***Update***: We should have included this in the post, but Sanborn isn’t an official bishop of the Catholic Church. He belongs to a separate group claiming to have God’s authority.
This should be obvious: If you’re writing a blog post about the kind of deplorable men who commit rape, you shouldn’t include a line saying “the conduct of some women is deplorable as well.” There’s no equivalency, so why attempt to create one?
Yet that’s precisely what Florida Bishop Donald J. Sanborn does on his blog In Veritate:
The 1960s produced a sexual revolution unheard of in the history of the world, which in turn caused a revolution in family life from which we are still reeling, and the end of which is nowhere in sight.
The trend began over one hundred years ago, and gained momentum in World War I. Before the war, for example, women covered their entire bodies with clothing. After the war, the hemlines came up and the necklines came down.
Those shameless hussies showing off their ankles and necks…
Sanborn makes it sound like modest women, pre-WWI, were never raped (which is not true) and that their choice of clothing contributed to their own abuse (which is not fair). Like so many conservatives, he blames the victim, as if the men were incidental to what happened.
But what else would you expect from a guy who defended Brett Kavanaugh and said the allegations against him were untrue because he denied it and “moral law” requires us “to take the word of the superior.” (Sanborn also said it couldn’t have been rape because the alleged victim ran away and Kavanaugh never finished.)
The effect of all of this revolution in sexual mores, as well as the role of women, is that men and women have been thrown together into situations which are very dangerous. Women are daily interacting with men in the workplace. In many cases they are dressed in such a way as to be immodestly attractive to men. The inevitable result is that, unless the men in the office are very vigilant about the virtue of chastity and fidelity to their wives, some very bad things take place.
Office flirtation does not cause rape.
What women wear in the workplace does not cause rape.
Men and women working together does not cause rape.
Having an affair at the office, while unethical, isn’t comparable to rape.
This is not rocket science.
Most of these assaults upon women are seen in show business, an environment which is notably loose and never known for its observance of chastity and fidelity. Most of the “victim” ladies in these cases look like lascivious women, and probably did much to cause the assault.
Sanborn isn’t even pointing to a specific incident here (not that it would make a difference). It’s just a blanket statement that women who aren’t abstinent before marriage surely deserve whatever happens to them. On what grounds can he even make this claim? How many rape survivors does he actually know? How many rapes has he actually witnessed?
Other cases of assault occur in situations in which men enjoy much power and influence. Sports figures are often guilty of this as well as politicians. There seems to be an aggression that occurs in men as they advance in power and/or fame. Women should not be close to any environments such as these.
I suppose we can give him credit for acknowledging a power imbalance in certain situations, but even then, notice how he tells women to stay away from powerful and famous men. Like it’s their responsibility to not get raped. He never tells the powerful and famous men to stop raping women.
This is the “Mike Pence Rule” on steroids: He’s telling men they’re better off not being around other women instead of telling them to treat those women with respect and professionalism. It’s the sort of attitude that suggests you’re better off not hiring women than working alongside them and getting tempted.
Sanborn really seems to have a very low opinion of men as a whole. They’re slaves to their own urges, he suggests, and it’s up to women to stop them from their own barbaric impulses. It explains a lot about religion, perhaps, but it’s still not a reasonable way to think.
He ends with this plea to women:
While women should not look odd by returning the mode of dress in 1912, they should nonetheless take all the steps necessary, even difficult, expensive, and inconvenient, in order to avoid being an occasion of sin to men, and thereby inviting upon themselves outrages by unscrupulous males.
Got that, ladies? You need to stop making men attack you. They can’t help it when you look like that.
By the way, if you want to respond to anything Sanborn says on his website, good luck. Comments are turned off on the original post. I can’t imagine why.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Mallory for the link)