Thursday, June 12, 2014

Chastity Does Not Equal Consent

Dear Matt Walsh,

On June 11th, you made a big mistake: you claimed that we can only end rape culture through chastity.

That is horrifying.

Don't get me wrong; I am a huge fan of chastity. Sex is precious, and sacred, and holy, which is why I waited until marriage to have sex, and why I hope others will do the same. Your blog has many uplifting insights into chastity and marriage.

So why am I horrified, you ask? Because chastity is always a choice of two people. It is consensual. Rape, by contrast, is always a choice of one person. There is an inherent contradiction in equating the two.

There is an inevitable implication when you make this logical error. It is that the girl--the victim of rape, the one who usually feels most responsible for sexual sin--will blame herself for being raped. She will think that she needs to dress more modestly to fix rape culture, when modest clothes are not necessarily safer. (I'm told that the safest clothes are the hardest ones to get off the girl's body, regardless of how provocative they are. Tight-fitting short shorts are much safer than sweat pants.)

Obviously, this wasn't your intent. Your intent was to promote chastity--a noble goal, as I've acknowledged.

But it's time for all of us to cease equating chastity with consent, sexual sanctity with sexual agency. They are related but separate issues, and we must teach both to our children. Otherwise, we risk blaming the victims of sexual abuse.

Let me be clear. I understand that you were not trying to blame the victims of rape. You said that rape is a problem, and that chastity is the only solution. Keep in mind that victims of rape are prone to blame themselves already, hence my reaction. If you do not purge this implication completely from your logic, you have not purged rape culture completely from yourself.

Thank you for listening, and may your blog inspire.
Michael Reed Davison

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