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Birth-Rape, and the law of consent


Concerned Irishman

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Feb 27, 2009
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Just read two interesting articles (this and this) which have made me question the nature of one of the most important processes of our species: childbirth. It seems that womyn across the so-called developed world are subjected to an almost total lack of independent agency and respect for their viewpoint during what is one of her most vulnerable moments - this is now being described as "Birth-Rape", and it is clearly a problem both for mother and child. There is evidence to suggest that many womyn end up suffering from PTSD after the ordeal of childbirth, and their treatment during it. As a man myself, it was never a dimension I really thought about until coming across the article - why should the idea of consent at all times go out the window just because a womyn is giving birth? Why should her opinion be anything less than law when it comes to who touches her, where and how just because she is delivering a baby?

I'm well aware that many of the cranks around here won't be willing to engage with the subject, but to those that will I implore ye to read the articles (they are short). How can we reform the maternity system to ensure that womyn are respected at all times during the childbirth process?
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
40,632
Just read two interesting articles (this and this) which have made me question the nature of one of the most important processes of our species: childbirth. It seems that womyn across the so-called developed world are subjected to an almost total lack of independent agency and respect for their viewpoint during what is one of her most vulnerable moments - this is now being described as "Birth-Rape", and it is clearly a problem both for mother and child. There is evidence to suggest that many womyn end up suffering from PTSD after the ordeal of childbirth, and their treatment during it. As a man myself, it was never a dimension I really thought about until coming across the article - why should the idea of consent at all times go out the window just because a womyn is giving birth? Why should her opinion be anything less than law when it comes to who touches her, where and how just because she is delivering a baby?

I'm well aware that many of the cranks around here won't be willing to engage with the subject, but to those that will I implore ye to read the articles (they are short). How can we reform the maternity system to ensure that womyn are respected at all times during the childbirth process?
'd be inclined to engage if you ceased and desisted in your practice of using the "word" "womyn".

It sort of undermines your implied claims to be new to this subject.
 

Socratus O' Pericles

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Seriously dude woman ,women.
 

petaljam

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Yeah, that "womyn" thing just looks too fake, IMO. Is it a singular and a plural, or is there a singular form? Womin??

As to the actual links, I looked at them and from those came across one that I think might have more value, it talks about birth trauma. Ask The Labor Nurse: It

I think calling what can be a traumatic experience rape is like calling all nastiness bullying. It doesn't describe the actual experience that well, and distracts from rape which is a different thing. I'm speaking from (minor) experience, as one of my births was a bit traumatic and I know several women who have had really traumatizing experiences. I still don't think they were equivalent to rape, and were often partly due to other factors such as, in my case for instance an apparently disastrous emergency happening in another labour ward down the hall which was no-one's fault, but meant that I got ignored when I started having problems too.

Not sure that deliberate maltreatment is common really, but there was a certain brutality sometimes. It's a pretty brutal experience, giving birth, or it was before epridurals became the norm, even when it goes well.
 
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Yeah, that "womyn" thing just looks too fake, IMO. Is it a singular and a plural, or is there a singular form? Womin??

As to the actual links, I looked at them and from those came across one that I think might have more value, it talks about birth trauma. Ask The Labor Nurse: It

I think calling what can be a traumatic experience rape is like calling all nastiness bullying. It doesn't describe the actual experience that well, and distracts from rape which is a different thing. I'm speaking from (minor) experience, as one of my births was a bit traumatic and I know several women who have had really traumatizing experiences. I still don't think they were equivalent to rape, and were often partly due to other factors such as, in my case for instance an apparently disastrous emergency happening in another labour ward down the hall which was no-one's fault, but meant that I got ignored when I started having problems too.

Not sure that deliberate maltreatment is common really, but there was a certain brutality sometimes. It's a pretty brutal experience, giving birth, or it was before epridurals became the norm, even when it goes well.
I've been present at three births, and I have to say that in each case the staff were a delight of professionalism and empathy.

However, I was in essence a spectator rather than a direct participant (and two of them were CS's) so can't speak for what loks like the most incredible ordeal.

It appeared to me that there was little about it that couldn't be called "invasive" to some extent or other: the shaving, the checks on the uterus, the stirrups, the crowd of people at my wife's vagina.

But they weren't there chewing on popcorn.

Everyone present (myself excluded) had a professional role and they executed it.
 

petaljam

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I've been present at three births, and I have to say that in each case the staff were a delight....
Everyone present (myself excluded) had a professional role and they executed it.
Yes, I have really wonderful memories of my other births, even though I had a serious problem with my youngest, where I had a hemorrhage afterwards, but the staff handled everything brilliantly and explained what they needed to do without terrifying me. You do feel particularly vulnerable when giving birth, I suppose it's an atavistic thing. Most mammals go off alone, don't they, so that's probably why the mere fact of being in a crowded environment is stressful.

In my case, it was for my second child where, to cut a long story short they suddenly discovered that I was in the middle of giving birth without them noticing (after about 6 hours in the labour ward!) so I was made to stop pushing until the gynaecologist came rushing in, didn't speak to me, and did an episiotomy without a word andrushed back out leaving the midwife to finish up - and I don't know whether it was because it wasn't done during a contraction or whether it's just a lie that the contraction stops you feeling the knife, but I felt it. I'll remember it all my life. And my o/h, who was with me, too, because he said the noise I made was bone chilling, though I don't actually remember that. Then the baby didn't breathe straightaway and so on. It was all pretty scary, and for months I couldn't look at pictures of just after the birth, of the baby until she was dressed and washed. And I used to feel quite ill when I went past the maternity, I used to actually take a different road sometimes so as to avoid going past there!

So yes, I think I was suffering from minor trauma at the time. i'm absolutely fine now, but when I read about post traumatic stress, I now realize I had a very minor version of that. But it still wasn't rape.
 

mr. jings

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Mar 31, 2008
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Whatever the merits of the argument, the term birth-rape is at best shrill, and at worst stupid.
 
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Yes, I have really wonderful memories of my other births, even though I had a serious problem with my youngest, where I had a hemorrhage afterwards, but the staff handled everything brilliantly and explained what they needed to do without terrifying me. You do feel particularly vulnerable when giving birth, I suppose it's an atavistic thing. Most mammals go off alone, don't they, so that's probably why the mere fact of being in a crowded environment is stressful.

In my case, it was for my second child where, to cut a long story short they suddenly discovered that I was in the middle of giving birth without them noticing (after about 6 hours in the labour ward!) so I was made to stop pushing until the gynaecologist came rushing in, didn't speak to me, and did an episiotomy without a word andrushed back out leaving the midwife to finish up - and I don't know whether it was because it wasn't done during a contraction or whether it's just a lie that the contraction stops you feeling the knife, but I felt it. I'll remember it all my life. And my o/h, who was with me, too, because he said the noise I made was bone chilling, though I don't actually remember that. Then the baby didn't breathe straightaway and so on. It was all pretty scary, and for months I couldn't look at pictures of just after the birth, of the baby until she was dressed and washed. And I used to feel quite ill when I went past the maternity, I used to actually take a different road sometimes so as to avoid going past there!

So yes, I think I was suffering from minor trauma at the time. i'm absolutely fine now, but when I read about post traumatic stress, I now realize I had a very minor version of that. But it still wasn't rape.
Yup. That's all seriously scary stuff, and the word "trauma" may not even cover it.

The birth process is dangerous and risky despite the best attentions and intentions of medical staff.

I'm always amazed at reading the bios of prominent Victorians and seeing the number of children many of them had - and usually by two or thee wives, the earlier ones being recorded as dying in or after childbirth.

It is a very serious ad life-threatening process, and one far to dangerous to risk at home. IMHO,of course

Evolution has endowed us with disproportionately large heads and a narrow canal to navigate. Evolution, of course, isn't a designed process or a teleological one. It doesn't seek perfection; what works most of the time will suffice.

Birth is probably the most extreme expression (for the child and the mother) of how evolution plays the averages.
 

Concerned Irishman

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Perhaps people could just get past the "womyn" thing - it's just a term I and many others use, for a variety of reasons. I don't force others to use it so what's the big deal - just pretend it's the way you spell it and move on
 

tigerben

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Sep 21, 2010
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By the time the labour happens naturally , induced or C section, women are sick to the back teeth of been pregnant and it's a means to a end. Poking , prodding , legs up and all the embrassment of what's happening makes you blush at the time , but by the time you've got your tea and toast and a baby next to you it's kinda forgotten. Most women worry about going for the first wee than about the birth the next day. The brain is your best defence , forgetting all the pain so within a year or two we're back in the same place, going through the same thing.
 
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Perhaps people could just get past the "womyn" thing - it's just a term I and many others use, for a variety of reasons. I don't force others to use it so what's the big deal - just pretend it's the way you spell it and move on
Nope.

I'm not going to let you suborn the language to your own purpose if I'm going to engage with you.

We have to have common ground and agreed frames of reference. If either of us is allowed to use our own words then that goes out the wyndow (see what I did there)?

It's noted that you didn't address any points; that instead you whined about comments on your use of a word which doesn't have great currency and is utterly redundant given that there is already a perfectly acceptable word in common use.
 

Half Nelson

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Perhaps people could just get past the "womyn" thing - it's just a term I and many others use, for a variety of reasons. I don't force others to use it so what's the big deal - just pretend it's the way you spell it and move on
I've learned something today thanks to you -
Womyn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
but I don't think "wimmin" is used round these parts quite as the feminists may have intended ;).
Z. Budapest promoted the use of "wimmin" (singular "womon") in the 1970s as part of her Dianic Wicca movement, which claims that present-day patriarchy represents a fall from a matriarchal golden age.
 

Fall Girl

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Dec 11, 2012
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I've had experience of a 'normal' delivery ward and a midwife led unit (MLU). The second, for me , wins hands down. Om surprised that it isn't more common around the country. I felt so relaxed and in control during the whole process that I ended up not using any pain relief. This is almost the complete opposite to my experience with my eldest child. I'm expecting our third in a few months and to be honest I'm REALLY nervous about it. I'm 'too old' for the MLU as they have to have a cut off point of age 40 so it's back to the labour ward for me. I've heard the stories from my friends and the focus seems to be on intervention for speeds sake, rather than letting nature take its course and following the mothers instincts. Hopefully it'll go well!
 

owedtojoy

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Womyn?

Shouldn't that be "wimmin"?
 

owedtojoy

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Post -natal depression is common enough. My wife did not suffer from it, but my sister told me she did, and my daughter also after our first grandson.

So there is no need to invoke PTSD, the condition is known and treatable with counselling. It can be serious if let get out of control. The wife of a friend had to check into a mental hospital on her doctor's advice, but a few days of complete rest improved her condition considerably.
 

Tin Foil Hat

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Perhaps people could just get past the "womyn" thing - it's just a term I and many others use, for a variety of reasons. I don't force others to use it so what's the big deal - just pretend it's the way you spell it and move on
It immediately marks you as petty and as an extremist and therefore renders any opinions you might have as null and void.
 

Hitch 22

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If men were having periods, experienced pregnancy and had to endure childbirth we would have a very different world indeed.
 

petaljam

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I've had experience of a 'normal' delivery ward and a midwife led unit (MLU). The second, for me , wins hands down. Om surprised that it isn't more common around the country. I felt so relaxed and in control during the whole process that I ended up not using any pain relief. This is almost the complete opposite to my experience with my eldest child. I'm expecting our third in a few months and to be honest I'm REALLY nervous about it. I'm 'too old' for the MLU as they have to have a cut off point of age 40 so it's back to the labour ward for me. I've heard the stories from my friends and the focus seems to be on intervention for speeds sake, rather than letting nature take its course and following the mothers instincts. Hopefully it'll go well!
Yes, my experience has definitely been that it is about feeling that you have some control over what's happening, and of course sometimes we just don't. My youngest was born in a maternity with a gynaecologist for the actual delivery, like the second, where things didn't go well, but Id changed doctors, towns etc between times, and that time was brilliant. So it just depends really. I think it's easier when you have a bit more experience, and you will probably be able to stick up for yourself in a way you couldn't have first time, or even just if you hadn't had that experience of the MLU in the meantime.

I think in hospital you do need to be able to speak up, and not just assume that the staff know what they're doing. Generally they do, luckily - but you are entitled to have your say too!

I hope it goes well for you - be sure and let us know!
 

eoghanacht

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Perhaps people could just get past the "womyn" thing - it's just a term I and many others use, for a variety of reasons. I don't force others to use it so what's the big deal - just pretend it's the way you spell it and move on

Sue wii kan jus myke yp ur eon spellyng yf e pleeeezeee oos?
 

eoghanacht

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If men were having periods, experienced pregnancy and had to endure childbirth we would have a very different world indeed.
Hitch, my dear fellow thats one of the most sensible things I've ever seen you post here.
 
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