Readers Write (June 16): Rape, truth, Archbishop Flynn, Slender Man

  • Updated: June 13, 2014 - 6:14 PM

My attack doesn’t come close to what happened to those two teenage girls.

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Members of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) protested in New Delhi over last month’s gang rape of two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh state, one in a string of recent attacks.

Photo: Altaf Qadri • Associated Press,

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I was 27 years old, new to Minneapolis and excited to be here. But everything changed quickly on a hot summer night, when a man cut our kitchen screen, crawled in and raped me in my bedroom. It was both painful and life-changing.

Yet it pales in comparison to the horrific gang rapes and hangings of two girls, 14 and 16 years old, in a remote area of India. I cannot imagine the grief and fear, let alone the outrage, of the families and community. The initial response of ministers in that area was “boys make mistakes,” and the police didn’t want to help, saying: “Why have you come to us?”

Rape is common in India and other countries that have little or no respect for females, especially those in poverty. Besides the anger around the world for the treatment of women and girls, what will we do to make it a safer life for these vulnerable human beings? It’s up to all of us. Raise your voice in protest.

Kathleen Crow, Minneapolis

THE TRUTH

Do you believe what you read? Really?

Two commentaries reminded me that a good percentage of what you and I believe, say, even advocate vigorously, is simply not true.

First, Nicholas Kristof’s data-rich commentary (“How gender bias swirls around us,” June 13) demonstrated, once again, our normal and embedded gender bias. (Remember a couple of weeks ago, when public reaction forced Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to apologize for saying he is — as I think virtually all of us are — a subconscious, even if unwilling, racist?) We are all influenced by biases so subconscious that we doubt they’re even there.

Then, on the same page, Tony Clarey’s counterpoint (“The real Poland, 25 years later,” June 13) responded to an earlier evaluation of Poland, 25 years after the fall of communism. For me, Clarey showed fairly persuasively that the first article had gone out of its way to make President Obama responsible for failures that don’t even exist in modern Poland. I’m guessing that’s because the earlier author was writing from a perspective shaped by a political viewpoint he sincerely believes.

I just wanted all of us to remember that a solid percentage of what we believe to be true is simply not. (In fact, a percentage of what we think we remember is false, too.)

Phil Bolinder, Woodbury

 

PRIEST ABUSE

Recalling when Flynn did indeed remember

I find it beyond curious that Archbishop Harry Flynn suddenly draws blanks when he tries to remember whether he ever observed any sexual abuse going on in the Roman Catholic Church when he was active in it (“Flynn can recall few details of sex abuse,” June 5). I interviewed the archbishop for an article I wrote for Mpls.St.Paul magazine’s October 2002 issue. At that time, he was pretty much the go-to guy for child-abuse cases in the Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana and later in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In this interview, Flynn acknowledged listening to scores of child-abuse stories. “I loved Lafayette,” he said. “I loved the people. But the pain was tremendous. I did try to visit families of those who had difficulties. [I saw] that no matter what the brokenness might be, the human spirit can really heal and move beyond it.”

Evidently Flynn’s spirit has moved so far beyond it that he can’t recall that it ever happened.

“I’ve had visits from them in this very room [at the Chancery in St. Paul, where I interviewed him]. It’s a terribly painful experience, and I learned never to start to minister to another who is in pain until, in some way, the minister can experience some of that pain.”

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