Submitted by ms.marisa
“Approximately 25,000 women become pregnant through rape each year. In response, many states have passed special laws, devised streamlined procedures, or both, to aid pregnant women who seek abortions or wish to place their rape-conceived children for adoption. However, few states have passed laws to aid the large numbers of raped women who choose to raise their rape-conceived children. Without such laws, in most states, a man who fathers through rape has the same custody and visitation privileges to that child as does any other father of a child. Moreover, as a result of this legal void, raped women and their children are left to face substantial and potentially terrible consequences. This Note argues that the absence of these laws stems from the societal images and other rhetoric concerning the pregnant raped woman that depict raped women as hating their unborn children and viewing their rape pregnancies as continuing their rape experience. These societal constructions have created a biased “prototype” of the pregnant raped woman and of the prototypical rape pregnancy experience by which all pregnant raped women are judged. Women who raise their rape-conceived children depart from the prototype and are, as a result, viewed with suspicion. Legal protections, such as alternate custody rights, are then denied to them because, being viewed as “impostor” rape victims, it is thought that there is nothing special about these women or their conceptions requiring any change in the manner in which custody and visitation determinations are made.”
Above is an excerpt from the article, “Giving Birth to a “Rapist’s Child”: A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape,” published in the Georgetown Law Journal. Author, attorney, advocate, and public speaker, Shauna Prewitt is the incredible author.
Michigan State University College of Law students had the extreme privilege of having Shauna visit our school and share her incredible story.