But I am distracted right now.
Today is the feast of Maria Goretti. She was a little eleven year old girl in Italy who died in 1902. The way she died was hideous. The son of her father's business partner attempted to rape her and threatened her with death if she disclosed his attack. Finally, one day, he found her alone in the house and armed with a dagger, bound her, gagged her and attempted to rape her. She resisted and he stabbed her. She was rushed to the hospital, and despite the efforts of the doctors, she died of her wounds.
Before she died, she forgave her murderer, who was imprisoned. He was unrepentant and defiant, but over the years, some say through the intercession of his victim in Heaven, repented of his sin.
There are many sugar coated versions of this story. Some accounts tell of her "purity" and her concern for her attacker's soul if he committed the sin of rape. Some accounts, such as the one I read this morning, assure us that even if she had "consented" to the rape, her "purity" would have remained intact. I couldn't believe what I was reading. It made me want to vomit.
I am also a victim of child sexual assault. I was molested as an eleven year old by a trusted friend of our family. At no point was I given an opportunity to consent or not. There is no such thing as "consent" when a child is sexually molested. I carried this secret with me until I was 29 years old. I thought it was my fault. I thought I had done something wrong, because I neither resisted nor warned my molester of the danger to his immortal soul.
In school, Maria Goretti was presented to us as an example. The lesson we were supposed to learn was that it was better to resist and be killed than to lose our purity.
I taught my children that if anyone threatened them with molestation, to resist - to fight - to yell - to scream, and then to find a trusted adult to tell. I taught my children that this "secret" is never a good secret. It was too late for me. But I could instruct my children to protect themselves as best they could.
Children who are sexually assaulted are never in any danger of losing their "purity". Child molesters will go to any lengths to find and victimize children.
Tell your children to fight. Tell your children to resist. Tell your children that it is never their fault.
|St. Maria Goretti, pray for us.|