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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Wednesday, March 17, 2021
- Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse and Matt Maddox
- Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse and Matt Maddox
A cartoon skunk is now the face of the rape culture. Pepè Le Pew, the lovestruck, clueless, ostensibly French, romancing skunk has found himself in the crosshairs of New York Times columnist, Charles Blow. In a recent column, he said that the besotted skunk normalized the sordid culture of rape. In an otherwise thoughtful piece on how children experience racism, Mr. Blow’s toss-away condemnation of a cartoon skunk garnered him the most attention. In response to the outcry, he doubled-down. Unfortunately, blaming a cartoon character for the rape culture minimizes both the suffering of rape victims and the deepest roots of the problem.
A better cultural icon to cancel would be someone like Hugh Hefner, and the deep root of the rape culture problem: the Sexual Revolution itself.
Mr. Blow defended himself on Twitter, expounding on the romantic rodent’s sexual misconduct. “1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger, repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her. 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.”
Perhaps Charles Blow should re-watch those old Pepè Le Pew episodes (if they’re not canceled yet). He might see that Pepè is presented as someone the other characters avoid. He’d also see that even Pepè Le Pew doesn’t like when the tables are turned. The obvious comedy of the situation might be too nuanced for a grown up to get. But kids understand intuitively that the seductive skunk is not a role model, but a laughable character, whose antics should not be replicated.
If we are going to retroactively cancel cultural icons because of their encouragement of rape culture, let’s start with Hugh Hefner. Reflecting on his work in an interview in 2010 he said, “The notion that Playboy turns women into sex objects is ridiculous. Women are sex objects.”
Printing a magazine that taught millions of boys that women are merely objects for sex does far more harm than a clueless skunk amorously chasing a cat. Hugh Hefner did incalculable harm to those millions of boys accidentally exposed to porn at a young age through his magazines.
Pornography, though doesn’t merely degrade women in the eyes of the consumer. Pornography also tends to be an escalating behavior.Fight The New Drug (an anti-pornography website) puts it this way, “Because of porn’s addictive nature, porn consumers usually need an ever-increasing dosage over time in order to feel the same level of enjoyment. They often have to seek out more extreme and hard-core forms of porn.” For too many consumers, this more extreme and hard-core porn includes violence.
Dr. John Foubert, a leading expert on sexual violence, examined the link between pornography and sexual violence in a recent article. He found: “That 95% of the time when someone is violent with another person in porn, usually a man toward a woman, the recipient is shown as either liking that violence or having no objection…Pornography teaches boys to hit girls and shows girls that they should like it.”
In addition, Mr. Blow’s colleague at The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof, wrote a blockbuster report on how Pornhub profits from sexual violence. Kristof’s article featured the terrible story of a woman, now 23, who was adopted from China. Her adoptive parents forced her to appear in violent pornographic videos uploaded to Pornhub, from the time she was 9 years old.
The same report from The New York Times quotes the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s statistics on how the exploitative content of minors has exploded. In the space of four years (2015 to 2019) there was a shocking 964% increase, going from 6.5 million reported exploitative images, to 69.2 million reported such images and videos. In the face of this type of data, it’s hard to blame the rape culture on a cartoon skunk kissing a painted cat.
But underlying all of the rape culture, is the pervasive ideology of the Sexual Revolution. The core tenant of the Sexual Revolution is that everyone deserves to have sex all the time with no consequences anywhere: sex is an entitlement. This ideology permeates society. Even Nicholas Kristof in his fine expose, couldn’t help but opine that “It should be possible to be sex positive and Pornhub negative.”
We’re not so sure. Writing in the National Catholic Register, one of us challenged the Sexual Revolutionary view. Evidently Kristof and Blow both accept the idea that lack of consent is the only possible basis for judging a sexual encounter as immoral. We think this places more weight on “consent” than it can bear.
The #MeToo movement bears this out. So do the cases of Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, or former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. While these three men operated in different sectors of society, they all operated according to the tenets of the Sexual Revolution. Weinstein promised his victims stardom through his wealth and influence. Epstein offered his victims the possibility of modeling careers. McCarrick gave advancement in the Catholic Clergy to his victims.
The power of these men enabled them to silence their victims and create a system of compromised individuals who helped enable the victimizers. Their heinous acts are really little different from the back-alley rapist, the sadomasochistic pornography producer, or the child sex abuser. All these predators embrace the idea that they are entitled to sex. Other people are objects for them to use in what is no more than a physical act.
Focusing on a cartoon character, when the porn industry makes billions, is a cheap shot. The porn industry might actually fight back. Canceling a skunk when a cad like Hefner gets a pass, is unconscionable. The Ruth Institute stands by the ancient Catholic teaching that no one is entitled to sex. The only way to combat the rape culture is to diagnose it accurately, recognize where it comes from, and speak for the victims.
Posted on: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
By Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published on March 16, 2020, at The Stream.
Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself. This fact, which no serious person denies, marks a new era in the unfolding of the Sexual Revolution. For years, we have been told that the Sexual Revolution was part of the March of History into a glorious day of progress, peace and pleasure for everyone. We ordinary folk can now say without doubt to the members of the Elite Ruling Class who have been foisting this nonsense on us: you aren’t fooling us anymore.
In my book, The Sexual State, I offer several possible reasons why the Elites of society are so invested in promoting the Sexual Revolution. Some are just ideologues. Some are making money from the Sexual Revolution. Some enjoy the power rush they get from being part of a movement to remake the world in their own image.
Here is an even simpler explanation. Some rich and powerful people want to have sex without consequences or even inconvenience. The Sexual Revolutionary ideology and all the policies that support it, provide these people with encouragement or cover or both.
I did not emphasize this point very much in my book. It is generally bad manners to assume bad faith, unless the evidence is overwhelming. The evidence is now overwhelming. Some highly placed advocates of the Sexual Revolution just wanted to get laid.
Stephen Reinhart, “the Liberal Lion,” was the Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Under his reign, the Sexual Revolutionaries could count on the Ninth Circuit for favorable reinterpretations of law. One of his former law clerks recently revealed he had a pattern of sexual harassment of his female subordinates. Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein made numerous films that implicitly or explicitly supported the Sexual Revolution or attacked the Catholic Church or both. We now know that he was a notorious predator, pervert and sex addict, thankfully consigned to prison for the next 23 years.
Speaking of the Catholic Church, the disgraced former cardinal, now Mr. Theodore McCarrick, was big on promoting Catholic teaching on “social justice.” Church teaching on sexual morality: not so much. In fact, McCarrick downplayed to the point of suppressing an instruction from Pope Benedict XVI telling the U.S. clergy that they ought to take a tougher stand on pro-abortion, self-proclaimed “Catholic” politicians. The pope wrote a letter that then-Cardinal McCarrick failed to deliver. Who would have thought? A sexual predator (a homosexual predator, to be sure) dragged his feet about proclaiming Church teaching on abortion.
And speaking of homosexual predators, what about Terry Bean? You remember him, don’t you? He was the Democratic fundraiser and gay rights activist who has been accused of sexual abuse of boys.
And then of course, there is Jeffrey Epstein himself, the proprietor of an island for sex slavery for his rich and powerful friends. Gosh, isn’t it sad that he killed himself?
Seriously, members of the Elite Ruling Class, do you expect us to believe Jeffrey Epstein killed himself? Some wags in Le Krewe d’Etat created a Mardi Gras float featuring Hilary Clinton strangling Jeffrey Epstein. This “disturbing” float attracted attention all the way across the pond in the U.K. press. A Denver story even has an amateur video.
Memo to Sexual Revolutionary Elites: We don’t believe Jeffrey Epstein killed himself.
Your corporations blast pornography into the public square. Your sports leagues groom young girls to think sex with strangers is empowering. Your “educators” and politicians inflict graphic sexual “education” on children, against the wishes of their parents. This “educational material” is so graphic, the live broadcast of the Washington State legislative debates included a warning label: “Mature Subject Matter — Viewer Discretion Advised.” Yet the legislature voted it into the classroom of every public school in the State of Washington.
Your allies in higher education conscript generations of college students as shock troops for the Sexual Revolution. You divert their attention from your shameless exploitation and keep them focused on your preferred scapegoats the “Religious Right.” You have used your microphone in the media to cover up Epstein’s crimes. You are seemingly more concerned about who leaked the cover-up story, than about the cover-up itself.
You notice how I said “seemingly.” That is an old habit. I generally avoid making rash statements that I cannot prove. But in an environment of massive cover-up and deception that includes seemingly (there’s that word again) every institution in society, certainty is no longer possible. I’m not in a court of law where I have to prove your crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. I am in the court of Public Opinion. And we have reached a verdict on the Ruling Class and the Sexual Revolution.
We believe you are capable of any crime, including murder, rape, pedophilia and perjury. You have abused our good will. We believe you, the Elite Ruling Class, are using every institution of society to embolden predators and disarm victims.
You have used up the benefit of the doubt. We will give a respectful hearing to internet conspiracy theories we would have dismissed only a short time ago. When in doubt about sexual crimes or cover-ups by the Ruling Class, the presumption goes against you. In a pinch, all ties go to the guy in the tinfoil hat, not the guy in the designer business suit. As Michael Brendan Dougherty put it: we believe paranoia stands to reason.
“Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.” Whenever you see that meme, understand what the people of this country are telling you. We don’t trust you. We don’t believe you. And you have only yourselves to blame.
Posted on: Monday, May 30, 2016
Leave it to pro-choice political operatives to make a blackmail threat against a pro-life politician and his family. And leave it to the King of Kings
to bring light out of darkness and to write straight with crooked lines.
It seems that "an unnamed source" told Michigan State Rep. Lee Chatfield, a pro-life Republican, that they planned to make public information about his wife's abortion years ago. I suppose this was supposed to embarrass Rep Chatfield and his wife Stephanie that they would, do what, exactly? That he would stop calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood? That he would withdraw his sponsorship of a bill to ban abortions that dismember the child?
In any case, Mrs. Chatfield made her own decision to not allow herself and her husband to be manipulated by her past. She beat them to the punch and told her own story of her high school abortion. She told the story on her own terms: a story of rape, abortion, regret, forgiveness and healing.
When I read her story, I could not help but think how clueless the person who threatened must really be. Or maybe she/he/ze did not know the full story. The young Stephanie, a high school student, was obviously a victim of rape, the very sort of person the Sexual Revolutionary feminist claims to be trying to help. Stephanie did just what the feminist/sexual revolutionary playbook called for: she had an abortion. But the abortion did not solve her problem, as advertised.
I made a decision that I’ve thought about and regretted nearly every day since. It’s haunted me. It’s made me weep. It’s made it difficult to look in the mirror at times. I knew that what I did was wrong at the time, but I never imagined the weight and guilt that I would carry as a consequence.
I give Stephanie Chatfield a lot of credit for how she is handling herself. This is exactly what the Ruth Institute hopes more people will do: tell the truth about what happened to you. Reveal the lies of the Sexual Revolution. You will take the sting out of them. You will heal yourself, and heal others. As Mrs. Chatfield said:
No matter the intentions of anybody wishing to see this story go public, this I am certain of: God meant it for good and will glorify Himself through this....And to everybody reading this, remember what I had forgotten – that God is greater than our sin. I am confident that God can continue to use an imperfect person like me to bring Himself glory. And while the life vs. choice debate will continue to wage on, this I know for certain: I made the wrong choice. Yet, I plan to use my story to help girls, love others and serve as a living testimony of God’s grace and forgiveness.
This is the real, Christ-like solution to the problems of the Sexual Revolution. As I have said many times in my talks, if it is not Christ-like, I'm not the slightest bit interested in it. And if it is not Christ-like, it won't last anyway.
Share your story with us. We may include it on the Tell Ruth the Truth blog. You have no idea who may benefit from your experience.