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When you have never learned to make your own choices, you haven't learned how to be in charge of your life. She said she's also heard from many women that the purity culture - the strong emphasis placed on female virginity - harms survivors of childhood sexual abuse in these Christian communities."When you're taught that if you don't dress modestly enough, that a man could lust after you and fall into sexual sin, then if a man has an abusive sexual relationship toward you, you could believe that it was what you were wearing or what you said or how you walked that caused him.Of course that's untrue, but surely somebody could internalize that shame," she said."Unfortunately, there's a lot of abuse in those patriarchal communities," she said.For most of them, a relationship such as the ones Moore is reported to have pursued with teens is far beyond the norm. Even "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson, a conservative Christian who married his wife when he was 20 and she was 16, caused a firestorm years ago for advising men, "You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16." Easter said she experienced this courtship culture herself.As a woman in a fundamentalist Christian church who was expected to remain under her father's roof until he handed her over to her husband, Easter became a "stay-at-home daughter" after high school.
For most evangelical Christians, relationships between older men and teenage girls are viewed as wholly inappropriate.
She said she understood the pressure a teenager might feel to marry an older man as a way to gain some measure of independence.
Easter left her fundamentalist community four years ago, at age 21, after breaking off a relationship with a man her father selected for her.
At least 31 percent of those children married a spouse who was older than 21 years old, according to a Washington Post article from February.
In the 1970s, when Moore was in his 30s and reportedly dating teenagers, the laws on child marriage were changing, Syrett said.