Saturday, May 8, 2010

Legalized Rape, Brightly Burning Bras, and Fitting In

Service industries have grown quite a bit in America during the last few decades. Look in the Yellow Pages, and you're likely to see headings like these:
  • Auto Services
  • Child Care Services
  • Legal Services
  • Rape Services
  • Shopping services

"Rape Services?!"

The other day, I heard my wife and one of our daughters laughing. They'd been looking for something in a local phone directory's yellow pages, and found this gem:

"Rape Services
"See Social Service Organizations"1
One of them said something like, 'I've got a pretty PG-rated mind, and that's the first thing I thought of.'

If you don't 'get it:' that's probably just as well.

Rape isn't Legal in America - Or is It?

Like so many other things, whether or not rape is legal in America depends on your point of view. (It would even be possible to suggest, hypothetically, that societal sanctions against rape are contrary to a rational view of the world. I wouldn't do that. One Nietzsche is, I think, enough.)

I'm a Catholic, and the Catholic point of view is that rape is wrong.

Catholics: Folks Who Don't Want Anybody to Have Fun?

Sometimes it seems like we Catholics have rules about everything. Particularly rules that keep people from having fun with sex.

It's true, sort of: there are rules about what we're supposed to do with our bodies.

That's because what we do to our bodies - and to the bodies of others - affects us, and others. And because "...Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul...." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2332)
"Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity:..." (Catechism, 2335)
The Catholic Church recognizes the sexual union as something that's not just biological, but as an act which involves all of the human person. There's a tacit assumption that all parties involved are important - and may live for quite a long time after the 'fun' is over. (Catechism, 2360 and following)

That's why the Catholic Church is so rigidly opposed to sexual acts like rape.
"Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right...." (Catechism, 2356)
As I've written before: Rape is not nice and we shouldn't do it.

'Rape Services?!'

The 'rape services' and 'social services' in our yellow pages aren't, of course, organizations that will rape someone for their clients - or provide a place for rapists to get together and - I'd best leave that unsaid.

Happily, America has come a long way since 'the good old days.' Rape victims are recognized as victims: which was a huge step in the right direction.

'Legalized Rape' - From One Point of View

The sixties were, I think, disturbing for many people: not just America's social conservatives. Take those bold women who braved an authoritarian, male-dominated, hierarchical system - or was it hierarchical male-dominated, authoritarian system?

Their bold beacon of brightly burning bras quickly bounced over into 'the braless look.' What had been intended as symbol of revolution had become a fashion.

And, perhaps worst of all: men were crazy about it.

Around that time, folks who wanted to fit in with the 'right' people nodded sagely as the best and brightest (just ask them) explained how marriage was legalized rape.2 I suppose that, compared to the sappier notions of marriage making the rounds at the time, saying that marriage is legalized rape sounded very up-to-date and intelligent.

Marriage, Commitment, and Rape Victims

I think that calling my commitment to my wife "legalized rape" isn't exactly fair - to me, my wife, or most particularly to real rape victims - but then, I would say that. I'm one of those male chauvinist pigs you used to hear about.

On the other hand, some men don't like commitments: lifetime or otherwise.

I realize that there are some advantages to packing up and leaving when the fun is over. For a while, anyway. A man who wanted to have fun by playing house with a woman for a while, that 'marriage is legalized rape' line could be very useful when he felt like leaving.

Not-entirely-unrelated posts:
1 (Qwest official directory, DEXTM, Sauk Centre and surrounding area, (through June, 2010), p. 33

2 'Marriage as Legalized Rape' - No, Really

Seriously disordered views of marriage exist. Sometimes it's an individual or a comparatively small segment of society with a sort of master-slave approach to the union of man and woman. Sometimes whole nations support really bad ideas. (August 22, 2009)

I know about the Ephesians thing, by the way: and I've read Ephesians 5:25, which guys in the 'lord it over your wife' crowd aren't likely to recognize. (August 22, 2009)
Views of Marriage
I'm a Catholic - so I have to recognize that people all around the world are important. This post, though, is about some of the weirdness that's been happening here in America for the last several decades: so this is about 'the American experience.'

First, a discussion of marriage that displays a view that's rather conventional by today's standards:
"...Where cultures recognize the importance of marriage, they also view sex outside of marriage and adultery as a violation of the terms of marriage. Marriage as an institution was developed and constituted from rape as a practice. Whereas without marriage woman have more freedom, in marriage women can become the object of legalized rape...."
(William Gomes)
I think Mr. Gomes deserves some praise for suggesting that marriage can be legalized rape: leaving open the possibility that not all marriage is legalized rape. These days, that's a brave stand for a professional writer:
"...'Marriage is legalized rape'

"Let's begin our exploration by considering that a best-selling pro-marriage book almost never saw the light of day just a few years ago.

"Harvard University Press had contracted with University of Chicago sociologist and professor Linda J. Waite, a self-described 'liberal Democrat,' along with co-author Maggie Gallagher, to write a book based on Waite's studies about marriage.

"Apparently, the Harvard-based publishing house expected the book to do the politically correct thing and criticize marriage, as is so common among today's academic elite. But, as the Harvard scholars reviewed the manuscript, they found it revealed married men and women live happier, healthier, more financially secure lives, and even have 'more and better sex.' So naturally, the university's publication board members decided at the last minute not to publish the book – titled 'The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially' – a book they themselves had commissioned.

"One Harvard Press reviewer said she didn't like the book's 'tone.' That's about as close to an answer as the public ever got...."
(David Kupelian)
Ever wonder why more folks with letters after their names don't write or talk about marriage being a good idea: unless it's between members of the same sex? I've discussed information gatekeepers in another blog.

This fellow acknowledges by name one of the people who promoted the idea that marriage is bad for women:
"...Feminism has been another major force that has transformed American family life. The women's liberation movement attacked the societal expectation that women defer to the needs of spouses and children as part of their roles as wives and mothers. Militant feminist activists like Ti-Grace Atkinson denounced marriage as 'slavery' and 'legalized rape.' The larger mainstream of the women's movement articulated a powerful critique of the idea that child care and housework were the apex of a woman's accomplishments or her sole means of fulfillment...."
(Steven Mintz)
Here's where I got those excerpts:


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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.