I'm incredibly sad right now.
I just read this story on a friend's Facebook.
A 14-year-old girl who authorities say secretly gave birth to a son and then strangled him, will be prosecuted as an adult. Cassidy Goodson is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. She was arrested Sept. 28 after deputies say she gave birth to a 9.5-pound boy in the bathroom of her house. Detectives say she used a pair of scissors to "pry the baby out," and delivered the child alive and into the toilet. She then strangled him with the umbilical cord still attached and put him in a shoebox, according to detectives. The girl's mother found the baby in the box, hidden in some laundry. Detectives say the girl hid her pregnancy from her family. According to officials with the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the high school freshman killed her baby because she "didn't know what to do with it" and "didn't want the relationship with her parents to change."I'm so, so sad. But not just because a baby was murdered...I'm sad about every detail of this story. I can't help but think of the girl in the story too. What level of desperation must she have achieved? Clearly she was afraid of telling her parents that she was pregnant....and what, exactly, what going on with them? What type of communication was occurring, or more likely NOT occurring, in that family? What level of denial was present? What messages were sent to this 14 year old about sex?
I'm not trying to absolve this child from what she did. What went down in that bathroom is beyond troubling behavior and it makes me suspect that there is much more going on for this young woman than the story above states. I, of course, have no clue what the full details are, and I have no idea what should be done. But, what I can tell you is that when I hear about these incidents (which are far too frequent, look at the "related stories" on that link above) I feel like we're all implicated.
Our culture, which actively shames sexual activity and suppresses reproductive choice, is at least one factor in situations where children get pregnant, ignore and/or hide the pregnancy for nearly 10 months, and then choose to kill their babies shortly after birth rather than face the consequences of telling their parents.
Think about it. What are the chances that this type of situation would occur in a world where teens had access to full, accurate information about sexuality and contraception? Would this be so prevalent if we all talked openly about sex? If we felt no shame or stigma in it? If we were comfortable using the pill and/or condoms, etc. when we choose to have sex? And in this hypothetical world, if a teen did get pregnant, would she have any reason to hide it from her parents? I'd think it would be much less likely, at least. She could be comfortable telling them, getting their help and support, and making choices that would be best for her.
I'm seriously just so sad about this.
I mean, honestly, how long will we keep going with sex negativity and anti-choice policies before we will take a good, long look at what's going on and admit that this path makes no sense?