He is Dhul-Jalali Wal-Ikram
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/22/opinion/prewitt-rapist-visitation-rights/index.htmlWhile 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.
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.
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.
An interesting case out of Massachusetts is making headlines around the country. The case involves a rapist, who admits that he is the father of the child born to his underage victim, and is seeking visitation rights to the child.
In the state of Massachusetts, this is considered to be a precedent-setting legal fight, with the victim as and her family both fighting back against the rapist’s visitation rights claim.
The girl was raped when she was 14, and became pregnant as a result. She decided to keep her baby. She remains a teen mother, and according to her parents, continues to suffer from severe anxiety and depression. The rape occurred when she was in the 8th grade, and the man involved was a 20-year-old whom she met at a local church. Attorneys for the man say that the relationship that resulted in the child was actually consensual, even though it was inappropriate because of the age difference between the 2.
In 2009, the man was charged with statutory rape of a child, and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 16 years of probation on the condition that he acknowledge that he is the father of the child, and abide by all the decisions of the Family Court.
The court ordered the rapist to pay child support, and as a result, he has now decided to seek visitation rights. The child in this case is 3 years old.
Currently, there are 31 states in the United States that do not prevent rapists from trying to obtain visitation rights. In the state of Washington, for instance, there are no laws that prevent a rapist from seeking child custody or visitation rights for children conceived as a result of the rape.
Posted on October 2, 2012 at 10:45 am
by Eric Engel