Trump has been attacked by the left when it comes to his claims of rape happening so frequently to women illegally crossing the United States-Mexico border. It is now looking more and more like Trump is right again with a claim that many people labeled as crazy.
According to a piece in The Guardian, the rape of women illegally crossing the Mexico-United States border is happening so frequently that a Catholic priest blessed the use of birth control in order to avoid becoming pregnant while being raped. Allowing birth control goes STRONGLY against the traditional practices of the Catholic faith.
“Unfortunately, the woman who is going to migrate, she knows that she will be violated,” Father Prisciliano Pereza told me. We were standing in a sun-beaten central plaza outside Our Lady of Guadalupe church, in Altar, a languid town in Sonora, Mexico.
Wearing a corduroy jacket, a cowboy hat and a broad smile, Father Prisciliano – or “Prisci”, as he is locally known – is uncharacteristic of Mexican Catholic priests. He adapts Catholic teaching to minister to migrating women during their perilous journeys across the Sonoran desert into the US. Especially shocking to some, he helps them to acquire preventive birth control, because of the risk of sexual assault.
“There are groups that are networks,” he told me, when I asked him who he thought was responsible for the sexual violence. “It’s not just one guide, there are several … From their place of origin until their destination, there are going to be five to eight people guiding the migrants. It makes women more vulnerable.”
He was referring to the guías – local people who are familiar with the routes in different towns and cities – who accompany women on their journeys north. They are organized by coyotes, businessmen who determine the cost of making these connections. The tensions Prisci navigates are political as well as spiritual; he serves the guías who grew up in his church, as well as the women who fear them.
Prisci’s understanding of the women’s fears developed over years. For a long time, at the shelter he runs on the outskirts of Altar, he’d been administering hygiene packs containing Band-Aids, clippers to pull out cactus spines, and chlorine to purify water. But he recalls that in 2006, as narco-cartel groups seized areas close to the Mexican border and co-opted guías into kidnapping and extorting migrants, violence and sexual assault towards women escalated. Fearing violation from guías, cartel members, other migrants and sometimes even border patrol agents, they came to Prisci.
“They told me, ‘Father, you don’t have contraceptives?’” he said.
Though contraception is a venial sin in Catholic orthodoxy, Prisci began giving women his blessing to take birth control and contraceptive injections. He also developed a relationship with the Santa María pharmacy, an unmissable bright orange building down the road from his church, where he has since directed hundreds of women.
“It is the lesser of two evils,” Prisci said, as we walked across the square. “Since she cannot prevent violation, she protects herself so that she won’t get pregnant.” The priest adjusted his cowboy hat. “Life is above everything. Life comes first.”
Here is a video of Father Prisciliano Pereza talking about the work he does on the border.