“Stop Terrorizing Women”

We’ve been treated to a lot of talk about terrorism since the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent events. I want to talk about another kind of terrorism that goes on every day somewhere in America.

The Good Men Project describes itself this way:

We are a community of 21st Century thought leaders around the issue of men’s roles in modern life. We explore the world of men and manhood in a way that no media company ever has, tackling the issues and questions that are most relevant to men’s lives…

Guys today are neither the mindless, sex-obsessed buffoons nor the stoic automatons our culture so often makes them out to be. Our community is smart, compassionate, curious, and open-minded; they strive to be good fathers and husbands, citizens and friends, to lead by example at home and in the workplace, and to understand their role in a changing world.

According to the website, one of The Good Men’s Project’s most popular stories involved a man named Aaron Gouveia, who wrote a story that began this way:

“You’re killing your unborn baby!”

That’s what they yelled at me and my wife on the worst day of our lives. As we entered the women’s health center on an otherwise perfect summer morning in Brookline, two women we had never met decided to pile onto the nightmare we had been living for three weeks. These “Christians” verbally accosted us—judged us—as we steeled ourselves for the horror of making the unimaginable, but necessary, decision to end our pregnancy at 16 weeks.

After extensive testing at a renowned Boston hospital three weeks earlier, we were told our baby had Sirenomelia. Otherwise known as Mermaid Syndrome, it’s a rare (one in every 100,000 pregnancies) congenital deformity in which the legs are fused together. Worse than that, our baby had no bladder or kidneys. Our doctors told us there was zero chance for survival.

Gouveia says he’s not religious, doesn’t believe in heaven or hell, but:

…there is a hell on Earth. Hell is sitting next to the person you love most and listening to her wail hysterically because her heart just broke into a million pieces. Hell is watching her entire body convulse with sobs because she’s being tortured with grief. For as long as I live and no matter how many children we have, I will never forget that sound. And I vowed to do everything in my power to make sure she’d never make it again.

One of the things Gouveia has done is create for us and present to us the video encounter below, now more than two years old. He shows us that religious zealots, no matter how sincere they may be, need confronted. They need challenged. They shouldn’t exercise the right of public protest over reproductive rights, over what they call “baby killing,” without at least knowing that there are lives on the other side of the argument that are very much affected by their zealotry, and those lives have a voice, sometimes a loud voice, that needs to be heard, too.

Aaron Gouveia ends his written piece with a plea both to the zealots and to the rest of us:

My wife and I wanted our second child. We loved her. We even had a name for her, Alexandra.

You never know the circumstances surrounding this kind of decision. Consider this my plea: stop terrorizing women. Stop adding trauma to their trauma. If you’re able, stand up to these bullies in nonviolent ways. Speak out. And if you have a camera, use it.

6 Comments

  1. King Beauregard

     /  April 23, 2013

    If you truly believe that abortion is the new Holocaust — as has been the call for 30 years now — you have a few ways you can go. If you are into the Book of Matthew and Jesus, you can support sex education and free birth control for every sexually active person. If you are into Revelation, you can ride around on a white horse and shoot abortion doctors and embrace your impending martyrdom. If you are not willing to do either of these things, you are a god damn liar, a hypocrite, and a Pharisee. You may recall what Jesus said about the Pharisees and the sort of welcome they’d receive at the Pearly Gates.

    What the faithful don’t even recall is, prior to about 1980, abortion wasn’t even of interest to anyone but the Catholics. The Religious Right seized upon abortion as a cause for two reasons: it brought the Catholics on board, and it gave their people something to focus on other than the things Bible said to, such as tending to the poor, children, widows, and even foreigners. Yes, foreigners. As Exodus 22:21 says, “You shall neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

    You hearing this? Anti-immigration policies are hateful in the eyes of the Lord. But then again, so is about 90% of everything else the Republicans are pushing. Are these guys really worth going to hell over?

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  2. Amen, Duane.
    Amen, King B.

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  April 24, 2013

    I am all for not terrorizing anyone, men, women and all else in between.

    Now those “jerks” protesting before a medical facility, threatening people going there for legal medical procedures and hoping to do so privately should not take such action, to state it mildly. But such is their “right” implied and adjucicated in our First Amendment, I suppose.

    Now please explain how a very loud and angry protest that actually “occupies” a State House of legislation is not equally abhorrent and NOT conducive to reasonable public discourse in political affairs.?

    Are you trying to suggest that an angry, sign carrying mob, screaming off its collective head is OK for a union protest but not for opponents to abortion that only “protest” (I don’t excuse the bomb throwers by any stretch either)?

    The man and his wife were not physically harmed that I can tell but still look what they had to endure. Obviously you don’t believe THAT is “right” or do you for such “non-violent” (technically) but still …….. (I would insert outrageous but so what, pick your own words)

    As well don’t try to protect only “terrorized” women when it comes to sex. Men need today some good, and legal protection as well. Here is an example, that is now public but not widely spread around.

    A LTCOL in the Air Force was accused of raping a women late at night, after a party in his private home, while his wife and kids were sleeping therein the same night. The accuser was a woman that had too much to drink and “slept it off” in a spare bedroom. He was tried and found guilty of rape by a Courts Martial and imprisoned.

    BUT, this case was tried in a military court (overseas where US civilian courts could not rule). The Convening Authority, a 3 Star General that ordered the trial then reviewed, for three weeks and with intense legal advice, all the evidence and some other information that was not made available to the jury. Bottom line he threw out the verdict and released the accused man from prison.

    Now some members of Congress are screaming for blood, for sure. I don’t have all the links available, but for sure that 3 Star will NEVER get a 4th one and MAY face discipline from the civilian leadership in the Air Force. He has written a compelling 3 or 4 page letter to the Secretary of the Air Force explaining, in great detail, why he choose to act, legally as such.

    His letter sure makes sense to me and there is strong implication of a “crazy whistle blower” at large. But others will claim it is just another example of the good ole boy network, “terrorizing women”!!

    Take you pick but I know where I stand on that matter, for now at least.

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      I’m not sure how to respond to you if you think that protesting legislators at their place of work is equivalent to protesting distraught parents at a medical clinic. Someone with more tact than I have will have to handle this one.

      Duane

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      • RDG,i
        Anson’s comments would make more sense if he inserted snippets of Washington Irving in between his awkward homage to the under appreciated genre known horror comedy. Without a doubt, he has permanently secured the title of Joplin’s online gobemouche.*

        *Gobemouche: “The word is of French origin and literally translated means, fly swallower. So, a person who keeps their mouth open: a silly or naive person.”

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        • Ahhh! Bravo! The French, though flowery, eventually get to the point, don’t they? And although I appreciate much the literal translation of the word “gobemouche,” I will note that the French seem to take such pride in the sound of their language. Thus, checking on it, I appreciate even more the sound of that word. The beauty of it is that an English speaker who doesn’t know French would, if just reading it, not completely understand what hit him, although it does appear to not be a term of endearment. But hearing the word, ah, then one knows he has been assaulted.

          Duane

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