Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To Be Pro Life and Against Violence Towards Women...

... seems to feel like more of a rarity than it should be. In my experience as an advocate, I worked hard to take a deep breath and speak up when abortion was discussed with coworkers. I will admit that I certainly feel more well-versed on the subject matter now, but I did not have it in me to stay silent on the matter. I never was faced with the situation where a survivor asked for abortion resources, but I did provide many a shoulder to cry on and comfort for women that had abortions or were overwhelmed with pregnancy or miscarriage. It taught me that there are scary, real, and harmful situations for women in this world. It taught me that women sometimes feel they must do the unimaginable to survive. I hate that I know these things.
Power and Control Wheel:
This graph illustrates many of the tactics abusers use to control their partners.

Being an advocate means knowing these awful things, and knowing that there are others trying to combat violence and rape in a culture that blames women for rape and sees IPV as "relationship" or "domestic" issues. The advocates that fight in the trenches every day to help women heal from abuse and rape go to court with survivors and see the gamut of outcomes: conviction, charges dismissed, custody given to abusive partners, battered women held responsible for their partner's abuse, rape trials turned into a parade of the victim's sexual past. They see women judged by society and they have no legal or social support. They see women raped and left in pieces, sometimes with a child as a result. They see women beaten and forced into sex get pregnant, stay pregnant or beaten until they miscarry. It is no wonder that abortion looks like the better option.

The religious affiliation statistic is heart breaking.
 It shows a real gap in the love we are asked to show and that love in action.

Being a (small) voice in the pro life movement means encountering all kinds of pro life individuals. This movement is filled with loving, caring, and compassionate people. It is filled with the voices of my generation: those that survived the abortion statistics. It is also filled with Christians, non-Christians, atheists, men, women, and children. There are also those that call women who have had abortions murderers and whores. There are those that think that shaming and blaming women for abortion is the "tough love" approach that will save lives. These people are wrong.

Now you have an idea of what I see: Pro choicers determined to find a way to avoid trauma and alleviate some pain. Pro choicers wary of those against abortion but unwilling to fight IPV and rape culture. Pro lifers that know children cannot be the cost of equality. Pro lifers wary of those that promote abortion because they see them as trying to destroy the family unit.

No one wins in this deadlock, especially not women. People on both sides of the abortion debate must start to acknowledge the pieces of truth the other side holds.

Rape is not as simple as reporting it if we shame victims and blame them for their own assault.

If you are pro life and reading this post, I challenge you to seek more information on the cycle of violence. Find out more about rape.

If you are pro choice and reading this post, I encourage you to engage in real conversation with someone you know that is pro life, or research Feminists For Life to find out more about how the pro life cause does not mean saving children at the expense of women.


  1. You are such a good voice for the pro-life, pro-woman movement!! Thank you for fighting the good fight!!


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