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Thread: Rapists can seek parental rights

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Default Rapists can seek parental rights

    Raped, pregnant and ordeal not over

    By Shauna Prewitt, Special to CNN
    updated 12:12 PM EDT, Wed August 22, 2012




    STORY HIGHLIGHTS
    • Shauna Prewitt had a baby conceived in a rape and faced another unexpected ordeal
    • Prewitt found the majority of states give parental rights to men who father through rape
    • She became a lawyer to fight this practice and encourage states to make this illegal
    • She says many women who are raped become pregnant and give birth


    Editor's note: Shauna R. Prewitt is a lawyer in Chicago. She is the author of "Giving Birth to a 'Rapist's Child': A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape," written for the Georgetown Law Journal.

    Chicago, Illinois (CNN) -- When I was in law school, my criminal law professor introduced us to the crime of rape by reading us a quote from Lord Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th-century English jurist: "In a rape case it is the victim, not the defendant, who is on trial."

    It was not merely a history lesson. I had lived it.

    While a student in my final year of college, at age 21, I was raped. I have dissected that moment -- the horrifying moment that I became a "victim" -- from every possible angle. I have poked and prodded, examined and re-examined. Regrettably, I have even suspected myself in a desperate, ultimately futile attempt to understand how I became a victim.
    Shauna Prewitt



    But blaming myself was neither my idea nor my first inclination. I thought such 17th-century notions were long dead. I was wrong. People who did not even know me were quick to comment or speculate on my rape. What were you wearing? Did you scream loudly? Did this occur in public?

    As my history lesson said, I found myself on trial, facing the most fierce judge and jury: ignorance.




    Defiant Akin still in Senate race






    Rep. Akin's controversial claims

    Eight years after my rape, I find myself on trial against ignorance again. Rep. Todd Akin's recent comments that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy not only flout scientific fact but, for me, cut deeper. Akin has de-legitimized my rape.

    You see, nine months after my rape, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. You could say she was conceived in rape; she was. But she is also so much more than her beginnings. I blissfully believed that after I finally had decided to give birth to and to raise my daughter, life would be all roses and endless days at the playground. I was wrong again.

    It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast majority of states -- 31 -- men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy. When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising these rights, a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have access to her child.

    When faced with the choice between a lifetime tethered to her rapist or meaningful legal redress, the answer may be easy, but it is not painless. For the sake of her child, the woman will sacrifice her need to see her once immensely powerful perpetrator humbled by the court.

    I know it because I lived it. I went to law school to learn how to stop it.
    Having fought this injustice for the past several years, I have come to believe that ignorance is to blame for this legal absence. Opponents argue no woman would ever choose to raise the child she conceived through rape. The only two studies to analyze the choices made by pregnant raped women indicate otherwise -- at least 30% of women who conceive by rape make this choice.

    Others argue that no rapist would ever seek parental rights. Not only does my experience and that of others I know prove otherwise, but it is not surprising that a man who cruelly degrades a woman would also seek to torture her in an even more agonizing way, by seeking access to her child.
    Today, it seems we may face a new and unbelievable challenge: convincing legislators that women can conceive when they are raped.


    Make no mistake, my efforts and the efforts of others to persuade legislators to pass laws restricting the parental rights of men who father through rape will be directly impacted by Akin's recent comments. Whether these efforts will be helped or hurt, however, depends upon us as a society.

    Either we will fight ignorance and take steps to legislate for raped women based upon reason and facts, or we will be led by ignorance and continue to make bad laws. Or fail to make good ones.
    Wow, its mind-blowing what this woman has been through.
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    Elite Member Jezi's Avatar
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    Huh. Guess her reproductive system didn't shut itself down as a reaction to the rape.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Or maybe it just wasn't a "legitimate rape."
    gas_chick likes this.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Jesus...this is just so awful.

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    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    I can barely process how fucked up it is that a rapist has these rights.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    It is literally just one step away from the practice in certain countries of making a woman marry her rapist as away of preserving her honor and preventing a stoning.

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    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    It is literally just one step away from the practice in certain countries of making a woman marry her rapist as away of preserving her honor and preventing a stoning.

    When I read some of the news stories about 'legitimate rape' and other such bullshit I'm starting to wonder if that's what some people want to happen in our so-called civillised countries.

    It's beyond ridiculous that this hasn't been removed from the legal statute of so many states - isn't being raped enough to contend with without having to be emotionally brutalised by the perp every other weekend when you have to hand your child over to him?
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    Elite Member Kat Scorp's Avatar
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    Others argue that no rapist would ever seek parental rights. Not only does my experience and that of others I know prove otherwise, but it is not surprising that a man who cruelly degrades a woman would also seek to torture her in an even more agonizing way, by seeking access to her child.
    This. A thousand times, this.
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    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong, raping a woman is wrong and no way should a rapist have access to his victim's child. It's horrible that a woman can go through that, that's unbelieveable.

    Thinkin outloud here...it all becomes difficult because a woman has to prove a man actually raped her, like against her will or when she was unconcious... and then I could see the rapist's rights being terminated. If she can't prove it, then how can a court know for sure, what if she's pissed at the guy or thinks he's not a suitable father and then says he's a rapist, attempting to terminating rights... He could be her boyfriend or husband and she can say it was rape. What if she reports it later when she's pregnant and not right away, that could look bad for the victim even if she waited because of legitimate reasons.

    Or what it she's a woman who believes rape occurred when she was very drunk and afterwards felt she wasn't sober enough to say yes, even if the guy was in the exact mental state, can he be considered a legit rapist and therefore should have no right to the child?

    I don't know where I am really going with this, random thoughts....

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    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    I take the view that once a conviction for rape has been gained then the attacker loses any right to any child/ren that came about as a result of the attack or that he fathered with his victim before the attack.
    Osakan, DeadDwarf, dexter7 and 1 others like this.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I have trouble with her decision here.
    I would not carry a rapists child to term. No way. That gene pool should never be carried forward,IMO. Not by me,anyway.
    Jexxifer likes this.
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    Elite Member MmeVertigina's Avatar
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    I imagine having him visit with her child would feel like another violation every single time it happened. Just sick. How do these laws even get passed? Who in their right mind would think this was ok?
    holly likes this.

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    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    I have trouble with her decision here.
    I would not carry a rapists child to term. No way. That gene pool should never be carried forward,IMO. Not by me,anyway.
    I'm fully pro-choice and feel that any decision on whether or not to continue with a pregnancy that has come about through rape is entirely up to the woman. Could I do it? I really don't think so, but without being in that situation I can't say for sure. What I am sure about though is that a woman should not be further victimised by a system that says a rapist has parental rights and her child should not be punished by society for who their father is. Shauna Prewitt is a brave woman to stand up and shout about the ridiculous situation that state laws have placed survivors in but I feel sad that in doing so she has identified and opened her daughter up to people who will use her origins against her.
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    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    Judge all you want, but if I get pregnant from a rape, that thing is getting hoovered out. Especially at my age. I've got my own health and a family to think of. And I've historically been of the mind that abortion was not something I could see myself doing. But there is no way in hell I could have a rape baby.
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    Silver Member albatross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MmeVertigina View Post
    I imagine having him visit with her child would feel like another violation every single time it happened. Just sick. How do these laws even get passed? Who in their right mind would think this was ok?
    From what I've read, it's not a case of laws being passed to give rapists parental rights, but rather a case of not having laws that strip parental rights from rapists. In the 19 states where rapists don't have parental rights, it's because laws exist that allow courts to strip them of those rights.
    greysfang and MmeVertigina like this.
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