The pro-choice rants of sanctimonious goddesses mock us with fantasies about an overarching conspiracy that does not exist. “The real agenda of those teaching abstinence-only education,” they scream, “is to stop free sex!” Who is responsible for this failed curriculum? “The ‘white male patriarchy!’” They hold up their signs higher.
Patriarchy exists in the animal kingdom, so what suddenly makes it “white” when it comes to human beings? Also, what’s the opposite of “free sex”? Paid sex?
News networks court women from pro-choice organizations whose opinions they obviously share. They have to fill time. When broadcasters repeat the same thing 24 hours a day, their words generate white noise, not ideas.
The Columbia Journalism Review cites Census Bureau statistics that “racial and ethnic minorities comprise almost 40 percent of the US population, yet they make up less than 17 percent of newsroom staff at print and online publications, and only 13 percent of newspaper leadership.” Do pro-choice advocates mention the “white male patriarchy” then?
Nasty permutations of patriarchy do exist in the human kingdom—in the bedroom, behind closed doors, hidden from judgment and morality. Women have stories they can’t even tell the police.
A friend of mine gave consent when her 17-year-old daughter asked if it would be okay for her to have sex with her boyfriend. She used a diaphragm. He used condoms. They would be protected from unwanted pregnancy and STD’s. What could go wrong?
A month into their relationship, the boyfriend began to grab her playfully from behind. Odd, she thought, but she laughed. You know, one of those laughs you make when you don’t know treachery is around the corner. We’ve all been there. Then the domination escalated.
“Was he being a gentleman?” her father would ask. “Yes,” she said. A year later, this boyfriend bound her hands and feet with twisted manila rope and raped her. “I always had these urges. I thought you would go along,” said he. “You broke my heart. Why did you have to break my body?” said she.
That evening, he didn’t use a condom. She left her diaphragm in the bathroom. He was 180 pounds; she was 120. She wanted to live, so what did she give? Consent. The irony of the term in this situation was vicious.
She got pregnant. Without question, her parents made her get an abortion. She simply followed their logic, just as she had followed her boyfriend in the beginning. What independent decisions did she have a chance to make? None. She sunk into deep depression. For that, her parents got her treatment.
One sunny day later that year, her mother and I were having lunch. She told me, “I felt terrible until my daughter told me, ‘Thanks, Mom. You let me make my own mistakes.’”
“Excuse me?” I could have chosen a lower volume for that comment. At the same time, a sip of water went down the wrong pipe. I started coughing. The mother was not pleased.
I was talking to a good friend. We have known each other for over a decade. She had told me many things about her former marriage to an abusive husband, with whom she had had three children, but she never told me this story before:
“I always wondered why my husband wanted for me to become pregnant every four years. We used the rhythm method. It worked. When I jokingly asked him about it, he would give some garbled answer and walk into another room. I was confused, but after each birth I went back to work in our landscaping business. Did I tell you we had a landscaping business?”
“No.” I knew a punch-in-the-face revelation was coming.
“I helped him carry Christmas trees up the stairs. One year I was also carrying our fourth child, but didn’t know it. A week later, I had a miscarriage. I lost so much blood, I was hospitalized and needed three transfusions. I don’t know how I made it out alive.
“After he saw me lying in bed and knew I was going to live, he finally answered my question. ‘I got you pregnant, because I thought you were too smart,’ he told me. ‘If I could keep you from going to college, I thought, I could keep you from leaving me.’”
My friend wiped away her tears quickly, because she didn’t want to take away value from her other three children. However, she was broken inside, and still cried for that lost baby.
Rape within Marriage
Now, we get to me. You can’t speak about something when you don’t have the words, but I must join the living ghosts of the abused, who smile in photographs as if nothing ever happened to them.
My true love left me. My family was dead. I had nowhere to go, so I accepted a proposal of marriage from an older gentleman, a small-town lawyer I met at a friend’s wedding. He seemed so chivalrous at the time. However, after we were married, things changed. My husband reveled in boasting, “You know what happened when another woman I was going to marry refused to have sex with me?” Silence. “I threw her out of the house!”
Silence and dread always seeped in at night. In a soft little voice, he would ask me, “Do you want to have sex?” “Of course,” I answered promptly. “I will get ready.”
Then came the question that locked in my assent. He may as well have been holding a knife. I knew if I said no, a torrent of abuse would follow.
“Are you sure you’d like to have sex?” My eyes gave him the wide, loving look I had come to master. “Yes,” I said. And skipped away smiling (gagging).
After a year and a half of his sexual coercion, I realized I had endured rape within marriage.
This man had adopted a son from Russia when the boy was four years old. He was now sixteen. I never had to tell him anything. He understood my pain. One night, on his way out of the house to get high on marijuana with his friends, he pleaded with me, “Don’t leave him. Stay for me!”
I couldn’t. I thought my heart would come out of my body when I saw his face, but I couldn’t. I ran away while the degenerate I had married was sleeping and snoring. It caused a town scandal.
A few days after I had fled, I had a miscarriage. I was in my 40’s. Like my friend, I hadn’t known I was pregnant. Unlike my friend, my experience was not life threatening. But it was emotionally searing, as hers had been. This was the second man in my life whose sordid behavior had made me lose a baby. I never told a soul.
We bleed. We are broken in places now strewn with cobwebs, where men are no longer present.
When you lose a child, too much of you dies. When you kill a child, you make its murder—and your own—permanent. You have to live with it, but don’t be silent. Speak. Other women need to understand the consequences of the decision they might be forced to make.