RADIO TRANSCRIPT - LIFE ISSUES NO. 2534

VICTIMS & VICTORS — Part III

Two days ago I spoke to you about assault rape pregnancies, yesterday about pregnancies resulting from incest. Today let me discuss briefly the child born from such a sexual assault. In a word, if there is ever a case for placing a baby for adoption, it’s this case.

In the book I’ve been discussing, Victims and Victors, one lady repeats the story of her own assault rape. She clearly saw the face of her assailant. She clearly heard his voice and his laughter as he abused her. When the baby came, she was startled to find that he looked exactly like his father. In fact, when the little boy laughed–and she did keep him; she didn’t place him for adoption–the laughter reminded her, as she said, of the "hideous laughter of the guy who had raped her." This is an example of why it’s almost always better to place the child who was conceived in rape.

In the book, a long time friend of mine, Dr. Maloof, is quoted. He has written about this in the past and, I think, wisely so. He strongly recommends adoption, not only for the child’s sake but, as he puts it, so the original family can begin to heal. He says, "Only after having the child adopted can there be some assurance that this new life will not simply become part of the incestuous family affair. The family can be consoled by the knowledge that they have broken their incestuous pattern." So, you see, this applies to incest as well as to assault rape.

One victim, who did keep her child after rape, discussed the emotional problems that resulted from being reminded daily of the assault. She felt that, for most women, it would truly be better for the child that he not be subjected to this conscious or unconscious turmoil bubbling within the mother.

To wrap up the story of assault rape and incest pregnancies and how to manage these cases, Dr. Reardon, one of the authors, says this: "At first glance it would seem to many that rushing a victim of violence to abortion is the greatest kindness." But, as we have learned from the women interviewed, and the children born from assaults who were also interviewed in this book, it’s clearly the other way around. Dr. Reardon says, "The victim may sense, at least at a subconscious level, that if she can get through the pregnancy, she will have conquered the rape. By giving birth she can reclaim some of her lost self-esteem.

Giving birth, especially when conception was not desired, is a totally selfless act, a generous act, a courageous act. It’s a display of strength and honor. It’s a proof to her that she’s better than the rapist. When he was selfish, she was generous. While he destroyed, she nurtured.

And so, folks, here’s a good book — the title, Victims and Victors, Acorn Books, by Reardon, Sobie and Makima. It’s one I highly recommend.

[03/22/01]