Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Should a rape victim have to pay child support?

(I'm talking about rape here. Tread carefully.)

I'm in the final stages of studying for a certification exam (tomorrow morning at 11a) but I didn't want this to get lost in my Weekly Mashup.

Kris Bucher is being held up for child support. However he says that he was raped by the mother of the child and should therefore not be held responsible for child support.

Alright we've seen cases before where under aged boys were held up for support of children they had with adult women. Or even worse sometimes said under aged boy's parents would be held responsible to pay it (can you imagine being ordered by a court to pay child support to a woman that statutorily raped your son?). In this case though Kris is saying that the age difference is not the issue (and I'm inclined to agree since he was 17 and she was 18 at the time of conception) but rather that he said no to the sexual encounter that conceived the child.

As a quick reference I've laid out before that a woman can rape a man, so there is no need to try to question that.

The hard part to think about is was he raped (he never pressed charges) and should he be held responsible for supporting a child that was conceived through rape?

I think its pretty obvious that if the genders were reversed and we were talking about a man raping a woman, getting custody, then trying to hold her accountable for child support most people would realize that that would fail as soon as the child was born because who would let a man that raped a woman keep custody of a child that was produced by rape (about the only way I can think of that working is if the fact that it was rape never came up).

Another thing to bear in mind is that so far this is an alleged rape. So there's no conviction to point to.

The best I can say is the outcome of holding him responsible for child support would have to depend on her being put on trial for rape and being found guilty or not guilty. But that's going to be a tough road considering that most people simply don't take rape seriously and even then most of those same people don't even acknowledge that female against male rape can even happen.

Oh and one more thing. Why is she asking for child support when she's already got another guy in her life? And it doesn't help that Kris himself is married to someone else and has become a step dad of two.

So what do you think?

Edit: Clarissa has posted her take on the matter.


Clarissa said...

Child support is aimed at maintaining a child. The circumstances of the conception are not that child's fault. How many new spouses or partners the parents have are also not the child's problem.

I, of course, agree that a woman absolutely can rape a man. However, that has nothing to do with the daily reality of the child who hasn't taken part in the crime of rape and should not pay for it.

Letting the rapist to maintain custody of the child is an egregious violation of that child's rights.

James said...

If he was really raped, then I don't see why he should be punished for it. That kid needs support, but not from him.

elementary_watson said...

Yes, it isn't the child's fault that s/he was conceived via rape. However, I can think of quite a few decisions the mother could make that would also leave the child without child support from the father, i.e. if the father is homeless without any money, if the child got conceived durng a holiday with a complete stranger from maybe another country, if the man died some time after conception.

The child has no hand in the mother's decisions which can deprive her/him of child support from the father, so, according to your reasoning, the child should get child support from ... ? I don't think your principle (children shouldn't suffer for their parents' sins) can really work in a society where not all children have the same amount of care, love and money spent on them by law.

Let me propose another principle: Being the victim of a punishable offense should not put you under any legal (or, IMO, even moral) obligations, (maybe) apart from helping police and jurisdiction to deal with said offense.

You say someone who hasn't taken part in a crime shouldn't pay for it; I agree in principle, but to me, the principle that someone who was the victm of a crime shouldn't be made *by law* (or even custom) to pay for it afterwards has a higher priority.

Danny said...

Child support is aimed at maintaining a child. The circumstances of the conception are not that child's fault. How many new spouses or partners the parents have are also not the child's problem.
Ultimately I can agree with you but I thought those details were worth mentioning anyway.

However, that has nothing to do with the daily reality of the child who hasn't taken part in the crime of rape and should not pay for it.
But at the same time to say that a rape victim should be held financially responsible for a child that is produced from rape is basically telling a rape victim, "You're responsible for the fact that you were raped." I honestly don't see that flying too well if the genders were reversed here.

You're right that child had no hand in the rape but the rape victim didn't have a hand in it either. Currently one of the big parts of the anti-choice argument is that a woman should never be able to get an abortion even if pregnancy is the result of rape. Said women had no more to do with their pregnancies that the children they carry. Would we say that that doesn't matter and that they have to take responsibility for the child anyway?

I just think that this "best interests of the children" bit just doesn't cut it here (which isn't surprising considering how its so horribly misused these days anyway).

Danny said...

I know right James. Here's an idea. Why not hold the rapist responsible for supporting the child...

elementary_watson said...

I would add the word "alone" to that sentence: Why not hold the rapist alone responsible for supporting the child? Especially as the rapist alone was responsible for the conecption ...

EasilyEnthused said...

I am constantly frustrated by this response by some people.

Above Clarissa makes the statement "It's about the child - it's not the child's fault."

Then, there are two commenters who make a reasoned response - and then Clarissa disappears. It's like guerilla commenting.

Women can use sperm donors - they then have to support the child alone. The woman made a DECISION to raise the child without a father when she: used a sperm donor, had a one-night-stand and didn't get the contact info of her date, chose a man with a terminal illness, or RAPED A PERSON.

All of those choices deprive you your privilege to child support.

Answer to THAT, Clarissa. Please. Don't go sauntering off without addressing this. I've failed to see any supporter of child support argue against EW, Danny, or my comments yet.

Will it be you?

EasilyEnthused said...

I meant to say "All of those choices deprive you and your child your privilege to child support.

elementary_watson said...

For FSM's (Flying Spaghetti Monster's) sake, easily, give clarissa a little *time* to think about the points raised and formulate a well-reasoned answer. And having something called a life and a blog in the meantime.

James said...

I don't really get why he reacted that way.

Danny said...

Please decelerate your biscuit EE (slow your roll).

Then, there are two commenters who make a reasoned response - and then Clarissa disappears. It's like guerilla commenting.
You're making this remark barely 24 hours after she made her comment. No need to get pushy with your response.

While you do make a good point (that if a woman gets or takes a sperm donation under such circumstances she forfeits any claim for child support against him) there's no need to come at her full force like that.

Emily Koury said...

Hmm, well, generally I'm inclined to believe someone when they say they have been raped so assuming that is what happened, I do not think he should have to pay child support or be in the child's life if he doesn't want to since:

He was raped- yes while I generally think the circumstances of conception have no bearing on whether a parent needs to support their child, I make an exception for rape because...I just do. Also, paying support would necessitate him having some reminder if not contact with his attacker which is beyond cruel. Also, her raising the kid is creepy...It's a horrible situation and I hate how it ends with the kid without a father and also without a father's financial support. I don't see this position as a punishment for the accused but rather a limit to the amount of torment the victim is to be forced to sustain.

I do not however see the other factors such as the accused having other financial support or the victim having other paternal responsibilities as having any baring. The child should have support from all parents because while it's nice when other adults take care children- they often come and go and it's the parents who are always this case though...if someone raped me and a child resulted which he had custody of and I didn't want anything to do with them I would be horrified to be forced to be in their lives in any capacity....though when I think about it I'm mostly horrified that the child is being raised by a rapist.

Emily Koury said...

Wow- I just read that article more was sickening. The amount of victim blaming for the children of "consensual" child rape is sickening. The whole thing really pisses me off. Fuck this World.

Emily Koury said...

And by children I mean the child rape victims- not the children produced by rape.

Danny said...

Thanks for dropping by Emily.

EasilyEnthused said...

I have retarded my English muffin - but still no response from Clarissa.

I'm sorry I came across so antagonistic here. I have had this conversation at Feministe, Pandagon, Jezebel and Alas - when people bring up the inconsistency with children being supported when the father is dead or missing - the original commenters up and leave.

It reminds me of the undocumented/illegal immigrant debate in America - someone pipes up with "Send them all back to Mexico!" and when someone else challenges "How do you propose to deal with [insert issue of concern with proposed plan (like how to pay for it, etc.)]?" and the original commenter just ... disappears.

At other blogs, when this issue is brought up - and Clarissa's argument appears and someone rebuts it - the original poster always seems to disappears.

And - ahem - it appears to have happened again. How long until I can call out Clarissa for what appears to be a guerrilla comment?

elementary_watson said...

Well, looks like clarissa took this issue to her blog, so maybe you can engage with her there.

Her is the link.

Danny said...

Trust me EE I totally understand the fire you're bringing.

But by all means follow her over to her place and talk it out (I added a link in the post and EW has shared it as well). Chances are now that she's formally chimed in with a post at her place she won't be back over here.

Emily Koury said...

Thanks for having me- Oh, I usually comment under EmilyInIowa BTW, I didn't mean to be elusive- just forgetful which names to use where.

Danny said...

Its cool. I can get a bit messy trying to keep up with the aliases sometimes. :)

EasilyEnthused said...

Awesome - I'm glad she followed it up. I've read Clarissa's comments here and elsewhere before - and I generally come close to agreeing with her and she's good about putting her thoughts into words.

That was part of why I was so frustrated when she disappeared - and clicking on her name for some reason doesn't bring me to her blog ... maybe it's my firewall.

I'll engage her over there after I read her post. Thanks, everyone.

EasilyEnthused said...

Oh man, 193 comments over there ... I don't know if I'll get a chance to tussle with her there.

Also - WTF? Why are all these anti-abortion douchebags popping up there and derailing - it's wasting Clarissa's time and SO FRUSTRATING.

Danny said...

From what I gather over there EE its really just like 2-3 jerks ruining the part (although I have to also say that I don't like Clarissa is using their behavior to generalize MRAs despite one of them frankly saying he's not an MRA).