From the Indianapolis Star comes a story of repulsive but sadly unsurprising behavior aimed at a 14-year-old girl who is due to give birth in early July after becoming pregnant as the result of rape:
A former self-proclaimed “social bug” — she was a cheerleader and athlete — the young victim has become reclusive since learning she was pregnant.
“I can’t walk out the door without someone calling me a whore or slut,” the girl said. “I used to have a lot of friends, or people I thought were my friends, but as soon as this happened I just isolated myself.”
The repeated vandalism incidents at the family’s home — including the words “whore” and “slut” scrawled on the garage doors — were reported to police. But Green said no charges were filed because there were no witnesses to the acts.
Her daughter also has been the target of mean-spirited rumors and speculation that her pregnancy is the result of promiscuous behavior.
— Tim Evans, “An Elwood girl became pregnant in a sexual assault at 13, her case illustrates a growing problem in Indiana”
The girl and her mother discussed abortion, but “‘I just looked at my mom,’ the girl recalled, ‘and told her I wanted to keep the baby.'”
It’s hard for me to fathom the bravery this girl has shown in choosing to carry her pregnancy to term. And it’s not hard to understand why so many other people in her situation wouldn’t.
Much has been made of the fact that she’s being shamed even though she was raped, and I want to say one thing loud and clear: Even if she had not been raped, it would still be wrong to treat her this way. A woman or girl’s value does not depend on whether or not she has had sex. Everyone is entitled to be treated with respect and decency whether or not they have had sex. Even if they’re young. Even if they’re not married. Even if they have sex with half the people in town. People who have had sex or been raped are not chewed-up gum or ruined presents. They are living human beings, and if you say you respect life, respect them.
If you want to help:
- A Facebook group, “Stop Slut-Shaming!!” has been started to support the Elwood girl and others who have been raped. Her mother, who was named in the Indianapolis Star article, is a member of the group.
- The girl (I hate to just keep calling her that, but neither a name nor a pseudonym was used in the article) may not be protected if her rapist were to choose to seek visitation rights or custody of her child. Indiana law only provides for the termination of a rapists’ parental rights if the rape victim is both a minor and the adoptive child or step-child of the rapist. An attempt was made last year to amend the Indiana Code to terminate convicted rapists’ parental rights, but in the end the Child Custody and Support Advisory Committee declined to recommend any change to existing law. Indiana residents, please contact your representatives and ask them to guarantee this protection for rape victims and their children.