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Sexual assault is such a common occurrence all over the world. Yet, so many people are uncomfortable speaking on the issue. The aftermath of such an incident is difficult in itself to understand and overcome; however, imagine if this sexual assault victim became pregnant, was legally forced to share their child with the accuser, and was left to co-parent with that individual.
Back in high school, eighteen year old, Noemi was raped by a co-worker after being invited over to his house. Upon discovering that she was pregnant with his child, Noemi’s attacker was charged with third-degree sexual assault. In many states, sexual assault victims are only able to terminate the attackers parental rights if they are charged with sexual assault in the first degree. In Noemi’s case, the State of Nebraska reached out to the father in order to collect child support, which eventually led to his request for regularly scheduled visits and permission to see his child.
In order to terminate parental rights, the attacker must have been convicted of sexual assault. Unfortunately, these laws are virtually unknown to many people. Issues like these are only brought to light in the midst of the situation. Not only is rape severely underreported, but only 37% of the reported rapes result in conviction. Needless to say, these laws are outdated. Back when this legislation was created, children born to unmarried women were not legally recognized.
Should there be laws put into place, that protects victims of sexual assault who become pregnant? It is terrifying to think that a person convicted of sexual assault would be labeled fit to have visitation and custody rights for a child that was born out of violence. The lack of legislation that protects these victims, creates an even more painful experience for all of those who are involved. It is clear that the current laws that are in place do not account for any of the emotional or personal conflicts that are sure to occur from such a traumatic event. As with many other things, the government should work to bring awareness to these issues, and end this constant battle with sexual assault.