If you are offended by talking about sexual activies, sexual violence directly and in a descriptive manner, then you should not read this blog. I would highly recommend it as +18, too. If my language offends any of you, I am sorry. I hate sugarcoating the reality of sexual violence.
This blog won't be about how we should protect unborn children in cases or rape. I guess that we all know and accept here that a right to live is a right that anyone has, despite of one's health condition, gender, religion, ethnicity and stage of developement. Of course, anyone has the same right to live despite of the circumstances of conception, too. Human being conceived in a happy marriage is not more worthy that human being conceived in rape or incest. However, the case of abortion and rape seems to be especially difficult to argue upon. Why is that? Is that really because of how vicious pro-choicers are? I guess that it is a little bit complicated then that. And my thesis is that in order to fight succesfully in this case, pro-life movement should engage in a war against sexual violence of any sort.
Sexual violence is a huge problem across the globe. And still it's women who are the majority of victims. You can easily check the statistics about sexual violence from your country - I presume you may be shocked to find out how high numbers are. Remember that statistics often describe reported cases ony - and much of sexual violence of any sort is still hidden in a dark. Rape happens to every group of women (because I'm focusing on women in this blog, though of course men are victims of sexual violence, too. We all should have that in mind) - from women working in sex business to covered Muslim girl to old ladies. Rape can happen to anyone, not to mention other forms of sexual violence. Sexual violence can happen in a dark street, but it also happens in a workplace, on a date, in a relationship, including marriage. Rape has been used as a weapon in modern (and not only modern) warfare. In some traditional communities, women that has been rape are excluded from a community. It means that raping women is a better way to destroy a community than to actually fight with soldiers.
I happen to live, and you too, in a society that treats sexual violence as a crime. However, it was not always like that. And, to my surprise, I have a weird and uncomfortable impression that sexual violence as a subject is not treated with enough seriousness and enough care. I have been scared of rape since I was a little girl. It's not that I'm frightened or something. It's not that I think about it every day. But quite often, when I walk somewhere, when I travel somewhere I have this terrible thought inside my head that this could happen to me, too. I did not stop me from doing many things - even things that are considered risky - as travelling alone to Nepal when I was 18. But I always fear a little bit (or a lot, depending of circumstances) that I could be hurt because of sexual violence.
I must consider myself lucky. No one ever tried to rape me. I had a few dangerous situations in my life, though. One happen during a day. Happy, sunny day. I was going to meet my dad in order to go shopping furnitures. I passed two young men drinking bear on a bench near my house. They managed to describe, very loudly, how I look, in much offensive and unpleasant manner, and they did talk what would they do with me, exactly. Which part of my body they would touch etc. To say that it was uncomfortable is not enough. I did not react - I guess that it would not be reasonable. But the feeling of humiliation and fear (what if they tried to actually touch me, at least? I was one, and there were two of them. Physically I did not stand a chance) was just overwhelming. The same evening I just cried so loudly because of the feeling of helplesness that I hate. I'm a type of person who likes control. My friends call me strong. My friends and family thinks I am invincible. This experience made me realise how delicate I can be. And I did not like this feeling even a bit.
But there comes a worst part. I described this situation to a few people. I regretted it a second after I did that. First question was "what did you wear that day". I could proudly (yes, this is irony) say that I wore straight jeans and hoodie and sneakers. And my hair was put in a messy bun. Then I heard many comments on how my body has some typically sexual characteristics, so that quite "explains" why those two men did what they did. Yes, that's true. I happen to have a few characteristics associated in my culture with sexuality - curvy figure, full lips and long thick hair. It is how my body was created by God. Or, if someone does not believe in God, it is just how genes of my parents mixed. The thought that my body itself can be a cause - and then - a justification of such behaviour - really drived me crazy. And what if I wore a summer dress? Would that justify those man more? Than what if I wore high hills? Why the FIRST question was about my look? I did not hear a message "poor baby, it was terrible, how could they do something like that". All I heard was "how did you look?" and then "well, it's just your body, it's sort of normal that this happens". And then "well, nothing really happened, they just talked, it's nothing".
You can always tell someone to be more careful. A skirt always can be one inch longer. There is always a part of a body that can appear to be sexual. Being covered in a burka did not help many women in Afghanistan. Yet the message that I hear - and many young women, too - is that we should always be more careful. I should lock myself up and not to go to the university in order not to come back alone in a dark. In winter it is dark at 4 pm. I am at home at 9 sometimes. I can't cover how my body looks. I can't cover my lips, my hair, my shape. It's just not possible - well, maybe with an exception of burka. But yes, I guess that then my movement could be provocative. Or my voice. Or my eyes. Or my hands. Those comments made me a little bit guilty because of how I look and then, they made me angry, because it made me realise what kind of messages a women that was a victim of a sexual violence usually hears.
Lately, I had a few discussions on rape. Mostly with men. And those men, in majority, stated that rape can be justified if women is "provocative". What does that even mean?
And it made me realise that the majority of people does not believe in sexual freedom.
Ladies and gentlemen, the concept of sexual freedom is a concept that states that one can refuse having sex or any sexual activity with anyone at any point for any reason. And most people just don't believe that. Which is shocking for me. Even if someone agrees on kissing and cuddling on a coach that does not means that this person agrees on touching the intimate parts. Even if someone agrees on vaginal sex that does not mean that this person agrees on other kind of sexual activity. If a girl invites a man for a drink that does not mean that she agrees on having sex. It means that she agrees on having a drink. If she wears a revealing dress that does not mean that she wants to raped. Is that really a complicated things to comprehend? For many people, yes. In Poland there was a politician who publicly stated that "it is impossible to rape a wife". And there was one who stated that "it is impossible to rape a prostitute". And those are not exceptions. And their career did not stop after those statements. Sadly.
Does it matter in abortion topic? Yes. I truly believe that if sexual violence was treated seriously and I mean really seriosly, then it would be much easier to argue pro-life in cases like rape. A woman that has been rape has to fight not only with her trauma, but quite often with her community, too. Rape makes her vulnerable. And weak. She has to face many accusations on her dress or behaviour. And this is just a beginning.
Many people have a weird concept of what biology and genetics are. Being a child of a rapist is not easy. Not only from personal perspective, but also because of some horrifying views them some people have. What could THIS child inherit, right? A mother has to answer many questions about her pregnancy, too. "Hi Stacy! Haven't seen you in a while! Wow, you're pregnant! Congrats! How come?!". Imagine that you are asked this questions carrying a baby conceived in rape. Imagine what would that person's reaction would be if he/she was told the truth. It could be loving and caring, but still - that leads you to opening wounds all over again. And this can be, as I imagine, so freaking difficult.
There is a famous Polish book on rape and mothernity from that. In fact, there are two.
The first one is called "The Stranger" by Maria Kuncewiczowa and if you are somehow interested, it is available in English (Amazon). It was written in 1936, so one has take it into consideration, too. It tells the story of a woman and how she became dissapointed with her life. The rape and mothernity is an important part of this story. A main protagonist is raped by her husband who can't stand the fact that she plays violin one evening and she punishes her (all night, and she screams and cries). She gets pregnant and a daughter is born. She hates her daughter, but takes care of her (daughter gets sick) and she feels she somehow connects with her daughter when she finds out that her daugher has an incredible talent in singing. This book is very powerful and very strong. And it's very sad. The main protagonist is bitter and cruel towards her family, too. Honestly I would not call that book pro-life. It's a sort of Polish canon of feminist literature (mainstream feminism), but it is worth reading. It certainly gives some perspective how hard and hateful and terryfing rape and a pregnancy that resulted from it can be. It does not - for me and for you - mean that we should allow abortion or that a child is less worthy. But it made me rally cautious and humble when discussing the topic of rape.
The other book is called "It" by Dorota Terakowska. I tells a story of a young girl born in the a region of Poland when before the fall of communism were many state agricultural farm (those areas are now the most underdeveloped, and as far as I can recall the plot time is still in the 90s or early 00s). She's poor, she's uneducated and she gets raped on New Years Eve, being terribly drunk, after going inside a car with tree hadsome boys. Her parents give her money to do underground abortion, but she secretly hides money after reading some things about fetal developement while she waits for abortion. Later, she talks with her baby fetus (she calls it "It") and she explaines the reality of a world as she sees it. She goes on a journey to find who the father of a baby is. At the end she finds out that that a baby stopped moving inside her and she runs out of a hospital (when they want to remove this dead baby from her body). She goes to a lake and decides to drown herself. She cries and tells her baby that the world is not only bad and terryfing and that she loves It. Later, she into a water, we can hear her pain (she thinks that baby's body started poisoning her) and at the end we hear a baby's scream, too. Hovewer, there is an alternative story, one page long in which she just did an abortion. I know that my desciprion of this books makes it trivial and somehow exalted, but trust me - this is a beautiful book. No sugarcoating. It is the most beautiful description of how love is born slowly that I've ever read. And main protagonist - Ewa - is not a superhero. She's just a normal girl from a little town, raised in a troubled family, uneducated and with "no future" for her. This book taught me that motherhood and, in general, parenthood is much more complicated than we like it to appear. It's not that it always comes right from the beginning, it's a process, too. Feelings that one may have at the beginning of a pregnancy does not mean that those are the feelings that one has after the child is born.
I don't believe that choices in rape and pregnancy are easy. To keep a child to raise it? We all can try to imagine what kind of difficulties a mother like that can have. To give it for adoption? I support adoptions with all my heart, but let's be honest, this is not the easiest choice, too. What I'm about to say it's that even if protection of unborn life is so obvious and universal, it should not make us less sensitive towards hard cases. And rape is one of the hardest cases there is. And we HAVE a CHOICE - as individuals and as a society - to make it easier or harder for a victim of rape. We have a choice to promote pro-life mission in cases like rape or incest with condemning and fighting against sexual violence at the same time. We can see the pain of the victims. We can try to understand why some of them decide to abort - to think how to make them choose something else. We can influence our education system to make people more knowledgable in genetics in order to stop them from sharing thought on how a baby of a rapist is somehow defiled. Et cetera, et cetera.
We can admit that it is freaking hard. It does not make our pro-life mission less worthy. We can admit that we, by protecting unborn's life, excpect women to be freaking strong. And to stand in a fight, everyday fight with questions, accusations, gossips. Abortion means that you suffer in silence, that it can be a secret. Being pregnant is not that easy to hide. It means that in a way she's coming out of closet. Abortion is an unacceptable choice. But that does mean that alternatives are all bright and easy. Life is just not like that. We have to stop sugarcoating our message with pictures of sweet newborns in flowers. There is something besides that. And it's dark, dirty and scary. And we have to face it.
Lately I watched an amazing movie. One of its topic was sexual violence. This move is brutal. Trust me - I watch brutal movies, I read brutal stories. I have over 1000 books in my tiny flat. Many of them are about war. You would not surprise me with a topic on how many rapes where commited by a Red Army. Or how blacks where punished for a rape of a white girl with their life in Rhodesia (and white people, when raped a black girl, had to just pay small amount of money). On what has been happening with women in Ciudad Juarez. But I watched this movie and I just could not speak for few hours. Which, as I stated before, happens rarely. If ever. The movie is called "Rose" (Roza) and tells a story of postwar Poland and the Masurians. In this movie there are 6 or 7 scenes of rape. It starts with rape, actually. It starts with a scene in which German soldiers rape a young Polish women in Warsaw (Warsaw Uprising, started 1 August 1944) and then shoot her. Her husband watches it (he does not move in order to surive, he appears to be dead) and then he kissed her body and leaves. Later, whe have a scene of what Red Army did with women. They were lying in a line with their legs spread. 8 or 9 of them. And they were raped for hours. Hundred times. Thousand times. Oh, there is also a scene in which a husband, after his wife was raped, says "they broke her" - to state that she's somehow broken, unworthy now. Like she was an object. This is the reality of rape.
In Germany, after Red Army came there, thousands of women were raped. They were raped 10, 20 times a day. There are some statistics saying that over 1 million women were raped in Germany at the time. Many of them died (for example by bleeding to death), many committed sucide, many were killed after rape. It is estimated that up to 90% of women who got pregnant decided to abort. It breaks my heart in so many ways, but I do believe that as a pro-lifer and as someone who tries to be honest and fair I have to respond to those things. To those stories. Those stories are real and true. I can't sugarcoat the reality of sexual violence. I have to look it in the eyes.
And although I know the answer - human life has to be protected in every situation, including protecting human conceived in rape - I have to teach myself to use my knowledge of history, anthropology and sexual violence in order to respond in a proper way. In order to be serious, to understand the pain. In order to be mad, to fight against it. To fight not only with abortion from rape, but also with sexual violence as such.
I don't know if I know the way to respond properly. Quite often I feel that it is beyond my ability. Quite often I believe that it is beyond my power. That I have no right open my mouth. But then I think that even it is beyond my power, we should touch every subject. Whether we talk about date rape, marital rape, gang rape or war rape, we should be able to talk about it. In a context of abortion, too.
I urge you to take a stand against sexual violence. To educate yourself about it. To think before sharing a stereotype concerning sexual violence. And I urge you to be very cautious when debating rape and abortion. We fight not only for unborn children. We fight for women and men, too.