Rape Victims and Child Support

An interesting post has been placed on ethecofem (which is a great blog that I highly recommend, by the way), and I want to address it here. Blogger Danny writes:

Kris Bucher is being held up for child support. However he says that he was raped by the mother of the child and should therefore not be held responsible for child support.

Alright we’ve seen cases before where under aged boys were held up for support of children they had with adult women. Or even worse sometimes said under aged boy’s parents would be held responsible to pay it (can you imagine being ordered by a court to pay child support to a woman that statutorily raped your son?). In this case though Kris is saying that the age difference is not the issue (and I’m inclined to agree since he was 17 and she was 18 at the time of conception) but rather that he said no to the sexual encounter that conceived the child.

As a quick reference I’ve laid out before that a woman can rape a man, so there is no need to try to question that. The hard part to think about is was he raped (he never pressed charges) and should he be held responsible for supporting a child that was conceived through rape?

I agree that a woman can rape a man, so for me, as for Danny, this is not something that needs to be questioned or discussed*. Now, my opinion on this issue is that such a person is, indeed, responsible for paying child support. I hope, of course, that every rape victim presses charges against the attacker and removes any possibility that a child would end up being raised by a criminal.

Child support, however, is not about either parent or the process of how they ended up being parents. It’s about ensuring that a child – a separate human being who never asked to be brought into this world and who in no way influenced the circumstances of his or her conception – has adequate means of support. It is the role of the justice system to defend the person who is the weakest and who cannot even speak for him or herself, namely, the child. A justice system that prefers to deprive a child from adequate means of existence in order to avoid being unfair towards an adult is no justice system at all.

The fact that a person was created during the commission of a crime in no way reduces that person’s need for food, clothing, medical care, and education. Imagine baby Anna and baby Jessica. Anna is a product of a passionate loving consensual sex act. Jessica is the product of rape (whether by a man or by a woman). Is Jessica going to eat less? Will she be less deserving of visiting a dentist? Should she have fewer toys than Anna? Can anybody reasonably argue that one of these kids should be punished because she has a criminal for a parent?

People seem to think way too often that child support is money that is given to the other parent instead of to the child. This way of thinking comes from their inability to see a child as a separate human being with rights of his or her own. What everybody needs to remember is that the moment a child comes out of a woman’s body and takes his or her first breath, s/he stops being a woman’s body part and becomes a person.

* Reader Christopher Marshall pointed out to me that the man went to the police 2 weeks after the incident and they refused to follow up on it. This is what we need to fight: the prejudice against men that positions them always as the perpetrators of violence and never as victims. Here is the real injustice in this case. A statement that a crime has been committed is dismissed by the authorities.

By Readers’ Request: More on Why I Emigrated, Part II

The reason why my groupmates were acting this way was that after decades of genocides and repressions, people had become afraid of pretty much everything. This is the kind of fear that gets transmitted on a genetic level. You might not have experienced the genocide yourself, but the genetic memory of your ancestors who conceived you in fear and gave birth to you in mortal terror is always there with you.

So the students started attending one of the courses and ignored the other one. Now, the professor of the ignored course showed up to his scheduled class and discovered that the students weren’t there. He also had the Soviet legacy of inborn terror, so instead of going to the Dean’s office and inquiring as to the whereabouts of his students, he kept coming to class in a futile hope that one day students would appear.

They never did, of course.

At the end of the semester, when the exam period came about, a huge scandal broke out. Students hadn’t taken one of the courses and couldn’t pass the exam. The professor had been getting paid for not delivering his lectures. The future schedules got messed up beyond recognition.

People got into all this trouble for the simple reason that they couldn’t deal with the simple task of going to the administration and saying, “I’m sorry, I think there might be a mistake.”

This was when I realized that I wasn’t only completely different from the older generation. I also had nothing in common with my own. Believe me, I’m not blaming my people for being the way they are. I just understood that I was so different from them that no happiness was possible for me in their midst.

So I came home and said, “You were right, we should leave. I’m now ready to submit an application to the Canadian consulate.”

This was absolutely the best decision of my life. It brought me poverty, divorce, struggle, hardship but it got me to a place where, on the most basic level, people think and act like me.

By Readers’ Request: More on Why I Emigrated, Part I

Reader Maria says, “I’d like you to finish the “Why I immigrated story.” For those who missed the first two installments, you can find them here and here.

The last straw for me was something that happened at my university. In post-Soviet universities, you didn’t choose what classes you had to take. Each semester, a huge hand-written table appeared in front of the Dean’s office informing each group of students which courses they had to take, where and when. We weren’t computerized then (I don’t know about now), so sometimes a mistake or two would creep into the schedule.

Once, at the beginning of the semester, my group huddled in front of this hand-written course schedule to see what classes we were going to take. Immediately, we noticed that two classes were scheduled (by mistake, of course) to take place at the same time on the same days of the week.

Now, I’d like everybody to take a moment to consider what you would do in such a situation.

For me, the answer was simple: let’s go to the Dean’s office and tell the people who work there that a mistake had been made in the schedule. My groupmates, however, shushed me down.

“Why do you have to be such a troublemaker?” they asked indignantly. “You never even show up for classes, yet you want to make trouble for everybody.”

“What trouble?” I asked. “I’m just saying we should inform people in a very polite way that there is a mistake in the schedule.”

“Will you stop being such a jerk?” one groupmate exclaimed. “You always have to protest, complain, defend your rights. You are so annoying!”

Of course, I shut up and withdrew. It was true that I wasn’t planning on attending either of the courses scheduled for the same time slot. In the meanwhile, the group discussed the situation and decided to show up for one of the courses and ignore the other one.

By now, readers must be wondering why the group was refusing to mention the problem with the schedule to the authorities. Please, offer your answers in the comments. I’d love to hear what you think.

To be continued momentarily. . .

P.S. Thank you, Maria, for asking me to write about exactly what I wanted to the most. 🙂

Would You Have Handled It That Much Better?

I kind of don’t like it how people are falling all over themselves in criticizing Obama for the way he handled the whole debt ceiling debacle. He compromised too much, people say.

And what alternative did he have, exactly? No, seriously, if you are disappointed with Obama’s actions during the crisis, what would you have done in his place?