Pro-Life; Pro-Choice



Rape Victim

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Her father, a male friend, a classmate, an acquaintance who she only exchanges casual niceties with when she sees him, the friend of a trusted friend who took her out on a first date, assaulted her.  She was shocked.  Never did she imagine someone who was familiar to her, a respectable gent, might do as he did.  She did not know that someone known to the victim commits almost two-thirds of rapes.  This lovely lass had not truly had a need to grapple with cruel realities.  She could not have considered the cruelest realities that would now change her life forever.  Nor have many politicians found themselves in a place as unimaginable as this.  Yet, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Senators, Representatives, and Judges appointed by one Administration or another have a decisive power to determine her future.

As the elected officials debate her circumstances and the consequences, she lives them.  The recent “pro-life” revelations offered by the potential Vice President, Sarah Palin reminds this survivor of her personal, private history, and the hell that haunts her.  Her misery may have been met when she sensed a stranger in her presence.  However, more likely she suffered at the hands of one she knows well.  

73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.?

38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.?

28% are an intimate.?

7% are a relative.

Her situation might have been as most; it could have occurred less than a mile from her home.  She may have been among the 4 in 10 who are maliciously molested in their own abode.  The young girl, older woman, middle-aged miss was attacked from behind, or perhaps, from a frontal position.  She was fondled and finally, penetrated.  Her most private parts were not merely entered.  Her sense of self was ripped from her soul.  Clinically, Jane, Joanne, Jana, or Jennifer was raped just as women, men too are violated throughout America.

In 2006, there were 272,350 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.  (These figures do not include victims 12 years old or younger.)

Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.

While the numbers of women subject to such an assault may be great, in truth, Deborah, Diane, Dina, and Dawn never thought they might be among these.  Each never expected to be a statistic.  Nor could they have predicted that they might become a vessel for another person’s personal angst.  Not one of these women wondered what might motivate someone to sexually assault them.  They were certain, they, themselves would never place themselves in a position to be brutally debased or heartlessly dishonored.

Yet, while in fear for their lives, ashamed, even mortified these frightened females unwillingly surrendered to a touch that terrified them.  Each was held tightly, not in a sensual manner, but as a means to control of their movements.  Engaged in an entanglement that was far from erotic, Sweet Sadie, Susan, Stephanie, or Sarah wondered and worried.  What might he do.  Did he have a weapon?  Until that moment, these ladies might not have fully appreciated the lethal power of language.  Yet, as the words of the perpetrator pierced their minds, hearts, and souls as a dagger might, they grew to understand.  In the United States, near eighteen (18) million have been victims of attempted or completed rape.  

1 out of every 6 American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).

17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.

9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.

While about 80% of all victims are white, minorities are somewhat more likely to be attacked.

Some of these lovely ladies, in their careers, may crack a ceiling.  They may be outwardly successful.  Still inwardly, invisible to the human eye, these daughters of Eve are emotionally shattered.  A fortunate few will work past the profound effect to the extent they are able.  Yet, they will never forget the horror they felt, the horrific crime they endured.  No Miss, Missus, or Ms will forget what changed their lives and outlook.

While they may “choose life” for the fetus, choose to give birth to the child who is the result of such a vicious, violent, aggression, it will always be a challenge to look at that little lovable being and not be reminded of when or how that beautiful baby came into being.  Humans may heal physically from an invasion into their body and being; however, the internal wounds leave serious scars.

A child, as they grow inevitably will, on occasion, error.  A mother conceived in love will hopefully understand.  She will likely be gentle with the toddler.  A prideful mother may appreciate the development.  Yet, that same potentially melodious Mom may not be quite as generous if she scorns the man who planted the seed.  The way in which a woman coddles, or cares, for an infant is influenced by her perception of the other biological parent.  Try as a Mommy might to forget the circumstances of conception, the memory remains.  A young one who ever acts in a manner that is defiant or difficult is frequently compared to the man who planted the seed .

Granted, a girl, a matron, or a soon-to-be Mom of any age, a woman who finds herself pregnant might consider adoption, as Vice Presidential aspirant Sarah Palin would advise.  However, as a new mother ponders the future, she  has faith she will never forget that she had a child and abandoned the precious being.  Sure, she may say to herself she gave her son or daughter a wonderful home, two parents, a chance at a better life.  Yet, in her heart of hearts she knows the child will wonder why his or her birth mother might desert a child so dear.  

How could she be certain that the parents who raise her baby will be the best.  The expectant Mom cannot imagine how she will live with the memory that she rejected her own . . . the baby who will also be a product of rape.  A woman torn from within may understand that the fabric of her life was torn and tattered when first the man placed his seed in her womb.

While this woman with child might trust as Sarah Palin does, birth begins at conception, she may also come to terms with the fact that a definitive death occurred within her.  As an Earthly life as she knew it ended on the day of her rape.  A female when forced to face the demon that destroyed her spirit considers the alternatives, cannot help but think of the quality of life, hers, and her baby’s.

She will wonder will the newborn be safe; will she.  Might she, as the mother, or her child, be sane in a world full of feeling provoked by a scurrilous crime.  Is a child, not conceived in love, or a Mom mortified by a memory, better off if they settle for simple survival.  A female who finds herself confronted with what is surely a traumatic decision, must weigh what no one can evaluate for her.  She must determine the significance of the events and attempt to evaluate how she and the being who may mature will thrive..  

Rape for a woman so fully developed can be as cruel as abortion is for one who is barely born.  Perchance, no one can decide what is paramount, preeminent, or the perfect choice.  If we, as a society, as people,  are to truly honor life, might humans respect an individuals right to choose how, when, or if his or her body is breached.  Could we also provide sterile and sanitary spaces for those who may ponder what is imperceptible, inconceivable to us.  Let us reflect upon life, the quality, and all that is not necessarily quantifiable.  Perchance, we might empathize with the women and the being in the womb, the two entities whose fragile feelings were ignored at the time of rape.

Sources . . . Survivors of Sexual Assault . . .

Floridians Consider Taxes, Budget Cuts, and Effects on the Everglade State


Send Your Message?

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

On April 15, as Floridians rush to file tax forms few think of more than the burden.  The cost of living in the Sunshine State is high.  Levies are higher.  Each year, the toll these expenditures take on the lives of individuals and families increases.  Many citizens in this Southern State cry, “We need some relief!”  Representative have heard the call and responded.  Yet, the reaction may not be as thoughtful as it first appears to be.

Floridians may wish to consider the plea Democratic Party Chair, Congresswoman, Karen L. Thurman presents.  The Congresswoman discusses a stark reality.  Change may come at the expense of the common people.  A reduction in dollars and cents spent does not always equate to a savings.

Many in The Orange State are grateful.  Representatives in the State reviewed the budget and then expressed a belief cuts must be made.  Prompted by much public angst, the Conservatives may claim the people want the Legislature to be more restrained.  Few would argue that this is true.  What is equally valid is the fact that few would wish to compromise the safety, security, or sanity of the poorest people, and those who are physically most dependent on others.  If the impoverished are in need, incidental costs amass and local communities pay the ultimate price.

Our children, and their education, are vital.  The progeny are our future.  Parents are also not persons we would wish to hurt.  Throughout our lives Moms and Dads, now elderly protected us.  Now, we must help provide for their safety and security, just as they did for us.  Without the person who cared for us in our younger years, we would not be as profound and emotionally prosperous as we are.

The police and fire men and women also help ensure our safety and security.  Floridians, please ask yourself, can you afford to chance that these public servants may not be there when you need them most?

Granted, in this moment a resident of Florida may not be able to see into the future.  Today, he or she may think himself or herself healthy.  However, all living creatures must consider that cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and pneumonia does not knock on the door and ask for an invitation to enter a body.  These catastrophic illnesses creep up on a being silently, too often suddenly.  When people are fit, they need to ponder the possibility that has become more probable in many American households.  Insurers have cut coverage.  Co-pays are more exorbitant.  Businesses have eliminated Health Care benefits.  As the economy worsens and profits are negligible, this trend is likely to increase.  Floridians need to consider what might occur in hospitals as the cost of care soars .

There is much to contemplate as Floridians assess the quality of life and the proposed budget cuts.  I invite readers to respond to the impending crisis.  Planned budget cuts may not be the blessing citizens in the Everglade State thought they would be.  It is possible to remove allocations that do not serve the common folk well.  Floridians, please, let us look before we leap.  Do not throw the baby out with the bath water.  Please, ponder the profound impacts these changes may bring, rather than rely on clichés.  

Seemingly, simple solutions rarely address the specifics that are all too real in the lives of residents.  The thoughts of the Congresswoman, Karen L. Thurman  may help the people in Florida to make an informed decision.

Help if you choose.  Click on any of the links if you wish to act in the interest of those you love, Mom, Dad, son, daughter, spouse, and you .  .

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

“If a state had its priorities straight, balancing a budget on the backs of the working poor, the elderly and the disabled would be the last option.  This year in Florida, it’s the first option… the Republican-led House and Senate [have] completed mutually heartless, stupid budgets…”

– Palm Beach Post Editorial, 4/15/08

Dear Florida Democrats,

Today is tax day in America, which means that we’ve all got money on the mind, even more than usual.  Times are tough.  Florida families are being squeezed, either directly or indirectly, by skyrocketing gas prices, rising health care costs, the continued housing crisis and, of course, the subprime mortgage disaster.

Moreover, the Republicans’ reckless policy of raising property taxes on middle class families to pay for special interest tax loopholes has been devastating.  You won’t ever hear them admit to raising taxes, but it’s true.  They’ve increased the required local effort – local property taxes – time and again.

Now the Republican politicians in Tallahassee want to squeeze the people of Florida even more – including the most vulnerable among us.  I’m always amazed by how heartless and self-serving Republicans in power are, but the proposed state budgets from the House and Senate mark a new low.

It’s not over yet, however.  As the “leaders” of the Republican-controlled Legislature negotiate the final budget, we must send them a strong and clear message: Get your priorities straight – NOW.

Click below to use our automated online tool to send a message to Republican Senate President Ken Pruitt, possible future Senate President Jeff Atwater, Speaker Marco Rubio and Speaker-Designate Ray Sansom today.

http://www.fladems.com/stopthe…

What do the Republicans want?  I’ll tell you:

The Republicans want to reduce per student spending in K-12 education for the first time in almost 40 years.  They want to eliminate Everglades clean-up efforts.  Though child abuse rises as the economy dives, they’re going after more than 70 child-protection jobs.

The Republicans also want to gut the highway patrol and reduce public safety.  They want to lay off almost 2,000 corrections officers, despite prisons being stretched to the limit already.  They want to cut a third of the state’s probation officers – the law enforcement specialists whose job it is to keep convicted sexual predators away from your children.

Republicans want to reduce hospice care for seniors and decimate county health departments and Area Health Education Centers, where Florida’s poorest in rural areas and underserved urban communities often go for their medical care.  They want thousands of inner-city school kids in Miami to see their doctors less often.

The Republicans want to end hospital care for 20,000 people with catastrophic illnesses and reduce access to anti-rejection drugs for Floridians who have received life-saving organ transplants.

The Republicans don’t have to do this.  Florida has a rainy day fund, and there are plenty of corporate tax loopholes that can be closed.  Democrats in the Legislature are fighting tooth and nail against the Republicans’ terrible decisions, but they need your help.

Click below to send a message to the Republicans in charge.  Write them about a personal story, and tell them to stop their recklessness before it hurts more Floridians.

http://www.fladems.com/stopthe…

They’ve spared nothing – except their special interest buddies.

Speaker Rubio secretly inserted language into the House budget to allow a friend’s company to bid for a multi-million dollar state contract.  While the Republicans want to slash financial aid and increase tuition for college students, Sen. Mike Haridopolos is accepting $75,000 a year to lecture part-time – on top of the $150,000 in state money he took to write a book that was never published.

Atwater, who thinks he should be Senate President, tried to kick bail bondsmen some cash, until he was caught red-handed by Democratic Sen. Arthenia Joyner.  Meanwhile, President Pruitt is allowing Atwater to take $7000 a month to train his future chief of staff – an unprecedented waste of taxpayer money.

Democrats proposed an alternative budget, and of course, the Republicans rejected it.  But that doesn’t mean we should back down.  Someday we’ll have a Legislature that works for the people again.  Until then, we have to speak up loudly.  Please take a few minutes today and write the Legislature before it’s too late.

Thank you for your commitment.

Sincerely,



Congresswoman Karen L. Thurman

Chair, Florida Democratic Party

P.S. This Republican recession is a mess, and the Republican Legislature’s budget plans are going to make it even worse – if we don’t act now.  Send a message today:

http://www.fladems.com/stopthe…

Floridians who care thank those who also choose to do more than stress, then slice, and dice the necessary expenditures, those that ensure that inhabitants of the Sunshine State are safe, sane, and remain stable.  

Single and Married Parents Spend More Time With Children. Much is Lost


© copyright 2006 Betsy L. Angert

Decades ago on October 16, I was born into a family that admittedly wanted no more children.  My mother was not working; nevertheless, before and after my birth she was rarely home.  My natural father did not wish to entertain the notion of a newborn.  With my birth, he decided to focus on life far from the family house.  During my youth it was thought, parents spent time with their progeny.  However, mine did not.

On October 16, 2006, a report was released, “Married and Single Parents [are] Spending More Time With Children, Study Finds.”  This too, is not as expected.  New York Times Journalist, Robert Pears reveals, “Mothers are spending at least as much time with their children today as they did 40 years ago, and the amount of child care and housework performed by fathers has sharply increased.” 

Thousands of personal diaries were analyzed and assessed by University of Maryland researchers, Sociology Department Chairwoman Suzanne M. Bianchi, Professor John P. Robinson, and Melissa A. Milkie. 

For the purposes of this study, parents were asked to chronicle all their activities on the day before an intensive interview.  The findings were published in a new Russell Sage Foundation book, “Changing Rhythms of American Family Life.”

Ms. Bianchi worked for the United States Census Bureau for sixteen years.  There she developed an interest in family life.  The research done for this study builds on her work as a demographer.

In discussing this investigation, Bianchi stated, “We might have expected mothers to curtail the time spent caring for their children, but they do not seem to have done so.”  She continues, “They certainly did curtail the time they spent on housework.” 

The researchers found that “women still do twice as much housework and child care as men” in two-parent families.  But they said that total hours of work by mothers and fathers were roughly equal, when they counted paid and unpaid work.

Using this measure, the researchers found “remarkable gender equality in total workloads,” averaging nearly 65 hours a week.

These words appear and many other glowing evaluations appear early on in the Times article.  It would seem at first blush parents are pursuing a balanced relationship with their offspring.  Perchance they are.

I offer some of the other appraisal for your consideration.

“It seems reasonable to expect that parental investment in child-rearing would have declined” since 1965, when 60 percent of all children lived in families with a breadwinner father and a stay-at-home mother.  Only about 30 percent of children now live in such families.  With more mothers in paid jobs, many policy makers have assumed that parents must have less time to interact with their children.

But, the researchers say, the conventional wisdom is not borne out by the data they collected from families asked to account for their time.  The researchers found, to their surprise, that married and single parents spent more time teaching, playing with and caring for their children than parents did 40 years ago.

For married mothers, the time spent on child care activities increased to an average of 12.9 hours a week in 2000, from 10.6 hours in 1965.  For married fathers, the time spent on childcare more than doubled, to 6.5 hours a week, from 2.6 hours.  Single mothers reported spending 11.8 hours a week on child care, up from 7.5 hours in 1965.

Wow, this realization is truly wonderful.  One could surmise that Americans discovered the truth, just as our former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich did.  There is no true balance.  People must choose their priorities.  Do they desire a glorious career or a fabulous family?  Some in the study did decide.

? Many couples delay having children to “a point later in life when they want to spend time with those children.”  People who are uninterested in raising children can “opt out of parenting altogether,” by using birth control.
? Families are smaller today than in 1965, and parents are more affluent, so they can invest more time and money in each child.
? Social norms and expectations have changed, prompting parents to make “greater and greater investments in child-rearing.” 
  [Yet, this is part of the problem as I see it]
? As couples have fewer children, they feel “pressure to rear a perfect child.” 

Ah, the “perfect child.”  The young person of today is followed or pushed by the ideal parent.  Perhaps this explains much.

Parents today are spending time with their children as they drive them hither and yon.  The youth in America are enrolled in everything.  According to the publisher of The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap, By Alvin Rosenfeld, M.D., Nicole Wise, and Robert Coles . . .

Parenting today has come to resemble a relentless To-Do list.  Even parents with the best intentions strive to micro-manage every detail of their kids’ lives and live in constant fear that their child will under-perform in any area – academic, social, athletic.  Lists and schedules, meetings and appointments invade every moment – and the need to be the best is a philosophy dominating – and undermining – our own sense of self as well as our children’s.

In my own life I may not have been given the structure that constant companionship or parental supervision provide.  However, I was given the freedom to think, to be, to imagine, to invent, and to inspire myself.  I was able to fashion a life that reflected my inner most joys.  Activities were not imposed upon me.  I immersed myself in personal pursuits.  My parents did not choose my interests; nor did they force me to compete.  I was deprived of their time, and rewarded with many opportunities. 

I learned to enjoy my own company and to create an unparalleled community.  The world of me, myself, and I was wondrous, full and expansive. It included my grandfather, who took care of me frequently.  Mary, my caregiver was my daily companion, and though for the first five years my Mom was not fully physically present, she was totally, emotionally there for me. 

My Mom recognized her own need to be a better parent and person and set out to become so.  In the interim, she consulted regularly with Mary.  She established a connection with me by expressing her desires to Mary.  She discussed child-rearing in depth and detail  She knew what she wanted for me.  My Mom ensured that my upbringing was the best it could be until she could again fully join me and advance my greater growth.  I was given time to play and contemplate. 

My resources were inspirational readings, paper, pencils, and toys tailored for investigation.  Egg poaching pots and pans were early energizers.  Coloring books were considered too restrictive for a creative soul.  Thus, structures were my own.  I was encouraged to explore, to be curious, and to be the best of scientists.  The phrase often uttered in my family was, “Ask, and you shall receive.”  Gifts were not meaningless materials; they were loving and thoughtful trinkets, gems, words of wisdom and gestures of support.  What was given was invaluable, encouragement and engagement.

In recent years, many child development experts have voiced increasing concern over the fact that children are accorded little time or encouragement to engage in imaginative play.  Too many children are overscheduled with school and other activities, according to these experts.

Even sports, in which an adult sets the framework, leave little room for the development of creative thinking in children, these experts say.

When children do have time to play, they too often play with a pre-programmed electronic toy or sit in front of a screen — television, computer, or hand-held game — responding to a scenario created by someone else, experts say.

As a result, children are developing a “problem-solving deficit disorder,” says Diane Levin, a child development expert at Wheelock College in Boston. “Developing imagination and creativity is essential for children to develop problem-solving skills.” 

Today, we as a society are saturated in standards.  As parents, producers, and power-mongers we seek accountability.  We prefer systems and forego freedoms.  We teach our children to do the same.

In educational settings, they must engage in collaborative learning projects.  In sports, they are trained to be part of the team.  Throughout their young lives, our offspring are prepared.  They must attend the “best” schools and receive honors for their studies.  They are readied for their proper role in society.  They, just as their parents, will occupy an “appropriate” station.  The young today need not think; nor are they taught how.  They, as their employed mothers and many fathers have no time for such supposed silliness. 

In today’s society, thinking is not considered necessary.  We are taught to quote facts and use these to formulate a life.  Our life is expected to be parallel to that of others. 

Intellectually we may feel free to be who we are; however, in truth, conformity, not deep thought is the guiding light, and publicly accepted principle that many of us follow.  We, as a population, are as many employed mothers . . .

On average, the researchers said, employed mothers get somewhat less sleep and watch less television than mothers who are not employed.  [The latter may not necessarily be a bad thing.]  . . . they [employed mothers] also spend less time with their husbands.

Sadly, I suspect, we as a nation are not teaching our children well.  We present information and demand prevailing tenets.  Society states, “There is a need for scientists and mathematicians.”  Teach the formulas, the facts and create technicians.

Administrators and those in favor of “accountability” say, “Forget the Fine Arts; they do not yield the fruits we as a nation need to survive.”  Apparently, the need for curiosity and creativity is void.  Thus, we stuff the minds of our children with statistics; we command them to “meet the standards.”  We no longer require, nor do we teach our young to think.

As this New York Times article concludes, in 2006, nothing is as it appears.  Couples may stay together, though they rarely spend time with each other.  Husbands and wives are not friends; they barely know each other.  People, partners are busy.  Families run from here to there, mindlessly.  People do not realize their dreams, though they constantly race towards them.  They believe there may be other possibilities; yet, they never conceive these.

I surmise that parents spending more time with their children may not breed what we human animals crave.  The connections we yearn for are lost in the dust as we scurry about.  We are rushing, chasing a career, our children, or the competition; yet, we forfeit our selves.  Our souls are lost.  Only on occasion do we imagine what we might be within.  We are too busy, too busy to breathe.

In today’s world, hours, minutes, and seconds, man-made constructs govern us.  We measure these as though they can be quantified and qualified.  We treat our children and time as tangibles.  Researchers want to theorize the more time together the merrier; however, in reality this is not true.

I propose we not evaluate schedules when appraising the value of a relationship.  Instead, I invite each of us to assess reciprocal reverence in the parent child connection.  This characteristic is not necessarily visible or verifiable.  Calculations cannot always determine excellence within such a bond. 

If parents tell their children what to think, say, do, feel, or be in a moment or in many moments, this will not gratify the souls of our youth.  It will not engender closeness.  Nor will it make our offspring better human beings.  Time spent together may be important.  However, it is not more critical than what we do with our time.

  • I offer another glorious essay by Helaine Olen.  This exposé also evaluates the parent child relationship in 2006.  ‘Gifted Child Industry’ Preys on Parents’ Insecurities, does not paint a pretty picture.

    References for your review . . .

    You may subscribe to the New York Times Online Newspaper without cost or obligation.  It is free.
    If you prefer to read the article online without subscribing, please click on this PDF [Portable Document Format] version of the exposé.

  • PDF “Married and Single Parents Spending More Time With Children, Study Finds,” By Robert Pear. New York Times October 16, 2006
  • “Married and Single Parents Spending More Time With Children, Study Finds,” By Robert Pear. New York Times October 16, 2006
  • “Changing Rhythms of American Family Life,” By Suzanne M. Bianchi,John P. Robinson, Melissa A. Milkie
  • Suzanne M. Bianchi. Maryland Population Research Center
  • John P. Robinson. Department of Sociology, University of Maryland
  • Melissa A. Milkie. Department of Sociology, University of Maryland
  • Russell Sage Foundation and the American Sociological Association
  • Census Bureau. U.S. Government Census Bureau
  • The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap, By Alvin Rosenfeld, M.D., Nicole Wise, Robert Coles
  • Experts concerned about children’s creative thinking, By Karen MacPherson. Post-Gazette. Sunday, August 15, 2004
  • The Family Leave Act, By Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor. New York Times November 8, 1996
  • For Parents: How To Raise a Kid Who Cares. Oregon Public Broadcasting
  • Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves but Can’t Read, Write, or Add, By Charles J. Sykes
  • Summary Dumbing Down Our Kids, By Charles J. Sykes
  • Dissecting the Dysfunctions That Lead Down the Path to Divorce, By Kathleen Kelleher, Special to The Los Angeles Times. Monday, September 18, 2000
  • Keeping Art Alive Under No Child Left Behind Act [NCLB], By Ellen R. Delisio. Education World® 2006
  • O, Say, Does Your Class Know the National Anthem?, By Ellen R. Delisio. Education World® 2006
  • Standards, Assessment and Accountability. U.S. Department of Education
  • Parent-Child Relationship Quality Depends on Child’s Perception of Fairness, By Jeremy Diener. Journal of Family Psychology. August 11, 2004