Tonight I was watching a few videos on msnbc when I came across a video on the children of rape victims in Haiti, a country that is still reeling from an earthquake and an epidemic of cholera. But what shocked me the most is that the msnbc reporter referred to the babies conceived through rape as “unwanted.” That sort of labelling is demeaning to children who have the right to life, who have done nothing wrong, and who are wanted by many in Haiti and in other countries.
This is what the reporter said: “These women face the burden of feeding and caring for unwanted children.”
But this is what one young mother said: “Yes, I love my child. They are both the same. But the reason I appreciate this one is because when I [unintelligible] and I want to cry, but when I hold her then I forget everything.”
That does not sound like the description of an unwanted child. To me that sounds like a mother who loves her daughter.
The children and women are victims. The men who rape women; the men who walk around singly or in gangs, taking advantage of the disasters in Haiti and the decrease in police officers and resources, along with a social structure which results in few women reporting sexual assaults are the guilty ones. They should be imprisoned and forced to provide for their sons and daughters.
UNICEF is on the scene. So are other aid groups. And reporters; at least one who believes that the little babies who, through no fault of their own, have been conceived through rape are “unwanted.”
Yes, the wording of that sentence is bad. Perhaps a better thing to say would have been “unwanted pregnancy” rather than “unwanted child.” I think you gave good reasons why the phrase “unwanted child” is bad.
However, I would note that the unpleasant sentence was spoken about a minute before the mother you mentioned. And the reporter did introduce that mother’s testimony by saying that some women have found comfort and solace from their new children.
That women are suffering the additional hardship of rape is horrible. But I am glad the problem is being reported on - its the first step towards putting a stop to it. But what can be done?
reporters ought to be careful about which words they choose to use when they report stories, and they ought to make sure that they explain things in enough detail to ensure that insinuations like the one described here do not occur.
almost assuredly the label “unwanted child” was meant to refer to those pregnancies of rape victims in haiti which some of the pregnant girls and women did not want to have occurred. i loved the quote from the mother, who explained that the child mentioned, whom she obviously loved, helped her overcome any hate she may have felt towards the rapist father and any horrible trauma she may have suffered over the rape act itself.
i have learned from some source, long ago, that that feeling of love in such victims is not uncommon. many impregnated female rape and incest victims love the children that resulted from their pregnancies unequivocally, and that fact trumps for me the arguments in favor of advocating abortion in such cases, except in certain cases where the potential mother, for psychological reasons, is truly frightened by the prospects of giving birth to the child and feels she might be unable to love it, and in cases where the rapist or incestuous man was so hideous a person that a very good chance exists that the child will carry pathological traits that most any normal person would find hard to ignore.
I am SO happy that you asked what could be done. This morning I checked the Catholic News in my emails and found this:
"As the first anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti last year approaches, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops invites U.S. Catholics to stand in prayerful solidarity with the people of Haiti.
“Haiti and its people still very much need our prayers and solidarity,” said Archbishop Wenski, chairman of the Special Advisory Group for Haiti at the USCCB. “As we approach the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, we join together with parishes, Catholic schools, youth groups, colleges and universities from across the country to remember the tragic events of that fateful afternoon and to respond in a faith-filled way.”
"Catholics are invited to pray and reflect for nine days using the Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas. The novena starts on the evening of the anniversary, January 12, and culminates with the celebration of Mass the weekend of January 22-23, official date for the National Collection for Latin America, including Haiti and all of the Caribbean.
“In addition to the novena, other catechetical and reflection resources, including didactical materials from Catholic Relief Services, have been collected at a special website, usccb.org/haiti/one-year-later.shtml, under the title One Year Later: Pray and Walk With our Sisters and Brothers in Haiti”.
I don’t know exactly what a novena is, although I have a better understanding from reading the linked articles. And I haven’t found anything on any Catholic website that describes what the Church is doing to help these poor women and their babies. I will find out what a novena is and I will also continue searching the USCCB website. If I can’t find anything, I’ll email them (if I can find an address).
(I’m new at digging through news articles and finding websites that are informative and helpful. I’m doing the best I can, so please bear with me as I learn how to do this quickly and in a better way. I apologize for the sloppiness of this post.)
For updates on what Catholic Relief Services has done for the people of Haiti since the killer quake of January 2010, click on this link:
To find out how to make donations to help rebuild the Church in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and a country with a population that is 80% Catholic, click on this link (updates are also provided):
I know prayer is very powerful and I know that God loves us and is merciful. I will join in the novena and do what I can to spread the word about the inter-related problems of rape, poverty, and a social structure that appears to me to keep women powerless in many areas of their lives.
I also want to thank the Church for her humanitarian efforts in Haiti and around the world. While reading articles linked to other articles which were linked to still others, I found that Catholic Relief Services has provided an enormous amount of aid to Haiti. It’s not nearly enough to correct the problems Haiti is facing but it had to have had a huge impact on the recovery of Haiti and the Church in Haiti. Now, almost a year since the quake, I’ve found that the Church has never stopped her humanitarian work in Haiti.