Wednesday, February 27, 2013




By Kathleen Hoy Foley

A female impregnated against her will is not responsible for the pregnancy, to the pregnancy, and is not mother to the ovum fertilized by force.  Characterizing as mother—birth mother, biological mother, first mother, real mother—an impregnated rape victim, any female impregnated against her will is a deliberate act of social violence against her.  To label as mother someone who battled profound sexual trauma, who struggled with her deepest, personal fidelity, who clutched the disintegrating parts of her body and spirit and grasped at the rescue line of termination to all connections with an unwanted pregnancy, whether through abortion or confidential adoption, is cruelty in its purest form—casual, quiet, and invisible.  And is an insidious attempt to subjugate, control, and stigmatize women.
Couched in the sentimental, the term mother feigns benign as it draws upon the collective heartstrings of society with notions of warmth, protection and hunger fulfillment: a candle in the window, a fire in the hearth, apple pie in the oven.  It is not benign.  Used against a girl, a woman emancipated from a forced pregnancy, mother terminology is a sly, saccharine weapon.  It instantly prejudices: she is contemptible, immoral, disgraceful.  It abuses: shun her; shame her.  It punishes: remind her, call her mother.  It demands: receive motherhood as compensation for sexual violence.  It preaches: upholding mother fantasies is more important than tending to a living, brutalized female.  It rebukes: she cannot hide; she cannot flee.  It declares: she is forever obligated. 

Mother terminology mocks an impregnated rape victim.  It mocks her injury.  It mocks her trauma.  It mocks her terror, her revulsion at the rapist inhabiting her body.  An impregnated rape victim is the lowest form of sexually brutalized female, forbidden to claim injury or crime even within her own self reference.  She is not permitted victim status.  The catastrophic injury of pregnancy is negated.  She is discarded and labeled a mother with child.  The sexual violence she was subjected to is irrelevant.  What was forced into her body cavity is now designated as hers.  The rapist now is her rapist.  Any rescue from his tyranny, any disconnection from his enforced maternity, from his lifetime tie to her—his victim—is viewed as her cold abandonment of a helpless child—of her baby; of her son; of her daughter.  Mother terminology victimizes a girl, a woman impregnated against her will in the most sickening way possible: it imposes emotional suicide. 

Appropriate vocabulary exists to replace mother terminology: biological source; biological origin; biological female; biological carrier.  Terms that allow for dignity and self determination.  Terms that help protect a sexually victimized woman from social, religious, and legal mob rule.  Civilized language that does not incite cultural emotion, words that ease social prejudice and reduce the abuse perpetuated against impregnated rape victims—any woman impregnated against her will—language that does not minimize and maternalize violence and target a victim can be employed as easily as not. 

 Mother terminology is the exact opposite of a humane gesture.  It is a hammer in the velvet hand.  A sucker punch.  A quick kick in the broken ribs.  Mother terminology permanently shackles the impregnated rape victim to the rapist. 


My question is: why do you treat me like this? 

Women In Hiding Press
PO Box 278
Trenton, NJ 08602

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Obscenity of Hunting Elder Women

The Obscenity of Hunting Elder Women

Traumatized by Crisis Pregnancies

Adoption = Crisis Pregnancy

By Kathleen Hoy Foley

Hunting down an aging woman on the basis of a concealed, catastrophic pregnancy; demanding intimate access to her body; perverting her with motherly and grandmotherly fantasies; and abusing her with the whip of permanent maternal obligation is obscene, parallels pornography, and sits in the realm of the sadistic.  Pornography dehumanizes a woman, reduces her to sexual body parts for the use and pleasure of others.  She becomes a commodity, a service to be exploited by those demanding gratification from fantasy.  A woman hunted on the grounds of her biology is a targeted object subordinated to appease the emotional satisfaction of an obsessed audience, and is as degraded and exposed as a woman stripped, thrown on her back, and spread-eagled while the camera focuses on the penetration of her genitalia.  Only there can be no presumption of consent regarding a hunted woman and no legal or social recourse available to her in a climate of dehumanization by public agreement.      
Shaming an elder woman with birthing fantasies violates her humanity, exploits her sexual organs, and imposes on her willing consent, eager compliance, enthusiasm, and gratefulness for an unwanted conception while dismissing the reality of long-term reproductive trauma to her body and spirit.  It is perversion to degrade a woman as an object and provider of prurient sex.  It is perversion to degrade an elder woman as an object and servant expected to oblige maternal fantasies.

Hunting down old women is barbaric.  That hunt always begins at the site of the sexual trauma she endured—her vagina.  Tailing the statement, “I’m adopted,” is the inevitable question, the challenge, “Are you going to find your real mother?”  As in pornography, the hunted woman—the question mark—is dehumanized.  Reduced to an object.  Portrayed as a source of passion.  Summoned to provide a climax.  When in reality the hunted woman suffered the grossest sexual exploitation possible: impregnation against her will.  Intensifying that catastrophic injury, the hunted woman is depicted as a lost thing to be found, forced into the self-abuse of blame and the self-abuse of obedience as her participation in a sadistic “reunion” of her body and its manifest trauma is imposed on her by society.  She is reduced to an imaginary and biological commodity while consigned to a shadowed existence in a hostile, mother-forever-at-all-cost cultural environment from which she cannot escape.

The persistent myth of a young girl gripped in the throes of a desperately wanted pregnancy but helpless in the face of hardship that forcibly ripped love from her arms and thrust it into the cold world of the adoption process is comparable to the mythological woman consumed with lust, passion, and gratification when being tortured by rape portrayed up there on the pornographer’s screen.  It is time to recognize that the notion of the loving, lost mother is a myth that lives only in fantasy.  Unwanted pregnancies are a reality, not deliberate.  Abortion is deliberate.  Placement in the confidential adoption system is deliberate.  It signifies trauma.  It represents rescue.  Emancipation.  The details of a catastrophic sexual and biological ordeal are private.  Rescue from a reproductive nightmare are individually specific and intensely personal.   

But for the hunted woman—whether she is hunted by the State, an agency, detectives, or an individual—the assumption of entitlement predominates.  Those who hunt her assume entitlement to her person, her physical location, to her private, familial, and medical history, to all extensions of her life.  This presumed entitlement is an obscene dismissal of human rights, a grotesque violation of an elder woman’s intimate boundaries, and grants emotional and bodily privileges to the hunters—predators that inflict fresh wounds on the old woman by the perpetuation of the sexual trauma she endured.

There will come a time when the obscenity of this practice of routing out aging and elder women from the dark, sexual, birthing injuries of their pasts and punishing them until they submit their bodies and spirits to appease individual and societal demands will become obvious.  As it did for animals, the truths of cruelty eventually filter into social consciousness and people of decency and compassion take action.  But today those who would hunt down a woman once victimized by an unwanted pregnancy are supported by social and religious indoctrination and revelry that insist on a woman’s maternal obedience and obligation to a biological catastrophe that once befell her. 

Who speaks for a hunted woman except those that hunt her?  Who, except her pursuers, decides the fate of a hunted woman, the fate of her family, the fate of her status in her home and community?  The assumption of sexual trauma, the assumption of juvenile sexual assault must prevail in all discussions of a confidential adoption.  Whether that discussion is with the person placed in the adoption system, in the larger social arena, in political forums, or tossed about by gossip mongers, it must begin and end with sexual trauma and the knowledge that the hunt for a woman in hiding is obscene, pornographic, and sadistic and inflicts further sexual abuse upon that old woman.