Thursday, 26 July 2012
Auntie Seraphic & the Catholic Website Dater
I am fuming. I don't know if you remember or not, but I wrote to you a while back about a guy I was going to visit I had met on [Catholic dating site] and everyone was giving me a hard time about staying at his house. Thank you, by the way, for your advice. I think at the time I was going too crazy to remember to write back to say that. Well, things were fine with him at first, and then he started pressuring me to sleep with him, and it took me a while but inevitably things ended. (Obviously.)
But the thing is...on my second visit, he tried to get me drunk. I didn't really take it that seriously at first because I had no intention of getting drunk and thought he was mostly an idiot for trying, and then an even bigger idiot for ADMITTING to trying to get me drunk and take advantage of me. Because that's what he was doing, and he was stupid enough to admit it. He actually said, the next day, that "he didn't think it would work, but he was hoping it would." This was after I had told him no more than once, and after he had promised to stop pressuring me.
And then I noticed that he was back on [Catholic dating site], so I told them what happened, because I'm worried that he's going to try this on some other girl who may be too young and naive to understand or resist. He is a potential date rapist, basically. I assumed they would at least pretend like there was a chance that they would pull his account, at the very least because he was pressuring girls to sleep with him on a Catholic website, but the addition of alcohol adds a whole other element to the situation! But they responded by saying that since there was no police report (!!) and nothing in the messages about it, there was nothing they could do unless some other girl complained. So in other words, they're going to wait until he ACTUALLY SUCCEEDS in date raping some girl, and then they're going to shut down his profile.
By the way, he tried ALL the tricks. He told me he thought I was the one, that he cared about me, was ever so nice and thoughtful, went way out of his way to do nice things for me...and it's only because I'm pretty jaded about guys in general that I knew what was up as soon as sex entered the picture. (In the first week...after a few days, actually.) There are a lot of sheltered and very vulnerable girls on that website who really want to find someone who is going to say ALL of those things to them, and who knows...maybe he's gotten to a few of them already. He was never the tiniest bit threatening or aggressive. Oh, and, although I haven't admitted this to anyone because I'm embarrassed I didn't break things off immediately, I found a copy of "The Rules of the Game" in his room. I don't know why this stuff happens to me...I'm a nice person and I'm really careful about the guys I date. Oh well.
Please tell me there's something I can do about this.
Poppets, since I got this email I've been in regular correspondence with Regular Reader, so I'm going to address my comments to you.
First of all, I honour Regular Reader's wish to do something to protect other women who subscribe to Catholic dating websites, and I hope that she has succeeded by permitting me to post her email on my blog.
Second, I want to remind you that Catholic dating websites are businesses. And just because they have "Catholic" in their name does not mean they have oversight from any of the ecclesiastical structures designed to protect us. Some might. But some probably do not. They are not "ministries." They are in the business of staying in business. And some of them will play upon your deepest sorrows, and use holy days, to get you to send them money: "Why be alone this Christmas?"
Third, the men you met on dating websites usually are strangers. In judging whether or not to chat with them or meet them, you have only their word to go on. The Catholic dating website does not sit down with them and do a personal interview before they are allowed access to the profiles of thousands of young Catholic ladies.
Fourth, the very nature of the internet is impersonal. If Regular Reader had stormed into an office and demanded an interview with a real, live, matchmaker who had carelessly set her up with this jerk, then it is very possible the matchmaker would have given her a cup of tea, listened to her, given her a tissue, and possible cried herself.
But Regular Reader's interactions with the Catholic dating website were entirely over the internet, and instead of giving her tea and a tissue, they threw the responsibility for the men they shelter back onto her. No police report, no cancelling Mr Horny Toad, no loss of Mr Horny Toad's $15 a month, or whatever it is.
Fifth, the very nature of dating websites is consumerist. You pick men by photo, and they pick you by photo. Dating websites are department stores of people. They can provide comfort and amusement for people who are too afraid, or can't be bothered, to meet people in "real life." For this reason, I recommend that people who are serious about meeting people actually MEET the people they "meet" on websites, but certainly in public places and with all due caution.
An alternative to Catholic dating websites is to ask your friends about their more interesting Facebook friends. That's how I first heard about B.A.
Sixth, Regular Reader brought up the word "rape", and I had a long, somewhat fraught conversation with my husband about this, because he used to teach ethics and philosophy of law. I am not a lawyer, and neither is he. But he convinced me it is important to distinguish between two kinds of rat-bastard behaviour, seduction and rape.
Occasionally I get emails from rape survivors. They break my heart, but that's okay. We should weep with those who weep. These survivors were violently attacked. So far I have not heard from a survivor who was raped after she lost consciousness--I think. (My sincerest apologies if I have; I do recollect reading accounts of such things, but not where.) If I understand properly, if a woman says "No" and the man still has sex with her, it's rape. And if the woman is not free to give consent (e.g. because she is unconscious), but he goes ahead, that's rape.
It is also rape if a man extracts "consent" from a woman after threats and coersion and maybe false promises or claims.
But merely offering a woman drinks, hoping thereby to change her mind, is not yet attempted rape. It is a form of seduction, and although it is a very stupid one, I can see why a rat-bastard would attempt it.
College campuses feature girls who think they should have sex, but their natural modesty gets in the way, so they drink themselves silly. It's very pathetic and sad, but it is their choice to drink the drinks and then throw themselves at whoever. Of course, then the legality of having sex with these girls is murky because their freedom to give consent has been compromised.
But this is not something Catholic men should even worry about because Catholic men should know perfectly well that it is a serious offence against God and neighbour to have sex outside of marriage. Even pagans know that "No means No" and only "Yes" means "Yes." Christians are supposed to be even better than that.
I don't know if Regular Reader's Catholic dating website date would have laid a hand on her if she had accepted all his stupid drinks. So I wouldn't call him a potential date rapist any more than any other man or woman. This does not, mean, however, that he is not a rat-bastard.
He is a rat-bastard and a bad Catholic and I think at very least [Catholic dating website] should contact him and tell him there has been a complaint about his behaviour and then tell Regular Reader they have done so. If a friend had set them up, the friend would have apologized. Regular Reader deserves an apology.
Seventh, I am very angry with Catholic men who pressure women to sleep with them.
I am not angry with Catholic men who merely suggest it in the context of loving relationships. If you make out enough, such suggestions are likely because making out is Nature's way of preparing human beings to have sex. I cannot think of a better way to break down even the most devout Catholic's resistance to the desires of his body than prolonged making out with him. But Catholic men who pressure women to sleep with them or ply them with alcohol in the hopes of changing their minds are Judas.
"But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, then it is better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." --Matthew 18.6
Eighth, there are lots of good men. Many, many, many. I think most men are good men, and it is sad that bad men just make more of an impact, like the tiny percentage of priests who abused teenagers and kids.
Generations of good priests--hundreds or thousands of years of good work--have been eclipsed by a handful of monsters. It's so unfair, but there it is. One bad guy can hurt hundreds of people and so the damage he does is disproportionate to who he is.
Don't let the bad guys make you think there are no good guys. There are. Where? There.