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Friday, May 22, 2009

Jesus fucking christ


posted by bitchphd
You know, honestly. I have long loathed Bill Donohue. But I truly never imagined that even he was capable of this level of offensiveness:
Reuters is reporting that “Irish Priests Beat, Raped Children,” yet the report does not justify this wild and irresponsible claim. . . . The Irish report suffers from conflating minor instances of abuse with serious ones, thus demeaning the latter. When most people hear of the term abuse, they do not think about being slapped, being chilly, being ignored or, for that matter, having someone stare at you in the shower. They think about rape.

By cheapening rape, the report demeans the big victims. But, of course, there is a huge market for such distortions, especially when the accused is the Catholic Church.
I am not even kidding here: the man is saying, in so many words, that children who are, as a matter of routine:

- beaten
- forced to stay up all night with farm animals they were afraid of--in winter, without extra clothing for warmth
- kept on the brink of starvation, so that they regularly fought over bad food, or so that girls put in charge of infants would steal milk from the babies in order to feed themselves
- not provided with soap, toothbrushes, sanitary napkins or tampons
- forced to perform unpaid hard labor beginning as early as the age of five (including handwashing the nuns' sanitary cloths in cold water with bare hands)
- forced to work instead of learn

are somehow "demeaned" by the report because they weren't actually raped. Donohue thinks that this kind of treatment is "hardly draconian," and anyway, "most of [the children were] delinquents." So what--probably they deserved to be beaten, starved, and treated as domestic slaves?

Moreover. The "delinquents" who Donohue thinks deserved to be beaten--after all, nothing short of rape really counts--included:

- illegitimate children, who were often transferred to these homes as soon as their mothers were released from the mother and baby homes where they gave birth.
- foster children, whose parents were unemployed, neglectful, alcoholics, abusive, etc.
- children whose mothers or fathers had died or abandoned the family.

Children admitted because of delinquency?
One hundred and eleven (111) witnesses (14%), 107 male and four female, reported that their conviction for criminal offences was the major factor leading to their admission to a School. The nature of the offences mainly involved theft of food, fuel, bicycles, clothing or money. There were eight reports from male witnesses of admission as a result of charges for more serious offences such as ‘breaking and entering’ and ‘attacks on the person’.


Eight. Out of 791.

According to Donohue, it's "wild and irresponsible" to say priests raped children if only 12% of priests did so, but if 14% of kids steal food, or eight children out of 791 are guilty of breaking and entering or assault, that makes the entire group "most[ly] delinquents."

It gets even worse.
Rape, on the other hand, constituted 12 percent of the cases. As for the charge that “Irish Priests” were responsible, some of the abuse was carried out by lay persons, much of it was done by Brothers, and about 12 percent of the abusers were priests (most of whom were not rapists).
Only 12% of the kids were raped! And only 12% of the people who raped and beat children were priests! Clearly the title of the report is "wild and irresponsible" and grossly unfair to the poor, poor Catholic church.

Note that the abuses I described above are listed in the report under "everyday life." The things listed under *abuses*--not including rape--well, let's quote the report here:
witnesses at times described daily, casual and random physical abuse as normal and wished to report only the times when the frequency and severity of the abuse was such that they were injured or in fear for their lives.
Donohue deliberately misrepresents (or excuses?) children being injured or in fear for their lives as
Not nice, to be sure, but hardly draconian, especially given the time line. . . . quite frankly, corporal punishment was not exactly unknown in many homes during these times.
Abuses that Donohue apprently considers normal include being forced to eat vomit (eight separate people reported this); being stripped naked, held down, and beaten in front of witnesses; being beaten to the point of having their earlobes severed or bones broken.

And it's not as if Donohue didn't look at the details. He's obviously read the report, because he quotes a section describing some of the sexual abuses perpetrated. But he takes the quotes--"kissing" and "inappropriate sexual contact" out of context, deliberately citing the least shocking offense and using a phrase without giving details about what it means. Here is the complete passage, which gives a better sense of the kind of "inappropriate sexual contact" we're talking about:
Witnesses reported sexual assaults in the forms of vaginal and anal rape, oral/genital contact, digital penetration, penetration by an object, masturbation and other forms of inappropriate contact, including molestation and kissing. Witnesses also reported several forms of non-contact sexual abuse including indecent exposure, inappropriate sexual talk, voyeurism and forced public nudity.
I kinda doubt that the "kissing" here is of the benign, affectionate sort.

To be fair, Donohue concedes that "none of this is defensible"--before immediately going on to defend it. He egregiously sums up what the report details as "oral/genital contact, digital penetration, penetration by an object, [and] masturbation" as, in Donohue's words, "e.g. . . . inappropriate sexual talk," and then goes on to the idea that nothing short of rape really counts.

Let's quote the conclusion of his statement again.
. . . none of it qualifies as rape. . . . The Irish report suffers from conflating minor instances of abuse with serious ones, thus demeaning the latter. When most people hear of the term abuse, they do not think about being slapped, being chilly, being ignored or, for that matter, having someone stare at you in the shower. They think about rape.
When people hear abuse they don't generally think of being fingered by a nun, either. That's because such things are, to those who haven't experienced them or read the report, unthinkable. Donohue has read the report. He knows, as I do, that it clearly separates corporal punishments and forced labor (still unacceptable, and described in chapters describing "Everyday Life") from outrageous abuse (in chapters describing "Abuses"). He, not it, is the one conflating minor instances of abuse, like "inappropriate sexual talk" with serious ones, like digital penetration.

Let's sum up.

Bill Donohue is defending a powerful institution, the Catholic Church, by minimizing and excusing the abuse and neglect of children, including deliberately overlooking oral rape, digital rape, rape with objects, or forced masturbation.

Bill Donohue claims to defend "Catholic interests" and to represent Catholics.

If Donohue is as representative of Catholicism as he claims, then he has just proved that Catholics and the Catholic Church do indeed defend and excuse nuns and priests who abuse children. At least, as long as they don't actually rape them.

I pray to the blessed virgin that Donohue is not representative of most Catholics. He sure as shit doesn't represent me.

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