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Loyal Daughters’ sparks feedback

Letter to the Editor | Monday, November 20, 2006

I’d like the opportunity to refute the claims made by Jonathan Kaltenbach in his Letter to the Editor (“‘Consent’ is no justification,” Nov. 17). Kaltenbach gives a grossly oversimplified theory as to why rape and sexual assault occur: premarital sex engorges wild desire and rape or assault is the inevitable result. This ideology blames the victims themselves for creating the opportunity for rape or assault (“playing with fire”) and then suffering the consequences of their sinful behavior (“getting burned”). This alludes to the antiquated (or so I thought) and infuriating notion that a victim of rape or sex was “asking for it.”

Kaltenbach’s lofty claim of offering the “real solution” rests on his faulty definition of rape or assault as the result of desire gone wild. If we accept this theory, simply abstaining from premarital relations and keeping the flame from the brushfire of sexual excess will miraculously purge our society of rape and assault. Following this logic, how can Kaltenbach explain the fact that rape and assault occur within the covenant of marriage?

Also, if we accept his argument, why aren’t men and women being assaulted in equal numbers? Is it just the man who is sexually excessive when he engages in premarital sex with a woman? To put it another way, why aren’t the women that engage in premarital sex acts raping men at the same rates that men rape women?

The key point is that we need to look at what rape is and why it really happens. We can start by acknowledging that rape or assault occurs in a wide variety of contexts and circumstances, contrary to what Kaltenbach would lead us to believe. Yet there is a common underlying ideology that allows rape to happen: a culture of domination and a complete lack of respect for the human dignity of others. A person who commits rape is not simply a nymphomaniacal hedonist. The act of rape shows a clear and dangerous disregard for the dignity of each person acted out via aggressive domination. The harmful ideologies and perceptions in the perpetrator’s mind are not magically erased by slipping a wedding band on his or her finger.

Hope for a solution then lies in a long-fought battle to change these societal perceptions. If we establish a truly loving and respectful Christian fellowship in which domination is not tolerated, then rape and assault would not be feasible. Kaltenbach claims our Christian duty lies in sexual restraint and chastity. This may reduce but will not eradicate the occurrence of rape and assault. Perhaps we would better serve the issue by pursuing our Christian duty to support the victims, not to presume they are sexually promiscuous and tell them “I told you so.” Most importantly, it is our Christian duty to work toward a society in which we respect the dignity of each person.

Cara Burditt


Pasquerilla West

Nov. 17