Sunday, September 16, 2012


I've been seeing lots of things around about children of rape in the last few days.

First Todd Akin's bizarre and twisted comment about how the female reproductive system shuts down in times of stress, so conception from rape is unlikely - and chances are if you DO conceive, it's because it wasn't  a REAL rape, you actually were enjoying yourself...

Well, I don't think we sane people with a basic grasp of biology and psychology even need to comment on that one.

Then I read more stuff about a woman in the States who's had to go through considerable emotional and financial upheaval to stop her rapist getting custody of the child she conceived when he raped her. I don't even... I mean.. who could....? Agh.

And just now on facebook, someone had a story about getting chatting to a young breastfeeding mother, who told her the story of how she'd been raped but sees her baby as a silver lining or gift from the universe to balance the bad... and is clearly dealing with the whole thing by telling strangers about it... so I'm torn by that one - half of me welcomes a new Irish openness that makes such revelations possible. Part of me thinks the woman is probably working through a lot of trauma and is dealing with it in this way, and I wonder what she'll do when her son's old enough to understand the story. I see value in destigmatising it for his sake, totally - but wonder if it's really possible to separate him from his origins so completely. It's an emotional one.

However, my own opinionatedness aside, some other woman joined the conversation to denounce the girl as crazy, as a 'nutter' - why would you tell complete strangers this, maybe it's not even TRUE. Which to me harks back to a recent era of silence and stigma of mental illness, anything to do with sex and general negativity and judgement around emotional truths. Don't talk about it, don't tell anyone, you'll be judged if you do, I wouldn't like to be her child.

As if this doesn't happen. As if it wasn't possible, and if you admit to it publicly, it can't be true.

I want to live in a culture that's not a rape culture, or a rape apology culture. I want to live in a culture where MEN AND BOYS are told about how to prevent rape, not just women-as-responsible-victims. Don't tell me to keep my keys in my hand, and never walk home alone. Tell THEM about how not to be rapists.

I don't know. I applaud that girl's attitude... but her story also makes me all the more convinced that women should have the right to choose, and never be forced into carrying a child of rape if they don't want to.

Sorry for the grim topic today. 


Jo said...

Just gonna copy Ms Moon's comment up here.

Ms. Moon said...
I know a family who adopted a child born from a raped mother (Catholic- all of them) and I wonder about that so much. I think of the joy, yes, the child brings to his family but I also think of the mother's heartache which has to be more many-layered than we can imagine. And the family is very public about the way the child found his way to their home. I mean, everyone in town knows and so yes, the boy will know some day too.
Too much to bear, it seems to me.
I don't know, Jo. I don't know that men can be trained not to rape. I don't think I have that much of a regard for human nature or its ability to change.
I honestly don't know. But yes, a very grim subject but one which is very real and very present always.

Sun Sep 16, 10:15:00 AM

Compulsive Cook said...

I was very impressed by this anti-rape campaign from Lambeth council in London:
It's shocking how rarely these campaigns are aimed at men.

Jo said...

I've never seen anything like that before, EVER. I've seen one list of ways not to be a rapist but it was more of a political statment than a campaign.
And the statistics are horrifying. I don't think a lot of men realise the degree to which women plan their lives around guarding against/anticipating rape. They don't see what women are taught, it's not mentioned to them. And an alarming amount of people buy into the blame the victim culture without even realising that's a Thing.