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.