Are rape survivors/victims still virgins? Should virgins still be honoured as virgins after being raped?
Not a very Casual topic,perhaps it should be shifted.
Rape is a disgusting crime not consensual love between a man and woman. So common sense, at least in my opinion, says absolutely yes.
Interesting question. Is virginity a physical or physical and mental condition?
Some women who offered their virginity to God ended up being raped by evil men during revolutions that happened in the past few centuries, for instance. Are they still pure in the eyes of God?
What I know for sure is that Our Lord can make a greater good out of evil. Maybe, some of these raped women carried their crosses gladly and became saints.
Only God knows…
I’m not Catholic or even Christian but I don’t see how they would be considered anything less than pure.
Phyisical and psychological consequences of rape are intense
… I wonder whether anyone has been able to recover state of mental purity after it… I know it’s possible, but I’d like to see a case.
I guess I should stop wondering and just look it up…
Depends on how you define it really. If you have the really basic ‘never had sex’ one, technically rape is non consensual sex. However this can be quite disturbing to people so they define it as ‘never had consensual sex’. Some even define it by having an intact hymen but that’s way too ignorant that we should all ignore that, lol.
I don’t know what you mean by honored. But I find it weird to honor virginity in general. Honoring chastity in both men and women would be more ideal imo.
St Maria Goretti suffered a gruesome murder and attempted rape. She is considered a virgin.
Pope St John Paul II said this about her.
“Marietta, as she was lovingly called, reminds the youth of the third millennium that true happiness demands courage and a spirit of sacrifice, refusing every compromise with evil and having the disposition to pay personally, even with death, faithful to God and his commandments. How timely this message is. Today, pleasure, selfishness and directly immoral actions are often exalted in the name of the false ideals of liberty and happiness. It is essential to reaffirm clearly that purity of heart and of body go together, because chastity ‘is the custodian’ of authentic love.”
Why should virgins be honoured?
The reason I asked this question is because I have heard of virgin saints who had escaped or fought of rape & I wondered if these saints (& future people in the same situation) would still be called virgins if they hadn’t escaped nor fought it of. Personally I think they definitely should still be called virgins, but wondered if anyone else thought the same, and if my thinking was in line with church teaching. I was a little disturbed when a priest said that a saint was able to fight of a rape attempt because she had received confirmation (implying rape survivors aren’t virgins).
@D.Erasmus.R – When you say “who are honored as virgins,” I suppose you mean “who are honored by the Church as virgins.” You are not simply asking us to express our own opinions about the various possible definitions of the noun “virgin.” Am I correct?
When the Church assign the title “virgin” to a saint, it comes from the Latin “virgo” which means girl.
So it’s used to indicate a young female saint.
Attempted rape though?
As cold as this may seem, I don’t see why the non-consentual nature would matter. If you kill someone, who didn’t consent to being killed, that really has no bearing to their state of being.
I’m not entirely familiar with how the term is used and meant to be understood in the context your speaking of, but I would imagine that the church is intending a distinction between stating that they “are” virgins, but rather that they are being “treated as” virgins.
Which is like saying, we are going to treat the crippled as if they were healthy, not in the sense of dismissing an actual physical disability, but rather that we’re going to give them same regard that they would have had prior to their injury.
I kind of agree. Maybe it’s because I don’t care about the whole status of being a virgin. But ultimately non consensual sex is still sex to me.
Excellent point and perspective. It’s the fact that they are not treated as sinners because they were raped, which I’m sure back in the ‘bad old days’, virginity was somehow an indicator of purity/a woman’s worth especially.
Probably because she was, by every imaginable definition. Not the best example.
It is interesting to note that St. Augustine addressed this question in City of God almost 1,600 years ago. He states unequivocally that the shame of the act belongs to the rapist alone and not to the victim, and that the terrible crime of rape in no way affects the purity of the victim, either of soul or body:
For the sanctity of the body does not consist in the integrity of its members, nor in their exemption from all touch; for they are exposed to various accidents which do violence to and wound them… A midwife, suppose, has (whether maliciously or accidentally, or through unskillfulness) destroyed the virginity of some girl, while endeavoring to ascertain it: I suppose no one is so foolish as to believe that, by this destruction of the integrity of one organ, the virgin has lost anything even of her bodily sanctity. And thus, so long as the soul keeps this firmness of purpose which sanctifies even the body, the violence done by another’s lust makes no impression on this bodily sanctity, which is preserved intact by one’s own persistent continence. (From Chapter 18)
Let us rather draw this conclusion, that while the sanctity of the soul remains even when the body is violated, the sanctity of the body is not lost… (From Chapter 18)
Within their own souls, in the witness of their own conscience, they enjoy the glory of chastity. In the sight of God, too, they are esteemed pure… (From the end of Chapter 19, speaking of women who have been raped.)
See The City of God, Book I, particularly Chapter 18 (but also Chapters 16-19), for context.
They’re no longer virgins in the physical sense, but I would imagine they remain so in the spiritual sense.
Thanks for this. I really ought to read Saint Augustine’s works more often