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Forum, Sept. 29: Letters Showed a Hostility Toward Victims


Friday, September 28, 2018
A Hostility Toward Victims

By the time this letter is printed, Brett Kavanaugh will probably be on the U.S. Supreme Court. So why bother challenging Thursday’s three letters blaming women as the villains (or perhaps the writers would prefer “villainesses”) in Kavanaugh’s hearing? It’s because the letters exemplified the sneering hostility that shames abuse victims into silence.

Everyone empathized with the children, including many boys, abused by some 300 Pennsylvania clergymen. Did the boys remember every detail? Did they tell their parents immediately? Did their parents believe them? Or did they believe the abuser, because he seemed like such a good man? Did these boys report the incidents to persons in authority? If those persons were 85, like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, does age disqualify them from evaluating the boys’ honesty? Were the boys made to submit to DNA testing, two polygraphs and handwriting analysis? Should there have been a six-month statute of limitations?

Or did the boys shut up, hoping the memories would fade? Instead, when the memories endured for decades, did the boys experience PTSD whenever they so much as drove by a church? How would the boys feel if a predatory seminarian were about to become a bishop? If they objected publicly, would we try to humiliate them again? Indeed, if the boys had taken any of these steps to stand against their abusers, would we have called them names or made death threats?

Feminists are not “lunatics.” Feminists are people who acknowledge women and men as equals. Look it up. Accusing us of believing “all sex is rape” is absurd. Just turn the equation around: Rape is not about sex. Rape is about power. We must stand against a society in which men with power consider sexual abuse a mere “Oops, my bad,” instead of a crime.

Rebecca Kvam Paquette

Hanover

An Astonishing Lack of Empathy

Marcella Logue’s letter regarding Christine Blasey Ford (“She Wants Her 15 Minutes of Fame,” Sept. 27) is not only astonishingly lacking in empathy, but full of errors of fact and a particularly far-fetched theory of what Ford’s motive might be.

Logue writes that Ford was merely “fondled” and then changed her story to “almost rape.” From the beginning, Ford’s accusation was of attempted rape, as described in detail in the letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Yes, she cannot remember where the party was and how she got home. Those are not things you remember after a traumatic event. What you remember is the horrible feel of the attacker’s unwanted bodily contact, the sounds, the smells, the inability to breathe, the fear. Apparently Logue has never experienced this type of attack, or she would understand exactly what details stay in the mind.

Ford never claimed to have forgotten the incident until 2012. That was simply the year she finally felt she could talk about it. Sexual assault leaves the victim with feelings of shame and of being violated — dirty, somehow — which can lead to a desire to push the memory down deep and hope to forget. Though the victim is not to blame, talking to parents can be incredibly difficult. I know of cases in which even parents deny what their child says, or simply want to keep the event hidden.

Finally, Logue’s assertion that Ford’s motive is to gain “15 minutes of fame” is laughable. Her fame has come through a successful career — she has co-authored more than 50 scientific publications, books and book chapters — and she seems to live a quiet and satisfying life. A fleeting fame would hardly be reason enough to subject herself and her family to the nightmare of harassment and even death threats they’ve been put through.

Rebecca Powell

Enfield

Democrats Are Just Grandstanding

If the Democrats, (or any politicians for that matter), worked half as hard on solving real problems as they have in constructing this Supreme Court nomination charade and coaching the patsy professor, all the country’s problems would be solved.

The Democrats “questioning” Christine Blasey Ford are just grandstanding and making sound bites. The answers Ford gives to the Republican questioner are obviously coached and rehearsed; her attorneys obviously know the game.

I really feel sorry for Ford — a little. She has no idea what kind of dirtbags she is associating with and helping.

She is definitely doing no favor to women who actually have been assaulted.

Pathetic.

Jean Liepold

Grantham