Let us consider the case of Judy, whose surname I will not supply, even though I haven’t seen her in more than forty years. She must now be an old lady, near seventy. When I knew her she was not only young, but ridiculously attractive. She had “a problem with” men that, I gathered, began with having a rather weak father. (This was in England, but it happens everywhere.)

It continued when, age about nineteen, she had an affair with a young, but married, Anglican priest. It was an “uncontrollable” passion. Unfortunately, the wife found out, along with everyone else in that village. Shades of Hardy: she was driven out. (My own shadings tend more to Hogarth.) And so on, to the road and the new life.

To merry London, where she made friends among the young and hip. There was one particularly cool guy whom she liked to hang out with, though they were “just friends.” She didn’t care what other people thought. One day, when they were smoking a joint together in his room, he raped her.

She was surprised how badly she took it. She’d trusted the guy; she’d trusted the priest; she’d trusted her father, when she was very little. She had no value for sexual continence, and little interest any more in the old, backward, Christian institution of marriage, of which her parents had given an especially poor example. She was “theoretically” in favour of “free love,” though too shy to practise it consciously. She was a girl, now actually a woman, in a world where, even in the 1970s, a girl was expected to have a job. This she found, as a stenographer, though she had to quit when her boss made embarrassing passes at her. But she found another, and still had it, for she was diligent and proficient. She didn’t rely on any man for an income.

Soon she found what she took for a much better man than any previous, and moved in with him. But she had recently moved out. This was because he’d found “a little tart,” with whom he was sleeping, openly on those tenets of “free love.” She “knew” that jealousy was “wrong,” but for some reason she was stabbed to the heart by his infidelity, and could not “get over” her rage. She’d trusted him, too. And now she was toying with some serious feminism.

Another day, I got to hear the whole story (in somewhat unnecessary detail) when the two of us were alone (though not in my bedroom). It involved tears. Why she was telling me instead of a woman was a question I asked, in a rare moment of insight. She said it was because she trusted me. She said it so ingenuously that I can remember thinking, “I shan’t dishonour her trust.” But I also thought: “Incurably naïve.” By now, she ought to have been introduced — to herself.

There was no point in walking her to a church: she’d “been there, done that,” and paid.

The rest of this story is irrelevant to my purpose; except to say there was now an “atmosphere” between us, such that I almost became her next man. But did not, thank God, and my guardian angel.

I think of her now in light of Catholic scandals. There was nothing lesbian in the story of her life (till then), however, and nothing “gay” in the priest’s, so there is no homosexual diversion to make things wilder. (On the other hand, thinking back to when she was first seduced: it wouldn’t have happened had the priest been homosexual.)

To my knowledge that deflowering was “consenting” on both sides. (Judy was only raped later.) It wrecked her life all the same — that, in combination with the “urbane” moral environment to which she then proceeded. I hate to think what became of her: this girl who was so trusting, instinctively faithful, capable of work — and a magnet to over-magnetized men. And by church and formerly-Christian society, utterly betrayed. And with her own active cooperation.

Statistics cannot tell this story though, with minor variations, it has happened a million times.