Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Rape-inflation rhetoric

I wouldn't normally comment on the Duggar scandal. However, I see that philosopher Paul Moser is back on the war path, plugging a post by Zach Hunt. The Duggar scandal is a pretext to attack the Bible and Bible-believing Christians. The point of my post is not to defend the Duggars, but to defend Christians against scurrilous guilt-by-association.

i) Josh has been accused of molesting "minors." However, that's misleading inasmuch as he himself was a minor at the time. From what I've read, he just turned 14. Both he and the victims were minors. And underage boy, with underage girls. 

In addition, he's accused of "fondling" the "breasts" of some girls. That suggests the victims weren't prepubescent girls. Rather, they were old enough to have breasts. Say age 12 or thereabouts. 

So, to judge by the report, this involves misconduct between an adolescent boy and adolescent girls, about one or two years apart.

In fact, it's unclear from what I've read if he was even older than the girls. When reports say it was his "younger sisters," "younger" qualifies "sisters." That doesn't necessarily mean they were younger than their brother. Rather, "younger sisters" stands in contrast to their other sisters. They were younger than their older sisters.

Moreover, the misconduct in question involves fondling the erogenous zones. Given the nature of the offense, and how close they were in age, that isn't anywhere close to "rape" or "sexual violence." Rather, that's sexual harassment. 

There's a rape-inflation rhetoric that's popular in feminism because it's politically expedient. 

ii) By the way, suppose that was reversed. Suppose a 12-year-old girl sexually fondled a 13-year-old boy–without prior consent. Would the critics be outraged that the girls weren't prosecuted? Or is there a double standard in play?

iii) If fondling is all there was to it, and if Josh and the girls were just one or two few years apart, then I don't think the parents had a moral duty to report him to the authorities. I think that's the kind of situation which should be handled within the family. Parental discipline.

If he was incorrigible, that's different. Also, I don't know if or how he was disciplined. 

iv) Mind you, it's important to get the girls' side of the story. It could be worse. 

To the extent that there are bigger issues here:

v) What were his qualifications to be hired for a top spot at the Family Research Council? None that I can see. 

It was just celebrity. Apparently, the Duggars are folk heroes in some reactionary Christian circles (e.g. Quiverfull movement, Patriarchy movement). 

vi) Mike Huckabee and Michael Brown are right to say that what he did was forgivable. However, the way they cast the issue is somewhat confused.

Forgiveness is a category mistake for anyone who wasn't even wronged by him. 

vii) Moser's comparison is typically confused. Islam does sanctify terrorism. 

By contrast, Christianity doesn't sanctify "sexual violence."

viii) The Duggar scandal has nothing to do with Christians in general. 

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