24 October 2012

"Rape babies" and other terms I hate

When I was in Grade 7, I had a friend named Melissa who was a lovely Métis girl. She "passed" for white, which is why she had no problems in my school, which was very very very white (I'm kind of surprised the PTA fundraiser didn't sell white hoodies with pointed hoods). Anyway, after we'd been friends for a while, she took me home after school one day where I was greeted by her 100% Cree mother. They didn't warn me. They thought it would be funny. I'm sure it was, because they both howled with laughter at my obvious shock. Once I got over it, and I'm not sure if it was even the same day, I said something stupid about obviously having a white father, and her mother, who pulled no punches said, "Yeah, they were white." I must have looked confused and she told me that two young white guys had raped her, and the result was Melissa. I was horrified. I mean, I almost started to cry. That's when she got really gentle and said, "It's okay honey. I made peace with it. And I chose to have her. I figured some good should come of it all. I didn't have to do that. It'd be different if they made me." Then she looked a bit haunted and said, "Like my sister."

I swear that's true.

And we're back to choice. Women get pregnant in all sorts of ways, expected, unexpected, planned for, spontaneous and rape. Rape is a horrible way to get pregnant. It's a horrific crime. It often damages women forever. And sometimes not. But it can and does result in pregnancy. And at that point, like every other pregnancy, the woman has a choice to make - do I want to carry this to term? Do I want a baby now? Do I want to abort? Do I want to give it up for adoption?

I'd hazard a guess that most women who get pregnant by a rapist don't want to carry that to term. They don't want a physical reminder of it. They don't want to worry that they'll look into their baby's eyes and see their rapist. They don't want to worry that nature will outsmart nurture and their baby will grow up to be a rapist too. And so they choose to stop it.

And some women choose to go on with it. Either because they're like my friend's mom and view it as a new life, something wonderful from tragedy (I might have named that girl Phoenix!) or they don't have access to safe abortion and won't risk a back alley job, or whatever. Or maybe they decide to give it up for adoption (I can't fathom this one - carrying a pregnancy from rape to term and then giving up the baby? It's boggles my mind.)

But they're all choices. And dammit, we feminists need to support them all. Can we please stop mocking the idea that some women might actually want that pregnancy once it starts? I understand the impulse. There was a woman on a pregnancy group I was in when I was pregnant with Crackle who's baby was conceived in a rape. She actually had to fight with her family (read: parents) who tried to get her to abort, because they were afraid of all of the things I said two paragraphs up. And they were afraid she wouldn't be able to love her baby. They wanted to protect her. But she said the same thing my old girlfriend's mom said, "I wanted something good to come of it. And what could be better than a new baby?" (My thoughts were, wine, chocolate, a hot bath, and some bubblewrap therapy, but to each her own) And so she decided to carry on.

This twatwaffle who is going on about God's will, could really stand to shut up. I understand his point. He believes that God creates all life, and that would include all conceptions. So he says it's God's will. Not the rape, but the pregnancy from it. I'm not sure how one can separate them, but maybe he thinks God is micromanaging the sperm. Or that God is some sort of weird doorman at the egg barrier. Hell if I know. This former professor at the Chicago Theological Seminary disagrees with him on all of it. She says that making God the author of conception after rape makes God the author of the crime of it. Where I disagree with her is here, and only in small part: Conception following rape is a tragedy, not part of “God’s will.” Tragedy is defined by the victim. It is a tragedy if the woman perceives it as one. Like rain is a tragedy in a flood, but a blessing in a drought, a conception from a rape is a what the woman perceives it to be. 

Actually, that's where the religious anti-choice people make the least sense. They claim that all conceptions are gifts and blessings, and we just need to shut up and see it that way. It's like saying that rain is always a blessing, a gift from God. Just get in a boat and enjoy it. Crops failing? God's will. Can't eat this winter? Must have been a sinner. Conception is just something that happens. The value of it is determined by us.

I've been mulling over the idea that God creates all life in view of this. I'm still not sure how I feel about that. I kind of think (and my thinking is not cemented, so please, comment away) is that God created life, and we propagate it. Similar to how I planted the mint, and it's spreading. Not my will, but not against it either. Not that I'm God - it's not a perfect analogy, but along those lines. We have free will, so we can choose to reproduce or not. I don't believe in pre-destiny. Or God as the ultimate puppeteer. I believe God is with us, and nudges us to do the right things via conscience and other things, and we do what we'll do. Sometimes that's what God wants, sometimes it's not. So when some boil on the ass of society rapes a woman, and God is there begging him not to and he does it anyway, it's not God's will that she is impregnated. It just happens. And whether that pregnancy is a tragedy or not, is up to her. No judgments either way from me. Because I don't have her experience. I don't have her life. I don't have her beliefs. I don't have her conscience. I don't have her knowledge. We need to trust women to do what is right for them (us) and shut the fuck up about it.

One thing in that article that really struck me, was the very last bit, and so I'll end with it too:

There is, however, no failure of compassion so glaring as the way rape survivors are being made into political and religious scapegoats today.
Stop that. In God’s name, stop it.