Here’s the full response I left to TNC. Now I’ve got to do other stuff. Thanks for reading and talking about things.
I have a hard time understanding how anyone thinks I apologized for anyone or anything in this piece. I absolutely now understand why people want trigger warnings and for me to use “molestation” or “rape” instead of “sex,” but I think I the closest I came to being an apologist was by not believing pedophiles—or even child molesters—are monsters who deserve to be scraped off the earth. Here’s an email I wrote to a woman who wanted to have a discussion about it:
"That’s reasonable, and, again, it’s not something we didn’t consider. This is the first time I’ve ever written about rape, and I absolutely wasn’t aware how important having a TW was for some people. I suppose what makes me especially wish I included it is that it seems like a lot of people are focusing on that and the “sex” vs. “rape” language now and not the real content of the piece, which I think doesn’t seek to apologize for pedophiles at all. Quite the opposite, in fact, as I think this quote is the meat of it for me:
'You are not guilty because of your sexual desire, but you are responsible for your sexual behavior. There is help.'
That is literally about not excusing child molesters and not apologizing for their behavior, but it’s also about treating these people as sick humans who need help, too. That that’s getting lost in the TW stuff makes me sad, though it’s a learning experience.”
Again, I’m really sorry we didn’t end up using a trigger warning, especially because we talked about using one and then decided against it. I’m also sorry that I used sexual language instead of “rape” or “molest,” but my thinking was that no sex with a prepubescent child can be considered consensual, meaning if you’re talking about sex (read: intercourse) with a kid, you’re automatically talking about rape.
What makes me particularly sad is that you’re attempting to characterize what I’m doing here as an attempt to be “edgy.” I’m aware people think that of me, and I’m aware people think that of Gawker. And while I agree that this subject is inherently shocking, I thought about this stuff a lot, and I’m still grappling with some of it, as I note in the final graf of my piece. Call me lazy or dumb or a rape apologist or whatever, but don’t try to paint me as some jerk out to recklessly and intentionally hurt molestation victims for pageviews.
(Source: The Atlantic)