Spotlight: Turning my back on the Catholic Church and facing forward to help victims

When the 2002 scandal emerged of the ongoing abuse and cover up perpetrated by catholic priests with the assistants of the archdiocese was revealed it not only “shook the church to its core” it also caused many practicing Catholic around the world to question their faith. The new film Spotlight discusses the Boston Globe’s involvement, which started with a story about one priest who had been found to sexual abuse children and was moved about to several parishes to avoid suspicion. This singular scandal turned out to be a small sample of the massive web of lies and deceit the Catholic church had been conjuring. It quickly became obvious that this wasn’t the case of a few deceptive priests but a systemic practice of covering up child sexual abuse that was known about, and came from high rankings of the church.

While this topic has been frequently discussed ad nauseum it is interesting to see how this revelation affected those who worshipped these priests and church itself. This has personally been an ongoing struggle for myself. I was raised in the Boston area and was raised Catholic, going to mass, Sunday school and even several years of parochial school.  But as I age I realize the magnitude of what happened in this church and the continuous and horrific abuse that occurred because of it.

I personally enjoy analogies so here is one I have thought of the situation in the Catholic Church. Suppose someone told you about the bank they go to and how awesome it is and you should encourage signing up. An inconspicuous act that happens all the time, my bank has no ATM fees I frequently tell people that. After some preying your friend reveals that while the bank they attend is great there has been some issues there with identity theft. You ask if the issues have been taken care of before you sign up, they say no not really, everyone knows that a significant percentage of the employees at all of the branches of this bank steal people’s identities but they just move them around to avoid suspicion and all of the higher ups are aware of the problem. This would sound insane? You would never go to this bank! You would ask your friend why they are insane for staying there! Yet that is almost exactly what happened with the church and instead of systemic identity theft the problem was systemic child molestation a much worse crime.

Learning more about the Catholic church and their role in this scandal has alienated me from it. After working as an educator on sexual assault and as an advocate for victims of violence and sexual abuse I can’t imagine what those children had gone though. Being abused is bad enough, being abused by those you look up to is worse, and being abused by those who you look up to and being forced to cover it up is unfathomable. Many say that abuse scandals such as this occur everywhere, in school, other religions and sports teams. As aware as I am of that fact I don’t care. The fact that others abuse children as well does not make what the church did right or okay. I prefer to hold myself to a high moral standard instead of sinking to a lower one with the phrase “well everyone else did it so….” The fact that other religions have had this problem did not change how the church condoned child molestation within its wall, it does not change the magnitude of suffering that has been heaped upon its victims. It does change the way I look at the church, and has heavily affected my decision to separate from it for the time being. Maybe one day the church will reach out and formally apologize to the thousands and possibly millions of anonymous victims that they knew about and refused to help. But until they do that I chose to take the most Christian course of action, which is o turn my back on the Catholic Church and to face forward to support its victims.

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Reviewing “I Fired God” When abuse and religious extremism intertwine.

Recently I just finished “I Fired God: My Life Inside—and Escape from—the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult” by Jocelyn Zichterman. She discusses her childhood and most of her adult life that was spent in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church, which Zichterman refers to as a cult. This is the same religious group the Duggars on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting belong too. 

Her early childhood focuses on the indoctrination to the church that occurred in their church run school, weekly church readings and in her home coupled with a disturbing amount of physical discipline inflicted by her father. Jocelyn was one of five children, she had two sisters and two older brothers. Her father was a minister in the church and was raised in the IFB, her mother was raised Catholic but had to shun her family because they did not believe in IFB values and because they were becoming suspicious of the child abuse occurring in their home. Jocelyn discusses how it was always instilled in the children that they did not have rights like adults did, that children needed to be disciplined to be saved and that the way to do this was beatings. Any small slight, whether a forgotten chore, an attitude or a “worldly” preoccupation like listening to rock music or cabbage patch dolls would be met with a brutal spanking by her father. he would use wooden rods or belts and would make the children bend over his knee bare bottomed, even when his daughters were teenagers. Due to their immense isolation this was ordinary to all of the children in the community, if they were injured in spankings they were taken to a doctor in the community who would not report them to DCF, which was an evil secular institution. Her father would also touch her inappropriately at other times, something she did not understood and was never taught was wrong.

As a teenager Jocelyn’s brothers acted out so the family pulled all five children from school and made them home school for a year, even though the parents worked full time and had no educational experience. During this year Jocelyn was molested by both of her brothers several times and was raped repeatedly by one. Later on she discusses how she had consensual premarital sex with a boy from school and was shunned from the community, not allowed to graduate and had to write and read an apology to the church. She discusses the irony and hypocrisy of her father and brothers crying during the reading of the letter, the three men who had all violated crying and heartbroken over her losing her virginity to a boy.

Jocelyn went on to marry a young man from the church and started to have children immediately. In the IFB women are not allowed to use contraception, naturally family plan or refuse sex from their husbands. This is all very similar to the Duggars and their 19 children. She mentions the Duggars in her work and says that for some this lifestyle may work for some but for many this lifestyle is strenuous and exhausting at it’s best and destructive at its worst. She cites the Duggars as a “success story”which I will discuss more indepthly below. Jocelyn discusses her fertility that allowed her to have 8 children in 9 years, she felt that she “was playing with fire” whenever she had sex with your husband but he would guilt her into performing her wifely duties. The physical and psychological tolls this lifestyle has on women is incredible. Many mother’s struggle with the normal demands of parenting but for those in the IFB it is unimaginable. IFB women must have sex whenever their husband asks, except any pregnancy that comes with it, cook for the entire family three times a day, clean the house, do all the laundry, home school all the children, work for the church, and be happy and in shape while doing it. The standards fo these women are absurd, IFB women are even criticized for having hospital birth with pain medication or for not losing all of their pregnancy weight soon after birth. Jocelyn said she would wake up at 5 am to run several miles a day to lose weight then would start her day caring for children and home while educating them all on a shoe string budget. She frequently ad thought of death and suicide to escape the never ending cycle of pregnancy, child birth, breast feeding and child rearing that would not stop until menopause. She states that she was terrified of her own fertility and did not know how she would handle so many children, with her being so fertile she could easily have 17 or 18 children.

Jocelyn was diagnosed with a brain tumor that caused her constant migraines. Soon she had resurfaced memories of her father raping her. This instigated for her and her husband to take the family and leave the church. The church members had no sympathy for her illness or childhood trauma and urged her to forgiver her father and ask for forgiveness for her self. After their leave Jocelyn joined and evangelical church and met with her sister who had also left the church. Her other sister and brother stayed, her oldest brother died in a car accident. As time went on it was revealed that several of Jocelyn’s daughter were molested by her father, so were her sisters. After joining the evangelical church  she had many doubts about her relationship with God, and explained this to the church members who urged her to “fire that god” to fire that God that condoned her to a life of abuse and exploitation and to start anew. She did just this and became a victim advocate for women who suffer domestic and sexual abuse in a religious church. She got several degrees and even helped Obama campaign, surprisingly she stated that her religious upbringing caused her to become very left leaning, even supporting gay marriage and abortion.

Jocelyn’s story is inspiring and courageous. Her escape from such a destructive lifestyle and commitment to do right by others is stirring. Her story addresses many major issues that occur within the IFB such as the medical and educational cover ups, the lack of oversight in homeschooling and the overall attitudes towards women, children and abuse victims. Sh cites many ways to right these problems in her book.

Her mention of the Duggars is even more saddening since the recent reveals of sexual abuse that Josh Duggar committed to his sisters, one who was only 3.The Duggar family chose to wait until the statue of limitations ended to report josh’s crime then sent him away to a spiritual healing camp and welcomed him back into their house, urging his sisters to pray and forgive him. The similarities between the two stories was astounding and sad. Jocelyn’s life was horrific, no one else should have to live a life of abuse that she did, and seeing the Duggars, a glorified TV family perpetuate this cycle is devastating.

Legalize Rape meeting canceled, “Safety Concerns” cited

The irony here is so thick I could cut it with a knife, I originally only planned one post on this topic but after some pursuing of Roosh’s website and this tragically disappointing news I decided to examine some other posts he has written.

Some of my personal favorites from his site were “Feminism killed the nice guy” “42 things wrong with American women” (that’s a lot of things) “You did this to me” (An open letter to all American women apparently)  “Warning Signs a Girl Isn’t worth a Relationship” and “8 Things American Women Must Do To Make Themselves More Attractive For Men” (More stuff for women to do). There were many others but these were probably the most telling.

Feminism Killed the Nice Guy

To save you reading time he claims that most American women are “obese and gross” and therefore American Men are reduced to “scraps” and that “Those scraps have attitude”

Here’s what it means to be a sexist:

  • Having a low level of respect for women.
  • Having the belief that the genders are not equal (you should nod or smile at the following quote: “A woman can do anything a man can do, as long as a man first shows her how”).
  • Not listening to them about anything.
  • Studying flavors of game based on the alpha-male model, an effective countermeasure to feminism.
  • Preferring the company of compliant, feminine women of different nationalitieswhere feminism has not made strong inroads (Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America).

You don’t have to hate women and you don’t have to abuse them. You don’t have to commit any crimes against them. But you must believe that you are superior and deserve more than them. With the addition of game practice, you will then be sexually rewarded for those beliefs.

Yet….Feminism killed the nice guy, after paragraphs of how American women are gross and how one should be sexist it is feminisms fault that he is no longer a “nice guy”. If you are confused than you are not alone.

42 things wrong with American women

* Sorry if the scrolling here breaks your wrist. My comments are italicized.

1. They’re fat.

Fact: 100% of American Women are fat.

2. They’re constantly glued to their phone.

3. They cut their hair short.

Also 100% of American Women have short hair. 

4. They’re more impressed by a crappy DJ than a doctor who saves lives.

100% of American Women are more impressed by DJ Pauly D then Surgeons, FACT

5. They think being funny and witty is a quality that men love.

Yet he frequently complains of boring women.

6. They listen to magazines like Cosmo when it comes to pleasing men.

7. They don’t know how to cook.

Just in: American women all starve to death because no one knows how to cook.

8. They wear flip-flops even when they’re not at the beach, pool, or in their house.

Do other countries not wear flip flops? I am unsure of this one.

9. They have condoms in their drawers because they expect to have random sex with strange men.

Or with their boyfriends or partners or others they like to have protected sex with.

10. They cannot dance. They also do not know how to sing or play basic musical instruments.

11 years of dance lessons down the drain!

11. They idolize drug addicted celebrities, mimicking their brain-dead behaviors.

12. They acquire pets instead of putting effort into landing a quality man.

Sorry puppies, you are being abandoned so I can focus on quality men, like Roosh!

13. They don’t know how to be sexy.

14. They have standards way beyond their level of attractiveness.

15. They think having a good job means they’re a good catch.

16. They wear pajamas in public.

17. They like Twilight and The Secret.

18. Their idea of travel is going to the beach or France.

19. They have too many trashy tattoos.

20. They are proud to date multiple guys at the same time, as if they were men.

21. They are not close to their family, and would rather die than take care of aging parents.

22. They say filthy things in bed when you hardly know them.

23. They cockblock regularly.

24. They make lame excuses for not putting effort into their appearance.

25. They obsess about the environment above what is reasonable, even though they pollute more than 90% of people in the world.

26. They always lie by saying, “I’ve never done this before.”

27. They confuse being a challenge with being whiny and annoying.

28. They are acne prone.

Are women in other countries not acne prone? 

29. They watch way too much TV.

30. On their way home from work, they put on dirty sneakers that don’t match their outfit.

This is just getting petty now. 

31. They only dress up for special occasions, like a friend’s birthday, Presidential inauguration, or a Sex and the City movie premiere.

32. They like to age their skin prematurely through frequent tanning.

33. They insist on eating pizza or otherwise fattening food after a night of binge drinking.

34. They’re obsessed with cupcakes.

35. They care more about maintaining their career than a good home.

36. They rarely wear high heels.

37. They think dining out and eating food slathered with butter and salt makes them cultured.

38. They don’t speak a foreign language.

Does American Sign Language count? Probably not. My fault for wanting to communicate with those whoa re deaf instead of becoming more worldly.

39. They are uncomfortable in their own skin.

So true, it’s almost like someone is frequently posting mean things about is, like list of things that are wrong with us that we should change, Weird!

40. They like Ikea furniture.

I did not know affordable furniture choices made you undesirable. 

41. They have the intellectual curiosity of a dung beetle.

42. They go on and on about the stupidest shit.

I did not comment on all 42 items because, well, who has the time? I think his ideal women is slim, attractive, modest, has a good career, speaks foreign language, is wild yet reserved in bed, cooks and cleans, always dresses nice with high heals, long hair and clear skin, eats only healthy foods, is cultured and worldly and never whine or complains. I can’t fault him for having this list, everyone knows what they want in a partner, the only fault I can see is his demanding of ALL American women to fit to ALL of hist personal standards. That is just rather self absorbed.

I have a list of things I like in partner. 1. Educated 2. Kind 3. Hard working 4. Courteous 5. Good sense of humor 6. Responsible 7. Muscular 8. Taller than me (I’m pretty short) 9. Blue or green eyes 10. Loves his family

See some of these are rather silly I would not dump a guy because he has hazel eyes or borders on the same height as me but we all have our own personal ideal (Luckily and by chance my boyfriend fits all of these hehe). However the point I am making is that I do not hold these restrictions to every member of society, I don’t hold them entirely to every person I dated, however apparently the Roosh does, he wants the whole world to conform to his ideal, specifically all women, and is upset that it does not happen.

Warning Signs A Girl Isn’t Worth A Relationship

Since much of the content is repeated the highlights were a women who does not let you have sex with here when it was painful, changes the radio station, asks you to wait to orgasm so she can orgasm, or say the term “you should”

8 Things American Women Must Do To Make Themselves More Attractive For Men

Also similar content to above women need to lose weight to gain value, shut up, grow long hair, stop getting tattoos and piercings.

What I found from these posts was that Roosh as a very traditional and conservative view or women and what he looks for in a partner. Okay cool that’s fine but fails to acknowledge that women are autonomous human beings that will live their lives in whatever manner they please, they do not exist to please you. This seems to be a common thread through his posts, if women are failing to please him even, just random women on the street wearing old sneakers on the subway home from work, than there is something wrong with them. This type of control and constant objectification of women is concerning,as this is the same attitude that public sexual harassers, abusers and even rapists have, if women are not pleasing to me than there is something wrong with them, there is no acknowledgment that women are people who will do as they please, there is only you and your will, and those around you must bend to it no matter what.

Christen McLaughlin

 

Legalize it!…Not Weed but Rape

You read it right, the internet has been all aflutter with a group that wants to legalize rape. To make sure I was getting the full story from the Internet rumor mill I went to the direct source, RooshV.com. He gives an early disclaimer that the article was written as a satirical thought experiment and should not be taken seriously, okay fair enough.

He makes many points in this satirical thought experiment that result in his justification that rape or the “violent taking of a women” should be made legal in “private places”. his reasoning behind this is that many women are not raped by strangers but are raped in private by acquaintances (which is true 90% of sexual assaults occur by an acquaintance to the victim) and  that legalizing this act, the sexual assault of women in a private space women will start caring more about where and who they go with and do a better job of protecting themselves.

Funny enough I don’t want it legal for me to be raped ANYWHERE not just in public. Granted as he states this is a “satirical thought experiment”  but the attitudes and ideas he has about women and about sexual victims are incredibly harmful. Roosh claims that without the law protecting them women will take better care of themselves like they do with their “purses and smartphones”. He also claims that the public place exception is because of seedy men who hunt women down in public places and assault them. After four years of being an educator on sexual assault and interning as a victim advocate I have seen so many things wrong with his logic that I feel a bullet point list is necessary to point them all out.

  1. I learned that if a man and a woman both drink at a party and have sex, she was in all likelihood raped since she could not give full legal consent. This made me confused because a woman who drinks and has sex is not responsible for her actions, but if that same woman gets into a car and drives it into someone else, causing a loss of life, she would be prosecuted and sent to jail.

Ahh this question again, what if both parties are really drunk and have sex? Well it is on the initiator of the sexual contact (usually the man but not always) to ensure that they have consent before sexual contact, if the other party is too intoxicated to give consent then it is against the law to have sex with them. This does not mean the woman is not responsible for her actions just that she did not give consent to the sexual encounter, which is rape, this would work the same if the woman had sex with a man who was too intoxicated to give consent. If they were both really really drunk and go to the police and charge each other with rape, well then I don’t know I assume some therapy would be involved but after extensive research have never found a case where that has happened. If anyone knows of one let me know.

2. I also read that men must be taught not to rape, which means that they are all born with the capability to rape and have zero instinct to know that taking a woman with violence is improper. Thankfully, a man only has to be told the phrase “rape is bad” at some point after puberty by an overweight feminist to definitively stop his future brutal and bloody rape career.

Interesting seeing as this “overweight feminist” probably gives presentations similar to the ones I give I generally do not make the blanket statement that “rape is bad please don’t do it” because I hope that you have enough moral fiber to realize that myself. I will however discuss the definition of rape and its consequences and the manner in which individuals can and can not give consent hoping you will learn more about this subject. If you think men all have some animalistic instinct than that sounds like a you problem. 

3. I knew from an early age that rape was bad, as was all forms of violence, not just against women but men as well.

Yet you want to make it legal, clearly you don’t think its that bad. 

4. I saw women wholly unconcerned with their own safety and the character of men they developed intimate relationships with.

Your thinking that women are unconcerned with their safety (I have yet to meet one that is) and develop relationships with men of low character is your perception of women and really none of your business. Another you problem. 

5. I saw women who, once feeling awkward, sad, or guilty for a sexual encounter they didn’t fully remember, call upon an authority figure to resolve the problem by locking up her previous night’s lover in prison or ejecting him from school.

As sexual assault is falsely reported 1% – 2% I don’t think this is as common of an occurrence that you think it is. 

6. By attempting to teach men not to rape, what we have actually done is teach women not to care about being raped, not to protect themselves from easily preventable acts, and not to take responsibility for their actions.

I have yet to meet a women that does not care or is unconcerned with being raped. 

7. If right now you walked into a dangerous ghetto and got robbed, you would be called an idiot.

Does that happen? I’ve never heard someone being mocked after a robbery but alright. 

8. The exception for public rape is aimed at those seedy and deranged men who randomly select their rape victims on alleys and jogging trails

Because those seedy and deranged men are not the ones raping women in private?

9. A girl will protect her body in the same manner that she protects her purse and smartphone

It seems a tad easier to protect a cell phone and purse than myself from an attack, and the stakes aren’t as high. If someone steals my phone I got to the story and cash in my insurance, I don’t risk pregnancy, disease and a lifetime of trauma. 

10. Without daddy government to protect her, a girl would absolutely not enter a private room with a man she doesn’t know or trust unless she is absolutely sure she is ready to sleep with him

I love how Daddy government protects me! I feel so safe frolic around naked every day! Also does this mean I have to have sex with every man I am in a room with? My Dad? My neighbor? My dentist? The fed ex guy? The plumber? This seems exhausting!

11.  After only one such sour experience, she will actually want to get fully acquainted with a man for longer than two hours—perhaps even demanding to meet his parents—instead of letting a beer chug prevent her from making the correct decisions to protect her body.

Calling rape a “sour experience” is a little condescending. 

12. The benefits of eradicating rape laws would extend to honest men who unfortunately now live in fear over imprisonment in the case the girl they had sex with had a blood alcohol level of 0.04 instead of 0.05 or some other arbitrary, untested,  and made-up value that may imply consent was not fully achieved.

Wow that sounds horrible imagine of women had to live in an environment of fear, worrying of being violated….oh wait. 

 

I could find more points to make but this has become emotionally exhausting. Despite the humor the real concern here is the lack of autonomy Roosh thinks women have over their own bodies and lives. He feels that not only should all women be on guard 24 7 from rape but must protect themselves like they do with their objects, essentially stating that women themselves are just objects waiting for the taking, and if you were not careful enough with the men around you oh well too bad so sad. The amount of victim blaming, misogyny and blatant disregard for human rights was suffocating.

Christen McLaughlin