The Apple Does Not Fall Far from the Tree: Encounter with a Child Born of Rape
We hear about different groups of children on almost a daily basis (e.g. child soldiers, girls in conflict situations, and refugees). However, seldom do we hear anything about children who are born of wartime rape even though women are subjected to sexual violence in almost every armed conflict, and there are hundreds of thousands of children born to these women living in the world today. In the recent years, some human rights scholars have started writing about these children, but the literature remains very scarce. The present study, which examines why children born of rape are stigmatized, builds on the results of a previous study, which suggest that being born of rape might be highly stigmatic, even more stigmatic than being raped or having HIV/AIDS. Twelve participant were interviewed and the following questions were explored in the interviews: i) how people react to a child born of rape, ii) how people think others might feel about this child, iii) how they would behave if they were to meet this child, iv) if the child should know about his origin, and v) what effect learning that one is born of rape might have on a person. Some of the most prominent themes that emerged in the interviews are: i) identity, ii) developmental concerns, iii) a sense of fatalism, and iv) a sense of genetic determinism.
Keywords: Stigma, Rape, Identity, War, Children
Graduate Student, Department of Psychology, Clark University