Shauna R. Prewitt, Rape Survivor Mother Raising Her Child
Shauna R. Prewitt is an author, attorney, advocate, and public speaker. While a student at the University of Chicago, Shauna had a bright future ahead of her until events in her final year of college changed the course of her life forever. Finding herself the victim of sexual assault, Shauna soon thereafter learned that she was pregnant from her attack. Deciding to continue the pregnancy and raise her child, Shauna was shocked when, after her child’s birth, her attacker sought custody of the baby girl. Trapped in her own personal hell, Shauna was even more astonished when she learned that few legal protections exist to protect the women who mother through rape. Without such laws, men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody rights over their rape-conceived children as other fathers enjoy.
Spurred by these events, Shauna made a commitment to do what she could to change the custody laws around the United States. In August 2006, Shauna enrolled at Georgetown Law School and began the tedious and often frustrating task of examining the custody rights of men who father through rape. Astonished to learn that only a handful of states had legal protections in place that restrict the parental rights of men who father through rape, Shauna set out to answer the question, “Why?” The results of Shauna’s years-long analysis culminated in the publication of the first and only scholarly piece examining the legal protections afforded to women who mother through rape and providing insight into why these protections are so limited. Since its publication in March 2010, Shauna’s piece has received much attention from legal scholars, state legislators, family court judges, attorneys, and advocacy groups.
Giving Birth to a “Rapist’s Child”: A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections
Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape can be viewed at http://www.georgetownlawjournal.com/issues/pdf/98-3/Prewitt.PDF