Thursday, January 18, 2007

Patron Saints for Victims of Sexual Assault

CAUTION: The following material discusses matters of a sexual nature and may not be suitable for some readers. It also refers to events that may be "triggers" for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse of some kind. I am making this post because I think it is important for people to know that we have intercessors in heaven for men and women who have experienced the most heinous that this world has to offer.
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Someone, who will remain nameless, asked the following question in the Q&A board at Phatmass:
I am trying to find if there are any saints who actually experienced rape. Not ATTEMPTED rape, like St. Maria Goretti or St. Dymphna. Actual rape....I know that out of the thousands of saints in existence, at least one of them had to experienced this. do you know about any saints in particular?
I guess it depends on how you define "rape." My understanding is that the term is gradually being used to describe any unwanted sexual advances that are physical in nature, and that it need not include intercourse. A few online dictionaries bear this out (see the following: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5). With this definition, we can now consider the following patrons:
  • St. Agatha's tortures could definitely be described as rape.
  • St. Dymphna's father made "advances" on her that she had to "fight off."
  • St. Joan of Arc had to take great pains to protect her purity while under the supervisions of "dissolute English soldiers" in a secular prison.
  • She was not allowed an advocate, and, though accused in an ecclesiastical court, she was throughout illegally confined in the Castle of Rouen, a secular prison, where she was guarded by dissolute English soldiers. Joan bitterly complained of this. She asked to be in the church prison, where she would have had female attendants. It was undoubtedly for the better protection of her modesty under such conditions that she persisted in retaining her male attire.
  • I for one think that Maria Goretti was raped, even though her virginity remained in tact.
  • He tried to rape the girl who fought, yelled that it was a sin, and that he would go to hell. He tried to choke her into submission, then stabbed her fourteen times.
  • Blessed Pierina Morosini was "attacked by a would-be rapist", which is a rather odd phrase. I would consider her among the patrons you are looking for as well.
  • St. Solange had to resist the sexual advances of the Count of Poitiers in order to maintain her personal vow of chastity.
  • Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa was forced to jump out of a window 4 meters high in order to avoid being sexually violated by 3 men who broke into her home.
I hope that helps. Please know that the saints are always with you, irregardless of the nature of your struggles.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

6 comments:

Laura said...

St. Maria Goretti, purest patroness of mine, pray for us!

Dunstan said...

I would like to suggest St. Mary of Egypt as patroness for rape victims. Apparently she was a singer and/or prostitute who joined a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the 300's on a lark. She had some sort of religious experience at the Chrurch of the Holy Sepulchre and was not able to enter the church. She then moved to the egyptian desert and was not seen again for 17 years. She's alreeady considered patroness for those with sexual addictions.

Kristin said...

Even if Maria Goretti gave into her attacker and allowed herself to be raped, she would not have lost her purity or virginity, for virginity is far more than a spirtual state. I think Maria's story is more about forgiveness than sexual purity, because in order to be a saint of chastity, you would have had to be tempted in some way. She was repulsed by Allasandro.

Kristin said...

I meant to say virginity is far more than a physical state. It is a spiritual and emotional one as well. She did the heroic, but she would have commited no sin if she gave in to spare her life.

Anonymous said...

Alexandrina Maria da Costa (1904-1955)

http://alexandrina.balasar.free.fr/blessed_alexandrina_maria.htm
or here
http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20040425_da-costa_en.html

phatcatholic said...

kristin........I certainly agree with everything you said, and I hope that my post did not imply that I regarded virginity as merely a physical matter.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

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