Rebecca Kiessling

Women who cried wolf — the illegitimate rape claim behind Roe v Wade

Rebecca Kiessling
By Rebecca Kiessling

Note: Rebecca Kiessling, who was herself conceived in rape, is the co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception which advocates on behalf of rape survivors and their children.

This past week, Congressman Akin was publicly chastised for his comments on abortion in the case of rape, employing the controversial term “legitimate rape.” There was outcry from the liberal left, and from moderate Republicans – an indignation that a candidate for U.S. Senate would dare imply that a woman’s claim of rape might not be legitimate, making him out to be a misogynist. Though I’ve previously written that the comment was a faux pas and unnecessarily uttered, I’d like to address the underlying implications of such a statement, which was very similar to Ron Paul’s phraseology about an “honest rape” when he too was asked about abortion in the case of rape. Are legislators really to blame for implying that there are false claims of rape? Is there a history of illegitimate rape claims, particularly as it relates to this issue of pregnancy and rape? Do some women fabricate these claims? If so, who is to blame for any tendency in our society to question the veracity of rape victims’ accounts? Skeptical lawmakers, judges, juries, media, and the public, or the women who have cried wolf?

When I was in law school, I was a victim of domestic violence. A boyfriend from law school beat me up, breaking my jaw, knocking my teeth loose, chipping them, and crushing all of the bone in my upper jaw, which eventually resulted in the loss of my front tooth after much effort and surgeries to try to save it. I became a family law attorney because of what was done to me. As a young attorney, I was idealistic and naïve – absolutely indignant that any judge or Friend of the Court referee would dare question the claims of a victim of domestic violence. After all, she finally had the courage to leave the abusive situation after having been threatened, abused and terrorized. How on Earth could a judge or Friend of the Court referee doubt her account and refuse to grant, or dismiss, a Personal Protection Order? I thought that these people must be uncaring women-haters, showing deference only to men. Maybe they were even abusers themselves!

Then I gained experience. I had clients who I discovered were lying about their claims of domestic violence. I had clients who specifically asked me, “Well, what if I say I was abused?” — wanting to know how that could affect custody, or getting her husband removed from the home so she wouldn’t have to live with him during their divorce. Finally, the reality struck me – these judges are skeptical because there are women who cry wolf. That’s when I began seeing the judges in a new light, and my resentment grew toward the women who lied. I saw the reality that my clients who really were abused had a difficult time with the court system because of these other women who were ruining it for the real victims.

After learning my front tooth would have to be pulled, an expert in cosmetic dentistry offered to restore my smile for free, as part of the Give Back A Smile Program for victims of domestic violence, through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The bridge and eight teeth with porcelain veneers would have likely cost me around $20,000 to have done by this expert in advanced cosmetic dentistry. Hence, the program had to ensure that there wasn’t fraud. I had to have a certification from a domestic violence counselor that I’d spent time with her, that she believed my claim was legitimate, and that I’d been out of the relationship for at least one year. Was this because these people who wanted to help restore my smile were really misogynist wife-beaters themselves who heartlessly mistrusted a victim’s story? No, of course not! This is the result of women who have cried wolf – and I got scrutinized.

In my conversations with many people this past week, I repeatedly got asked the question from those who were honest in their reactions to the latest news frenzy: “Well, aren’t there women who lie about rape? What about the Duke LaCrosse team rape scandal?” Margaret DiCanio, author of the book, The Encyclopedia of Violence: Origins, Attitudes, Consequences (1993), states that “while researchers and prosecutors do not agree on the exact percentage of false allegations, they generally agree on a range of 2% to 8%.” Aren’t the ones who make the false rape claims prejudicing our society and hurting the 92 – 98% of rape victims who actually have legitimate rape claims, and doesn’t some of the blame rest on them? I believe so.

But what about the claims of pregnancy by rape? Do women lie about that? When I first learned that I was conceived in rape, I was 18, and I was devastated. My family and friends did not know how to relate to me. I was not given any kind of foundation in my life for dealing with this difficult truth, and they had no foundation themselves for offering real assistance. So they took the easiest strategy, which was to tell me that it’s probably not true, “because a lot of women lie about becoming pregnant by rape.”

When I finally met my birthmother several months later, she shared the horrible details of the rape, having been abducted at knifepoint by a serial rapist and brutally raped. She basically walked me through the entire evening of the rape, including the aftermath. There was no question her account was true. Once again, I had to try to cope with the reality of it, and I still had some family members who suggested that it may have been fabricated. I got very upset with them. I intuitively knew how unfair it was for them to question the veracity of her account, just because they didn’t want to deal with the painful truth and because of their discomfort with the fact that my rape-conception could not be reconciled with their world-view and pro-choice values. But once they realized my birthmother’s account was true, their abortion stance was instantly changed.

But why would family and friends suggest such a thing – that there are women who lie about becoming pregnant through rape? Are there any well-known documented cases where this happened, as in the Duke LaCrosse team false rape claim case?

The answer to that question lies in the very foundation for the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case which legalized abortion in the U.S. – the false rape claim by Norma McCorvey — Jane Roe in Roe v Wade. This is her testimony on January 21, 1998, before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism, and Property Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

“My name is Norma McCorvey. I’m sorry to admit that I’m the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. The affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court didn’t happen the way I said it did, pure and simple. I lied! Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffey needed an extreme case to make their client look pitiable. Rape seemed to be the ticket. What made rape even worse? A gang rape! It all started out as a little lie, but my little lie grew and became more horrible with each telling.”

The largest illegitimate rape claim ever perpetrated in the history of our nation was the foundation for the filing of Roe v Wade, which led to abortion on demand in our country! So the next time you hear anyone complaining about Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remark, I want you to remember that abortion rights activists are the women who cried wolf. They are the ones who are squarely responsible for the skepticism we see today regarding women who claim to be pregnant by rape, and they’ve set an example for other women to lie about it too. For those on the left who criticize Akin, I can assuredly call you out as hypocrites.

And for those who make the rape exception, some blame rests on you as well. After all, once you make a rape exception, you now have to set a standard in order to determine whether a claim of rape is legitimate so that the government will not be defrauded when a woman wants to receive Medicaid funding to abort her child - as in the Hyde Amendment exceptions. Rape exceptions put the government in this position – whether they require a police report, social service agency report, or a doctor’s certification that he’s satisfied that the woman’s claim of rape is legitimate.

I’m a co-founder and board member of a newly-formed 501(c)(3), Hope After Rape Conception, whose mission is to assist rape survivor mothers and their children. We seek to ensure that they are protected by law from the rapist having any parental rights, with model legislation posted on the site, and we also plan to post model guidelines for States so that rape survivor mothers will not be cut off from receiving state aid. This occurs all too often because federal and state laws require that a mother cooperate with the local child support enforcement division of the prosecutor’s office by naming the father. Some rape victims are unable to do so, and others are apprehensive about naming him because it could open the door for him to know about her child, and to be able to exercise parental rights. So part of our board members’ plans are to craft model guidelines ...  which means that we’ll have the difficult task of recommending standards for states to set to determine whether a claim of rape is legitimate. Ah – there’s that word again!

As if that task is not sticky enough for a board composed of two rape survivor mothers, two members who were conceived in rape, and a grandmother of a child conceived when her minor daughter was raped, our future plans also include offering scholarships to rape survivor mothers and their children, as well as financial assistance to those who have been cut off from state aid. What this means is that we will be in the awkward position of having to ascertain ourselves whether a rape claim is legitimate. Juda Myers – someone who was also conceived in rape, runs a new organization called, “Choices 4 Life” — which has presented “honor awards” to rape survivor mothers and which seeks to raise funds to provide financial aid to these women. She recently shared with me that she has experienced fraud where women – dare I say – had illegitimate rape claims. So this is not foolhardy or myth, but a reality in this world that there are indeed women who lie about having become pregnant by rape.

It does take a lot of courage for survivors of rape and survivors of domestic violence to come forward with their stories and to seek protection and justice, and I’m very protective of my own birthmother in this regard. Last year, I had friends alert me to a chat room where someone was making the accusation that my birthmother’s story was false, and/or that my claim of having been conceived in rape was false. It’s frustrating and insulting that such accusations are made. It affects me, and it hurts other women as well. But when we discuss this issue, let us not forget, and let us remind others, who it is that fabricated the greatest illegitimate claim of rape which has ever been perpetrated in the U.S., and perhaps around the world. These abortion rights activists are the women who cried wolf.

This article first appeared on Rebecca Kiessling’s blog and is reprinted with permission.


Advertisement
Featured Image
womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com
Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Growing ‘Women Against Feminism’ movement draws fury

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White
Image

Critics of feminism have long said that it is entering the final stages of its long career, with more of its assertions about the nature of human sexual and social relations being contradicted by the evidence and fewer young people following its dictates every decade. But in the last few weeks, it seems that feminism’s last gasp is being used to direct insults at young women who are lining up to publicly reject and ridicule it.

The Tumblr site Women Against Feminism has started a social networking trend in which thousands of young women photograph themselves holding signs bluntly denouncing feminism, giving a sharp indication that the feminist brand has become poison to young, hip, and internet-savvy women.

Mainstream and journalistic feminists have lashed out at the site and its followers, entering into an online spat over the increasingly popular photos. The signs say, “I am not a victim,” and “This is what an anti-feminist looks like.”

They continue: “I am an adult who is capable of taking responsibility for myself and my actions. I define myself and derive my value by my own standards. I don’t need to be ‘empowered’. I am not a target for violence and there is no war against me. I respect me and I refuse to demonize them and blame them for my problems.”

The messages held by the women pinpoint with pithy and acerbic precision exactly the reasons given by many critics that the movement has lost favour with young people. They call it a creed of double standards that promotes victimhood and endorses bullying of anyone who critiques it.

The site’s explanatory page, which was taken down for unknown reasons in the last two days, said, “Feminists are the only people who lose their minds with rage when you tell them that women already have the same exact rights as men. That’s not good enough. They want more. They desperately want to be victims. They want a privileged social position.”

The author goes on to accuse feminism in general of systematic censorship, discrimination, elitism and “policing other women” who do not toe the line – as well as baseline misandry. The anonymous creator denounced feminism’s adoption of “abortion as ‘empowerment’”:

This opinion is unpopular, but I don’t agree that I need to have my baby scraped out of my uterus in order to feel empowered. But the abortion industry (i.e. Planned Parenthood) makes a ton of money off this perversion of empowerment. ‘Abortion as empowerment’ teaches women to see their wombs as nothing but garbage bins full of disposable waste.

One of the contributors wrote, “I don’t need feminism because my self-worth is not directly tied to my victim complex. As a woman in the western world I am not oppressed, and neither are you,” says one. Another: “I don’t need feminism because I don’t need to bully someone to share my opinions with others.”

Some come right out and say that feminism promotes exactly the evils it purports to fight against: “I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlements and supremacy.”

Although the site and its contentious photos have been running around the internet for many months, arguments among journalism’s feminists started breaking out this week after a mocking Buzzfeed feature helped the site gain momentum on social media outlets.

Some feminist journalists simply flung insults. Lillian Kalish sniffed on Ryot, “These Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism Don’t Know What Feminism Is.” “Did these posters ever think to look up the actual definition of feminism?”

Nuala McKeever, in the Belfast Telegraph, called the women posting the photos “silly, ignorant, vacuous wee girls with absolutely no thoughts beyond their own self-absorbed inanities.”

Time Magazine’s Sarah Miller said, “I Really, Truly, Fully Hate ‘Women Against Feminism’—But…” Miller wrote, “[T]he tendency to see sexism everywhere is proof that feminism is healthy and vigilant, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, because misogyny is insidious and rampant… We need feminism.”

But Miller added, “Still, the pain that we experience as women—even physical—does not give us the right to tell people there’s one way to think or feel, or to assume that we have some god-like understanding of everyone’s motivations.”

Cathy Young, however, responded in Time, saying, “Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right.” She writes, “The charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists—but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.”

The site, Young says, “raises valid questions about the state of Western feminism in the 21st Century — questions that must be addressed if we are to continue making progress toward real gender equality.”

Sarah Boesveld wrote in the National Post on Friday that the site shows that feminism has become “complicated” and “sometimes alienating.” She quotes an email sent to the paper by 22 year-old Australian Lisa Sandford, who “believes in equality for the sexes” but firmly rejects feminism as “rude and nasty” and intends to be a stay-at-home mother. 

Sandford wrote, “If feminism really accepted equality, they would not tell me my views are wrong, they would accept it and let me be.”

Browse the 'Women Against Feminism' archives here (warning: occasional strong language).


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

,

Welcome Baby Filipino 100 Million!

Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse
By Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

Population Research Institute welcomes the birth of little Chonalyn Sentino. Baby Chonalyn was born this past Sunday to parents Clemente and Dailin, and was feted in the Philippines as “Baby 100 Million.” PRI welcomes Baby Chonalyn as well, saying that she will be a blessing to her family, her community, and her nation.

The Philippines is one of the largest Catholic countries in the world, and its people value children. For this reason, it has been a target of the population controllers for decades. It was one of the countries singled out by Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council in 1974 for special “attention” and, more recently, has been bullied by the Obama administration into passing its first population control law. 

The bill, which was touted as being all about promoting “reproductive health,” was actually intended to drive down the birth rate. For example, section 15 requires that all couples receive a “Certificate of Compliance” from the local Family Planning Office before becoming eligible for a marriage license.

Some in the Philippines are decrying Chonalyn’s birth, repeating USAID’s talking points about the “dangers” of overpopulation. They welcome Chonalyn as an individual little girl, while simultaneously calling for future little girls and boys to be removed from existence.

The Philippine Star wrote that the birth symbolized a “large population that will put a strain on the country's limited resources.” Another paper cited the executive director of the official Commission on Population who bluntly said “We'd like to push the fertility rate down to two children per (woman's) lifetime.” And the Global Post cited “concerned advocates” who thought the current population was not a “complement with the country's economic growth.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

But many other Filipinos aren’t buying into the anti-people hysteria. Francisco Antonio, a Filipino Chemical Engineering graduate student at Yale, adamantly rebutted the notion that there are too many Filipinos, saying: “I celebrate life because population control is defeatism disguised as pragmatism. And because human creativity holds more potential for protecting this planet and its inhabitants than any other resource I know of.”

A Filipina currently living in California told PRI that she welcomed the transition of her country to 100 million persons: “Filipinos are not a burden to the world population, because we not only care for our own but also for others in the world. One of the greatest and most sought after exports of the Philippines is our skilled, motivated, and exemplary workforce. And these workers tirelessly cultivate their family and community abroad and in the Philippines. We are a very social and civic minded people. We care and share because it is part of our culture and we do it with a smile.”

 Ed, a Filipino accountant, also celebrated the birth of Baby Chonalyn: “The typical Filipino does not associate a baby with ‘cost’ or ‘expense’ but rather as a ‘blessing’ and a ‘gift.’ This is because Filipinos recognize that true happiness does not come from the accumulation of material wealth or prestige, but rather, from true, genuine, and strong relationships with other people. [Filipinos] value life, not because the Church says or the Pope says so, but because they recognize it to be true. And the truth about the value of life, will continue to shine, long after the debates are over.”

It goes without saying that we at the Population Research Institute also welcome Chonalyn’s birth. We need more Filipinos, not fewer. 

Reprinted with permission from Pop.org.


Advertisement
Featured Image
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

,

Two very different ways to respond to Pope Francis’ unrecorded interviews

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

In the last few weeks another series of interviews with Pope Francis surfaced and have again left many Catholics scratching their heads.  Headlines all over the world had the Pope saying that two percent of priests are pedophiles, but is that what he said?  Even though the Vatican spokesman did issue a clarification, that question and others remain unanswered.

Critical reactions to these interviews have been interesting not even so much for their contents as from whom they arise.  These are the observations of some of the most faithful Catholic Church watchers today.  The folks pointing out these concerns are not, as many would assume, ‘“far right-wing-holier-than-the-Pope” types, but mainstream Catholics known for their loyalty to Pope Francis.

Phillip Lawler is the founder of Catholic World News, the first Catholic news service operating on the Internet. In part of his criticism of the most recent interview, he states: “Why was Pope Francis speaking with Scalfari without having first established clear ground rules for the conversation—rules that would certainly include recording and verification of any quotes?”

(To comprehend the situation accurately it is necessary to have an understanding of the man whom the Pope has allowed to interview him.  Eugenio Scalfari is relatively unknown in the West even after the fanfare of his papal interviews. LifeSiteNews has produced this piece to assist that understanding.)

Lawler recalls: “Back in October the Vatican had been embarrassed by an ‘interview’ in which [Scalfari’s] reconstructed quotes caused an uproar, and the Vatican press office was forced to issue an awkward ‘clarification’ which only added to the confusion.”

In addition to that clarification of the October Scalfari interview, the confusion and uproar got so bad that the Vatican removed the interview from their website, where they had it posted in the section containing the Pope’s speeches. Interestingly, that interview resurfaced two weeks ago on the Vatican website only to be removed again after a new round of criticism.

A blogger at the EWTN-owned National Catholic Register offered an observation similar to Lawler’s but with a little more bite. Pat Archbold writes, “The internet is once again abuzz with the second-hand hearsay of an unrecorded Papal interview.” Archbold advises his readers with characteristic sarcasm, “So pay no attention to those crazy and outlandish anti-Catholic headlines tearing up your RSS feed.  Just ignore them and hope they will soon go away, just like unrecorded Papal interviews.”

A second unrecorded conversation with the Pope makes news

Another write-up of an encounter with Pope Francis also caused a stir.  Brian Stiller, an Evangelical leader from Toronto was part of a delegation of Evangelical Christians who met with Pope Francis earlier this month. In his July 9 account, Stiller puts in quotes this statement he attributes to the Pope: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community.  There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s not spend our time on those. Rather, let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.”

That led noted priest-blogger Father Dwight Longenecker to first caution that the quotes are “Brian Stiller’s memory of the conversation.” 

Then with the caveat of not actually knowing the whole conversation, Fr. Longenecker says “it would not be unusual for a Catholic priest of Pope Francis’ generation to feel that way.”  He explains that he has “heard from numerous convert clergy over the years who said when they went to their local Catholic priest and expressed the wish to become Catholic the priest told them it wasn’t necessary and that they could do much more good to Christ’s kingdom and the Catholic church by staying where they were and evangelizing within their own denomination.”

“Now this strikes me as rather troublesome on several levels,” says Longenecker. He notes he had himself once used that line with a Protestant friend, to which his friend replied, “You don’t want to convert me? Why not? I don’t have much respect for your religion if you think so little of it that you don’t want me to share it!”

“He basically called me out on what was a little lie on my part. I wanted to be nice to him [so] I said I didn’t want to convert him. He said our discussion would be much better if I admitted that I did want him to become Catholic. He was right. I did. I still do.”

Inside the Vatican

Vatican journalist Edward Pentin has reported that unnamed “Vatican officials are uneasy and perplexed” about the interview. Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002 and has since covered the pope for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times.

“The officials’ discomfort also extends to the Pope’s spontaneous telephone calls to strangers, a couple of which implied he deviated from Church teaching but, being private and unrecorded conversations, are difficult to verify,” he wrote for Newsmax.

From the outset of the Francis pontificate, there were these unrecorded and yet published interviews – the first was from a meeting with Latin American religious leaders in June 2013.  That was the one that had Pope Francis speaking of the existence of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican and also about being concerned about Catholics who would count rosaries to offer prayer bouquets.

At the time LifeSiteNews published nothing on that first unrecorded interview even though almost all other news services did.  Shortly thereafter I was at the Vatican inquiring about that unrecorded but reported-on encounter and was assured by various Vatican insiders that the communication was not accidental but intended – to me at the time a rather startling revelation.

But that same assessment came later from another Vatican quarter, a man who speaks German as does the pope and also shares the pope’s religious order.  “Francis knows exactly how power is spelled,” said Bernd Hagenkord, a Jesuit who is in charge of German programming for Vatican Radio in a May interview with The Atlantic. “He’s a communicator in the league with Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. They say he’s being unclear, but we know exactly what he means.”

Two different ways to respond

One of the most disturbing outcomes of these ‘interviews’ is that the words and interpretations of what is being said by the Pope, while they may be clear for the German Jesuit, are remarkably unclear for the vast majority of Catholics.  Catholics who know well their faith, its moral teachings, and the reason for them are few and far between. They are able to discern that the Pope cannot mean to undermine Church teaching; that those teachings are unchangeable.

But most people are taken in by the media’s false interpretation that ‘who am I to judge’ involves a new acceptance of homosexuality; the false possibility for legitimately-married Catholics to divorce and remarry outside the Church and still receive Communion; the idea that the Church should quiet down on her teachings on abortion, contraception, and same-sex “marriage.”  All of those false conclusions were drawn from previous Francis interviews.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

There are two ways forward for faithful Catholics in such a situation.  One way – a way that is most tempting - was recently recognized as a growing tendency by blogger Father Ray Blake. “Most Catholics but especially clergy want to be loyal to the Pope in order to maintain the unity of the Church,” he said.  “Today that loyalty is perhaps best expressed through silence.”

In leading up to that observation, Blake noted that in the previous pontificate “there was a solidity and certainty in Benedict's teaching which made discussion possible and stimulated intellectual honesty, one knew where the Church and the Pope stood.”  He added, “Today we are in less certain times, the intellectual life of the Church is thwart with uncertainty.”

However, Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke suggested a different approach recently. According to Burke, who serves as head of the Vatican’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, the pope has made a strategic decision to focus on making the Church appealing, and thus bishops and priests “are even more compelled to underline these teachings (on life and family) and make them clear for the faithful.”

He told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, “The Holy Father has said on different occasions that he expects that bishops and priests are doing this teaching while he’s trying to draw people closer and not have them use [these doctrines] as their immediate excuse for not coming to the faith.”

Cardinal Burke’s strategy confronts the culture head-on even on the most difficult issues.  He sees that the often-used but failed tactic of avoiding difficult situations, of obfuscating or compromising on moral issues as worse than useless.

When truth is pushed aside for political correctness, to fulfill ideals of civility or to achieve false unity and false peace, the world is harmed by the lack of truth the Church is called to bring to it.

When truth is boldly proclaimed and held to, despite persecution, even the enemies of truth are forced to see that the opponents of their secular or liberal ideologies truly believe their teachings and are willing to suffer for them. This eventually generates a degree of respect from some of the critics and an openness to re-consider their own flawed positions.


Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook