From the Baptist News:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Pro-family advocates were pleased when "Hounddog," a film that depicts the rape of a 9-year-old girl, did not enjoy the widespread exposure its director had wanted. It opened in only 11 theaters nationwide Sept. 19 and earned a dismal $13,744 at the box office during the first weekend. [...]
"These despicable movies promote pedophilia, whether intentionally or unintentionally," Baehr, founder of Movieguide, said. "There should be a massive public outcry against them. The inclusion of children in sexually explicit films is inappropriate. There also is no excuse for the authorities to allow such material to be shown publicly." [...]
Fanning, who also starred in "Charlotte's Web" and "War of the Worlds," plays Lewellen, a sexually promiscuous young girl who lives in a broken home in the rural South during the 1950s. Though several scenes involving Fanning are overtly sexual, the most brutal is when she is raped by a teenage boy who tempts her with tickets to an Elvis concert.
This latest, more judgmental description of Dakota Fanning's character is telling since it is not only false, but it matches the rationalization of rapists who need to find a reason to make their rape victims responsible for their actions.
Those who follow my blog know that self-proclaimed "innocent" sex criminals have succeeded at selling their lies to judges. They also know that a Baptist pastor recently called sex crimes against a minor "a mistake" and failed to offer support for the known victim of this man and failed to offer support to any unknown victims of this man.
This press release description helps every rapist who defends his actions by saying, "She's just a sexually promiscuous young girl."
If someone watches Hounddog and feels encouraged to rape children, the problem is not with the movie. The problem is with how and when that person rationalizes raping children. Going into the movie with the belief that the main character isn't an innocent child because moral people called a 9 year old girl sexually promiscuous helps to enable those who want an excuse the rape of children.
This attitude is echoed every time someone demands that women take personal responsibility for being raped. It is echoed every time someone demands that those who speak out against rape stop playing the victim.
If rape victims, even those only 9 years old, don't have the right to be considered crime victims then rapists cannot be considered criminals.
This gives us rapists who would never rape good children, but who would rape a child who has done something that good people have told their children not to do. In this worldview if a child falls into a predator's trap and is raped, that child is promiscuous.
But in my worldview being raped -- through force, coercion or threat -- is NOT being promiscuous. Yet many people describe children who have been raped, sometimes repeatedly in just this way. Children who are curious about their bodies and the bodies of other children are not promiscuous.
Anyone who dismisses a child who has been raped as promiscuous is someone who should never again be trusted with children.
Those who make or repeat without question a false statement about the character, Lewellen, are themselves reinforcing the very crimes they claim to be against.
The Catholic church has paid a high price financially and morally for their silencing of victims and for their history of complicity with rapists and sexual abusers in their ranks.
This article tells readers to: "take a stand for family values and the protection of children". So what is the Southern Baptist Convention, which sponsors Baptist News, doing to protect children and family values when it comes to rape and other sex crimes committed by those in their midst?
Well, according to the USA Today (June 10, 2008):
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Under pressure to fight child sex abuse, the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee said Tuesday that the denomination should not create its own database to help churches identity predators or establish an office to field abuse claims.
The report decried sexual abuse as reprehensible and a sin. But the Southern Baptist principle of local church autonomy means it's up to individual churches — and not the convention — to screen employees and take action against offenders, the committee said. [...]
The database idea also is undermined by the fact that the convention cannot require churches to report instances of sexual abuse to local, state or national conventions, the report said.
Local church autonomy rules out creating a centralized investigative body to determine who has been credibly accused of sexual abuse or anything else, it said, and the convention has no authority to bar known perpetrators from ministry or start an office to field abuse claims.
This means that while a movie which highlights a pervasive crime must be stopped, there are more important things than identifying and stopping Southern Baptist sexual predators or to bar them from having access to new victims.
Here's a snippet of a Findlaw article which rebuts the SBC's justifications for their lack of action by Marci Hamilton:
In short, there is a basic procedural answer to what the SBC has portrayed as an insuperable barrier – agree among all independent entities to coordinate. If Baptist churches cannot coordinate on a shared, national strategy in favor of children at risk, they rightly lose a great deal of moral capital.
Thus, the autonomy excuse is nothing more than just that: an excuse. If the members and churches of the SBC were truly interested in protecting children from predators within the organization, then they would create mutual obligations among their individual churches to report all reports of abuse to the police (not only the ones the churches’ themselves unilaterally find “credible”) and make public the names of those about whom they have received reports already.
A straightforward “report any complaint” policy combats the natural human tendency to protect friends and coworkers and creates a simple bright-line rule. No one likes to believe he or she is working alongside a monster, especially if that monster is engaging in other “good works,” but with clergy child abuse, that is too often the case.
Why should it take pressure from sex abuse survivors, lawyers or insurance companies for moral people to protect fellow Southern Baptists from sexual predators who use their position as church leaders or employees or respected church members to gain access to victims who likely assume they are in a safe place with safe people?
The answer seems to be that their blanket opposition to child rape -- even the rapes committed by so-called moral people -- is as fictional as the movie Hounddog.