Unwanted contact a crime
Thanks for Mike Myer’s column on Sept. 24: “each and every priest guilty of harming children, or … adults, should be punished. So should any church official who aided and abetted them” including prosecuting attorneys who failed to do their jobs. Any sexual contact with children or adults without their consent is a crime, and it causes incredible personal anguish. For both of those reasons, those who violate children or fail to protect them must be tried, condemned and sentenced.
Sexual abuse is also theft – a stealing of the right of a person to their own bodily integrity and safety. We don’t allow someone to steal our car, our TV, money, or guns. We have a right to our property. A person’s body is their most important possession. We have an absolute right to live in our own bodies without invasion. There is a lot of discussion about whether groping is bad, or fondling is bad, or if your target is drunk or if it happened a long time ago, it doesn’t matter. We are struggling to justify or condemn the actions of any 17-year-old boy who holds down a 15-year-old girl to try to force himself on her. Today, it is the word of Brett Kavanaugh, nominee for Supreme Court Justice, against the word of Dr. Christine Ford. Kavanaugh should have said, unequivocally, that rape, groping, unwanted sexual contact with anyone is always a crime, always wrong. That is what I expect from anyone upholding the authority of the law. And ESPECIALLY from someone who may serve for life on the Supreme Court. If he does not uphold the principle that every person, male or female, has an inviolable right to their own body, how will he rule on any matter that requires consent? Kavanaugh has also ruled that people with developmental and intellectual disabilities do not have a right to bodily sovereignty. As a D.C. circuit judge, in 2007, Kavanaugh overturned a lower court decision that enjoined Washington, D.C.’s disability services officials from authorizing elective medical procedures without first trying to ascertain the wishes of the patient.
We must be outraged at the sexual abuse of children by priests. We must also be outraged that Mr. Kavanaugh does not recognize that unwanted sexual contact is a crime and that people have an inviolable right to their own bodies. We cannot abandon our children, our responsibility or our Constitution now.