Culture

The Corner

Sexual predators ‘attack the weak, make them weaker, then discredit them because of their weakness’

That’s from my wife, Nancy, writing today in the Washington Post. She’s a survivor of sexual abuse — at the hands of a preacher when she was very young — and there was one part of Roy Moore’s accuser’s story that particularly resonated with her. After writing about her experience, Nancy says this:

On Thursday, all this came back to me after I read one sentence in The Washington Post. The article was about allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually touched a teenager when he was in his 30s. A sentence from Leigh Corfman, who was 14 at the time, jumped out at me.

“I felt responsible,” she said. I swallowed back tears as I read the rest. “I felt like I had done something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad.” After her life spiraled “with drinking, drugs, boyfriends,” she attempted suicide two years later. In fact, she didn’t come forward earlier because she worried that her three divorces and poor financial history would make people doubt her story.

Why did it resonate? Because it tracks Nancy’s own life:

At 12 years old, I swooned over my good luck. [The Preacher] picked me out of all the girls at church. But the relationship, especially after he moved on, reset my moral compass. If all the church conversation about morality and sexual purity was a lie, what else was fake? Now that the “family of God” felt incestuous, I rejected the church and myself. Didn’t I want the preacher’s attention? Didn’t I cause this? When I careened from faith, I made a series of poor romantic decisions that later almost cost me my life. Still, I couldn’t very well criticize the church because I was an utter emotional mess.

I’m grateful for my wife’s courage in writing this piece. If there is any silver lining in our very dark cultural cloud it’s that perhaps we are finally — finally — learning the dreadful cost of sin and the horrible burden abuse imposes on its victims. 

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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