I was 14 years old when I started to understand the impact of shaming. It informed my pro-life views to focus equally on the woman and the child. A cheerleader at my high school was dating a football player. She was blonde and beautiful, a sweet girl. After a whisper campaign hinted that she was pregnant, the rumors were confirmed, and the popular teen was shunned. Soon after, she disappeared and ultimately was coerced by her parents to relinquish all rights to her baby.
The girl’s mother was so ashamed that she didn’t want to be seen in public with her daughter. So the day the teen was released from the hospital after giving birth, her mother forced her own postpartum daughter out of the car to walk the final two miles home alone, in shame. I think of that girl to this day.
A few years later, Roe v. Wade changed everything. Girls–or their parents–could avoid being shamed by hiding their pregnancies and having an abortion. It became a secret shame, because if they ever told, then people would know they had sex and an abortion. Many of these women still live a lifetime with their secret in fear of being shamed.
FFL’s mission is to systematically eliminate the reasons that drive women to abortion, in particular the lack of resources and support.
Shaming–rather than loving support–destroys lives.
I invite you to take a look at shame from a different perspective.
In our issue of The American Feminist entitled “A Crying Shame“, FFL explores the impact of shaming birthmothers, rape survivors, parents of large families, poor mothers, pregnant and parenting students, and those who were driven to abortion. A psychologist illuminates the important differences between guilt, fear and shame. We shame the shamers who hurt and sometimes kill women and children around the globe in the name of “honor.”
I thank those FFL members who participated in contributing their personal stories to this issue-as well as our editorial team who help to shine a light on this important topic.
Please be sure your support is current or join now, because it would be a real shame to miss this insightful issue!
Because women deserve better,
Serrin M. Foster