Guilty in Utero

Branded Before Birth

“How have we managed to evolve as a species that is riddled with rape? When did we give ourselves permission to become this way?”

Sohaila Abdulali

Classical mythology abounds with rape. It is noteworthy that every one of these rapes produces children. In ancient and medieval societies, women who bore children conceived in rape were permitted to let them die of exposure. Despite current strides in transparency, awareness, and treatment, the stigma of rape persists. It is usually committed by someone the victim knows. The British psychoanalyst Joan Raphael-Leff writes specifically of women bearing children of rape.

“The woman feels she has growing inside her part of a hateful or distasteful Other. The baby will emerge part-stranger, often ostracized by family and society.”