In the midst of all the outrage over Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, Missouri resident Shauna Prewitt waded into the war zone. The victim of a brutal rape, Prewitt later gave birth to a daughter borne of that encounter. When her rapist later filed for custody of her child, Prewitt’s nightmare became frighteningly worse. This courageous woman shared her experience with the rest of America; she is not alone:
Prewitt says that if she knew then what she knows now about the laws in 31 states that grant men who father children via rape visitation rights that are equal to those that other fathers also enjoy, she might not have chosen to keep her child.
“My attacker sought custody of my daughter, but thankfully I got lucky and his visitation rights were terminated,” Prewitt says. “But I’m not sure I would have made the decision I did had I known I might be tethered to my rapist for the rest of my life.”
What does this have to do with Todd Akin’s comments? The idea that there can be “legitimate rape” because the woman was not impregnated during that vile act, and conversely, the notion of “false rape” when it results in pregnancy, is mind-blowingly frightening. For a victim to be forced to bear the child of the man who sexually assaulted her, and in many cases also drugged, abducted, terrorized, battered, disfigured, pummeled, shot, or stabbed her is unimaginable. While the sponsors of HR-3 will insist that such a victim was never raped, since alas, there is a pregnancy; these legislators also tell the perpetrator that he, by default, cannot be considered a rapist. In such a world, Ms. Prewitt would have had no grounds upon which to terminate the visitation of the rapist bastard who fathered her child.
What are we to take away from Prewitt’s experience? Consider that 31 states have not yet adopted special laws that restrict the ability of rapists to assert their custodian and visitation rights to a child born through rape. These 31 states effectively grant men who father children via rape visitation rights that are equal to those that other fathers also enjoy. HR-3’s “legitimate rape” and “forcible rape” language would nullify the laws of the other 19 states for all of the reasons given above. After all, HR-3 says no such father could be a rapist – and fathers have rights. Data shows that roughly 27% of all American women faced with Shauna Prewitt’s circumstances make the decision to have and raise the baby; roughly 47% give birth but put the baby up for adoption. In the world of HR-3, the 26% who opt to have an abortion would be criminalized. To escape an imminent jail term, women would be forced to have their rapist’s baby and face the likelihood of being tethered to him for life. Likewise, any rapist-father, now legally classified as non-rapist under Akin/Ryan law, could withhold consent to adoption as the unwed biological father and insinuate himself into the lives of mother and child.
|19 States that Bar Rapists from
Custodial and Visitation Rights
Consider the psychological aspects of rape: it is about domination, humiliation, control, and brutal degradation. For such a man to have controlling interests in the life of a child spawned by his brutality is heinous and reprehensible. Legislation that would open the doors of victimized women to their attackers and give them free reign to manipulate, control, and to exert psychological torture indefinitely is downright barbaric. Consideration should also be given to children fathered through acts of incest, and pedophilia; these two are often interrelated. In such instances, the Akin/Ryan law could grant indisputable custody to men who already have a sexual predilection for children, and would place the children of the children they raped squarely under their control.