Friday, March 22, 2013

Men's reproductive choices: children and rape

photo credit: bondidwhat via cc
A father discovers birth control, and wants to keep using it to limit his family size to five (five!).  His wife wants more children, but will please her husband by refraining from more children.  He goes to the rabbi, expressing anxiety about providing for more than five children, and the rabbi says that money comes from heaven.  When he lies, and says that his wife is stressed out with five children, the rabbi allows birth control.

I love how this story makes five children seem so natural, like a small number, when that's more children than most people would ever consider.

The idea that someone could not know about birth control is strange to me, and I wonder if he's exaggerated his story, or told it in a way that parallels the stories we've heard so often about women's constrained reproductive choices.  Chassidic men's lives are often more sheltered than chassidic women's, but are they really so sheltered not to know that most people in American society have fewer than 3 children?  He had access to the internet, so how could he have gone so long not knowing about birth control?  

Meanwhile, in evangelical 9th grade English teacher has an important piece on how she taught her students not to rape.  The classroom dynamic seemed to change from initial doubt that high school athletes close to their age could be rapists and that consent was always necessary, to a clear recognition of these facts among most in the class.   It's easy to speak about these issues in the abstract.  I'm so grateful that courageous teachers raise these issues again and again, when it's still possible to impact adolescents' thoughts.  I'm grateful that my teachers did. 

No comments: