of the child to make them feel like guilty parties, which is preying upon a natural part of the healing process. By making them feel a party to the wrongful-doings, they trap these boys in the first or second phase of healing. It's another atrocity pushed upon an individual who is not yet mentally complete, someone who is still forming their basic understanding of how the world opperates. This is one of the very reasons our society created laws that say children cannot consent to sexual acts...they're not fully-functioning individuals...they're not finished developing physically, emotionally or mentally. Add to that, that it's frequently man-on-boy attacks, and unfortunately society seems to find more shame in the scenario, it's amazing these men ever speak up...a fact upon which I'm sure the priests rely when they so "innocently" rub children. It's sickening to think that one could ever relate to the priest in this situation. When you "come out" to your friends and family about what happened, you go through the event, and quite a bit of the trauma all over again.
Bill clearly doesn't understand what fortitude it takes for someone to be open about what happened to them. That's not even to mention how insane it is to see that he's comfortable using the old, horrific attitude once expressed towards women in this situation, the "she had it coming" mentality, towards children. When does a child EVER consent to a sexual act?! The act isn't "objectionable" or "innappropriate"...this isn't the situation of a priest trying to kiss an adult...that's objectionable and innappropriate...this is so far removed from the meaning of those words, I'm amazed he can allow himself to use them.
I cannot believe he's trying to use his influence within his community to affect people's opinions of these men/children in this way. I'd say he should be forced to do community service with abused children, if it weren't for the fear of the harm he'd cause the children when he opened that gaping hole in his head.
In regards to referring the "rubbing" as less than rape, that's just a depraved, gross misunderstanding of the situation in my opinion. Rape isn't actually very sexual for the parties involved. When approached by therapists, rapists tend to describe a desire for control over another person. It's the acceptance that others can completely control what happens to you that is difficult to overcome. The sexual act was simply the method used to exert power and control...it's a very primal act...that of domination. It's the stripping of another's ability to control what happens to themselves that excites the rapist or molester.
I doubt they are often cognizant of all of this when they do it, but the clear connection in any study or article of rapists I've ever read has been how excited they were to control everything that happened to another person at that one point in time.
It's not unlike playing god. I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that someone who has been groomed by the catholic establishment to believe that there is a being more powerful than him, who decides what you get to have and what you cannot have...with the ability and desire to punish you for your thoughts or thirst for knowledge...would be able to justify the atrocious acts of the priests over children as the child's fault. It's really just an extension of the thought that God is exculpable for his atrocities simply because he's a god. Bill is a perfect example of how religion can be dangerous...he demonstrates how what amazingly seems like a harmless concept to many (that of an all-knowing, actively involved God) can be extended to atrocious levels when the underlying concept (that of not requiring equal rules for those in power as those not in power) is alowed to run amok without reason and logic being properly exercised. There are varying degrees of sexual acts within different rapes, to be sure, but the stripping of the victim's power is consistent throughout. We should be doing everything in our ability to stop abuses of power over children, not finding excuses for the abusers because it is distasteful to admit atrocities within our ranks, or that the underlying concepts are, in fact, flawed. To differentiate the emotional damage done to an individual based on what type of touching was performed is as arbitrary and idiotic as having varying concern for whether a murderer likes to strangle or choke their victims. The type of act may be a signature the police can use to identify the perp, but in the end the victim died via asphyxiation.
Well, that's my two-cents (or more like forty-cents) on the topic. Hope there are some worth-while nuggets in there."
Dean of the College of Heresy